A root cellar is a great option to include in your food storage plan, since they require no energy to use and require very little maintenance. It’s great if you can build in a root cellar when your home is under construction, but it’s also possible to add a root cellar to your basement, or build one outside your home. Root cellars are a great low-cost, no-energy way to store food and extend the shelf life of fresh produce. [Read more…]
My early attempts at dill pickles were not very successful. I followed the FDA guidelines from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving, and ended up with tasty pickles with absolutely no crunch. I love my Blue Book, but these were not the pickles I was looking for. As I understand it, many commercial manufacturers add alum (basically aluminum) to give their pickles crunch. Needless to say, I wasn't going that direction. These no can dill pickles bring the crunch without the aluminum.
This recipe is from my neighbor Betty. Betty and I have swapped a lot of produce and recipes over the years (she's also my son's piano teacher and has become like a grandmother to him 🙂 ). Betty makes a simple old-fashioned brined dill pickle that doesn't require canning, and couldn't be easier to make. [Read more…]
“Hey, could you use some apples?”
“Sure, I'd love some.”
So started around two weeks (off and on) of preserving apples. There were (I would guess) around two to three bushels to start with, which we made into sauce, fruit leather, popsicles, and cinnamon/sugar dried apple slices. [Read more…]
How to Can Green Beans
Home canned green beans are one of the boys' favorite veggies, so I try to process about thirty quarts each season. Our last round of “green” beans actually started out mostly as Purple Podded Pole Beans (which turned green when canned or cooked), but our main crop most years is Emerite pole beans. I prefer pole beans because there is less bending and they produce over a longer season. Here's our system for cleaning and processing home canned green beans. [Read more…]
I had a large (two gallon) bag of plums rolling around in my freezer from last summer (thanks to my neighbor). I used part of it to make Plum Preserves with Honey and Cardamom, and some in a plum crumble, but there were still quite a few plums left. While my friend, Julie, was visiting last week, I decided to whip up a couple of batches of a plum conserve recipe that she really likes.
I found this recipe for Plum Rum Nutty Conserve in the booklet Gifts from the Harvest, which also has the recipes for Strawberry Banana jam, Strawberry Rhubarb jam and a number of other unusual combinations. It is a traditional jam recipe (not low in sugar), but very tasty. Enjoy in moderation. 🙂Print
Plum Rum Nutty Conserve
- 4 cups prepared fruit (about 2 pounds fully ripe plums)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (I used crispy walnuts)
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (preferably organic)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 6 cups sugar
- 1 box fruit pectin
- ½ teaspoon butter
- 1/2 cup dark rum
Pit plums; do not peel. Grind or finely chop. Measure 5 cups into a 6- or 8- quart saucepot. Stir in walnuts, lemon peel and juice.
Prepare jars (wash, inspect rims, sterilize in boiling water or dishwasher). Keep lids hot until ready to fill jars.
Measure sugar into separate bowl. Stir fruit pectin into fruit in saucepot. Add butter. Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in all sugar. Return to full rolling roil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gently stir in rum. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon. (I usually skip skimming, unless I'm processing for the county fair.)
Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tope. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Invert jars 5 minutes, then turn upright, or follow water bath method recommended by the USDA. After jars are cool, check seals.
Makes about 8 (1 cup) jars.
My batches made seven jars each this time around, probably because the plums were frozen.
The Live in the Now website has some interesting tidbits of information on plums:
Like most fruits, plums are good for you and the health benefits of plums are worth your attention. They are a good source of unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These substances are especially effective in neutralizing a particularly destructive oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical, and they also help prevent oxygen-based damage to fats, such as the fats that comprise a substantial portion of our brain cells or neurons, the cholesterol and triglycerides circulating in our bloodstream, or the fats that make up our cell membranes.
The other health benefits of plums can be attributed to their excellent nutritional profile. Plums are good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and lutein and zeaxanthin, pigments that help protect your vision. Eating three or more servings of fruit a day can lower by about one-third your risk of age-related macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss in older adults.
As I said, this is a “treat” or gift type item, but the flavors are lovely together. I passed the recipe along to the friend with the plum trees. For an alternative that's lower in sugar, do try the plum preserves with honey and cardamom. The recipe book suggests it as a topping for ice cream or cheesecake, but I like it on toast with butter or nut butter, or mixed into yogurt.