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Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Broccoli and sweet pea

Here are more photos, one of broccoli from today, and one of the sweet pea, which is finally getting flowers and starting to produce!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cleaning Out the Closets

Today I am searching for more room for my food storage.  This means getting into "super organizational" mode.  I am taking out old magazines I thought I'd keep but never look at.  I'm going through old cards and letters to see if they are still as "keepable" as I previously thought.  I am selling or throwing out books that I never read, and going through my file cabinet and other paperwork to get rid of things over a certain age.

I feel virtuous in so doing, for as I make room for our family's future, I know I am on the Lord's errand.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Artichokes


I just had a wonderful fantastic artichoke from our garden. I have done nothing with this plant, it was just stuck in the ground last year. No fertilizer, no special treatment. It survived the freezing weather, even though it's not supposed to. It has several more artichokes on it, and we are so happy it tastes great!  Isn't it beautiful?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Waxing Cheese for Presevation

Only Wax Hard Cheeses:


This webpage, Preparedness Pro, had a wonderful article on waxing hard cheeses so they can be saved for years to come without refrigeration.  Since then they have added additional information to this topic.  Below is not the ENTIRE article, but the part that interested me.  Please take it under consideration. :)

The less moisture you have in your cheeses, the better they are for waxing.

Please do not use paraffin wax. While the cheese wax actually melts at lower temperatures than paraffin, it can ultimately (and safely) reach a higher temperature than paraffin. You want this in order to prevent any bacteria from growing on the outside. So be sure your wax is hot enough. Germs are killed at 180 degrees, so heat up your wax to 200 degrees so that when the temperature is dropped when you put it on the cheese, you still are applying wax that is 180 degrees or more. (Don’t heat the wax hotter than 210 degrees F. After heating my wax sufficiently, I turn off the heat source completely.)

Cheese wax is also more pliable than paraffin. Whatever position you put your cheese in when you store it, gravity will come into play and readjust it a bit. Thus you want a wax that will move with it. Paraffin wax will not do that. Cheese wax also dries faster than paraffin, making your task less time consuming and giving less opportunity for moisture to develop during the waxing process.

In view of the gravity issue I’ve already mentioned, it’s also smart to wax smaller sections of cheese instead of heavy ones in which the weight will cause a greater shift in the position of the cheese. (Since most of my recipes call for 1 to 2 cups of shredded cheese, I like to wax nothing bigger than 16 ounces of cheese.)

Use food handling gloves on your hands when you wax the cheese. The oils from your hands will affect how the wax adheres to the cheese. With your bare hands it’s also easy to add germs to your cheese.

Red Cheese Wax

Next, the color of wax doesn’t matter. (Some crazy visually impaired person must have started that particular cheese wax controversy ) The color of the wax is really only symbolic to the commercial cheese industry in terms of how long a cheese has aged. However, I prefer to always use the red or the black wax since it will allow less light into the cheese.

Prior to putting your cheese in the wax, or brushing it, be sure to pat the cheese completely dry. You don’t want to see any moisture on it at all. This is part of the reason why I’m adamantly against folks freezing their cheese before or after waxing it. If you freeze it and then put hot wax on it, you are forcing an expansion and condensation process. The same happens if you freeze it after waxing it. You don’t want any expansion going on. Let it sit out to get to room temperature prior to waxing it.

If you have trouble getting your wax to adhere to the cheese, then consider wrapping the cheese first in real cheesecloth material. I apply just a little bit of wax with the brush in order to keep the cheesecloth in place prior to dipping it. (For applying wax on your cheese, I don’t recommend using cheap cheesecloth from the grocery store. It barely qualifies as cheesecloth. What you want is a bit thicker, more muslin type. I recommend getting the cheesecloth from a dairy farmer, or a cheesemaking supply retailer on the internet.)

Use several thin coats of wax instead of a couple of thick ones. I have adapted to dipping my cheese in the wax 3 separate times and then I brush on the last coat, for a total of 4 coats. It’s key to use the boar’s hair brush, because that will give you the most even and smooth coat of wax.
When you dip the cheese in the wax, hold the piece above the wax for a full 90 seconds to dry after you’ve dipped it; before dipping in another portion of the cheese. If you lay it down to cool/dry, then you run the risk of a crack or crevice to be created while the wax is cooling. So yes, my arms get tired sometimes, but I’d rather be sure that I’ve done the waxing process right. Also, don’t allow the cheese to sit in the wax when you dip it for longer than 5 seconds. You will run the risk of melting the cheese if you expose it to that heat for that long. (Yes, this is a bit of a tricky dance sometimes.)

Storing Considerations:

Storing your cheese out of direct sunlight, away from heat, and in a cool area takes care of the temperature issue. In fact, when cheese is aged by professional cheesemakers, it’s kept in temperatures ranging between 55-70 degrees F.
Store, Air, and Rotate:

Pick the coolest area of your home to store your cheese in. And as with EVERY other thing that you store in your food storage, be sure to rotate your cheese and use it as well.

Some good news for you to know, is that if your cheese does start to crack for some reason, you can simply rewax that area. If you see some mold developing, simply cut off the mold, about an inch deeper than you see it, and rewax that area. The good news is that no, you have not ruined an entire block of cheese.

You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Now, that all being said, just for your info, I have yet to try to wax cheese, but I do plan on doing so, along with storing cheeze powder too.  Lots of options is my motto! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Articokes and Broccoli

I am thrilled to say that I have at least four brand new artichokes on our artichoke plant! I hope they taste sweet and more tender than they did six months ago, but I am delighted to see the plant doing so well.  The broccolis are also doing great, with each one having a head on them about three inches across.  I hope they produce well and enough that I can freeze some for later. 


The sweet peas are finally starting to flower.  They have been in the pot since the Fall started, but haven't been doing anything.  Glad to see they are starting up for spring.  Lord willing, we won't have any hard freezes and these plants will continue to flourish!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Time to Get Your Vegetable Seeds

The time has come to order seeds for the upcoming spring, assuming you haven't already.  Here is a list of common seeds you may need for this spring/summer growth.  Each paycheck, buy soil and set it aside as needed for this March/April. 

Green Bush Beans, Red Cabbage, Green Onions(scallions), Pink Radishes, Pinto Beans, Salad Cucumbers, Golden Melon, Green/Red Sweet Pepper, Plum Tomato, Red Slicer Tomato, Green Sprouting Broccoli, Red Romaine Lettuce, Butternut Winter Squash, Edible Podded Snap Peas, Zucchini Squash, Green Butterhead Lettuce, Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, Sweet Spanish Onion, Carrots, Sweet Red Beets.

NOTE< the above list is from http://arkinstitute.homestead.com/, a company that sells NON-hybrid seeds.  If you want to store seeds for the future, and take seeds from your plants when done, you must have non-hybrids.  If you are smart, you won't even bother to grow hybrids anymore, because seed collecting will be your top priority each year.  There are companies out there who are stealing the life from our seeds by turning them into patented products.  Find non-hybrid seed companies and use them. 

Friday, January 8, 2010

One Nation Under God

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VUo8OuFaiI&feature=video_response

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Broccoli

The broccoli heads are now about two inches across.  So cute. I hope they continue to grow until we can harvest them.  I expect that to be by mid February.  It's interesting, I thought that a Fall garden would give me a harvest of broccoli by now,but if not, at least they are still growing very well.  The lettuce is being used about once a week or so, depending.