Meat Can Be A Big Expense

Raw Beef

Meat can be a frugal choice!

Meat can be a big expense if you do not raise your own livestock. We do not. I would have a large amount of pets and an empty freezer if I did! LOL Well, not exactly, since we do not have freezer, but you know what I mean. Some people can do it and some don’t want to. Yes, I know where meat comes from that is sold in the stores. How come people have such a problem with you not raising your own livestock for meat, but they don’t grow their own wheat for baking? I always say, do what you can or want to do, but please do not force YOUR views on others! If you are following a low carb food plan than meat is an even bigger expense. Fresh produce makes up half of the low carb plan, meat and dairy are about one-fourth each. It doesn’t help that our house rabbit, known as “Rabbit” eats a great deal of the fresh greens we grow, or buy from the store. We try to buy organic as much as possible, if available. Winter is tough though and especially around here. 

rabbit eating wild foods

Wild Foods

Since we heat with wood and have no other type of heating, our house gets pretty cold at night when the wood stove is banked back. Starting plants has always been difficult for me. My houseplants barely survive the winter. I am experimenting with some salad greens and herbs right now since our temperatures have been unseasonably warm for New York state. This morning we spotted our first robin of the year and they are never here this early. I usually look for them around the fifteen of March, not the first. I am not complaining though. We have a pretty large population of robins living here for most of the year. I hope it is a good sign that spring will be early this year.

cows

Livestock raised for food.

Because we do not raise livestock for food, what can we do about the meat supply? Well, you can always become a vegetarian, though that is not for me. I have tried it, but I am used to eating meat since I have had it my whole life. Also since I do so much better eating low carbs, I want to eat it. It satisfies you more than vegetables. One of the ways around the high price of meat in the stores is to purchase a supply from a local farmer. If you have a freezer to store it, you can usually get a much better price directly from the farmer who raised it. I think once you buy it that way, you will not want to go back to buying it in a store again. Another way to get an affordable amount of meat is to buy it in bulk when your stores have it on sale. I do that. Except I can it, instead of freezing it. The main reason I do not freeze it is because we do not have a freezer. Not even a small one. Our refrigerator doesn’t have one. But even if I had a freezer, most of my meat and foods I store, I would can. Freezers can break. Canned meats taste much better and will last years as long as it is properly canned with a pressure canner. My husband calls it fast food. Canned jars of meats or chili and stews are super fast to cook and serve. We love them.

Canned Beef

Canned Beef

I normally purchase our meat from a local restaurant supply store. I can get good deals on meat there, as well as produce. Their food is top quality and I have never been unhappy with anything I bought there. Canning a supply of meat and broth can make preparing meals, not only frugal, but easier. The meat is already cooked so you just have to put the recipe together and heat it. Jars of broth make gravy and soup preparing a snap. After I have finished canning the meat, I add more hot water to it, season it and now have number of jars of broth to can. These are like gold! They add such flavor and store bought bouillon or broths don’t even come close to the flavor.


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Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2017 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Using Canned Winter Squash

Buttercup Squash Bread

Buttercup Squash Bread

Using canned winter squash you processed the past two years isn’t that hard. Is it just sitting in the cupboard except for the occasional brown sugar and butter side dish? There are many ways to incorporate that valuable canned produce into your weekly menus. Every year I harvest an abundant amount of winter squash. The varieties I plant are Butternut, Buttercup and Hopi Pale Grey. Next gardening season I am planning on adding some others. I normally only plant one variety each year since they can become cross pollinated and their seed won’t be true. I try to save their seeds every year. You can still use them even if they aren’t true, but they sometimes don’t look like what you planted. I canned a lot of yellow squash one year that took over our compost pile, but it certainly wasn’t a true yellow squash. We ate it and there was no difference in the taste or anything. I suppose it only matters if you are sharing or selling your seeds, which I wasn’t.

Winter Squash

Winter Squash

Every year the squash plants spread out all over our lawn near the garden where it is planted. It can be a nuisance for my husband mowing the lawn, but he’d rather have the food than the lawn anyway. I usually put aside a small number of them to store in the pantry or root cellar to eat fresh, most of them will be canned for future meals. A good friend asked me, “Why bother canning them since they store so well from one season to the next?” My answer to that is, “They last longer canned and stored on my pantry shelves. Since there are only two of us here, we don’t eat it fast enough to store all of them fresh.” One thought I had was that it is less work too. I can decide at the last minute to prepare a winter squash recipe without the job of precooking it to use, as most of my recipes would be using it as a soft or pureed ingredient. 

Buttercup

Buttercup

I had such a large crop in previous years, that this year I didn’t plant any winter squash at all. We are still eating the ones I canned in 2013! This is a post I wrote about how I canned our winter squash, Buttercup Squash. After it is on my shelves in jars, how do I use it? Almost any recipe for pumpkin or sweet potatoes is adaptable for your winter squash. Fresh or canned or even frozen, it doesn’t matter. Pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread recipes made with winter squash taste pretty much the same. Amazon is full of good pumpkin cookbooks that can be used for your winter squash or sweet potatoes. This one, Pumpkin, a Super Food For All 12 Months of the Year is a good one, as well as Pumpkin Cookbook by Gooseberry Patch.

Bread in Oven

Bread in Oven

 

This is my favorite pumpkin recipe, which is a Pumpkin Bread one, but tastes like a dessert. We love it! Try it and see what you think. If the winter squash is canned, it should be canned in cubes because it is not safe to can it as mashed or pureed. I pour the whole jar in, water and all, using it as part of the liquid for the recipe. I mash the squash up good with a potato masher to break it up as much as possible.

Pumpkin Bread

3/4 cup shortening
2-3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups pumpkin, canned
3/4 cup water
3-1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix together sugar and shortening. Add rest of ingredients. Pour into two greased bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Makes two loaves.

Homecanned Buttercup

Home Canned Buttercup Squash

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


Preparedness Food List

Food preparedness list begins here

Food preparedness list begins here

I am working on my preparedness food list right now. I go to a lot of websites on homesteading, preparedness, prepping, self-sufficiency and self-reliance and I am usually disappointed. A good many are covered in ads and have that annoying pop up trying to catch my email address. Just trying to read an article on it is nearly impossible. I usually can’t make it though the whole article due to the ads. With my internet connection, a video or anything like that slows my computer down considerably and I end up leaving without reading their article. So I thought I’d write my own list and not concern myself with what someone else thinks. They usually aren’t accurate, considering I am not really a “prepper” but live this way all the time, regardless of power outages or storms. This is a way of life for me. Each individual family must have some idea of what they need without reading a huge of list of what others think you need or what they are trying to steer you to buy so you click on their affiliate links. 

This is my food list and how I prepare to have food stored in my kitchen, pantry and root cellar. Make changes where you see fit. Every family is different and you may have a family member who eats a special diet. In our house, we eat low carbs as much as possible. 

katlupe’s Preparedness Food List:

1. Food Needed – Figure out what you fix for meals. How much and how often.  I do this on a monthly basis and multiply it by 12 for the year.

2. List the ingredients you need to make each recipe. Be sure to include all seasonings, oils and condiments needed. Figure out how much of each needed.

3. Include some foods for quick meals that can be prepared without cooking or heating. For emergencies.

4. Don’t forget water storage! Go to Ready Water Storage, a government site to read their recommendations. Whatever you do, DO NOT store it in used milk containers. 

5. Snacks for everyone makes a bad situation bearable. Stock up ingredients to make those snacks your family enjoys. Be sure to include some ready made ones for when you are short on time.

6. Include desserts! Yes, everyone loves their desserts. Once again, I recommend some ready made ones that take no cooking or heating. Ingredients for your homemade desserts will a pleasant ending to meal on a bad day or for a special occasion. 

7. I mentioned having condiments stored, but if times get really tough and worse than they are right now (which I believe is happening presently), you may not be able to replenish your condiments stash. Be sure to include ingredients to make them yourself. Homemade ones are much better anyway, I do this all the time. 

8. Beverages – This is the hard one. It is best to get your family used to drinking water mainly. But what if water is in short supply? Even tea and coffee take water. Maybe some canned fruit juices, evaporated milk and dehydrated milk would be good to store. These milk products can be used for cooking too. Tea can be made from wild medicinal and/or edible plants around your home. Just be careful where you forage for them. Many homeowners use chemicals on their lawns and you don’t want to pick any from those areas. 

9. Storage of all. How or where do I store it all? This one I have problems with myself. As we work on our house, we keep adding more storage areas. making more room in your home by getting rid of all your excess stuff is essential. This is one area that I am presently working on, so I will be writing future posts and sharing how I overcome this obstacle.

10. A garden is essential to providing a large share of your food supply. I grow, can dehydrate and store a large amount of produce yearly. What I don’t grow, I buy locally. Do not rely on a freezer for storing your food. Even with my own power system something can go wrong with it and I would be without power for a period while we repair it. Same with your freezer. Many people have lost food due to a malfunction of their freezer. This is the reason why I can so much food. Can all the food you harvest in case the next year’s harvest fails. 

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Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole


My Home Canned Food Storage Method

My Canning Cupboard

My Canning Cupboard

Home canned food storage is a big puzzle for many people. My canning cupboard is where I keep my jars of home canned food. The cupboard on the bottom is where I keep my canners. This is not my whole supply of home canned food. This cupboard is a convenient place to store the jars of food so when I am cooking, I can just grab a jar quickly. For now, the rest of the jars are upstairs in Rubbermaid containers. I cannot store them in my root cellar or pantry until those rooms are finished. For now, this is what I have to do. About once a month, I have to go upstairs and carry down jars of foods that we have used up. Today I carried down potatoes, carrots and green beans. 

Canned Food Storage

Canned Food Storage

The one question I am asked the most is what to do about home canned food storage. I had the question myself and resolved it by using the containers for the jars. Since the food canned in jars is inside the containers, they stay clean and no bugs or pests can get on them. Another plus about this method is that just in case a jar does open or break it will be contained inside the container. Not all over your floor or shelves. Easier to clean up. Though I have never had a jar open or break in storage. Don’t stack them and they should be fine. As I empty the containers of the filled jars of food, I start putting the empty jars that have been used and cleaned in the Rubbermaid containers. It is an easy method. The containers can be stacked on top of each other as long as the one on top is not too heavy. I put thick cardboard or sometimes, plywood on the lids if I am going to put something on top of it.

Canned Food Jars Inside

Canned Food Jars Inside

In case of emergencies, like flooding or something of that sort, your home canned food storage may help your jars to survive by being inside the plastic containers. If they were swimming in flood water, I would not feel safe using them, even if they were still sealed. Flood waters are very dangerous to consume. The jars of food are easier to transport in the plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes. You would just have to wrap the jars with newspaper or clothing to insulate them from breaking. I will eventually keep my food supply in my root cellar, but they will stay in the Rubbermaid containers. Now that I have put this in place presently, I see it is the best way to keep them. 

Label Each Container

Label Each Container

Always label each jar and each container with what is inside. That way your home canned food storage can be easy to use.  All you have to do is to look at the outside to know what is inside. When you empty a container and put empty jars inside, you can double stack those. Just put a thick piece of cardboard between the layers. I put each jar in the container upside down and it seems to keep them cleaner. Be sure to label the outside of that container also. If you put more than one variety of food or empty jars in a container, note that on the label. I put another label on for each variety. Then when I have taken all that type out, I can remove that label. This method keeps the food supply constantly moving. Use up the old and can up some new! 

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Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole


Buttercup Squash

Ripe Buttercup Squash

Ripe Buttercup Squash

Buttercup squash is one of my favorite varieties of winter squash. This year we had a nice crop of it growing in the garden. The seeds I plant are an heirloom variety of Buttercup squash. The squash was still growing when the plant itself looked to be dead. I left it in the garden as long as I could, until we had some frost and I had to harvest it. Then I left it to cure on the front porch for a week or so. If you have a brown, dried up looking stem, then it usually means that the squash is ready to be picked. I know some of the information I read says to leave it in the garden even if you have frost, but I don’t trust doing that. I’d hate to lose it.

Picked Buttercup Squash

Picked Buttercup Squash

The buttercup squash didn’t look real big, at least not compared to my Hopi Pale Gray Squash and Butternut, but it gave me sixteen quarts. I am quite happy with that. If you can your winter squash and pumpkins, you have to can them cut up in cubes. Don’t puree it, as that is not safe for canning. I have been canning all my winter squashes for a long time now. I know it good to store them fresh in a root cellar or wherever you have space, but I like to can them so we can eat them over a longer period of time. We don’t have to hurry up to eat them before they go bad. Because they never go bad!

Paring Buttercup Squash

Paring Buttercup Squash

I cut the buttercup squash in half, then scoop out the seeds. I was able to peel the skin off with a peeler. The other squashes, Butternut and Hopi Pale Gray,  I couldn’t do that with, because their skins were too tough. Then I cubed them up and put it in a stock pot with enough water to cover them. Jackie Clay’s canning book has the instructions I used. She said to boil them for 2 minutes, then follow the directions for canning them.

Buttercup Seeds

Buttercup Seeds

 I spread the seeds out on a paper towel lined tray to dry out, after removing the strings of squash from the seeds. The buttercup squash seeds will dry out over a period of days and then I can put them away to use in my future gardens. Don’t put them in an oven or on another heat source. I dry them in the open air of my house. Keep them dry, labeled and separate from all other seeds. 

Canned Buttercup Squash

Canned Buttercup Squash

After canning the buttercup squash you will have a supply all ready to eat. Just heat it up or use it in a recipe. Winter squashes can be substituted for pumpkin or sweet potatoes. We love it! How about you? Did you plant any buttercup squash in your garden this year?

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Canning Yellow Squash

Pressure Canners on stove

Pressure Canners

This year, I have been very busy canning yellow squash. I told you in my last “From the Garden to the Table” post, that I would share with you the way I can summer squash. This year, my zucchini didn’t come up, so I only did the yellow squash. If you did not read the previous post, be sure to do so now. I showed how I get it ready for canning in that post. That post is really the first step, so be sure to read it.

Keep Jars Hot

Keep Jars Hot

The actual process of canning yellow squash is not that difficult. Fill a stock pot with the chunks of squash and add water to the top. Heat until boiling and let boil for about five minutes. Meanwhile fill your clean canning jars with hot water so they are hot. I have mine standing in a sink of hot water as well. Or you can have them simmering in hot water on your stove. I can’t do that because I do not have enough room on my stove, even though I have a big one. Get your lids and rims ready, and put them in hot water to wait until you need them. After it has boiled for about five minutes, take it off your stove. Put your pressure canner (NOT a pressure cooker……..there IS a difference!) on the burner with about 3″ of water in it.

Canner Exhausting

Canner Exhausting for 10 minutes.

You can put 1/2 – 1 tsp. of salt in the jar before you fill it, if you want to. Salt is just for taste. I don’t use it anymore when I am canning yellow squash. Fill a jar with the squash and add enough hot water to go to 1/2″ from the top. Then wipe the rim of the jar and put a dry rim and lid on. Put the jar in the canner and do the rest of the jars the same way. After it has exhausted for 10 minutes, put the regulator on it, and bring it up to pressure. In my case, it is 10 lbs. pressure for 45 minutes for quarts, or 40 minutes for pints.

Home Canned Yellow Squash

My canned yellow squash


After the time is up, I turn the burner off and the pressure will drop. Do not try to open it or take the regulator off before the pressure is at zero! I wait till I hear a little noise from the exhaust, then I still wait about five minutes more, before removing the regulator or the lid. Always lift the lid away from you so you don’t get burned. Then I let the jars sit about five minutes more with the lid off. Then I take each jar out with the jar lifter, and set the jar on a doubled towel in a spot where they can sit for 24 hours undisturbed. Do not attempt to remove the rims until the 24 hours is up. I always wash the jars after I take the rim off. Then label the lid before putting them away in your pantry or root cellar. You have finished canning yellow squash! This product can sit in your pantry for a long time before you use it. Longer than frozen and you won’t lose it in a power outage or if your freezer breaks down.

Squash Casserole

Squash Casserole


One of our favorites is my famous squash casserole. Canning yellow squash is perfect for casseroles. I can skip the step of cooking it first, because it is cooked in the jars, and is already soft. I have other casserole recipes that I use for the squash too. It is just as good, boiled in a pan, as you do when you prepare it fresh. It smells and taste just like the day you picked it.

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience living an off-the-grid life as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click or products I recommend may or may not compensate me for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.


From the Garden to the Table – Summer Squash

Produce From The Garden

From The Garden – Summer Squash!

“From the Garden to the Table – Summer Squash,” is the first blog post in my “From the Garden to the Table” series. I will be writing posts on various fruits, vegetables and wild plants that grow around my Peaceful Forest Homestead. This way I can share with you how to grow various plants, and how to preserve them and  serve them. I will show you how to make them become a part of your homestead food plan.

When I first started out in this lifestyle, I canned sweet jellies, jams and pickles too. Did we really eat all of them? Over time, we did. Only because we do not waste any food at all. I have stopped doing that type of canning long ago. For one thing, we never put jelly or jam on toast, especially now, since we both eat low carbs. If I am going to eat something that is a high carb, I’d much rather buy some ice cream! No way am I going to waste it on jelly or jam. I want to research and hone in my skills on growing, preserving and preparing foods that we love and want to eat again and again. That is what this series on my blog will be about. 

Yellow Squash Sliced

Don’t slice summer sqush to can it!

 Summer squash can provide plenty of winter meals. I use it in casseroles, as well as a side dish covered in butter. Does your summer squash really need to be sliced to be preserved? No, it doesn’t. Cube it instead. Even if you are not canning it, freezing it this way should prevent it from cooking up mushy. If you need some slices for some of your recipes, like squash chips, you can dehydrate those. Can up the rest of it and it will sit on your pantry shelves until you need them.  

Peeling and seeding squash

Peel and Seed it!

The steps to preparing summer squash for canning is:

  • Wash the squash off  real good. Nothing is worse than getting dirt on your newly peeled squash.
  • Cut each end off and then peel it.
  • I usually cut them in fourths, down the center. Standing up on one end, you can easily slice it right down the middle to the other end. Keeping them together that way, while I cut it in four long slices. Like a cucumber. 
  • Now I take each fourth and scoop the seeds out of the center.
  • Put them on the cutting board and cut in cubes. I put all four on the board at once, if they aren’t too big. 
  • They are cubed! Now wasn’t that easy?

 

Summer Squash Cubed

Summer Squash Cubed

The next step will be how to can summer squash, which will be in my very next post. I have the directions on my old blog, but I am changing that blog and want all my homesteading information on this one. One of the questions people have with canning squash, is that they think it is not safe, due to what the “professional canners” say. They had the recipe in the older canning books, but decided it is not safe to do. You will be using a pressure canner, and you need to use one, as this is a low acid food, and needs to be pressure canned only. Here is what they say about it: 

“Why is canning summer squash or zucchini not recommended?

  • Recommendations for canning summer squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times. 
  • Squashes are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning for a known period of time that will destroy the bacteria that cause botulism. 
  • Documentation for the previous processing times cannot be found, and reports that are available do not support the old process.
  • Slices or cubes of cooked summer squash will get quite soft and pack tightly into the jars. 
  • The amount of squash filled into a jar will affect the heating pattern in that jar.
  • It is best to freeze summer squashes or pickle them for canning, but they may also be dried.”

Canned Yellow Squash

Canned Yellow Squash

After reading that you will need to decide what you feel safe doing. As I know, I feel safe doing it and I know my squash is pressure canned properly. I am not new to this and have always followed safe procedures. It is not tightly packed in the jars and I can’t imagine any summer squash becoming tight in the jars. In fact, many times, in the process of making a recipe, I have to use an extra jar, because it didn’t fill the jar completely. My jars of canned summer squash are boiling inside, when I take them out of the canner. I feel that the “canning professionals” are always on the look out for some new rule or regulation. If they had it their way, nobody would be canning their own food to begin with. Though then they might be out of their jobs! Stay tuned for my next post on how to can your summer harvest of summer squash and zucchini.

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Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole

I write this blog based on my experience of living an off-the-grid life, as a modern homesteader. Some of the links you may click, or products I recommend, may or may not compensate me, for including them in my post. Be sure to read my disclosure page if you are concerned about that.

 


Garlic Dill Pickles With No Added Sweeteners

Garlic Dill Pickles

Garlic Dill Pickles

Garlic dill pickles with no added sweeteners was a recipe I had been trying to find. Canning pickles seemed easy enough. Yet, it was the one food I seemed to have difficulty with. My pickles would turn out mushy. We ate them anyway. But I couldn’t stand them! My parents made pickles all the time, crunchy and crisp. I was so jealous!  After my mother died in 2002, my father kept canning pickles. I think he did it because it was something they did together. In 2004, he invited me to come up and can pickles with him. I was thrilled! Not just to learn how he did pickles, but that he wanted to do something special with me. Now I have his and my mother’s recipes. He would make a huge amount of pickles from the cucumbers he grew in his garden every year. He gave my brother and me a number of jars every year. Now I have to make my own, since he passed away in 2012. I have his jars, and I carry on like he taught me. 

Cucumbers For Pickles

Cucumbers For Pickles

Garlic Dills

3-4″ cucumbers, remove blossom ends, about 4 quarts.
6 Tbsp. pickling salt
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups water
1 head of dill for each jar
1 clove of garlic for each jar

You don’t have to cut the cucumbers if you don’t want to. I did. I cut them in quarters. Combine the pickling salt, vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Keep your sterilized jars hot, waiting to process the pickles. Put one dill head and one garlic clove in the bottom of each jar. Then put the cucumber, sliced or whole in the jars. Pack them in tightly, but do not let the touch the tops of the jars when you put the lids on. 

Ladle the brine over the cucumbers in the jars. Leave one-half inch of headspace, but be sure to cover the cucumber in the jar. Using a wooden spoon, remove the bubbles in the jar by poking it down to the bottom. Wipe rim of jar and put a hot, sterilized lid on the top of the jar. Then fasten the rim on by screwing it down tightly. Process it in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.

Fresh Dill and Garlic

Fresh Dill and Garlic

That is the basic recipe. I am not done “tweaking” it. They came out crisp and I like that. But for me, they are a tad too salty. This year, I will cut the pickling canning salt down from 6 Tbsp. to 4 or 5. The main thing I like about this recipe is that it does not use sugar. I made two different types that did not use sugar, and the other one came out mushy. So we won’t talk about that one. I am not positive if I can cut the salt down or if it will affect the pickling process. You know canning is a science, and you can screw up the final product by changing it. So I shall see this coming canning season.

Cut Cucumbers

Cut Cucumbers

The main thing is that I am trying to find a variety of canning recipes that do not use added sugar or any other type of sweetener. In jams or jellies I can use fruit juices. They will still be high carbs, but can be eaten every now and then. So far, neither of us are diabetic, so we can eat that. I have just eliminated as much as possible of the sugars, except for Stevia. I used apple juice in my peach sauce in place of sugar. But you don’t even have to do that. If you look through your canning book, you will see many recipes that really don’t need sugar at all. 

Keep Jars Hot

Keep Jars Hot

When I am canning, I fill my old pressure cooker, that I don’t use for canning anymore, with hot water. Then I set my clean jars in that water and put more hot water in each jar. That way, they stay hot waiting for me to fill them. I had such a problem with keeping them hot, as I processed each one. I am not that fast! Now I just set that in the sink, and it also eliminates the mess. The other thing I do now, since my original graniteware water bath canners got rusted and sprung leaks, is to use my pressure canners for water bath canning. I just don’t fasten the lids down. Yes, the steam and water will leak out the side, and might get your stove and surrounding area a bit wet.  But it cleans up!  

Water bath Canning with Pressure Canner

Water bath Canning with Pressure Canner

I will give you an update on the pickles when I get a chance to experiment with making some more. I hope to get this recipe down so it will be a keeper. This year, I have made the effort to put a jar of pickles on the table with our supper, and have found it to be a good addition to our meals. Kind of like my mother’s meals. A tradition passed on. 

katlupe

Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Organizing Home Canned Foods For 2014

Home canned Food

Reorganizing the shelves.

Organizing my home canned foods for 2014 is my top goal this year. I don’t make resolutions, I make plans. This was one of them. How can you plan your food supply efficiently if you do not know what you have? I didn’t have much space to work with, but the cupboard my husband built in the kitchen was housing all my pots and pans, and there was no other place to store them. I knew I had to get busy organizing home canned foods soon, or we’d never use what we already had. Even for pots and pans this cupboard was a headache to get anything out of. It is very deep and I had a hard time getting what I was looking for. 

 

Homesteading On The Internet

Stored food in these containers.

My solution in the past to organizing home canned foods had been to put them in plastic totes such as Rubbermaid types. The mice don’t bother with them unless it is to run across the top.The only place I was able to store them though was in the bathroom, and I wasn’t crazy about that idea.  I was not totally content with doing that. It was not a good solution, but I felt like I had no other options. Yesterday, I got the great idea to move the pots and pans to the bigger Rubbermaid containers and put them in the pantry. The cold would not bother them. I already have my collection of cast iron cookware in there. So that is what I did. 

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My home canned food

Then I started moving the jars of home canned food to the cupboard and writing down how much of each food I have on hand. One thing I had to make sure of, was that I didn’t put too heavy a load on the shelves that were not supported as heavily as the other two. Remember if you do this, to consider adding more support under the shelves because home canned foods are heavier than store bought. Organizing home canned foods turned out to be easier than I thought. It was just the part of carrying the jars to the kitchen and climbing on a chair to reach the higher shelves that was a bit tough for me.

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Top Shelf

As I put the jars on the shelves, I put them in order of the date they were canned. So each group of foods are together and then I will use the ones I canned first, before the more recent ones. It is a good way to rotate the food into your every day meals. Organizing home canned food is really important to keep your food from getting too old. Not that I buy into the expiration date information that you see all over. It is not true that the food will become no good at a certain time period. It may not be as nutritional as the day you canned it, but you can eat it. And if it is between starving and eating older foods, then I’ll eat it. But my food doesn’t usually get the chance to get that old. It is really good!

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Bottom Shelf

Organizing home canned foods is also a help with your garden plans for the spring. This way you will see what foods your family likes, and what you should plant more of. I do not plant any food that we do not regularly eat, nor do I can that kind of stuff. We don’t use potatoes as much as we used to, so I have none in our food supply. We don’t use sugar, corn or wheat products of any kind. So you will not see jams, jellies, syrups or any of the fruit canned in the sugar syrup. I am trying to make our food be healthy, not kill us. 

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I spent the day reorganizing my home canned food.

Since meat and vegetables is the mainstay of our food plan, that is mostly what you will see on my shelves. If an emergency happened, I would not be eating rice and beans, or baking bread in a cast iron pan. No, in an emergency, you need to keep everyone at their healthiest. Their physical strength and stamina might be compromised if you fed them foods they don’t eat daily. I know for myself and my husband, that would be the case. High carbs, processed foods and especially sugar and wheat have a bad effect on both of us. I stick to the foods we like and are healthy for us. I think this day spent organizing home canned foods will be well worth it in the long run.  

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All organized and easy to get to now!

katlupe

Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2014 Kathleen G. Lupole


Canning Milk Is Something I Do

Home Canned Milk

Home Canned Milk

A few days ago, I canned what I call “sweet milk.” “Sweet milk” is what you will see in old cookbooks when the author is referring to unpasteurized, or milk that is not homogenized. It is fresh from the cow. That is because it has a very sweet taste, depending on what the cow is eating. Eating fresh grass, will cause the milk to be sweet tasting. Almost like a milkshake is what my husband says. It is crazy that the government is against us buying raw milk. Especially when they want us to consume GMO and processed foods! So do you really think they are looking out for us? I hope not!

Cows In Pasture

Cows In Pasture

The truth is that “sweet milk” has gotten bad press. The reason? To keep everyone believing it is unsafe. It is not. If you buy milk from a clean farm where the people take care in how they milk and and care for their cows. The other side of the coin is that when the milk trucks pick up milk at each farm, they do test the milk to make sure it is safe. Lots of handling, transporting, more handling, adding vitamin D, pasteurizing, homogenizing, putting in plastic (YUCK!), more handling and on to the stores. 

Milk

Milk

Canning milk is very easy to do. I tried to find a site yesterday that would give the directions. All I found was the directions and information to pressure can it. That is okay, but many of the people writing on these sites or doing the utube videos stressed that it was not safe to water bath the milk. Milk has lactic acid in it and that makes it a high acid food. I am not telling you to do it or not, just that this is something I do to preserve milk. Mine is used in cooking and would probably be heated in a recipe. 

Carla Emery's Book

Carla Emery’s Book

I have two reliable sources that give the recipes for canning milk in a water bath canner and a pressure canner. None other than Jackie Clay has the recipes in her newest canning book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food. She mentions that canning milk period is considered being in “outlaw” canning territory. So make your own decision.  But the experts also tell you that fresh milk from the cow is not safe either. Carla Emery’s book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living gives the same directions as Jackie Clay’s book. 

Jars of Milk

Jars of Milk

I canned the milk this time in the little half pint sizes. They hold a cup each and that is usually the amount I need for a recipe. Next time, I am going to use the pint jars. That way I will have a variety. 

katlupe

Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2013 Kathleen G. Lupole