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Monday, January 19, 2015

Foraging? A Thing For the Future?

I came across a blog earlier today that sparked my interest because of it's "One Acre Farm" title.  Since we moved to our own "Acre", there are several trees and a few shrubs that I just have no clue what they are.  I took agriculture in high school but can't for the life remember anything other than my time spent on the dairy team.  I guess I should have paid more attention.

So this sweet lady over at this blog was talking about foraging.  Whether it be outside your home where there are wild berry bushes or on public land 10 miles outside of town where sugar maples are to draw sap from.  I guess I've never thought about "wild foraging" just never occured to me.  

It really struck home with me though.  When I was a kid, we lived on 5 acres and next to us was 30 abandoned acres full of fruit trees and I'm sure more that I had no clue about. One of my favorite things to search through the woods for were honeysuckles.  I could spend hours just going through and finding those bright yellow flowers that had the slightest amount of sweet syrup in them.  

I remember going to my mom's with Joe back in May and we walked to the back forty of our property and I got giddy seeing those honeysuckles.  I had Joe try one...he didn't seem impressed and gave me a crazy look.  He clearly didn't grow up with honeysuckles and didn't see the excitement in it.

Back to the topic...  Have you ever thought of foraging through the wild to find berries, nute, sap, or even wild animals?  I'm interested to read more on it to see where around me I can forage and see what goodies I can find.  

Until next time....

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Canning Corn

Early July in the Midwest isthe start of corn season and it is a glorious time of year.  The fields of green and the glimpses of tassles everywhere are just beautiful.  Row upon row of crops are how families make it through the year.  Kids with farm trucks selling corn out of the bed.  I wouldn't want to live any where other than the Midwest when it comes to farming season.  

I did my usual this year and got a huge amount of one thing thinking I'd be able to get through it no problem.  Earlier this year it was leaf lard.  I bought 75 pounds in January....finished it all in October.  Luckily the corn is a different story.  It only took me a week to get through the 10 dozen ears I bought.  This was the best corn I've ever purchased.  Out of all of those 120 ears, I only had to cut the top portion off of maybe half a dozen ears.  Joe helped me with it which was a God send.

I can't remember how many pints I got out of it but it was somewhere in the ball park of 44-50.  That will last us all of this year.

With corn, you want to cut it off the cob and rinse away the hair.  I raw pack mine and add 1/4 teaspoon of canning salt and cover with boiling water.  Pints are pressure canned at 10 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes, quarts for 1 hour 25 minutes.  Let jars rest for 18 to 24 house.

Make sure to either compost the remains of the corn or toss it to some chickens.  Don't let it go to waste!

Have you canned corn before?  What is your favorite thing to can?

Monday, January 5, 2015


Does anybody have any tips on growing your own scoby?  I'm currently going in with a friend and buying from another lady, but I'm a DIY-er & I would love to start brewing my own.

I've just been introduced to this new world of what I call"hippie drink".  From what I've read on the internet, the health benefits are beyond amazing.  & I tell you what, my gut has never been happier.  that may be a little TMI, I aplogize...but seriously, if you have tummy problems, drinking this on a regular basis will make you better.

There is a ridiculous amount of information you can find on this super drink on Mr. Google.  For starters though, it aides in detoxification and cancer prevention, improves gut health, boosts your immune system, and can improve joint care.  I love all the health benefits and I'm learning more and more about this drink on a daily basis.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is made from a scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) which is the "mother" and you need this in order to start brewing your own kombucha.  There are several places to buy these online, or you could get one from your kombucha connection.  My favorite thing are the abbundance of flavors you can get, especially if you have a local kombucha brewing connection.  I've tried everything from purple carrot to cranberry vanilla to ginger and I haven't met a flavor that I didn't like.  

Here are a few links to help you get started with your new kombucha craze:

Have you tried kombucha?  What are your favorite flavors?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Canning Sweet Potatoes

My friend from Slogan Adventures stopped by the house the other day to show me some Norwex products, which I love, and to learn to can some sweet potatoes.  We did a little gossiping, she introduced me to kombucha, showed me how to clean my house with no chemicals, and I showed her how to can sweet potatoes.  What a sweet trade off!  

With the holidays coming up, what better food to can than sweet potatoes?  I mean, you could can pumpkin but yuck...sweet potato is way better. ;)  I do love everything pumpkin except pumpkin....weird huh?  Growing up in the south, the sweet potato is more common for fall baking so that it what I've stuck with.

When canning sweet potatoes you could go about it 2 different ways.  You can either boil them for about 5 or 6 minutes until their skins come off and then cut them into 1 inch cubes OR you can peel them and cut them into 1 inch cubes without boiling them.  Once you've got your taters cut up, raw pack them into jars.  Now, once again you can either cover them with salt and boiling water or you can cover them with a syrup.  I use an extra light syrup on mine which you can find in the Ball Blue Book of Canning.  I believe I used 1/4 cup of sugar to 5 cups of water.  Pour this over the potatoes to 1 inch headspace and pressure can quarts at 10 pounds of pressure for 1 hour and 25 minutes or pints for 1 hour.
Let rest on the counter for 18 to 24 hours.  

Don't let those peels go to the trash.  Make sure you compost or find some starving (ha) chickens to give them to!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Canning Turkey Broth

The evening after Thanksgiving dinner consumed, the boys were watching football on the tube & I went into my happy place to put dinner away and start on turkey stock.  Being in the kitchen, preferrably alone, is my happy place at its finest.  

I've been on this kick where I'm trying to eliminate trash as much as possible, so making stock with a Thanksgiving turkey is an easy way to do that.  I took my two crockpots and divided the turkey carcass into them.  I took the onion, garlic, and rosemary that cooked inside the turkey and added into the crockpot along with a couple of bay leaves and a palmful of peppercorns.  I filled them water and set on low.  I ended up cooking it for almost 24 hours then I turned them off to cool.I strained the stock and put them aside to cool so I could skim the fat off the top.  

Once the fat is skimmed, I brought the stock to a boil and got my pressure canner ready.  Stock or broth is canned at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes for quarts or 20 minutes for pints.  I ended up with 5 quarts of gorgeous amber colored stock.  I tossed the cooked veggies to the chickens and the carcass was tossed in the trash.  Two uses out of one turkey is pretty good.

Do you have any tips on what else to do with a turkey carcass?   

Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Home, A New Start

A week after returning from our honeymoon in Lake Tahoe, we closed on our house.  September & October have been very busy months but they are ones that have been full of so much excitement.  This was a big decision to make for us because we travel every couple of years with Joe's company.  It saddens me to think that in 5 months we may have to travel to another part of the country and leave our "A Whole Acre" behind, but I know we will always return.  

We are so in love with the home we chose and I love the feeling that my -future- children will grow up on this lovely property to make countless memories.

What have you accomplished this year?  Any big changes you've made in your lives?