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Showing posts from November, 2017

How to Make and Use Herb Infused Oils

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Infusing oils is a very easy process though it does take time and patience for a well infused oil. 
There are so many different blends and types of oils one can make and they have a good amount of uses. Some may infuse oils for culinary purposes, which I have tried for fun myself.  Others will do so for medicinal and skin care reasons, which is mainly what I do.
I make a cayenne and peppermint infused oil for using in both my homemade muscle and joint rub and also in my special scalp and hair blend I use to help stimulate hair growth.  These are recipes I do plan on sharing here in the near future but first want to go over the oil infusions so you can get them started right away if you think that is something you would be interested in.
The other most common oil infusion I do is my calendula, pansy, and marshmallow blend (sometimes with rose petals) that I use in my homemade skin cream and lip balms. My lip balm recipe I will also share down the road but you can find my skin cream recipe…

How to Vacuum Seal Dry Goods Without Electricity

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Though I have demonstrated this method in many videos, I thought it would be a good idea to do a step-by-step in photos on how to easily vacuum seal your dried goods into mason jars without the need of electricity.
 I have found it to work FAR better than using the FoodSaver where it would take me several tries and several lids to finally get it to seal, and then they would still often lose their seals within a month or even a week. The only failures I have had with this method was a result of a bad lid or fine powders in too full jars. 

 Lids that have been used once for pressure or water bath canning typically will work better than brand new lids and can be used over and over again, however, they can still get misshapen over time and simply need to be tossed.

That is another thing that makes vacuum sealing dried goods into jars is the fact that one does not need to toss those metal lids so soon but can get many repeated uses from them.

To clean the permanent marker off the lids …

Cough, Cold, and Flu Remedy - Natural and Organic

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Making your own cough, cold, and flu remedy is not only easy and frugal, it is actually healthy for you too.  It can even be taken daily when not ill as a preventive. To top it off, it is pretty tasty! 
The exciting thing for me about this year's blend was using some of my own black elderberries plus the addition of homegrown marshmallow and echinacea leaves and flowers.  
I will be writing articles down the road about the many health benefits of both marshmallow and echinacea but for now let me explain a few reasons why these are good choices to add to your cold and flu blend.  
Marshmallow has mucilaginous properties making it great for soothing sore throats and calming coughs.  Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) Echinacea is an immune strengthener and will kill both bacterial and viral infections. 
Both echinacea and marshmallow have analgesic properties making them useful in relieving pain.
Echinacea Purpurea 
Then there are the wonderful immune boosting and bug fighting spices such a…

How to Make Rasin and Berry Vinegars

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I have been making vinegar of all kinds for several years and am always experimenting with new fruits, herbs, and blends. Though vinegar is incredibly easy to make, the easiest one is raisin - which also happens to be my favorite because it seems the most versatile. Its smooth, rich flavor and aroma makes it go so well in sautes, salad dressings, making vinegar based extracts, adding to homemade breads, and much more. Newly started batch and a completed batch of raisin vinegar All you need to get started is just three ingredients: 
*Water - filtered rain, spring, or well water, NOT city tap *Fruit (whole berries or raisins, sliced fruits, or even just the scraps like peels, cores, and pits from apples, peaches, pears, et cetera)
*Organic cane sugar or honey (not needed with fruits that have a high sugar content like raisins).

When making vinegar with berries or raisins, start with a half gallon jar and fill the bottom up to at least 1"-2" inch deep when using raisins and…

Living Partially Off Grid

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I had someone ask awhile ago if we were actually off grid or if we just explore with it. Well the answer is sort of both. We are still connected to public water and power, however, we live mostly off grid throughout the year.
Making beef jerky on the wood stove in the fall with the dehydrating rack Mr. Rain built
Since we have an extensive solar power set up, summer is easiest for us to be pretty independent of the grid. We are not grid tied with our solar and we plan to keep it that way. We want what is ours to be ours. Period. 

For a rather detailed explanation of our solar set up, here is a video Mr. Rain did on it:
From spring through fall, I do all my canning in my All American Canner on a propane burner outside and much of my cooking in our Solavore Solar Oven and on our Stovetec Rocket Stove.  When cooking outside is not an option, or I am baking breads and pies, that is when I utilize the solar power to run my toaster oven and hot plates. I also use these methods for…

Lacto Fermented Eggs

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Until recently, I had never had pickled eggs of any kind, not the modern way with vinegar nor the old fashioned fermented way.  I had no idea if I was going to like them but I do know I love hard boiled eggs and I had recently had someone ask me if my fermentation starter would work for this process so I had to do some experimenting to find out.

The answer is, yes, the fruit based fermentation starter works very well though one can also use whey if they prefer. Since I do not always have whey on hand unless I am making a lot of cheese, I stick to my fermentation starter as it is always readily available for all my fermenting needs.
Fermenting eggs is super easy and I was in love with them from my first try.  Since then, I have been experimenting with different spices and such to see what kind of flavors I can get.
Pictured below are two of my fermentation starters on the top left: Apple-Honey and Blueberry.   Top right are simple salted eggs that I had just started.   Bottom row from le…