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On the Preservation Front: In the Freezer

November 25th, 2008

I am part of the Harvest Keepers Challenge over at Freedom Gardens, so I’ve been trying to preserve some of the things I’ve grown, been given or bought at the Farmer’s Market. I’m not a big fan of canning, but I do all this to be more environmentally friendly and reduce the frequent flier miles of our fruits & veggies and because it’s much healthier to eat locally and preserve your own. I made a detailed post about everything I have canned in jars last week. I do like freezing, it’s so easy: put food in containers, chill in the fridge, then put in the freezer. So what have I been preserving in the freezer?

Throughout the summer when we bought sweet corn I froze the left-over corn. In the freezer I have 24 containers of frozen corn (each one should be enough for 2 meals).

The freezer is also stocked with berries galore. I have 40 bags of blueberries (2 cups each), 15 bags of black raspberries (2 cups each), 21 bags of blackberries (4 cups each). I can’t wait for winter cobblers & pies. I may even make up a batch of blackberry jelly for Christmas gifts.

I also have 7 quarts of frozen roasted tomatoes and 7 containers of grilled peppers (green & poblano peppers) in the freezer. The peppers & roasted tomatoes are layered between wax paper so I can easily grab some when I need it for pizza or sauces. I also have a jar of frozen basil in olive oil and a jar parsley in olive oil as well as a few containers of frozen greens (turnip & beet) that will make their way into some veggie soup this winter.

My freezer is also stocked with a few pastured chickens that I bought from our local farm as well as 2 turkeys (one will be Thanksgiving dinner, the other will be made into sausage). I also have a small amount of venison from my dad’s hunting season last year. I’m hoping he gets another deer for us this year and we’ll be set for meat for the next year.

So what’s nestled in your freezer for the winter?

I LOVE Polls

November 24th, 2008

I’m a big fan of internet polls. I’m not sure why, there’s just something about them that I get excited about. I don’t know if it’s the instant standings or seeing how you rank with others, there’s just something about them I LOVE! So Mr Chiot’s added polls to my blog. I’m so excited! So take the poll to the right, I would love to know what your turkey plans are for this Thanksgiving (you already know mine).

The Last Farmer’s Market

November 23rd, 2008

Yesterday was the last day of the Carrollton Farmer’s Market. It was quite a frosty morning to be heading out to the outdoor market. It reminded me of Barbara Kingsolver’s (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) description of their first farmer’s market of the season when they decided to eat locally. Our car said it was 23 on our way down – BRRRR that’s some cold shopping!

I was hoping there would be some vendors there. I knew for sure Mr Vincent would be there, he never misses a week. Sure enough, he was there with the bounty from his orchard.

I bought a peck of mutsu apples for $2 and a peck of Macintosh for $6 as well and four pears for $2 made it into my reusable shopping bags.

There was one other vendor there (Out on a Limb Farm) selling heirloom beans, dried sunflowers, gourds, garlic and sage. I bought all of her dried sage (that will sure come in handy for my stuffing this week), 3 jars of heirloom beans and a few sunflowers to put outside for our feathered friends.

When I got home I put the sunflowers in one of the trees for the birds or chipmunks to enjoy.

This marks the end of the 2008 Farmer’s Market season. When I got home I emptied my bags, “The Lady with the Green Bag” as I’m called at the market will be sad to see the market end.

I guess I’ll be shopping in my pantry this winter for all of our veggies. At least I was able to preserve so many wonderful things from the market this summer.

Every time I pop open a jar of applesauce or tomatoes I’ll think about all the people at the farmer’s market that spend their time growing healthy things for us to eat.

Giving Back this Holiday Season: Show them We Care

November 22nd, 2008

Princess Mombi posted about giving back during the holidays by getting involved in community service this season. She encouraged all of us to do something to help others. Yesterday morning she posted a terrific opportunity to give back.

The Red Cross is partnering with Pitney Bowes this holiday season for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. For the second year in a row, they’re collecting holiday cards to distribute to American service members, veterans and their families in the United States and around the world.

You can make cards or buy cards. I’m planning on using up all the cards I have leftover from my previous year mailings. Their goal is to collect and distribute one million holiday cards to spread holiday cheer and facilitate thanks to these brave individuals and families. Let’s see what we can do to help them reach this goal (we have to hurry, they must be postmarked by December 10). I’m going to commit to sending in 25 cards myself (I already wrote them out last night) and I’m going to try to have my family members and Mr Chiot’s family members all sign some on Thanksgiving for another 50 (for a total of 75).

So what do you think, want to join in? Send out a few cards and post a comment below to let us know how many we can help them cross of their list, if all of my readers send in 25 we could send in over 1,000 cards! Grab your families and spend some time thanking our service members. Make sure you read the guidelines below and mail to the following address:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Card Guidelines

Please follow these guidelines when mailing a card to ensure that your card will quickly reach service members, veterans and their families. Every card received will first be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working in one of 16 sorting stations around the country.

All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, December 10, 2008. Cards sent after this date will be returned to sender.

Participants are encouraged to limit the number of cards they submit to 25 from any one person or 50 from any one class or group. If you are mailing a larger quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes. Each card does not need its own envelope or postage.

Please ensure that all cards are signed.

Please use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.

Please send cards as opposed to long letters which delay a quick review process.

Please do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.

Please do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.

All cards received may be used in program publicity efforts, including appearing in broadcast, print or online mediums.

To find out other ways you can support and encourage the men and women that defend our freedoms every day visit: America Supports You

Buy a Dram, Save a Farm

November 21st, 2008

On November 5, Bad Human posted about saving a historic mint farm. Since I’m a big fan of homeopathic medicines and using essential oils I decided to buy some oil to help them out. I’m not going to rewrite the fantastic article about this that Bad Human wrote, please head over to their blog to read about this cause.

A little about the farm:
The Crosby Mint Farm in St. Johns, Michigan, was founded in 1912 by J.E. Crosby Sr. on two acres. The now 140-acre farm has produced chemical-free spearmint and peppermint essential oils for 96 years:

“In addition to having what appears to be the oldest surviving still in the country, the Crosby Farms operation also appears to be the oldest mint farm in continuous operation in the United States. The key word here is “continuous” – that it has cultivated and processed mint since J.E. Crosby purchased the property before World War I.” — Ephraim K. Smith, President; Heritage Productions, Inc.

So how about purchasing some mint to help save a historic mint farm. I bought a few bottles of oil that I will be using to cooking and for medicinal uses. Head on over to their site and Buy a Dram, Save a Farm.

What can you use this mint for? Here are a few uses for mint oil.

Headaches – peppermint may ease headaches and migraines. Apply a rub to temple area in circular motion and across the forehead. For migraines, wet hair and put 4-5 drops into your hand and massage into the scalp.

Sinus Problems – Peppermint is very useful in reducing sinus congestion when added to a bowl of steaming or boiling water. A rub may be applied to chest, back of neck area, and behind ears. A few drops of oil in a vaporizer at night will help ease congestion as well.

Digestive System – Peppermint oil can help relax the muscles of the digestive tract to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. One drop of peppermint oil on a sugar cube or used in tea may help relieve intestinal cramps.

Body Muscles & Arthritis – Peppermint oil is soothing to sore muscles when added to a hot bath or massage oil. Use this to soothe arthritis pain. Mix 4-5 drops of oil into 1 ounce of lotion and/or massage carrier oil.

Feet – Applied full strength, or mixed with a carrier oil, peppermint oil may relieve swollen feet and may reduce and assist in healing blisters, cuts, or athlete’s foot by killing bacteria.

Women Only – Relieve menstrual or abdominal cramps, add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil on a sugar cube or into an 8 ounce glass of water and drink. A toothpick dipped in oil works great for tea or water. Also helps to relieve Hot Flashes!

Flu Season?

For a sore throat, sparingly dip a cotton swab into mint oil and carefully apply to the back of the tongue area.

Relieve congestion by rubbing a few drops of peppermint oil on chest & covering with warm compress.

Add a few drops of mint oil to the water of a humidifier or vaporizer to keep it smelling fresh and kill germs.

Peppermint Oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal!

Looks like I won’t have any trouble using up my peppermint & spearmint oils. Any of you have any great tips or recipes using mint?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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