Easy Crockpot Applesauce For Canning

Easy Crockpot Applesauce For Canning
Easy Crockpot Applesauce For Canning

This easy, two-part recipe is one of my favorites for Fall. Apples are incredibly abundant in the Fall and can be collected at a Pick-Your-Own, a local farmer’s market, or, if you’re lucky, your own backyard tree.

You can make your applesauce following the same recipe in a saucepan on the stove if you’re short on time, but by using the crockpot, you buy yourself some time and get the dual advantage of your entire house smelling so perfectly like Fall.

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How to Prepare Tomatoes for Canning

Preparing Tomatoes For Canning
Preparing Tomatoes For Canning

Tomatoes are a homesteader’s boon. They’re a relatively easy crop to grow, one plant can produce many pounds of fruit and tomatoes can be used in countless delicious recipes. The only down-side to tomatoes is that they all tend to ripen at the same time and you’ve got to figure out what to do with your bounty!

That’s where canning comes in. For nearly 200 years, people have been preserving food in sealed glass jars to extend it’s shelf-life.

Tomatoes can be made into salsa, marinara, pasta sauce, tomato soup, ketchup, or can be canned whole. Regardless of how you’re going to can tomatoes, they all need to be skinned and de-seeded. The skins and seeds turn tough and chewy during the canning process which is no bueno.

First Step: Peel Your Tomatoes

Peeling Tomatoes
Peeling Tomatoes

To get started, you’ll want to fill a large pot with water and set it to boil. Next to this pot, you’ll want to fill another large pot with ice water. While the first pot is coming to a boil, cut a shallow ‘x’ in all of your tomatoes.

Peeling Tomatoes
Peeling Tomatoes

Once you have ‘X’-ed all of your tomatoes, place them, a few at a time, into the pot of boiling water. This rapid heating will cause the skin to peel back away from the ‘x’s. This should only take a few seconds, and you don’t want to cook the tomatoes, so work in batches of two or three.

Peeling Tomatoes
Peeling Tomatoes

After you see the skins start to split, remove them as quickly as possible and dunk them into the ice water. This stops the tomatoes from cooking.

Peeling Tomatoes
Peeling Tomatoes

Once the tomatoes have cooled, I move them to a colander to drain while I process the rest.

My Assembly Line
My Assembly Line

Once you’ve finished with all of your tomatoes, you can begin to peel them.

Working over a compost bin or bowl, peel off the tomato skins one at a time.

Peeling Tomatoes
Peeling Tomatoes

Second Step: De-Seeding Your Tomatoes

Once your tomatoes have been peeled you can begin to de-seed them. I usually cut all of mine in half and cut out the stem or any blemishes that I don’t want to eat.

Once this has been done for all of your tomatoes, you can squeeze out the guts of the tomatoes into a bowl or compost bin. This is a messy process that kids love to help with! Just make sure they cover the tomato with their free hand so it doesn’t squirt across the kitchen!

De-Seeding Tomatoes
De-Seeding Tomatoes

Once you’ve squeezed out what you can, follow through with your fingers and finish scooping out anything that remains.

Now your tomatoes are ready to be packed and canned as is, or added to any recipe that you’ll eventually can! It’s a lengthy process, but the results are definitely worth it!

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Homemade Dry Italian Seasoning

Homemade Dry Italian Seasoning
Homemade Dry Italian Seasoning

My goal in my family is to replace one pre-packaged, processed thing at a time. While some things seem beyond my reach (ie. a delicious every day bread loaf), some things are beyond easy to replace. Those packages of Italian Seasoning are convenient, and easy, and cheap, but can be made within minutes at home.

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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract
Homemade Vanilla Extract

The number one rule for Homesteading is: “Make Do or Do Without.” Last week found me in another situation of running out of something, and looking up how to make it myself. Vanilla Extract is a staple in my household. I jumped at the opportunity to make my own instead of running to the store to spend money on something artificial.

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Finance 101 For the Homesteader

Finance 101 For the Homesteader
Finance 101 For the Homesteader

Personal finance seems to be one of those hush-hush topics no one’s supposed to talk about. We aren’t taught it in school, your parents may have talked to you about it, but generally it’s a social no-no to bring up.

As homesteaders, we have a unique set of challenges, due to the lifestyle we want/chose. Homesteading and personal finance go hand-in-hand. Oftentimes, it’s due to financial hardships that people want to live life more simply, economically, and homesteader-friendly.

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Gardening 101

Gardening 101
Gardening 101

There are several basic truths when it comes to gardening, regardless of location or plant you’re trying to grow. This is the perfect intro to beginner gardeners, those that claim to have a ‘black thumb’ instead of a green one, or the new homesteader.

Plants need 3 things:

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Make Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs out of Stale Bread

Italian Breadcrumbs
Italian Breadcrumbs
I don’t believe in throwing anything away if I can avoid it. I’m sure most homesteaders (or anyone who has ever had to watch their pennies) would agree. My favorite saying around the house is “waste not – want not.” There’s another use for just about every kitchen scrap, and I love putting them all to good use!

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Wild Edibles: Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe
Indian Pipe

Indian Pipe is one of my favorite plants to find while out in the woods. It’s bright pale coloring makes it seem like something from a fantasy novel. It’s a unique perennial that grows without chlorophyll. The stems grow 4-10 inches tall and are topped by a single, down-turned bell-shaped flower. The whole plant is almost translucent white, but I’ve seen them in varying shades of purple, and pink, too. They usually bloom between June and October.

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What Does Homesteading Mean to You?

What Does Homesteading Mean to You
What Does Homesteading Mean to You

What does homesteading mean? Can someone only homestead on a farm of 100 acres? What about the rest of us,

who rent, or live in the city?

My husband and I live in the suburbs outside of the DC metro area. Currently, the hubs is in the military and has another 9 years until retirement. Our financial plans, our homesteading goals, and our “forever farm” are easily 10 years down the road.

So what does homesteading mean to us, and how do we achieve it in our current situation? Homesteading is measured in mindset, not numbers of acres or chickens.

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Chicken Broth Recipe for Canning

Chicken Broth Recipe For Canning
Chicken Broth Recipe For Canning

This recipe couldn’t be simpler. It’s incredibly healthy, easy to make, frugal and full of home-grown goodness! What could be better?!

I keep a large ziploc bag in my freezer whose sole purpose is to house cooking throw-aways for use in my broth recipe. All of the chicken bones, end bits of carrots, celery, onions, un-used garlic cloves, mushroom tips, just about everything. Once this bag gets big enough, I simply throw it in a crockpot, fill to the brim with water, and let simmer on low for 24 hours. This pulls all the nutrients and goodies out from the leftover foods, so you are sure you’re getting every last bit of goodness before throwing it away.

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