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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Canning Nectarines

    Nectarines are a lovely fruit.  I think they are a gorgeous fruit and they taste delicious but their aroma is so inviting too.  The nectarine is in the same family as a peach.  To me, a nectarine tastes and looks like it is a cross between a peach and a plum.
   
     Nectarines have a decent amount of Vitamins A, C and niacin.  They are fiber rich and are a healthy source of B-complex vitamins and minerals.  And again, don't forget they taste delicious.  ;-)

     Today I canned the nectarines.  To begin with, I first had to make a syrup.  For the syrup, if you are making  4 quarts total, you will need to mix 5 cups of water and 3 1/4 cups of sugar together in a pot over high heat.  Bring it to a boil.  Once it boils, remove from heat.

***Note:  If you are making 7 quarts, use 7 3/4 cups of water and 5 1/4 c. of sugar.

    Set the syrup aside and now you prepare the nectarines.  To do this, I get a large pot of boiling water and then I place a few of the nectarines into the boiling water for 30 seconds.

canning nectarines, preserving nectarines, how to can nectarines for pies,




    Dip them out and place them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  After a few minutes, scoop them out and the peels will just fall off.

canning nectarines, preserving nectarines, how to can nectarines for pies,

   Place the peeled nectarines into a bowl.

canning nectarines, preserving nectarines, how to can nectarines for pies,


  At this point you can pack your nectarines whole; cut them in half or into quarters.  I cut mine into quarters.  Now just start packing your hot & sterilized jars with your nectarines.  Once they are full, pour in the hot syrup, leaving 1/2" head space.   Use the end of a wooden spoon and go along the inside of the jars to remove any air bubbles that might remain.  Seal and water bath process them for 30 minutes.

 
canning nectarines, preserving nectarines, how to can nectarines for pies,


This will prepare 4 quarts of prepared nectarines.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Galactic Lighting LED Lantern

When we first removed the lantern from the box, I was not expecting much. It is SMALL and figured it would not be worth much BUT we were pleasantly shocked. Once my hubby put the batteries in and turned it on, we were SHOCKED by how much light this tiny lantern actually put out. It is amazing.
 
Camping lantern, LED Galactic lighting
 


You can control the brightness with a simple turn of a knob to be dim or very bright. I really liked the fact that it took plain AA batteries and not some hard to find battery. Nice! We have 3 of these now and plan on buying one for each member of our family.
 
     It is very light and you can carry it without even noticing anything in your hands.  Even a small child could carry this with ease.  The ultra bright LEDS (4 in all) are really amazing.   I really like the 360 degree effect with this lantern and best yet, the LED's are guaranteed for 100,000 hours.

 
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Friday, August 14, 2015

Root Beer of the Month Club

   We had the fun experience of trying out the variety 6 pack of the Root Beer of the Month Club.   The flavors had really neat names and they all went down super smooth.  I'm not a huge fan of root beer but I could see myself drinking these every day.  That is how good they really were.

Moose Whiz Root beer, root beer of the month club

     One of the flavors we got my boys got a real kick out of.  Check out the name in the next picture.  ;-)

Moose Whiz Root beer, root beer of the month club

   Overall, we really enjoyed the taste and experience and will surely order more in the future.  I think it would make a great gift for any root beer lover in your family.


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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dehydrating Mushrooms & Making Mushroom Powder

   Whenever I have an abundance of any kind of produce my first instinct is to always dehydrate it.  Dehydrating is a great way to preserve food without diminishing the nutrients in the produce.  Also, when you dehydrate food, the finished product takes up so much less room as apposed to freezing or canning.  Today we are dehydrating mushrooms.  Mushrooms are a good source of iron, selenium, potassium, & phosphorous.  They also contain the vitamins D, C, Niacin, and folate. 


Dehydrating mushrooms, making mushroom powder, how to use mushroom powder, how to us dehydrated mushrooms,


    To dehydrate mushrooms, just wash each mushroom well first.  Then slice each mushroom.

Dehydrating mushrooms, making mushroom powder, how to use mushroom powder, how to us dehydrated mushrooms,





  Once they are sliced, place the mushroom slices onto your dehydrator trays. 

Dehydrating mushrooms, making mushroom powder, how to use mushroom powder, how to us dehydrated mushrooms,




   The end pieces and assorted pieces that you may normally throw away, place on the dehydrator also.  These odd end pieces are what you can dehydrate for mushroom powder.   Place the trays in your dehydrator and turn it on for about 4-6 hours.  When the pieces are completely dry, place the slices in a jar and seal. 
 

Dehydrating mushrooms, making mushroom powder, how to use mushroom powder, how to us dehydrated mushrooms,

      The dehydration process really enhances the taste of mushrooms.  We use ours in soups, stocks, stews, and casseroles.   To rehydrate, soak the mushrooms into hot water and let them soak for 30 minutes and then use them as a pizza topping; in gravies; in spaghetti sauce or toss into an omelet. 

     The ends and odd pieces I toss into the blender once they are dried and make mushroom powder. 


Dehydrating mushrooms, making mushroom powder, how to use mushroom powder, how to us dehydrated mushrooms,
   
     Mushroom powder gives food a "meaty" flavor without the texture of mushrooms.  You still get the boldness and flavor but many people are off-put by the texture so this is one way of getting past that.   As a powder, you can sprinkle it into omelets or into a salad.  I also like to add a tablespoon or two into soups & stews.  Or better yet, add some into meatloaf, burgers or your spaghetti sauce.  The ideas or endless. 
     


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Many of the links you see above lead to my "Amazon" store Countrified Hicks.  Ordering items from my store does not cost you a penny extra but I do receive a very small percentage as a bonus from Amazon for being an affiliate.  We appreciate your support.  It helps out our family more than you may know. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Super Bright Solar Powered Motion Sensor Light

   This super bright solar powered motion sensor light by Ankway is the real deal.  I love that it is solar powered so you save electricity and it is environmentally friendly to boot.  Also, with the high cost of electricity these days, it is very economical.

motion sensor light, solar powered light,




      It requires no wiring.  All you do is decide where you want it and you can have it set up and going in mere minutes using the hardware that is included.  The light is powered by a 1.6W solar panel that lights up 25 really bright LEDs with an output of 200 lumen.  
 
    The light is in dim mode until the motion sensor is activated and then it goes into the bright mode (which really is brighter than you would think).  After about a half minute of no further motion, it returns to dim mode once again.  The solar panel holds a good charge too.  It can run up to 3 days of illumination (not continuous though) on one charge. 

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Urban & Suburban Organic Gardening Kit

    We love this Urban & Suburban Organic Gardening Kit.  It has all the seeds you need in the kit to grow salad for a year!  How great is that!!!

Salad for a year; gardening all year; gardening kits




    The kit includes seeds for every season (winter, spring, summer & fall).  You also get a sample of Diatomaceous Earth along with cover crop seeds and flower mixes--all to help you have the best garden ever. 



They are everything you want in seeds:
Organic, Open-pollinated, Non-GMO, Non-Hybrid & Easy to grow varieties
Included are varieties of:
*Arugula *Beets *Broccoli *Cabbage *Cauliflower *Celery *Cucumber *Kale *Kohlrabi *Lettuce *Parsley *Sweet Peppers *Radish *Spinach *Squash *Swiss Chard *Tomatoes. 


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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dehydrating Cauliflower

    Dehydrating is a great way to preserve your harvest.  When you dehydrate fresh cauliflower you are ensuring that you have cauliflower in stock at your home when ever you need it (whether it is the middle of winter or not).  The dehydrated cauliflower can easily be rehydrated when needed and used just as you would use fresh cauliflower.  It is great on it's own or you can add it into mashed potatoes, casseroles,  soups or toss it into a salad. 
    Cauliflower is considered a superfood.  One serving of cauliflower contains over 75% of the RDA of Vitamin C.  It also a good source of Vitamin B6, folate, potassium and dietary fiber...and it tastes good to boot!  :-)

    Wash your cauliflower well and then core it and cut it into pieces.  Many people will tell you to blanch it first but I have dehydrated cauliflower both ways and found NO difference so I would skip this monotonous step.  Place the pieces onto your dehydrator trays.

Dehydrating cauliflower, dried cauliflower, preserving cauliflower, rice cauliflower, florets





    Turn on your dehydrator and dehydrate about 8 hours or until the cauliflower is brittle.   To rehydrate, place in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes and then toss into your favorite soup recipe, casserole, etc.  If you are eating cauliflower as a side dish on its own, soak in the iced water for 30 minutes and then place in boiling water for 15 minutes. 



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Many of the links you see above lead to my "Amazon" store Countrified Hicks.  Ordering items from my store does not cost you a penny extra but I do receive a very small percentage as a bonus from Amazon for being an affiliate.  We appreciate your support.  It helps out our family more than you may know.  

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