Preserving the Bounty

Preserving the Bounty giveaway - amazing food preservation prize package, food storage and preservation articles,  vacuum sealing shelf life reference chart

The boys and I have been busy preserving the bounty on our homestead, so I thought it was a great time to team up with some of my favorite self-reliance blogging friends for another food preservation equipment giveaway.   I’ve also included a shortlist of my food storage and preservation articles on the website, and a chart showing how much longer vacuum sealing can extend shelf life for stored foods. [Read more...]

Excalibur Dehydrator Giveaway and Vegetable Dehydrating 101

Excalibur Dehydrator Giveaway and Vegetable Dehydrating 101 - quick reference chart for vegetable dehydration preparation and drying times.

The stores and media channels are filled with Back To School everything.  We homeschool, so there’s not quite the mad rush here as for those who need to prep for brick and mortar schools, but I do like to take advantage of the sales to stock up on needed supplies.  For us, this time of year is all about harvest season.  Almost every day we are either picking or processing or both.  My husband and boys just finished a root cellar makeover, which I’ll be sharing in an upcoming post, but for now we are focused on canning, freezing and dehydrating.  (The root cellar will get filled a little later in the season.)

To help you with your food storage preps, I’ve teamed up with my blogging friends to giveaway an Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator with a timer.  I’ve also included basic instructions for vegetable dehydrating, to help you preserve “the good stuff” from your garden or farmers market. [Read more...]

Easy Low Sugar Raspberry Jam-Jelly

The easy Low Sugar Raspberry Jam-Jelly is bursting with berry flavor and can be made with fresh or frozen raspberries.  One of our family favorites.

When spoons were passed around with samples of this low sugar raspberry jam-jelly from the bottom of the cooking pot, the collective response from the boys and husband was, “mmmmmmmmmm”.  The quarter jar that didn’t make it in the canner soon disappeared, and a second jar never made it into the canning pantry.  My youngest used to be a full sugar jam hound, but even he’s been won over to the fruit-loaded flavor of low sugar jams.

To get enough berries for this recipe, we hit a local youpick raspberry place.  We used to be able to pick enough from our patches, but right now they are very sparse as they recover from some sort of virus.  The patches were almost completely wiped out, but a few plants survived, so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to restore raspberry production.  You can also use frozen raspberries if you don’t have fresh available, so watch for sales.  :-)

I’m calling this a jam-jelly because I strain out some of the seeds but not all of them.  The pulp really adds flavor, so I don’t go the straight jelly route.  Raspberries do have a lot of seeds, and my husband is not a seed fan, so I compromise by running the cooked berries through my food strainer twice.  Putting them through just once leaves more pulp behind than I prefer, but if you have more than enough raspberries once is fine.  I save my pulp to make chocolate raspberry granola cookies.  Don’t ask me why, but my husband is fine with the seeds in cookie form, and the raspberry-chocolate flavor combination is pure yumminess. [Read more...]

The World’s Cheapest Cherry Pitter

The World's Cheapest Cherry Pitter - a simple and amazingly easy way to pit cherries, shown to us by a Door County cherry grower many years ago.

We live in northeast Wisconsin, just minutes away from the Door County peninsula, where you’ll find one of the biggest tart cherry producing areas in the U. S. We usually go picking and fill the freezer every two years. Our favorite cherry picking spot – Cherry Lane Orchard – has a deal where you get the seventh bucket free if you pick six, which is a LOT of cherries. We stocked up last year, but we had family visiting this year who wanted to go picking, so we headed up yesterday. I was talking to my niece about how to pit the cherries, and she had never heard of the method we use. This was passed down to us with much ceremony the first year we went cherry picking, back in the 1990’s. We had my mom and nephew with us, and had picked a whole mess of cherries – two five gallon buckets of them. As we were paying the bill, the orchard owner asked how we were going to pit them. Never having picked before, we had no idea. (Worry about it later, right?) She leaned in close, and told us she would share the secret of the world’s cheapest cherry pitter. [Read more...]

Getting Started with Home Food Drying

Getting Started with Home Food Drying - 6 Things You Need to Know Plus a Great List of Resources

Want an easy way to store and preserve food?  Need a food storage method that doesn’t take up much space and requires very little equipment?  Want to make healthier snacks for your family to enjoy at home or on the go?  Looking for portable food for camping or backpacking?  If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should learn about home food drying.

What Equipment Do I Need to Dehydrate Food at Home? [Read more...]