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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gardening and Flooding or is it Flooding and Gardening?


As the rains come and go in our region, flooding is always possible. Here are some U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guidelines:

• Freeze containers of water to create blocks of ice that can help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or a cooler if you lose power.
• Freeze refrigerated items—leftovers, milk, fresh meat and poultry. If you then lose power, this will help keep them at a safe temperature longer.
• Know where to buy dry and block ice.
• Have portable coolers to keep food cold longer.
• When arranging food in your freezer, keep packages on top of and around each other (touching) to keep them cold longer.
• If you’re told that power will be out for an extended period, you can purchase 50 lbs. of dry ice that should maintain an 18-cubic-foot full freezer for 2 days.
• Throw away perishables—meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items— that have been in the refrigerator more than 4 hours without power.
• If the food in your freezer still contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below, then the food is SAFE to cook and eat, or re-freeze. However, if power has been out for more than 48 hours, throw it out!


• Don’t wade through the water. Flood waters have sewer and refuse materials. Drink only bottled water if flooding has occurred.
• Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that have come in contact with flood waters, in clean, hot, soapy water. Sanitize by boiling them 15 minutes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
When in doubt, always throw it out!

If you have specific questions about food safety, call the USDA’s toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline at (888) MP-HOTLINE from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday.

"God…will open doors and means in a way we never would have supposed to help all those who truly want to get their year’s supply….All we have to do is to decide, commit to do it, and then keep the commitment. Miracles will take place; the way will be opened, (and) we will have our storage areas filled."
Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, May 1976


Did you know you may start planting your garden soon? Mid February is a good time to get an early start on Spring vegetables.
You can plant the following in February:
Asparagus, Beets, Bok Choy, Carrots, Chard, Leeks, Lettuce, Bulb Onions, Peas, White Potatoes, Radish, Rhubarb, Spinach, Turnips
p.s. Don’t forget bare root fruit trees are available now!

Go to In their ‘search box’, type in “kitchen garden planner” for a free online vegetable square foot gardening tool!
Try to plant on a sunny day when it’s going to be above 45 degrees. Turn the soil over and over and add a bag or two of fresh soil.
Talk to the nursery folks if you need more info, or make sure you have good gardening books for help.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Water Bath Canning Using Steam Canner

I am thrilled to hear that finally, someone has tested the steam canner to be used in lieu of the water bath canner (NOT the pressure canner, which must always be used for meats and vegetables).  However (yay!!!) Note the following info as given in Utah:

Steam Canners

The USDA does not recommend the use of steam canners due to inadequate research and testing. However, Utah State University has tested the steam canners and has found them to be safe and adequate for processing certain foods if used according to instructions and safe canning procedures.

Due to botulism poisoning potential, steamer canners may NOT be used for for meats, tomatoes, and vegetables.

If you choose to use a steam canner for jams, jellies, or fruits, only USDA approved and tested recipes and canning times should be used. Processing times for boiling-water bath canners may be used for the steam canners. It is very important to follow instructions and be sure that an 8 to 10-inch plume of steam is present during the entire processing time and the water must not run out before the end of processing.

(Pam's note: notice the steam canner has a place for the water to boil under the jars, and then the lid is placed on top of that.  They are SO much easier to use than the water bath!!!
You can use this canner for fruits and jams/jelly's, all done with proper recipes of course)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dinner is in the Jar

Ever wonder what to do to get more of the 3 month supply in? Or how to get meals prepared quickly and efficiently?

Well look no more. Go get the book "Dinner is in the Jar" by Kathy Clark and make up bunches of dinners in advance! They are all placed in jars for you to take out anytime and use, and they taste great!

I bought the extra stuff I needed, like sour cream powder and dried celery from Shelf Reliance, but most of the other items needed are found in your own pantry or at the grocery store!

Let me know how it works for you!

January Blues

Can it be that Spring is just around the corner? Here it is January, the typical blue soggy month that is difficult to like--except we do.  We love winter first, then fall, then spring then summer.  The only thing I really like about summer is the resulting harvest from early spring and spring planting!

Right now I still need to prune the old grape vine branches, prune down the artichoke, and clean up in general.  Next month I'll buy a couple new bags of soil to mix with last year's soil in the boxes.  In March I'll buy the herbs and other plants that I want to plant early into the ground, and first thing in March will be potatoes.