Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Things I have learned this year of doing without.

My parents lived through the depression. They told stories of lard sandwiches. My mother had jam because my grandfather worked at a sugar factory and  brought home sugar before the war and rationing started to provide for his family. Food storage is a way of life for me. Twice I have suffered job loss and my food storage kept us going. My goal is to always have a years supply. My supply is down to bare bones with this last year of unemployment. I also use my food storage as a hedge against inflation. I buy at today's prices so I don't have to buy at the increased cost tomorrow. It seems like lately cost of food is only on the rise so the more I buy and put away now the more I save my family in food dollars tomorrow and the next day. I can fresh produce in season and never turn down free food. I was grateful to get to pick a large pear tree this fall. So we have plenty of canned pears. I was able to glean somewhere around 400# of white potatoes and I am still trying to get them all canned. As my jars empty and I have enough canning jars for a load I refill them with what I am given. We will be eating potatoes for years to come. But that's ok it makes me feel good knowing my jars are full and I can make a meal for my kids. My parents taught us to eat things like macaroni and tomatoes or macaroni and milk. So I am never without a box of macaroni in the house to feed hungry children. Bread and butter fills hungry bellies too and stretches the meal. I recently learned that I like to add oatmeal to my hamburger to make it go further too a trick from the depression era cookbook I just read. And while I will never make myself a lard sandwich the health benefits of lard are being rediscovered and it does make the flakiest pie crusts. Well I got to go I am boiling a chicken carcus to make bone broth who knew that after making my stock this same way my whole life I am now trendy as well as healthy.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


But  tincture making really goes beyond just being a method of preservation, it’s a way to extract and concentrate the healing and beneficial properties of an herb and preserve them for a long time, often for many years. Use a 1 quart glass canning jar. Add herb. Use 2 cups of vodka to cover. Mold and bacteria can develop and ruin a tincture if the plant matter isn’t completely covered so add more vodka if necessary. Label the concoction, shake the jars a few times a day to assist the extraction process, and allow it to steep for a few weeks before straining off the plant material.   It’s also important to “top up” with the alcohol as the plant matter expands or alcohol evaporates.  Yes, it really is that simple. Use the herb of your own choice.