Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning

Review on Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning
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Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern “kitchen gardeners” will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits.

Yet Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning goes back to the future—celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

Translated into English, and with a new foreword by Deborah Madison, Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning deliberately ignores freezing and high-temperature canning in favor of methods that are superior because they are less costly and more energy-efficient.

As Eliot Coleman says in his foreword to the first edition, “Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural ‘poetic’ methods that maintain or enhance the life in food. The poetic techniques produce… foods that have been celebrated for centuries and are considered gourmet delights today.”

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning offers more than 250 easy and enjoyable recipes featuring locally grown and minimally refined ingredients. It is an essential guide for those who seek healthy food for a healthy world.

I can’t stress how much food production is important for preppers.  I don’t care how much you store, you will eventually run out.  Being able to produce and store food is vital.

Recipe Pickled Peppers

52 Unique Techniques for Stocking Food for Prepper
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You wouldn’t know it to hear me talk, but I really don’t enjoy canning as much as I act like I do. Don’t get me wrong, I like that I am able to can, I like having shelves of canned food, and I LOVE the idea that I stored my own food that I grew (well that I tried to grow), but once I get into the nuts and bolts of cutting and washing, and trying to pay attention to all the details so I don’t poison myself accidentally it gets rather tedious.

Luckily, I have some recipes like this one for pickled peppers that are dead simple, fast, and cheap.

First off, let me say I did not grow these peppers, the local store had them on sale for a dollar a pound – I would have bought them all, but most were going bad (hence the sale)…

You really need to wear gloves when doing this, thoroughly washing your hands helps, but it is no substitute for rubber gloves. I poke a little fun at folks that help me can peppers and then wipe their eyes before removing the capsaicin– That’s the mean spirited evil twin… When adults choose not to listen to this rule, I think the results are hilarious, but when my little helper got some in his eyes it wasn’t funny. Wear gloves.

There are all sorts of fancy pickled pepper recipes with great spice and sugar combinations. In this recipe I was not trying to create a fancy pepper to eat on its own, but to preserve an ingredient to use in chili, salsas, and other dishes throughout the year so I wanted the pepper flavor to stand alone. If you want to add spices, by all means go for it, just do not change the ratio of ingredient to vinegar or the strength of the vinegar in the recipe or you may well hurt yourself later.

This technique can be used for just about any small, hot pepper. Measurements are for 1 pound of peppers and yield approximately 2 1/2 pints. Recipe can be increased as long as the ratios are kept.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt

Procedure

  • Pack clean, hot jars with peppers
  • Bring vinegar and water to boil, add salt and stir until dissolved
  • Pour hot brine over pickles leaving 1 inch of headspace
  • Use a wooden chopstick or flat plastic spatula to release bubbles from inside jars.
  • Wipe rims, apply lids and bands.
  • Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes
  • Store in cool, dark place for up to a year

It’s just that simple. Let me know how this works for you, I have already eaten a good portion of the peppers I canned. But this year I hope to actually grow enough to get me through the winter…

How to Make Bee Fondant

How to Make Bee Fondant

How to Make Bee Fondant
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Bee fondant is basically a sheet of hardened sugar candy that is used as a backup food supply to tide your bees over until they can start bringing in their own food. If you are not greedy and leave the bees enough of their own honey to make it through the winter then you will not need fondant.

Some commercial apiarists use fondant because sugar is sometimes cheaper than honey.  Fondant does serve a secondary purpose, in the winter months it helps absorb dangerous moisture that often kills colonies.

I looked over several recipes online, but in the end I choose the recipe from a local bee expert – Trevor Qualls from Bon Aqua Springs Woodenware  because I know and respect his judgment when it comes to what is best for bees in my area, as well as he works to provide organic solutions to bee management problems. His recipe stays away from ingredients that are genetically modified, and I like that.

I followed his bee fondant recipe exactly, and it worked perfectly on the first try.

He does not mention it in the recipe, but the vinegar is used to invert the sugars to turn the sucrose in table sugar to glucose and fructose sugars found in fruits or honey. (This process is often used by those brewing alcohol also).

Trevor does say that the vinegar will not make your fondant taste like vinegar, and he is right about that.  I broke off a little piece of the bee fondant to verify.  It is very close to a piece of hardened plain sugar frosting.  That is not surprising, because it is pretty much what fondant is.

Recipe for Bee Fondant

Ingredients

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Vinegar

Procedure

  • Mix 1 part water to 4 parts sugar.
  • Add 1/4 tsp. vinegar per pound of sugar.
  • (Since 1 cup of sugar weighs 8 ounces. 8 cups of sugar needs one 16 oz. glass of water and 1 tsp. of vinegar)
  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until boiling begins. (If you do not stir constantly you will get a transparent gel that is be extremely sticky instead of the opaque nonstick sheet fondant). The sugar mix will look clear.
  • Boil covered for 3 minutes without stirring.
  • Boil until mixture reaches 234° F. Take caution not to exceed 234° F as the sugar will caramelize and that is harmful to bees.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to 200° F. This will cause the candy to have an increased thickness.
  • Whip with a whisk until whiteness occurs.
  • Quickly pour onto waxed paper having a towel beneath. Be sure that the towel is not fluffy since it will depress the cakes width. This method will make a nice cake.
  • Allow to cool undisturbed.
  • Remove wax paper and store each cake in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The cakes can be handled as plates but may be a little soft like fudge. They will be completely white with whiter areas inside. Tiny crystals will shine from a broken edge.
  • Place fondant directly over the brood cluster so the bees have access to it.

This is a very easy fondant recipe, but if you take care to not over rob your hives, you probably won’t need it. Traditionally (a hundred or so years ago) Honey was harvested in the spring, to insure that the bees had access to the entire summer’s harvest to make it through the winter and to ensure that only true surplus was taken by the beekeeper.