Monday, August 15, 2011

Canning Time!

Apricot Preserves and Italian Tomato Sauce

It is August! I used to hate August. August meant that summer was about to end and I would have to return to school soon. Now, I view August differently. This is Canning Time! This is the time where the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor are starting to ripen and are ready to be harvested. Last year was our first attempt to can tomatoes for our spaghetti and pizza sauces and it was a huge success. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. Last summer I was recovering from a broken leg and surgery, so Viking Dad actually did the canning. He did an amazing job!

I was eager to get into the canning this year.

Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

I actually learned to can from my Mom and Grandma. I was fortunate enough to acquire my Grandma’s huge canning pot with accessories when she passed away. I think she would be proud. I also learned that the best instructional manual available is from Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. They have been successfully instructing homesteaders for the last 100 years with time honored recipes, knowledge and tid-bits and hints. In Ball Blue Book there is now a section on freezing foods. I don’t think this would have been an option 100 years ago, but it is nice to see a modern update. Did you know you can make “freezer jam?” I haven’t tried it yet. It’s on my list to try.

I use Ball glass jars and lids for all my canning. I have found my jars and lids in the most unlikely places. Ace Hardware store has the best selection so far. There are other brands, I am sure, but I am bit old fashion. Ball has been around for over 100 years. Part of the procedure of canning is to boil the jars in hot water for processing; the last thing I want is broken glass.

Don’t you find it funny that it is called canning but glass jars are used instead?

As of right now, I have canned 10- 8 oz jars of apricot preservers. and 4 -16oz of Italian tomato sauce. There is more planned like more tomato sauces, salsa, jams, preserves, corn, beans, peas and anything else I can harvest or trade for with our eggs. August has only begun.

Okay, ready….. ready for it …. Chicken Butt!! I haven’t said it for awhile.

Our chicken flock has grown from 11 to 14 with one rooster. One of our Mama’s has successfully raised three new hatchlings that are now almost full grown. We usually get between 6-8 eggs a day. I have been using the eggs to trade for produce, especially fruit that we don’t grow on the Homestead. I have even found a place where I can sell them so the chickens can pay their rent.. I have my Ma Ingles moments. It has been amazing and fun.

1 week of eggs.

The adventures continues......

Bless Bless

Concerned About GMO?!

Yes, it is I. The anti-GMO Hippy Mommy!

GMO- Genetically modified organism

One of my bits of frustration when shopping for non-GMO foods is trying to translate the ingredients lists or finding information on the company to determine how GMO free the product is.
Now, let me take a step back and explain the deference between GMO and cross pollinated plants.
Yes, many of the plants we eat like tomatoes and corn have been cross pollinated over the years to be more palatable for human consumption. Carrots were not originally long and orange. Man had a hand in changing these using cross pollination. The difference with GMO is companies like Monsanto actually changed the plants, like corn, at the genetic level. In Monsanto's case they have actually inserted toxins into corn varieties to kill insects that pray on corn. Ummm ewwww! On another soap box day I will explain why these plants won't grow past one season.

Now, recently Monsanto has been reporting that their genetically modified Bt corn, that is present in virtually all non organic corn, is safe for humans because the toxin used to kill the insects can not survive in the human digestive system. However, in a Canadian study published in Reproductive Toxicology, in blood samples of 39 pregnant women who ate conventional diets, 93% of the women and 80% of their fetuses (aka babies) had the toxin in their systems. Pretty sobering statistics for a "safe" food source.

Recently I found the "Non GMO Project"

Non GMO Project is a non profit third party that uses a strict verification process to determine what is GMO safe to help consumers empower themselves and make informed choices. For more information, including a complete listing of 1,000 of participating products check out their site.

Bless Bless