A lot of us are trying to stretch our food budgets by growing our own or purchasing in bulk. Many are also joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, which provide them with produce (and sometimes other items) throughout the growing season. To take full advantage of local food sources, we need to find ways to store food after harvest. This post will give you a brief overview of different home food preservation methods, and direct you to addition resources. Then you can decide which methods works best for you.
Some people avoid home canning because they're afraid of botulism poisoning, but following the right guidelines will help you prevent foodborne illness. Botulism spores are everywhere – from the deep ocean to mountain tops. You're likely breathing them right now. It's only under specific conditions that they become dangerous. In this post we'll cover botulism causes, symptoms and treatment. You'll learn how to prevent botulism in home canned food so you can can safely. [Read more…]
To can food at home, you combine canning safe glass jars, lids with rubber gaskets, food that's safe for canning and the right heat processing. Home canning allows you to preserve almost any food – even entire meals – but you need to follow the rules. I do the bulk of my canning during harvest season, but can fire up the canner any time of year. One trick I've taken advantage of is to toss whole fruit (like tomatoes) or fruit puree into the freezer, and then finish processing when the weather has cooled. In this post I’ll discuss how to can food at home safely, basic equipment for home canning, and general canning tips.
Preserving Strawberries for Year Round Use
The boys and I go strawberry picking locally every year, just like I used to go with my mamma. (The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear used to be one of my oldest son's favorite books when he was little.) The strawberry season is short here – generally 2-3 weeks at most, depending on the weather, but we try to get out picking at least twice. For strawberry storage that we can enjoy year round, I use several different methods of preserving strawberries. In this post, I'll give tips for fresh strawberry storage, my favorite storage methods, and some fun strawberry storage ideas from friends.
There's a growing interest in how to homestead and become more self-reliant. While the days of earning free land by farming it for a period of years is long gone, there are still many ways that most of us can incorporate homesteading principles into our daily lives. (Note – Although it sounds romantic and adventurous, “free land” often came at a high cost to those original homesteaders.) My great-grandparents were part of the original homesteading movement out west, and I remember my mom telling me a story passed down through her family about a young boy of 11 who was left to hold a homestead claim on his own for a year so his family could have more land. The boy survived, but the loneliness changed him and he was never quite right after the experience. The “good old days” weren't always good. [Read more…]