How To Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

...ion method. It’s also the easiest and best way to preserve nutrients. But, when it comes to freezing fresh vegetables from the garden there is one important step: blanching. Blanching slows down enzymatic activity that can deteriorate the quality of what you freeze. How much to blanch depends on the vegetable in question. Thankfully there’s a handy publication from Oregon State University, Freezing Fruits and Vegetables, that covers b...

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Remember to Label Those Jars!

Label, label, label!” This was one of the most important lessons I learned in my Master Food Preserver training. You’ll note, from the jars above, that I’m not very good about this. When were those jars canned and what’s in them? I have no idea. They were probably the result of some late night canning frenzy two years ago. At the time I probably thought to myself, “I’ll label them in the morning.”...

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How to Make Stock

...f Wikimedia) By reader request, we’re going to cover the basics of making soup stock today: how to make it and how to use it. Let’s start with the why you’d make it and how you use it. Why you make stock: It is the basis of good cuisine: everything tastes better with stock It boosts the nutritional value of anything you cook with it. It’s thrifty: it puts all your odds and ends and slightly past-prime veggies and leftover...

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Looking for the Union Label

We’ve got a bad case of Ohrwurm, a German expression translated as “earworm” and used to describe a song stuck in your head. Our earworm came after a search for union made socks and underwear on the internets recalled a highly catchy ad jingle from the roller disco era, “Look for the Union Label” (youngsters can watch it on youtube here). We looked for the union label and we were surprised to find it via a company c...

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Urine as a Fertilizer

...s “pee-pee-ponics,” I thought I’d take a look at the science of urine use. Urine offers a free and readily available (at least after a night of beer drinking) alternative to organic nitrogen fertilizers such as blood meal. We’ve got a perpetual nitrogen deficiency in our vegetable beds and I hate buying industrial ag sourced items like blood meal. Urine is a great alternative. To use urine in the garden you’ve got to...

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Which fruits and vegetables should I buy organic?

...ng Guide has a listing of foods most contaminated with pesticides, and those least contaminated: the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. Keeping this list in mind help you make choices as to where laying out the big bucks for organic–or growing your own–is going to make the most sense. Tomatoes don’t appear on either short list, but they do appear as #34 on the EWG’s ranked list of 53 fruits and veggies, #1 being the most p...

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Savoring the Fruits of Your Labor Panel Discussion

...reaks. Please join me at the Santa Monica Public Library on May 1st for a panel discussion on backyard gardening and food preservation: Santa Monica Farmers Market  2014 QUARTERLY PANEL SERIES When:  Thursday, May 01, 7:00 – 8:30 pm Free and open to the public Where:  Santa Monica Public Library 601 Santa Monica Blvd. MLK Auditorium SAVORING THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR Gardening and preserving stories and strategies to improve your quality of life...

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What’s the dirt on soap nuts?

...e know that, too! I’m wondering where they sit in the general public awareness. Soap nuts are saponin-rich fruits, usually of a tree called Sapindus mukorossi (though all Sapindus make soaping fruits), which can be used for laundry and other cleaning purposes. They’re usually sold only lightly processed: seeded and dried. A handful of these dried fruits, which look somewhat like small dates, are put into a cloth sack and thrown in wi...

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Cleaning the Sink with Baking Soda and Lemons

...t quite capture that particularly scuzzy quality a dirty sink has, that gunky bacterial record of all the dishes and greasy pans that have sat in it over the week. In the lower right corner you can see my homemade scrubby–just a few of those red plastic net bags that fruits and veg are sometimes sold in, wadded up and tied into a yellow one. The more usual state of our sink. That is, minus the piles of dishes. Step one: baking s...

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Non-GMO Versions of Grape Nuts and Cheerios Less Nutritious Than GMO Versions

...ve natural food expo, I attended earlier this month, I saw a lot of unhealthy foods with a “non-GMO” label. In the case of Cheerios and Grape Nuts, the “non-GMO” label is either a marketing gimmick or an attempt to start a voluntary labeling program to head off voter mandated efforts. Here’s where you can help. I need to kick my Grape Nuts crack habit and find a healthier breakfast alternative. Any suggestions? Note...

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