Showing posts with label Healthy Preserving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthy Preserving. Show all posts

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Preserving Time

Posted by Bel
from Spiral Garden

Summer and Autumn for us bring abundance from the garden that Spring and Winter don't offer.  Sometimes, we have TOO much.  And we can't give produce away because everyone else has TOO much!

One of my favourite fruits are in in abundance right now - passionfruit.  I love to eat them straight from the shell, in smoothies and iceblocks, as cordial or jam, in cakes and icing...  For information and recipes, see this post.  We have several types of passionfruit vines planted, including some planted by birds (which are the most productive)!

It's also choko season.  I've written on the co-op blog about these versatile and under-rated vegetables (fruit?) before, here.


We have an early harvest of pumpkin (squash).  Some of them are Kent pumpkins from last season's vines, and some are enormous bugle pumpkins.  Since this is my favourite vegetable, I have no trouble using up pumpkins!  I wrote a bit more about this vegetable here.


We're also enjoying couple of gluts I haven't written about before...  Chilli is the first one, and what we haven't used in cooking I have put into the first batch of sweet chilli sauce.  I just used a basic recipe from my Thermomix cookbook, and it's a little runny but tastes and smells exactly like sweet chilli sauce should!  There are so many recipes online, if you have excess chillis just do a search until you find one containing ingredients you have at hand.  Mine contained chillis, water, rice wine vinegar, garlic, raw sugar, salt.  Next time I'll try a little cornflour to thicken the sauce. Our bush is still laden with chillis, so I will get to try a few different recipes.  My 12 year old son loves this sauce!


Also in abundance are mangoes.  Not from my own trees, but they do grow about 40km from here!  Where we live, the winters are too cold...  With the excess mangoes I will probably dry them.  It's time to get that dehydrator out because we'll do some herbs (too hard to air-dry in our summer rainy season) and also some bananas when those are ripe.  Dried fruit is such a handy snack for kids when we go out in the car.  I love drying my own because I know that nothing has been added and the fruit is fresh and organic!


What is in abundance where you live right now?  What are some of your favourite recipes to use and preserve these harvests?

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

 By Abby of Love Made the Radish Grow
Though there have been no gluts of tomatoes this year, the plants we did get in are doing very well. I canned a bit of diced tomatoes to use for salsa throughout the winter, as we do not like canned salsa. The other big thing we use is sauce for pizza and pasta. I do not like just pureeing tomatoes and trying to get them cooked down and thickened up at the last minute-usually we have pizza or pasta when we are running short on time, so I needed a grab and go sauce. I found a recipe for an oven roasted sauce, and tweaked it a bit to our taste. It turned out beautifully and was very simple.
First, cut up enough tomatoes to generously fill a 9X13 or standard sized rectangular casserole dish. Put some olive oil in the bottom before you toss them in to help them from sticking and add flavor. I used about 1/4 c.  I kept the tomatoes in quarters-anything smaller and it can get very tedious to pick out the skins later. Then I quartered one onion and broke up the cloves of one large head of garlic, though I DID NOT skin them and put all of that on top. I also had a couple sweet peppers in there somewhere just chopped a bit.
Put all of this in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes, then turn it down to 350 for another hour to two hours. Just watch everything roast. Once the tomatoes are sufficiently cooked down (their insides should squish well and the skins just fall off) and your garlic squeezes right out of the skins, you are done cooking.
Let everything rest on the counter until it cools enough you can handle it. It may take a while. Just cover it up and do something else. Once it is cool, squeeze the garlic out of its skins and remove all the tomatoes skins you find. All those skins will make your sauce bitter. Start moving the veggies to a food processor-it took a couple batches to get everything done.  Once you have pureed everything to a sauce, including all the juices in the bottom of the pan, mix your batches together and season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and sugar to your taste. Fill jars and process 35 minutes for quarts, at 10 pounds pressure in your pressure canner.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Home Brew Beer

by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin.

Enough words, time for some movies on the SGFC.

I ran a beer making workshop a few months ago, and want to share it all with you today.  It is in three parts, so those who are interested in making your own beer from a kit, enjoy the show and I hope you learn or can share it with your partner.  You even get to hear my cool Aussie accent!


If you want to see how my beer turned out, have a look at this post titled "Beer Tasting".  It all tastes great, and it is very cheap at 46 cents a 750ml bottle.  The initial set up cost was about $80 for the first batch and all the equipment, but every brew after that, the price reduces as you pay back you set up cost from the savings.  Suffice to say that I have not bought a beer for a very long time.

Just a reminder.  Please drink in moderation.  Having an abundant supply of the amber nectar does not necessarily mean you have to drink more.  Words of wisdom from a man who knows!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Peach Salsa

by Abby of Love Made the Radish Grow

Peaches are, by far, one of my favorite fruits to preserve. I mean, I really love canning most fruits, but the things I can do with a peach-wow. One of my most requested recipes right now (and by far one of my favorites) is my peach salsa. I am planning on buying another load of peaches to make more salsa, jam and syrup next week, but took a week off this week to do some pressure canning of summer squash and beans. In the meantime, this is how I make my salsa-I love simple. I have seen other recipes that include extra spices or veggies that just take away from the simple, stunning flavor of this salsa.

Peach Salsa
6 c pitted peaches, diced
1 1/4 c diced onion
4 jalapeno peppers, diced (seed these if you don't want it too spicy. I personally like only a little edge)
1 bell pepper, preferably red, diced and seeded (though an color will suffice)
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro or 1/4 c dried
3/4 c white vinegar
2 T honey

Combine all and mix thoroughly. Raw pack into cleaned, sterilized jars and hot water bath for 20 minutes (more if you are too far above sea level).

Monday, 8 February 2010

Plastic in my food :(

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

We all love our modern conveniences, and plastic is one of them. But our world is also getting more toxic for us, because of our modern way of life. Most of us have been affected by cancer, if not personally, probably a loved one, or dear friend has battled the disease. My brother died of cancer 20 years ago, this past December. His long illness, made me rethink my life.

At that time, I was trying to make a decision whether or not to expand my ornamental nursery work on our farm. I was having second thoughts because of the chemicals required - my brother's illness, and ensuing death put the nail in the coffin of my nursery business, literally.

I was free of uncertainty, and vowed to come clean in areas that I had a choice in. Food was a big one. I ramped up my garden production and preservation. What I didn't can, I froze in plastic freezer bags and containers. I had no idea that plastic wasn't ideal for food storage. It is handy, convenient and fairly inexpensive, if you don't count the replacement cost and throw away aspect of it.

Several years ago, I had another wake-up call. A uterine fibroid run amok. I lost a lot of blood, had to be hospitalized for a blood transfusion and day surgery to remove the fibroid. I was lucky, I still have all my plumbing. My doctor quizzed me about my diet and how much plastic I used, and how I cooked. I scored points for no microwave, but failed miserably on food in stored in plastic. She went on to explain she understood the convenience of plastic, but that xenoestrogens (chemicals that act as estrogen mimickers) are thought to be the main culprit in the formation of fibroids and other types of reproductive organ maladies in both sexes. Xenoestrogens are a by-product of the chemical industry. Fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, plastic, and common household products are all contributors. We are bombarded daily. Even canning lids have BPA in them to protect the metal from leaching.

I understand the convenience of seal-a-meals and freezer bags and containers. But I also think this is place where I can personally make some changes for my health, and my daughters reproductive health. The answer was right under my nose really, in my old canning books, and on every box of canning jars. FOR CANNING AND FREEZING. I just needed to look. I already froze my butter in pint jars. Plastics are a huge marketing coup for the oil industry. And I was raised in the 60's when convenience for the homemaker was the ultimate. I have to admit, plastic is very useful. Change is hard. But, with so many factors in our lives out of control these days, this is one thing I can control.

As with any changeover, it takes time. Foods with fat cause the most leaching because of the interaction of fatty foods with the plastic, so that would be a good place to start. The rest will fall into place.

All but four of the jars in the photo above came from the freezer, it is still a work in progress.