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Friday, July 31, 2009

Planting a Garden Wherever we Can

This is from my friend Stephen's webpage...

Counsel Me Not...

Posted: 30 Jul 2009 11:20 PM PDT

When experienced gardeners come to my home...they are often surprised to see how various food plants are tucked away in less than ideal places. For example...they might see a sun loving tomato plant growing under the partial shade of a tree. Then they either bite their lip for fear of offending...or they say "That really isn't a good place to plant a tomato plant...it needs more sun".

What they may not understand is that I operate under the belief that food plants don't have to be placed just in neat little rows in a garden plot...but can...and more than likely should find homes wherever they can grow...even if that means planting in unconventional places. After a garden plot is exhausted of space...the creative gardener can look for space to stash extra plants. While in some of these places the soil types may not be the greatest...or the light may not be ideal for the plant to reach it's full potential...they CAN still grow and feed your family!! And this...on land that may lay barren otherwise...or filled by ornamental plants without food value.

My methods of planting are largely motived by the words of the prophet Spencer W. Kimball who said to...“...grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property."

Do you think that if harder times are thrust upon us that you are going to wish you had more grass to mow...or do you think you would you prefer fresh vegetables...

Planting a Garden Wherever we Can

The following article is from my friend Stephen's webpage:

Counsel Me Not...

Posted: 30 Jul 2009 11:20 PM PDT


When experienced gardeners come to my home...they are often surprised to see how various food plants are tucked away in less than ideal places. For example...they might see a sun loving tomato plant growing under the partial shade of a tree. Then they either bite their lip for fear of offending...or they say "That really isn't a good place to plant a tomato plant...it needs more sun".


What they may not understand is that I operate under the belief that food plants don't have to be placed just in neat little rows in a garden plot...but can...and more than likely should find homes wherever they can grow...even if that means planting in unconventional places. After a garden plot is exhausted of space...the creative gardener can look for space to stash extra plants. While in some of these places the soil types may not be the greatest...or the light may not be ideal for the plant to reach it's full potential...they CAN still grow and feed your family!! And this...on land that may lay barren otherwise...or filled by ornamental plants without food value.


My methods of planting are largely motived by the words of the prophet Spencer W. Kimball who said to...“...grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property."


Do you think that if harder times are thrust upon us that you are going to wish you had more grass to mow...or do you think you would you prefer fresh vegetables!?



If you are to go down the path of purposefully growing food plants on poor spots of ground...you may need to be prepared to defend your actions in conversations akin to that of the master of the vineyard in Jacob chapter 5...


21 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard.
22 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.


Perhaps you could respond with those same words! "Counsel me not!..." One key that is found in verse 22 is that even though the master planted on poor ground...and did reap fruit...it wasn't done without "Nourishing it this long time". A plant placed in a less than ideal place may need some compost...additional watering...or some other special care to better it's chances of survival. There is also wisdom in only planting as many as you can actually take care of. No use planting if you are unable to tend what you plant!


This next week I will start some flats indoors of various members of the Brassica family (Broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) How many seeds will I plant? I will do a lot more than I think I can use on my property. When they have grown I will be motivated by the sheer number of the seedlings to be creative and find places for them. If by chance I run out of places...my extended family and friends will receive some seedlings to plant! This a great way to maximize ones use of space for gardening...and help out some other people too.


With some care the "poor spot" gardener may bring forth "much fruit"...perhaps more than ever before.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canning Peaches


I made some fantastic canned peaches out of some given to me by a friend. Awesome!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Canning Tomatoes

I finally had a bumper crop of tomatoes sufficient to can, so I water bath canned them in my pressure canner (without the lid on it). Haven't tasted them yet, but so look forward to it. Also collected about 14 more this afternoon and plan on seeing how it looks tomorrow. I will try to do another batch on Wed, even if I put them in the freezer (as sauce) versus canning.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Artichokes! Garden Fresh

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Here is a lovely photograph of the first artichoke from our garden that I cooked with garlic and olive oil. yum!!! A little tough in the outer leaves, but butter soft inside. Delicious and more are forming fast. I hear it's unusual to harvest this late in the year and in fact had not thought we would have any until next year.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oil Pressing Seeds

I just ordered a Piteba Oil Press. http://www.piteba.com/eng/index_eng.htm. I can't wait to try it!

Oil Pressing Seeds

I just ordered a Piteba Oil Press. http://www.piteba.com/eng/index_eng.htm. I can't wait to try it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Artichokes!



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Our artichokes, coming in soon! Wonderful and can't wait to taste them!

Dry Pack Canning


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Here is a photo of the dry pack cannery I go to, showing the area in which we pour the product into the cans before sealing them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cooking Oil - Buying and Storing and Making Your Own

I am reprinting excerpts from my friend Stephen Nix's article

Awesome.
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A lifetime of pushing our shopping carts by a seemingly endless supply of these oils...available at a relatively low price...could make them seem like an expendable commodity. As if they will always be there for us to purchase and use liberally.

(However) If it is our lot to go through times of scarcity...where oil has gone up in price until the average person cannot purchase it...or circumstances have made it no longer available...we may find as Joni Mitchell sang so wisely..."Don't it always seem to go...that we don't know what we've got till it's gone"!

F. Enzio Busche tells of a time in his life when vegetable oil was very valuable...

"Frequently I am asked, “What were the most valuable items in the days of starvation in Germany?...For what we needed, the food item we relied on most was vegetable oil. With a bottle of vegetable oil, one could acquire nearly every other desirable item. It had such value that with a quart of vegetable oil one could probably trade for three bushels of apples or three hundred pounds of potatoes. Vegetable oil has a high calorie content, is easy to transport, and in cooking can give a tasty flavor to all kinds of food items that one would not normally consider as food—wild flowers, wild plants, and roots from shrubs and trees. For me and my family, a high-quality vegetable oil has the highest priority in our food storage, both in times of daily use and for emergency usage. When vegetable oil is well-packed and stored appropriately, it has a long storage life without the necessity of refrigeration. We found ours to be in very good condition after twenty years of storage, but circumstances may vary in different countries and with different supplies."(F. Enzio Busche, “How Beautiful to Live in These Times and Be Prepared!,” Ensign, Jun 1982, 16)


Wikipedia itemizes the food value this way...


"Many vegetable oils are consumed directly, or used directly as ingredients in food - a role that they share with some animal fats, including butter and ghee. The oils serve a number of purposes in this role:

Shortening - to give pastry a crumbly texture .
Texture - oils can serve to make other ingredients stick together less.
Flavor - while less-flavorful oils command premium prices, oils such as olive oil or almond oil may be chosen specifically for the flavor they impart.
Flavor base - oils can also "carry" flavors of other ingredients, since many flavors are present in chemicals that are soluble in oil.
Secondly, oils can be heated, and used to cook other foods. Oils that are suitable for this purpose must have a high flash point. Such oils include the major cooking oils - canola, sunflower, safflower, peanut etc. Some oils, including rice bran oil, are particularly valued in Asian cultures for high temperature cooking, because of their unusually high flash point."

There are also many other non-food uses of vegetable oil that you may not have considered that can make it a valuable item to have around...especially during hard times. By no means is this a complete list...but here some that I could think of or find...

1. Lamps
2. Lotions. You could even make your own essential oils from herbs and give it a scent. Many oils are quite healing applied directly to your skin without processing.
3. Hair care products
4. Soap
5. Run a generator
6. Run a car
7. It can be used to treat grains for food storage to kill insects.
8. Priesthood blessings (olive oil)
9. Medicine
10. Space Heaters
11. Water Heaters
12. Other uses...

The Church's Counsel

Here are a few quotes cut and pasted from church publications...

"Church members can begin their home storage by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat. Depending on where members live, those basics might include water, wheat or other grains, legumes, salt, honey or sugar, powdered milk, and cooking oil."

"You may also want to add other items to your longer-term storage such as sugar, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and cooking oil. To meet nutritional needs, also store foods containing Vitamin C and other essential nutrients".

"Fats and oils: Some fat and oil can be found in almost all grain and animal food, but additional fats and oils should be stored. Fats are easily digested and provide the most calories for the least amount of weight of any common food. They need to be stored in a cool place and rotated frequently (see Oscar A. Pike, “Storing Fats and Oils,” Ensign, June 1999, 71).

In light of this information...we should look for ways to be prepared to have oil on hand.

Storing Oil

Enzio mentioned that his family had success storing vegetable oil for 20+ years that was still good after that time. If you were to look around for the "experts" to tell you how long you can store an oil for...you will find that it depends on the kind of oil you want to store...how you plan on storing it...and the point of view of the "expert".

For example...some would say that olive oil has a shelf life of a year or two...others for 3-4 years...while others would say that it can be stored indefinitely! I'm not really sure who is right but...here you can find some advice on how to extend the shelf life of your oils.

While the information given by experts regarding shelf lives may vary...they all seem to agree that fresh is better tasting...and better for you. Even a small amount of rancid oil can make your food taste really bad...and even make you quite sick.

Make Your Own Oil

Have you considered that it could be possible to make your own oil? If you were have the tools and skill to make your own oil you would have...

1. the freshest and therefore healthiest oils possible.
2. the possibility of having oil still available to your family...even after your oil storage is expended by a "sustained emergency".
3. the ability to make oils out of a variety of plants you may have never considered...that may not be commercially available.
4. increased self reliance!

Ezra Taft Benson stated...

"One of the important keys of home production and storage is the acquisition of skills. Sometimes we may be able to buy food inexpensively, but the skills and intuitive wisdom gained through gardening and other home production projects are worth more than the time and effort they require. In a sustained emergency, basic gardening, sewing, repair, construction, and production know-how are invaluable. Provident living helps us develop these skills—and build family unity by doing it—before an emergency."

The storing of any food or supply brings a level of self reliance and peace of mind that will last only as long as the food or supply does! Having the ability to produce your own food and supplies brings the possessor of such knowledge into the realm of true self reliance.

The prophets have long spoken the phrase "Home production and storage". While just simply storing may be an "easier" path...learning to produce what you need could prove "invaluable".

So How is Vegetable Oil Made?
Five common methods are used to extract oil (Stephen then says his favorite:)

b) Manual pressing. Oilseeds, usually pre-ground, are pressed in manual screw presses.
http://www.piteba.com

Which Seeds and Nuts Are Used For Oil?

It really is remarkable how many seeds and nuts can be processed for their valuable oil. Wikipedia has a wonderful list of various vegetable oils and their uses. On that list you will find many seeds and nuts that you are probably currently tossing in the trash. Seeds that if you simply set them aside to dry out...you could be pressing them for their oils.

You will also see some on the list that can be gathered from wild sources. I first started to research this when I found out how high the oil content is in thistle seed and how it can be pressed for it's valuable oil. This would be a great list to print off a hard copy of...to have on hand to remember what seeds you can use and their applications.

Acorns For Cooking Oil

You may already know that I believe that acorns are one of the most underutilized food cropsavailable in America and much of the world for that matter. There is information out there on how to use the acorns as a meal...but really not a lot of information on how they can be used for their oil. This could lead one to believe that it must not be a feasible option if "everyone isn't doing it"...and yet the information that is available on acorn oil makes it out to be a great oil!

David A. Bainbridge has done some comprehensive studies regarding acorn usage. In his short paper available online he writes...

"Acorns can also be used to make acorn oil by boiling, crushing, or pressing. Acorn oil has been used as a cooking oil in Algeria and Morocco (Loudon, 1844; Hedrick, 1919; Smith, 1950). It was used by the Indians of the eastern U.S. for cooking and as a salve for burns and injuries (Michaux, 1810; Smith, 1950). Some varieties contain more than 30 percent oil, equal or greater than the best oil olives ( Wolf, 1945; Ofcarcik et al., 1971). The quality and flavor of the oil is comparable to olive oil (Wolf, 1945; Smith, 1950; Bainbridge, 1985a). Table 4 presents further information on acorn oil."

Isn't that remarkable! Those little acorns that fill green waste bins to overflowing can be made into an oil that has a "quality and flavor..comparable to olive oil"!! With the long term storage capacity of acorns...it is conceivable that a person could store enough acorns to eat as a meal...or to produce whatever oil you would need for the season or more.

Although none of the sources I found indicated if it was necessary to leach the acorns first...I communicated with Green Deane who told me that "You get a better tasting oil if you leach it first".

In hard times...acorns may be a primary source of oil for those who can make it. It is my intention even now...as the acorns start falling this season...to make it the primary source of oil for my family.

Choosing a Method of Oil Extraction

The best (in my opinion) oil expeller will be one that is easily transportable...does not require electricity in case there is none...is fairly priced...doesn't wear out or require a lot of cleaning...and can expel a wide variety of seeds and nuts. From my research...the one that fits best into all of these criteria is the Piteba Oil Press.

The cost of olive oil right now is roughly $10 a liter.

The cost of the Piteba oil expeller is approximately $140 shipped. Which is an AWESOME price!! Especially when you compare it with some of the more complicated motorized versions that cost thousands of dollars. http://www.piteba.com/

Make 14 liters of oil that you would have purchased and used anyway...and you will have recouped your expense...and the rest is gravy! If due to crop failure...a drastic devaluation of our currency...breakdown of shipping...war...etc...the price of vegetable oil shoots through the roof...you may be able to recoup the cost with just one liter made! As I look at it...I am buying the cornucopia of cooking oil...lotion...fuel...medicine...etc...for a small price.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wonderbox potatoes


The photo is of potatoes I cooked in the Wonderbox oven this morning for potato salad. I brought them to a boil for five minutes, then put the pan with them inside it in the wonderbox and let them sit for 2 hours. Done!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tomatoes and Pressure Canner


I have taken two tomatoes off my plants, but this is the day when I got several all at once. They are beautiful and taste great! It has taken them a long time to mature, however. Both the Early Girl and the Better Boy actually matured at the same time... It's been since March 12th, a little less than 90 days.

I also got the pressure canner delivered today! It's still larger than I thought, but I'm happy with it. I don't know when I'll get a chance to use it since I plan on working most of July--but if nothing else perhaps in August when I'm home with hubby.

Flaking wheat



This photo was taken after I rinsed the whole wheat grain once, let it dry, then rinsed it thoroughly a second time, and let it sit out (spread on a paper towel) overnight. The next morning I put it through the flaker, and what a huge difference! Big flakes! And quick!! Within 10 minutes I had two cups, which was more than enough to feed me and a friend breakfast.

I encourage everyone to get one as an alternative way to use wheat storage!

Oh and if you click on the photo it will enlarge and you can see the flakes more clearly.