Archive for the ‘Fermentation, Culturing & Curing’ Category

10 Packaged or Processed Foods Easy to Avoid

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

by Catherine Haug, December 16, 2012

Now that I’m retired and have much more time to cook from scratch (than when I was working 10-12 hours a day), I tend to take this blessing for granted. For those who are still working long hours, I know it is difficult to buy local and cook from scratch, so a short list of packaged/processed foods that are quick and easy to make from scratch, might be welcome.

The following list is from Dr. Mercola, who ‘borrowed’ the first 5 in the list from an article on He explains why the processed versions are best avoided. I’ve added my own comments/ideas as well. (more…)

Long Term Storage of Foods

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

by Catherine Haug, December 10, 2012

We are hoping to have a presentation on long-term storage of foods in 2013. This is a great and pertinent topic to our mission.

I stumbled upon an informative site: Preparedness Advice Blog. It has lots of pertinent articles on “emergency preparedness, ‘prepping,’ and long term food storage.” For example, The Long-Term Bug-Free Storage of Dry Grains. It has advice on natural things to add to your grains to keep bugs away, ideal low-moisture level for grain storage, and best type of containers for grain storage.

If you encounter any great info on Food Storage, please send it my way so I can share with our readers as a “Kitchen Hint.”

Beware: While there is lots of food-storage information available on the internet, some of it is mis-information.

Cold storage of foods: a review

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

by Catherine Haug, July 21, 2012

It’s that time of year again when we start thinking about preserving summer’s bounty. What can you keep in a root cellar?

  • Many fresh foods can be kept through at least part of the winter in a root cellar; these include root veggies, fall cabbages, and apples. (I still have some honey crisp apples from last fall; they are getting a bit soft but still sweet and delicious).
  • Home-canned foods can be stored there;
  • Cured meats, such as from a fall hunt, can be cured and stored in a warmer part of a root cellar.
  • Eggs that have been brushed (of bird poop) and rinsed but not washed. See ‘Egg Note’ below.

I’ve written on this topic before, but I just came across a couple links on other sites that might be of interest to you:

Read on for links to articles and printable pdf files on these topics. (more…)

Preserving eggs and cheese for long-term storage

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Waxed round of cheese

by Catherine Haug, July 21, 2012

photo, right, of waxed cheese by Cat

As we explore ways to reduce our energy consumption, we may wonder how to preserve fresh eggs and cheese for long-term storage without refrigeration? How was this done in earlier times? Read on for more.


Gathering Summary: Winemaking at Home, June 20, 2012

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Red wine glass

by Catherine Haug, July 13, 2012

(photo, left, fromWikipedia)

Don Beans and Leslie Budewitz provided lots of good information in an hour’s time; enough to stimulate desire to try making wine with more than a hope of success. While it was a small audience, there were good questions and discussion. And Stephanie’s mixed-berry crisp dessert was delicious.

This is just a short synopsis; you can find more detail in the complete, printable pdf file: Gathering Summary: Winemaking at Home, with Don Beans and Leslie Budewitz, and in the handouts. Read on for handouts (to be added when available), presentation topics, and references & resources. (more…)

Curing Meats at Home

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Brisket in brine

by Catherine Haug, June 5, 2012, and ongoing updates

One way to reduce your energy consumption is to find ways to keep foods without refrigeration, such as curing meats: homemade jerky; pemican or (real) mincemeat; home-cured bacon, ham and sausage; dried beef or pastrami; and so on. We hope to have a presentation on this topic later this year.

Many questions also arise: How long do you cure the meat? What herbs & spices make the best flavor for a particular cured product? How much salt should you use? Is saltpeter needed? When do you use a wet brine vs a dry cure? I don’t have all the answers to these questions, but I’m researching them as I experiment with making cured and dried beef (more on this below).

Subjects addressed in this post:

  • The saltpeter (nitrate) dilemma: Botulism, Cancer,  and Alternatives to saltpeter
  • My dried beef experiment
  • Home-cured bacon
  • References & resource

See also my posts Corning Beef,  Cured vs Processed Meats, and Sugar and Salt in Food Preservation. The book: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Ruhlman, et. al., is an excellent reference with recipes. See Amazon for a peek inside.