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Storing foods without destroying them November 21, 2008

Filed under: organic food,organic gardening,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 5:23 pm
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Thank goodness for the Nourishing Traditions book. People have been raving about this book for so long and I have not been opening my copy. Finally, I am having more of a dig through it and finding amazing answers. I was so turned off in the beginning because the book was so heavy and rather boring, but the recipe section has short helpful blurbs in bite sized chunks.

Not only can I now easily start making my own yogurt starting with raw milk, but I feel confident I will be able to store excess bounty from my future garden. My garden is going to be installed in just two weeks and I know from experience that once things start coming, often there is much more than can be used all at once. And then it’s gone! You can’t give away zucchini when everyone has watermelon sized ones already. Weeks later, you’re back to craving the sweet gentle flavor.

Breaking news! As I’m in the middle of this blog entry, I come across more info on how to store garden produce! Ah, more research to do to get the puzzle pieces to all fit together! Mrs. Green is recommending a book called How to Store your Garden Produce. There. I’ve added it to my Amazon Wish List. Once I get $25 worth and qualify for the free shipping, it’ll be mine! (Gee. What I should really do is get it from the library if available and if not, request that my library order it. Do I really need my own copy? Some books are must haves, but many on my shelves are one-time reads.)

 

Raw food storage November 10, 2008

Filed under: health,organic food,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 5:59 pm
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I am still looking for ways to store food that preserve the nutrients. I am not at all confident that water bath or pressure canning leaves much of the original goodness intact. Heat is known to destroy enzymes and nutrients.

I am looking at the Nourishing Traditions book, which is based on Westin Price wisdom. My jury is still out on this philosophy, but at least this book as some recipes for food storage that don’t require high heat. I am inspired by two in particular; one for carrots and another for oranges. I hope I can work with these and create a way to store fruit and vegetables that is also healthful and not dead. I really don’t get the sense that there is much left living in my canned tomato sauce.

Unfortunately, it looks like there are still two issues with these recipes for fermented foods. First, they require cold storage. And second, they appear to only keep for two months. That is not a long term solution, nor a solution to what we’d do with no power. I don’t have a lot of extra space in my refrigerator. I don’t know how cold it would get if I dug a hole in the ground but it’s not all that convenient to go digging around, especially if the food is only going to be edible for such a short period of time.

I am looking for a way to store nature’s bounty for most of a year, until the next time that fruit or vegetable is produced. We all know citrus is high in Vitamin C, something we require daily. But how to make it last the whole time and ensure the nutrients are still there?

 

Holy crap! Now I’m a survivalist! October 22, 2008

Filed under: organic gardening,unplugging — Thinking Woman @ 2:24 am
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Okay, no, I’m not. But it’s been a super “out there” few months. My husband, my best friend, has been (obsessively?) researching some big doings. End of the world kind of stuff. Or global shift. Good. Evil. Aliens. Like I said, some really far out stuff.

At first, he was so depressed and negative that I could only beg him not to bring this stuff into my house. I was going through some deep stuff at the time so that is about all I had energy to do. In fact, I needed his support desperately and for the first time, he wasn’t there, but that’s a whole other story. I did come through my crisis, perhaps changed, but I am nearly whole again. Just goes to show how resilient I still am.

While I won’t put any mental energy into the negative scenarios he has been studying, I can’t deny that some preparation can be a positive thing.

For me, the focus is getting off the grid. I finally started researching the possibilities of this and it’s empowering! Energizing, even! I find myself jazzed and inspired about little things like getting a comfy bike and using it to do my grocery shopping. And about learning to do some canning so I can store some yummy food. Try as I might, I have not figured out how one would create a store of raw food so this goal of having a store of food seems to be completely at odds with eating raw food. If someone can explain to me how I’m wrong, I’m all ears! I need to increase what I can grow in my own garden. So far, I haven’t grown much of anything edible because my original plan was to leave the garden be for a year while anything toxic the previous owner may have used has time to settle down and dissipate. Come to realize I’ve got pressure treated wood bordering my garden that needs taking out right away! And no source for replacing it with something to keep the borders. Again, I’d love ideas on that.

My husband bought a 1-person 1 year supply of dehydrated canned food with about a ten year shelf life. That would hold us all for about 4 months. I’ve been putting things away; each time I shop, I buy extra things like olive oil, honey, peanut butter, anything really, so long as it will keep. I made up a document with all the areas of life and how we’d keep ourselves alive and entertained if we found ourselves cut off from the grid. It’s a daunting project. In researching it, I had to skim over a whole lot of negativity while trying to dig out the morsels of wisdom. There are some pretty strange ideas out there on what one would use for toilet paper. The very simplest solution is a portable bidet! So long as you have solar power, if it requires a pump, you can keep the batteries recharged. It sure beats pulling pages out of phone books like some survivalists suggest! Or only using your left hand for wiping, which, I’m sorry, EW! What about all the times I need two hands to lift something?

Getting back to canning, it’s hard to believe that this died out. Well, okay, it’s not hard. Given the choice between a four hour project and zipping to the supermarket, I can see why most people would choose the latter. But it’s definitely making a comeback. It’s funny how when you hear of something, suddenly it’s everywhere!

It’s the same with chickens. I’ve been wondering about getting some and suddenly a friend has them and then others are talking about them, and on and on. I think I’d like the mayonnaise more than eggs some days!

Well that’s what’s new and exciting and where I’ve been hiding! Off researching like mad!