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Potting up Peppers

November 19th, 2014

I harvested all my peppers almost two months ago, they’ve been living in containers on the back porch. This time of year my back porch is like a walk in cooler, it keeps things fresh forever. We’ve been eating fresh peppers almost daily. The time had come for the rest of them to go into the freezer.
picking peppers 2
freezing peppers 3
So I chopped, and chopped, and chopped some more. I fried, and fried, and fired some more. Pretty soon all the peppers were prepped and ready to be saved for eating this winter.
freezing peppers 2
freezing peppers 1
I ended up with a nice little stockpile of peppers to enjoy this winter. No doubt they’ll be enjoyed in omelets, on pizza, and in fajitas.

What are you preserving from the garden this week?

Cultivate Simple 43: Intro to Lacto-fermentation

September 2nd, 2013

“Agiculture doesn’t make sense without ways of storing the harvest.” –Sandor Katz

Ana & Roy Antaki from Weeping Duck Farm

What is lacto-fermentation? Traditional preservation of food in a brine solution.

Works through the activity of the lactobacillus family of beneficial bacteria.

  • It’s is lactose-free.
  • Applies to many food items, vegetable, dairy, meat.
  • Suitable for long-term storage.

Benefits:

  • No energy required in the preparation.
  • Long term storage without energy requirements.
  • A method perfected & tested through centuries, millennia.
  • A living food that supports the body’s systems for health, adds beneficial bacteria to the intestinal tract, notably from the lactobacillus family. inhibits & neutralizes numbers intestinal pathogens.
  • It is probiotic. Contains anti cancer agents, rich in anti-oxicdants, detoxifying agents, anti-funagl, immune-system booster & partner.
  • Improves the ability of the body to absorb needed nutrients from food.
  • Increases the nutritional value of the food. Synthesizes vitamins B & K. Protects and preserves heat sensitive vitamins.

Given recent large disease outbreaks trace – from sandor katz book – about safety of fermentation.

She uses Le Parfait jars, you can find them here.
Le Parfait French Glass Canning Jar – 1 Liter

General Rule for Amount of Salt to Use:
For Salting
Use 3 Tablespoons of salt per 5 lbs of veggies
For Brining
Use 2-3 Tablespoons of salt per quart of water

Books of the Week:

Cultivate Simple 15: Stocking the Larder

January 21st, 2013

An honest and unrehearsed discussion about trying to live a more simple life. This is episode 15 and today we are discussing Stocking the Larder.

Susy’s Mulling Spice Mix on the Your Day Blog

Brian’s birthday wishlist

Topic – Stocking the Larder

Think outside the canning pot when it comes to winter eating. Saves time, which gives you more time to work in the garden, saves energy, saves money because you don’t have to buy stuff, supplies, etc. Not to mention, it’s simpler to harvest potatoes and root vegetables and put them in the cellar than it is to pick/snap/can green beans.

Eating Seasonally, less waste, less energy, more delicious, include a wider variety of food in your diet, gets you more in tune with the seasons.

Dehydrating – especially if you can use a solar dehydrator or the warmth of a wood stove or your attic. An option I want to work more on, we want to build a solar dehydrator this summer.

Smoking – smoking foods is a valuable way to preserve meats. We haven’t been able to try this method, but hopefully we can build a smoker soon.

Fermentation – makes nutrients more available, adds probiotics, so instead of cooking the vitamins out of your food, it actually makes it healthier.

Fermenting Recipes

Freezing – A quick way to store veggies at the height of their freshness. Cons – energy used, pros, tastes great and easy. I always store in glass, no plastic bags here. Start investing in glass containers. My favorite containers are wide mouth pint jars (here’s how to freeze in glass jars) or these Pyrex Rectangular Clear-Glass Food-Storage Containers. Here’s how I keep my freezer organized.

Geeky Corner w/ Brian

The Pomodoro Technique
30/30 app

Books of the Week

Questions of the Week

  • To forum or not to forum?
  • Craaap T-shirt? What should it say?

Quote of the Day: Wendell Berry

October 21st, 2012

“Soil loss…is a problem that embarrasses all of our technological pretensions. If soil were all being lost int a huge slab somewhere, that would appeal to the would-be heroes of “science and technology,” who might conceivably engineer a glamorous, large, and speedy solution – however many new problems they might cause in doing so. But soil is not usually lost in slabs or heaps of magnificent tonnage. It is lost a little at a time over millions of acres by the careless acts of millions of people. It cannot be saved by heroic acts of gigantic technology, but only by millions of small acts and restraints, conditioned by small fidelities, skills, and desires. Soil loss it ultimately a cultural problem; it will be corrected only by cultural solutions.”

– Wendell Berry found in The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers–With information on building … feed, and working with poultry in the garden

I’ve always thought that gardeners grow soil not plants. Without soil, we wouldn’t have gardens. Since I inherited no soil at our previous place and spent 10 years building it up to a nice rich earth, I know what at it takes to climb back from ‘ground zero’.

It takes a lot of hard work, lots of manure, rock powders, humus and other inputs to grow mere inches of topsoil. I probably added a foot of inputs each year to gain a few inches of soil over the course of 10 years.

This is one of the reasons I’m always encouraging the use of mulches and cover crops instead of letting the soil lay bare. Also the reason I advocate for a no-till system and permaculture. Preserving our soil is one of the most important things we can do for future generations!

What soil preservation technique is your favorite: cover crops, mulch, compost, etc?

Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

January 15th, 2012

There is, as well, something deeply comforting about a winter larder, connecting us with ancestors who either provided for their own needs or went without. The question, “What what shall we have for dinner?” thus becomes not a matter of pleasant choices among options within close proximity, but also a realization of some vital link, historically and spiritually, with our own past.

Finally, there is still something living about vegetables one gathers out of storage. Chicories have actually grown, prodding fat witloofs deep beneath a thick layer of peat, signaling their readiness for the table by snouts poking barely into the air. Cabbages and brussels sprouts are stored with their roots and outer leaves, from which they still draw sustenance throughout the winter. Carrots, beets, and winter radishes, pulled from the damp sand, will display frail white whiskers of root, and may ten have produce a tuft of new leaves, not an unacceptable addition to a winter salad.

All this, with the smell of life still on it, reminds us, if with a difference, of the pleasure of the summer garden, and of harvesting from a medium closer to life than a plastic bag.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill



There are no words I can add that will expound on the simple beauty of this passage.

Do you have a larder, pantry, root cellar? What’s your favorite shelf-stable winter vegetable?

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About

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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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