Category Archives: Canning

Sheller and Pitter and Shredder – Oh My!

These three items are featured in this week’s newsletter. Sheller and Pitter and Shredder – Oh my! Have we got what you need for mass food production!

Mr. Pea Sheller

Mr. Pea Sheller will shell your peas and beans. It’s fast, safe to use and built to last.

Cherry Stoner, Jr

Cherry Stoner, Jr makes quick work of stoning cherries by nearly effortlessly removing the stones from up to five cherries at a time. There’s no need to be careful to load the cherries just right, the Cherry Stoner, Jr can handle it.

Deluxe Cabbage Shredder

The Deluxe Cabbage Shredder is great for church suppers, sports clubs, restaurants and diners and other folks who make large batches of coleslaw, kimchi or sauerkraut. Cooperatives and groups of friends might get together to buy the Deluxe Cabbage Shredder to share.

Coleslaw Recipe

The sauce for coleslaw is key to making the best slaw possible. This recipe is easy to remember when you’re in the middle of cooking for a big dinner.

1 part vinegar
2 parts sugar
4 parts mayonnaise

Every cup of mayo gets a half cup of sugar and a quarter-cup of vinegar. That’s it. Mix it up, pour it over shredded cabbage and carrots and you’re done.

One cup of mayo will coat one to two pounds of cabbage depending on how creamy you like  your slaw.

Pickled Garlic Scapes

Pickled garlic scapes! Delicious but not well known. Scapes are the flower stems of garlic. Whether you should leave them on the plant or cut them is up to the grower. We like to pickle them. If you love garlic you’ll most likely love scapes, too.  They are garlic’s bonus.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Pick scapes while they are young. I wait until they start to curl so that I have more scape to eat, and pick before the lower portion of the stem starts to get woody and tough. I put my canning jars in the dishwasher and go out to pick scapes. The jars will still be hot when I’m ready for them.

Coil the scapes to make putting them in jars easier. This works well for small mouth jars. Fill the jars to one-half inch from the top.

Pickled Garlic Scape Recipe

For four to five pints mix:

3 cups Apple Cider vinegar
3 cups water
4 tablespoons raw sugar
4 tablespoons salt

Mix well and bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for the boil add two to three teaspoons of pickling spice to each pint jar.

Garlic scapes and pickling spices

Garlic scapes and pickling spices

Pour boiling liquid over scapes, filling jar to one-half inch from the top. Wiggle the jars to remove all air bubbles. Apply lid and screw on ring until it’s finger tight. Finger tight means snug but not so tight that air can’t escape.

Pickled Garlic Scapes

Pickled Garlic Scapes

Boiling Water Bath

Place a rack in the canner and fill canner with hot water (around 180 degrees) high enough to cover the jars with one inch of water. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, cover the canner and reduce heat to bring the boil down to a light but steady boil for ten minutes. Remove jars from water and place them on a cooling rack out of the breeze. Listen for pops. Each pop indicates a jar has sealed. Re-process jars that don’t seal or place them in the refrigerator and eat them first.

Waiting approximately six weeks to open the first jar makes for the best pickled scapes but that’s not easy to do. I open the first one after a month. They’re not quite there yet but they’re definitely delicious enough to enjoy!

Motivation Monday – Canning Jars

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday – a little inspiration to start your week on a good path. Please share your Motivation Monday link in comments. Or share a motivational quote. We’ll visit your blog and leave a comment.

A little inspiration was needed to get the strawberry patch weeded and mulched so I counted the empty canning jars to be sure I have enough for jam. If I don’t get that patch tended to I won’t have enough berries for all I want to put up.

Motivation Monday - Canning Jars

Motivation Monday – Canning Jars

A Homestead Must Have… Squeezo!

While the mid-west was battling the worst drought since the 1950’s, Arizona was catching the missing moisture! Jerri had a wonderful garden and a bumper crop of tomatoes. She really wanted to make some tomato sauce. We sell Squeezo’s on our website, so Jerri placed an order (she knows people)… She hooked it up on the counter with the built in clamp (as seen on the left) and set up a dish for the sauce and a bowl for the peels and seeds. To say she was thrilled is an understatement! The Squeezo couldn’t have done a more amazing job at creating the best tomato sauce Jerri had ever made! No seeds, no bits of skin, just amazing tomato sauce! In fact, everything she used it for reinforced the decision to purchase a Squeezo!

I know the garden season has wound down and time for putting up vegetables is over for the majority of the country. The Squeezo would make a great birthday gift, holiday gift or maybe just something you might want before the next gardening season gets into full swing. I certainly know that based on her raving reviews, it will be a must have for me before the garden starts producing! Squeezo is manufactured right here in the USA by some homesteading friends of ours… Homestead Helpers and Best Products. Like many other companies we work with, we’ve agreed long ago that companies with similar product lines can work together and even become friends!! Check out the history of the Squeezo at the link above!

Enjoy the pictures of Jerri’s sauce making venture with the last of her garden tomatoes. (Yes, I begged for pictures since she wouldn’t stop bragging about the Squeezo!!!)

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and as always… Happy Homesteading!!


The New Pickle Pro Fermenting Lids

Homesteader’s Supply designed the “Pickle Pro” – a fermenting jar with an airlock to allow gases out without letting air in. These great containers are still available on the Homesteader’s Supply site.
We did have some customers who understood the need for a glass container to ferment in, but didn’t want to pay the shipping to get a heavy glass jar across the country.
The solution sort of snuck up on us…. create a fermenting seal out of a food grade wide mouth canning jar lid and drill out the hole for the grommet and add the airlock. This new Pickle Pro lid fits any wide mouth canning jar and is ideal for those who don’t necessarily need the gallon jar size. Wardeh, the fermenting wizard with GNOWFGLINS ( tested the new air lock system and gave it a thumbs up which made us very happy!!!

Our first run of drilling the lids made us realize that the jig needs to be squared up a bit, some of the grommets are a bit off center. This doesn’t change the quality of the product… just gives it a unique twist!!! We did notice that the plastic canning lids that we use for the new fermenting jars have a flaw from the pouring process… we’re working with the manufacturer on a solution but the seal is true even with the small chink in the plastic… best we can figure out, they are from the molding of the lids out of hot plastic.

If you have ordered one and have tried it, please let us know how you like it!!!! For those with the original Pickle Pro… let us know how you’re enjoying that product too!!

Thanks and wishing all of you a Happy New Year!!!!

Preserving Your Harvest

For your new homestead Mark and Tonya!!!!

With summer’s closing just around the corner, it’s time to consider what to do with all of those beautiful herbs and vegetables that you’ve grown in your garden. The tender sweet basil, ripe juicy tomatoes and the wonderful chives can be dried or preserved to enjoy through the winter months. How you preserve your food depends greatly on which type of vegetable it is and how you’d like to use it in the future.

Herbs are absolutely wonderful freshly cut from the plant. Fresh pesto made from basil or fresh rosemary sprinkled over chicken and if harvested and dried properly, you can enjoy that same taste through the winter. Dehydration can be done with low heat or simply air dried. I’ve used both and prefer the air dry method for peppers, which I thread through the stem and hang to dry in the least humid part of the house. Leafy herbs, fruit slices and even small peppers are also easily dried with air. A netted drying rack works great. This type of dehydration unit has trays with holes for air flow and the netting keeps pests out, even fruit flies. The best part, it doesn’t have to be plugged in! There are several types of electric free dehydration units, but if jerky is desired, a low heat electric unit is best.

The next type of preservation is canning. Canning can be accomplished by water bath or pressure cooking. Both methods use high temperatures to create a vacuum seal preventing air and bacteria from forming on the food. Water bath canning is for high acid foods such as tomatoes, fruits, cucumbers in salt brine, pickled beets, etc… Pressure cookers are for any foods which have a very low acid content. Meats, beans, corn and other low acid foods are pressure cooked. Canning is a very demanding chore and probably the most rewarding. There is something very warming to the spirit to see a cupboard full of jars of food. Reminds me of summers at my grandparent’s place, putting up cherries, tomatoes and green beans.
In addition to canning, many of the same vegetables can be blanched and frozen. I prefer to blanch and freeze green beans and spinach. I have also sliced up the over abundance of summer squash and once blanched, it’s ready for casserole dishes, stews or zucchini bread. Blanching is simply submerging the vegetables in boiling water for a specific time (depending on the vegetable but usually a minute or less). Once the time is up, submerge the vegetables into ice water until cool and then strain off the water. The vegetables can be placed into freezer Ziploc bags or freezer containers. Remember it’s always best to double bag when freezing any kind of food to prevent freezer burn.

Before the invention of modern day canning or ice cold freezers, vegetables were preserved by fermentation. Typically, you think of sauerkraut when you think of fermented vegetables, but most any vegetable can be fermented. When you ferment or culture foods, you make them a healthier food!

Lacto-Fermented foods are those that have been cultured by beneficial organisms. In the right conditions, beneficial organisms feast on the food, producing beneficial acids, and transforming the food into something better, containing all the original vitamins, enzymes, and now active cultures — conveying benefits to your gut, your immune system, and your digestion. This culturing develops complex flavors and pleasing textures, while the food becomes more nutritious than it was before. And the acids preserve and protect the food from spoiling. It is really a miraculous process!

Fermenting foods covers a lot more than sauerkraut! Did you know you can ferment fruits, vegetables, beans, meats, dairy, and grains? You can even ferment condiments like mayonnaise. And there are many ways to start the culture for your fermenting process… salt brine, whey, dairy cultures, water kefir and more. I made a batch of fresh organic beets in a salt brine and was so surprised that there was NO salty taste in the beets, just very sweet, crunchy, delicious, and healthy. At Homesteader’s Supply we were so intrigued with this process we started producing our Pickle-Pro! It comes with a free recipe for 5-Spice Apple Chutney. The principle is similar to the old fashioned fermenting crock process, except not only is there a water seal to keep air from getting in, but also allows for the escape of the gases produced. I’m guessing that this is why we don’t get the mold on the top which is common with using jars and crocks. It is also so much less expensive, which means you can have multiples always going at the same time. The process only takes about 3 days of fermentation on your kitchen counter. And the best part is that you don’t have to ferment everything from your garden right away. You can preserve in other ways, like freezing, canning, and then ferment just the amount you want when you want.