We love garlic. And thankfully it’s easy to grow garlic in our NE Texas garden. It adds a healthy yet powerful flavor to our food. We especially love it with Tex-Mex flavored dishes.
I recently harvested the garlic from our garden. I’ll allow it to cure for several weeks and then I typically hang whole garlic heads in my pantry. That garlic will be ready and waiting to be used at a moment’s notice.
But I grow & harvest lots of garlic every year. There’s no way I can use it all fresh before it goes bad. So to preserve some of the garlic further I also like to keep a jar filled with peeled garlic cloves in my freezer.
But ugh, peeling that many cloves is going to be a long, sticky chore, right?
Come see how I can peel whole heads of garlic cloves in seconds.
Y’all know I love to make my own broth, right? I mean, when I found out how simple it was, and how cheap, and healthy – there was just no reason NOTmake it. Just plunk some bones into a pot of water and then cook them until they’re broth. I don’t add veggie ends or seasoning of any kind. Just pure bone broth.
I typically pour that cooled and strained broth into plastic jars and store them in the freezer. But too many times I’ve failed to properly plan in advance & I’ve had to chunk frozen broth from the jars for my recipe.
So now that the weather’s cooler and I don’t mind heat & humidity from the kitchen coming through the house, I figured I’d can it this time instead. Don’t be intimidated by a pressure canner, y’all. Canning broth is easy.
Okra is a powerhouse in the garden. Heat? Drought? Poor soil? It just seems to laugh at it all! My garden struggled this year due to the prolonged cool, wet spring. When the sun finally did come out & the temps warmed, many of the things I’d planted had already given up the ghost. But not the okra.
Now okra will produce you out of house & home if you let it. So I only planted four (count ’em – f-o-u-r) plants! It’s been about right to supply RancherMan & me with okra. But I’ll need to harvest & accumulate enough okra for frying up for us. Thankfully it’s easy!
I have a couple of bags of frozen blueberries in my freezer. But right now freezer space is at a premium. So I need to empty some of its contents and one of those bags of frozen blueberries needs to come out.
I’ve got plenty jars of jelly/jam in my pantry so there’s no need right now to make more Blueberry Jam. And a person can only (healthily) eat so many Blueberry Muffins. So my thoughts turned to ways to dehydrate some blueberries for my pantry instead. Turns out it was pretty easy.
Last year’s pumpkin harvest was truly out-o-control! I harvested so many pumpkins! I shared several of them with family & friends but still ended up with mountains of my own. I love to use these heirloom pumpkins for puree in my Pumpkin Granola so I cooked ’em up & pureed them. They were measured out into 2-cup measurements and frozen for future use.
But RancherMan was the wild-hog-hunting KING and our freezer was filled to capacity with wild pork. But I still had two remaining pumpkins… They had some staying power, still looking as fresh as the day I harvested them. But I really needed to do something with them before they started to deteriorate. But with no freezer room, what will I do? I decided to Dehydrate the Pumpkins.
Did you know the U.S.D.A estimates 30% (I’ve even heard 40%) of the food in the United States is wasted? Wow. Shocking, right? Now some of that waste happens right in the fields, problems with harvesting machinery & such. Other waste may be a result of that produce being shaped or sized imperfectly. Oftentimes a store refuses to accept perfectly good but visually imperfect produce from farmers. They want only perfection to sell to their customers. (I absolutely hate this!) And some waste can be attributed to such things as restaurants serving too much food, or even that apple being forgotten in the back of your fridge until it’s no longer appealing.
But often, food waste is a result of consumers being confused about product date labels.
You may look at a box of mac-&-cheese and notice the date stamped on the box has passed. But it can be confusing. Use-by date, Sell-By Date, Best-By Date – what does it all mean???
Last year’s garden included a very robust pumpkin harvest! When the season was over I harvested all those pumpkins and brought them inside before the first frost. But there were just so many! I gave several fresh pumpkins to family & friends and used the remaining pumpkins for fall decoration purposes. One by one I cooked & pureed the pumpkins, using them in my Pumpkin Granola or other dishes.
But here we are months later and I’m staring at those two remaining pumpkins. And RancherMan’s filled our freezer with so much wild pork there’s no room to spare there. But when that pumpkin starts with planting the seed, you make sure none is wasted! I decided to cook & dehydrate the two remaining pumpkins & store ’em in my pantry instead.
It’s so easy to do, y’all. And unlike using the freezer, dehydrated pumpkin uses no additional energy to store. Come see what I did!
Several weeks ago we were shopping for a family gathering and we needed to pick up some fresh limes. While we were in the grocery store to pick up limes, RancherMan decided that ‘6 for $1’ was the way to go. I wasn’t sure we’d go through all six limes though. As it turns out there were indeed limes leftover after our gathering. To keep them from going to waste I washed them and tossed ’em in the freezer.
Come see how a frozen lime helps me reduce waste in the kitchen.
Food waste – we all hate it. We work diligently to make sure none of that food we’ve paid our hard-earned money for is wasted. But are we doing all we can? Maybe… But maybe not! Have you ever thought about eating your compost?
Stay with me now, I’m not suggesting that you root through the compost heap and snack on its contents. Today I’m talking about food destined for the compost heap.
My baby sis and her hubby came to spend the weekend with us recently. RancherMan & I planned to grill out since the weather was nice. I’d also planned to roast some fresh veggies that I had in the fridge.
As my sis & I were in the kitchen I opened the refrigerator door to fetch the broccoli leftover from our dinner party several days ago. My sister saw how it was contained and exclaimed “That’s BRILLIANT!” I guess I just never thought about it before. So come see this Homestead Hack for keeping your broccoli fresh.