Last week I shared a two-part segment on how RancherMan & I make ends meetwhile living and working here on our homestead without the comfort of a regularly-scheduled corporate salary infusion. Those posts were wildly popular! There are lots of you hungrily looking for ways to cut back! Whether planning to make the leap to self employment or just looking for ways to stretch your dollars.
Now last week I pointed out that researching for the lowest cost on anything you buy is important. But it’s doubly important to research & reduce your month-to-month obligations. Those bills are going to come around not just once, but Every. Single. Month.
Think about your recurring monthly bills for a moment. Have you just been paying them when the bill arrives without giving them another thought? Are you getting what you paid for, or Paying Extra For Nothing? Well it’s time to take a good hard look at them. Oftentimes you can cut out wasted money spent. Today Let’s Look At Electricity.
This year I planted heirloom sugar pumpkins in my garden. and when it was time to harvest them I knew I’d first be able to enjoy them for a bit as decoration. I love the way those little pumpkins looked propped on our antique cast-iron Franklin stove.
But several days later I was in the kitchen enjoying the last of my favorite pumpkin granola. I knew that since I planted those delicious pumpkins for use in my granola it was time to cook those babies down into pumpkin puree.
Well it looks like a sunshiny day and the wind will not be high, can’t think of a better reason to use my * Solar Oven. It’s only going to get up to the upper 50’s today but outside temps don’t really matter. As long as the sun is shining and the wind isn’t high enough to mess with the reflectors, solar oven cooking is a GO! Today I think I’ll try my hand at baked pork chops…
I’ve been on a dehydrating kick this year & I love it. Recently I acquired a large quantity of potatoes and went on a mission to figure out how to preserve them all. In the past I have preserved potatoes by cooking, mashing and freezing them. So this time I think I’ll try dehydrating them.
I know that potatoes will turn black if they are not cooked before they’re dehydrated. So I washed the potatoes and then pricked the skin in several places on each potato, then stacked them tightly in my black enameled covered pan.
It seems utility bills are going nowhere but up. We’re all trying to watch those dollars carefully. But there are easy ways to cut that utility bill other than just trying to keep unused lights turned off. One of the most energy-intensive acts in a home is producing heat.
Heat for cooking, heat for melting, heat for dehydrating – it’s all digging into your wallet! But there’s an option that often we don’t even think of that can save us some real cash. That’s absolutely free solar energy! Here are a few ways I enjoy using this amazing free resource to not only fill a need but also save a few bucks.
I came across a great deal on potatoes recently and thought I’d use my solar oven to cook up baked potatoes. In this case I was ultimately going to dehydrate most of the potatoes for future consumption. But I read that you have to cook them before you can dehydrate them.
So I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone today. Well folks it’s still hot in Texas . And that’s not exactly the best time to throw on your heat-producing oven and bake potatoes.
Enter my handy-dandy solar oven. MAN I love this thing! I got the accessory kit when I bought it. So my solar oven’s been going almost every day for the past two weeks either cooking or dehydrating garden produce. Aaaaaanyway, here’s how I baked my potatotes.
by Texas Homesteader *this post contains an affiliate link
I’ve been using my solar oven pretty heavily this year and I’ve finally dehydrated all my excess garden tomatoes for the summer. (again for those of you asking, I have a *Sun Oven and I love it!) I’ll use the dehydrated tomatoes in numerous ways – to make tomato paste for homemade pizza and to thicken my homemade blender salsa, among other ways.
This late into summer is usually so very hot and dry that the garden stops producing and I just try to keep the garden watered enough to struggle it along in hopes of getting some kind of tiny fall garden production. This time of year 99% of my garden is out of production but we do have one last veggie going strong – FIERY-RED JALAPENOS!
Several months back I bought my very first solar oven – I’m in LOVE! I’ve used it to cook bread and dehydrate garden veggies, but today I’m going to use it to cook homemade marinara sauce.
All the recipes I saw instructed you to cook your garden tomatoes for up to 3 hours to thicken the sauce – It’s hot & humid here in NE Texas and simmering a pan on the stove for that length of time didn’t appeal to me at all. Luckily I didn’t have to, the solar oven did a fantastic job and all the cooking heat was left outside where it belongs!
I love my solar oven and I use it often. I love that it takes no purchased energy to run and most of all that it leaves all the cooking heat outside where it belongs. I recently began dehydrating overage veggies from my garden. I freeze them as well from time to time but dehydrating them looks pretty cool in my pantry. It also reduces the volume to store by quite a bit and it works well for use in wintertime Endless Soups – my favorite application.
I decided to try to use my electric dehydrator trays to dehydrate in my solar oven – BIG MISTAKE! Although I left the solar oven’s lid unlatched so it wouldn’t get too hot inside the oven, it apparently doesn’t take very much heat at all to do this:
I recently wrote about stumbling upon an overgrown orchard at an old homestead property we obtained. The extension agent and master naturalists identified the trees as Jujube, the fruit is also known as Japanese Dates. I read that the fruit can be dehydrated and used in the place of raisins. This really appeals to me as I’d love to replace something I purchase with something I preserve myself. I experimented with several methods of preserving this sweet fruit.