Thursday, October 25, 2012

My favorite spice for potatoes

Now that you have all those potatoes to eat, you may want to buy some of this delicious spice.  You can use it on many other things besides potatoes of course (like scrambled eggs!), but it's super yummy on potatoes. Anything I do with them, mashed, in stew, whatever, we use a liberal amount of this spice.   I'd recommend buying the MSG free version.  A great way to keep from getting sick of all those potatoes in your sawdust!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

storing potatoes for winter

Apparently a lot of people don't know you can store potatoes all winter long.  Every time I'm working on mine someone stops & asks me what I'm doing.  So here it is.  You need them pretty cold, but not frozen.  I live in an area with winter, & I put them in the garage.  I take them out of the bag, & pack them in sawdust in buckets.  I take them out as needed.  Around March if I have any left, I dehydrate or can (or make potato chips) out of what's left, saving a few to grow potatoes with.  They keep well all winter (although red potatoes only store for about 3 months).  One thing I had happen the first year, is when I'd open the garage, water & snow dripped in 1 of the buckets.  This did cause some of those to go bad.  They need to stay dry, so keep that in mind.  A cool basement or root cellar would work too.  So I'm off to Kohlers for 50 lbs of potatoes for $7 this week!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Best ever caramel apple dip

This stuff is eat with a spoon amazing!  And it's so much easier to dip apple pieces than try to eat a caramel apple.  (Some in my family prefer this without the cinnamon.  I think they're crazy, but you could try it both ways).  This is best with TART apples, like Jonathan or Granny Smith.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 can 14oz sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt

Combine butter, sugar, corn syrup & milk in saucepan.   Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, 5 min.   Stir in vanilla, cinnamon & salt.   Pour into dipping bowl.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Failed potato box...again

I put my foot in the photo so you could tell the size.
Last year I tried potato boxes, but the plants all died.  (post here
A helpful reader told me I needed to dry the grass before putting it on.  I still loved the idea of growing so many potatoes in a small space, so I tried again.  Drying the grass seemed to work.  The plants grew big & beautiful.  I added grass, until I had 4 foot tall boxes with big beautiful plants on the top.
October came, & I decided to dig out the grass & see what I had.
Very disappointing!  Out of the whole box, this is all I got!  And they were all at the soil level, none in the grass like was supposed to happen.  And they are probably smaller than if I'd just let the plant grow short & put the energy into the potatoes!
I've had many people tell me they've seen this work with tires.  And I've seen more than 1 gardening video tell me you can grow potatoes in straw or grass.  So I don't know why this didn't work.  Very sad!  There is one thing to be grateful for though!  That I didn't discover this when I was needing to feed my family for the winter with what I'd grown.  I can head to Kohlers today & buy 50 lbs of potatoes for $7.  So I'll do that this winter.  Guess next summer I'll have to try the old fashioned way!  Unless anyone has a brilliant suggestion?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Antelope beanless chili

I tried making some of our antelope into chili.  This way I have meals ready to go, without having to store the ingredients to make it into something.  It also gave me a lot more jars for the amount of meat.  15 lbs of meat gave me 24 jars of chili.  This would work with ground beef too of course.  Note:  rather than peeling & blending tomatoes, I bought a #10 can of tomato puree at Costco for $2.60.  For all the work that saved me, it was a bargain!  There was about 10 cups of puree in the can.  This was pretty tasty!

5 lbs ground beef
2 cups chopped onions
1 clove minced garlic
6 cups canned tomatoes and juice
1/2 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 hot red pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed

In the bottom of a large stockpot, brown the ground beef, onions and garlic. Drain well any excess fat. This is an important step as high fat content foods don't keep as well canned; additionally the fat has a tendency to cause a higher proportion of jar seals to fail during processing.
Add the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook about 20 minutes. Skim off any excess fat.

Put in jars & process pints 1 hr 15 min.
I'm told this is a recipe from the Blue Ball book of canning, but I'm not sure.  I also couldn't find a hot red pepper, so I used a jalapeno.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Browning meat shortcut

We had a very successful antelope hunt, & I was so blessed to come home with lots of ground antelope meat to can!  However, the week following was also one of the most stressful of my entire life!  So I was very grateful someone had told me about this tip!  Although it spread out my canning to several days, & maybe took longer all together, it saved me a lot of actual work time.  And during a crisis saving time & energy is a blessing!
Unlike canning chicken, you need to brown ground beef (or antelope) before you put it in the jars.  Last year I had meat in the microwave defrosting, meat in 2 fry pans browning, meat having the grease drained off, & then meat going into jars.  I was going around this circle like a crazy tazmanian devil!!  My arms were tired from turning the meat as it browned, my stove top was a disaster to clean off!  This year, what a difference!  I browned the meat in the crockpot before hand!!  I borrowed a crockpot & had 3 going.  I could get 7 lbs in each one.  After browning that filled about 16-18 jars...not quite enough to fill my pressure cooker, but close enough.  The meat was defrosted, & on high it took around 3 hours to brown.  I would put it in, in the morning, homeschool my son, & then can what was browned that afternoon.  It seemed like a lot more fat cooked out this way too.  The last afternoon I was almost done, so I put more in to brown while the pressure cooker ran & depressurized.  If you want to get it all done in 1 day, this isn't the way to go.  But this week for me it was a lifesaver!!

If you're interested in my other posts on hunting antelope, using it for food storage, & cooking it in the solar oven, here's the links:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Post on why to get food now!

We're having some personal crisis's here, so for a bit I'll just share some great websites with you, & then get back to writing about our experiences!