Canning Citrus

...f liquids: water very light syrup (1/2 cup sugar per quart) light syrup (1 cup sugar per quart) medium syrup (1 3/4 cup sugar per quart) heavy syrup (2 3/4 cups sugar per quart) very heavy syrup (4 cups sugar per quart) syrup with honey (one part sugar to one part honey in any of the ratios above) The citrus preserved in just water was edible but not particularly good nor was it aesthetically pleasing. As much as I try to avoid sugar it does h...

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National Wildlife Federation Teams with Scotts

...tions like the NWF, that are little more than a mailing list, is over. We need more grass roots organizations at the community level that consist of actual people meeting face to face to do things like building school gardens, teaching permaculture and making our neighborhoods safer. For more background on this controversy see Garden Rant.  And leave a comment on the NWF’s Facebook page. Update: NWF has announced that they are giving up on...

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Blue Garlic A-OK

...most likely happened here is that the garlic I used wasn’t fully dried, so it reacted with the vinegar in the pickling mix. I remember noting how moist the garlic cloves were as I worked with them that day. If you want to read up more on this topic, and learn some of the science behind it (I’m too lazy to retype all the big words), check out this garlic fact sheet from What’s Cooking America. Scroll down to the bottom of the p...

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Evolution is Evolving

Mrs. Homegrown hard at work reconfiguring the Blog-O-Nator  Mrs. Homegrown here: We’re going to be doing some redecorating and redesign on this site over the next few weeks. The main reason we’re doing this is to make the blog more useful and accessible. This means, to start, that we’re going to clean up the tags and rearrange all the links and stuff on the right side of the page. Then, a little bit down the road, we...

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Fruit Tree Maintenance Calendars

Where we live, it’s the time of year to prune and deal with pest issues on fruit trees. The University of California has a very helpful page of fruit tree maintenance calendars for us backyard orchard enthusiasts.  The calendars cover everything from when to water, fertilize, paint the trunks and many other tasks. You can also find them in one big handy set of charts in UC’s book The Home Orchard. The permacultura...

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Lego-Robot Chickens

...r training chickens, Root Simple pal and fellow Master Food Preserver Diane Trunk posted a video on our Facebook page. Diane explains, Here’s a link to a silly video of our trained chickens. My son trained them to come running in response to a beep. The beep signaled that a lego-robot box (you’ll see) was going to open, and the hens would get their favorite treat: string cheese. Alas, these hens are no longer with us. Our new ladies...

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The Making of a Great Olive Oil

...(called malaxation) the pulpy olive mass goes into a high speed centrifuge: Matt (left) Dale (right) with the centrifuge At the end of all this machinery the oil pours out of a spigot and into a steel drum: We all had the great privilege of tasting the freshly squeezed oil. I won’t soon forget that heavenly flavor. Matt told us that it takes around a ton of olives to make 25 to 30 gallons of oil. The olives come from a thousand t...

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