In our never ending quest to find disparate ways to store food, we got ourselves a seal-a meal. First experiment, cabbage from the garden. Seal it, freeze it, and use it when needed. Of course it won’t be good for cole slaw, but we’ll use it in soups, stews, and stir fries. At first the bags wouldn’t seal, but after a little investigation we found that if there is too much liquid in the bag, it will keep the bag from sealing. Solution? Stick the bag in the freezer for a while, until it ices over.
We’ve started the canning process with our tomatoes. Instead of just peeling and canning them, we took the extra step(s) to make marinara, so that we’ll have instant spaghetti sauce or pizza topping any time we want it. The jars with the red and white lids are reusable. We used the old style lids on some of the jars so that we can use them for gifts. After we finished canning, we went ahead and opened one of the jars, cooked it up with some ground beef, and had it with salad from the garden, garlic bread, and wine. It was as good (or better) than anything you could get in a restaurant.
Now we won’t have to worry about having hot water for a shower, or washing dishes and clothes in case of a power failure. This is an instant hot water propane heater. We’re going to try it out this afternoon. It’s nice that it’s 80 degrees out today, but we’re going to build an insulated shower stall, since most power outages happen in the winter around here. It’s also nice that we live in the sticks where we can take a shower in the back yard.
Lots and lots of calendula blooming… in fact, the more you cut, the faster is grows. We cut the blooms in the morning when the dew is gone, put them in a red plastic cup for a few days (to make it easier to pluck the petals), spread them on an old paper bag to finish drying, and then put them into a freezer bag and into the freezer. This winter we’ll make calendula soap to sell next spring. Super natural, and super good for you!
Here come the tomatoes. Instead of canning them a little at a time as they ripen, we’re boiling them for 45 seconds to loosen the skins, soaking them in cold water, and then peeling them (the skins just fall off), cutting them in half, and freezing them until we’re ready for a day of marathon canning. Our tomato plants are doing fabulously this year, so we’re planning on putting by a LOT of quart jars.