5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer Everyone Should Know, Plus a Review and Giveaway

5 Uses for a Vacuum Sealer Everyone Should Know, Plus FoodSaver® FM2000 Vacuum Sealer Review and Giveaway. Vacuum Sealers protect more than just food.

I’ve owned a Foodsaver® Vacuum Sealer of one type or another for a couple of decades now, and I can’t imagine my kitchen and pantry without a vacuum sealer.  Okay – that’s not really true.  I can imagine it, and I don’t like it.  During harvest season, my vacuum sealer lives on the counter.  It simply can’t be beat for extending the freezer life of produce.  (It works great for meat, too.  We always get our bulk meat purchases vacuum sealed at the butcher.) 

I can easily carry over food items for a year or more if needed, which is great if we have a bumper crop of something one year and a crop failure the next.  Two year old vacuum sealed berries look like they were picked and frozen the day before.  Try that with produce in a regular zipper bag, and you’ll end up with a block of ice.  Below is a comparison of two packages of broccoli, one vacuum sealed, one not.  I thought I’d use the second package up quickly, so I didn’t take the time to vacuum seal.  Big mistake.

vacuum sealer comparison - vacuum sealed bag versus zipper bag

I put together a quick list of five uses for a vacuum sealer everyone should know, just to highlight some of the cool stuff that these sealers can do.  We also have a review and giveaway of the new Foodsaver® FM2000 vacuum sealer, which reminds me of the original vacuum sealer I had for over 10 years, except it’s black and the old one was white. [Read more…]

5 Uses for Honey Everyone Should Know

5 Uses for Honey Everyone Should Know - Find out why honey is a "must have" in your pantry and medicine cabinet.

I’m lucky enough to be able to purchase raw honey in bulk from a local apiary, so we always have it stocked.  The many uses of honey make it one of my first “go to” home remedies, and a delicious addition to many recipes.  Below I list some of the favorite ways our family uses honey, and we also have a great giveaway featuring 15 lbs of liquid honey and 15 lbs of creamed honey from Cox Honey.  One of our readers is going to have a wonderful fall surprise! [Read more…]

Pickled Dilly Beans with Garlic and Cayenne Pepper

Pickled Dilly Beans with Garlic and Cayenne Pepper - this easy vinegar pickle will allow you to can green beans without a pressure canner.

Our green bean season is all but finished here in northeast Wisconsin, but a friend of mine down in Texas mentioned that she just planted her fall crop of beans and it is coming along nicely.  So, for my southern gardening friends, and for northern gardening friends to pin for next season, I’m sharing the dilly bean recipe that I made up earlier this year.

Home canned dilly beans are another recipe that always reminds me of mom, like the pickled beets I shared a couple of weeks ago.  Vinegar pickles of all different types were a staple growing up on the farm, from the jewel red beets to the slippery pickled mushrooms.  I remember one year when mom did a huge crock of some sort of cucumber pickles in a corner of the kitchen, but I don’t remember what recipe she used.  I have to ask my siblings and see if anyone else remembers.  Pickled veggies add a great crunch to any meal and may help aid digestion by adding a bit of acidity to the mix.  Pickling (adding vinegar and salt) also allows you to water bath can vegetables that would otherwise require pressure canning. [Read more…]

The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store and the Awesome Root Cellar Makeover

The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store and the Awesome Root Cellar Makeover

Our recent blast of cold, wet weather has been replaced by wonderful warm, sunny days this week, which is a real blessing. The heat loving crops did not like the “Summer That Never Was”.  Production was down because of this, but we still had a respectable harvest overall. The boys and I have been putting in plenty of time in the garden, working on clean up, harvesting and storing the crops. We’re holding off just a little bit longer on the root veggies such as potatoes and carrots, but the garlic is cured and next year’s crop will be going in the ground soon, and over half of the onions are curing in the greenhouse.  Most of the shell beans have been brought in, and I’m gathering seed heads from an assortment of cultivated and wild plants.  In this post I’ll discuss the easiest vegetables to store and how to store them.  These crops have all moved onto my “must plant” list because they  require little or no processing and last reliably in storage for months.  I also have a quick video of our awesome new root cellar makeover.  August and the boys did a great job adding a ton of storage to the root cellar under our front porch. [Read more…]

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…]