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Archive for the 'Practical Solutions' Category

Emergency Food Storage Question from a Reader: Can You Freeze Glass Jars?

The correct answer is:

It depends.

You need dual purpose canning jars, not your leftover jars from store-bought spaghetti.  I’ve frozen in both, with very different results. The wide-mouth, dual purpose canning jars perform wonderfully.  I have a friend who freezes large batches of soup in them regularly, and I have done so as well.  Your recycled spaghetti jars, however, will shatter when frozen, and you will find yourself sadly throwing out your soup so that you don’t accidentally swallow glass slivers with it.

Seriously, always throw away any food involving broken glass, even if you believe some of it should be salvageable.  It’s just not worth the risk of a perforated intestine.

By the way, while poking around on food storage issues over the last couple days, I found out there’s a National Center for Home Food Preservation. Who knew?  It looks like a great resource.  I plan on adding it to my bookmarks.

And finally, for anyone who has been anxiously biting their fingernails in anticipation, I wanted to announce that my Lemon Sunshine Cookies are a finalist over at at 5 Second Rule.  That, of course, meant that I had to make a batch tonight to make sure I remembered the recipe.  As you might imagine, both the Unicyclist and I are heartbroken about the idea of having two dozen delicious cookies in the house.  Somehow, we manage to soldier on.

Keep an eye out.  I’ll be posting the recipe here once Cheryl announces the final results, and I will also be experimenting with a vegan version for all you vegans out there.

December is going to be a very delicious month.


Whales as Toxic Waste: What is the Warning Sign We’re Waiting For?

Despite the fact that environmental and animal compassion efforts to end commercial whaling have not been totally successful, whaling may finally be on the way out.  Why?

Whales are becoming toxic.

Recently, chief medical officers on the island of Faroe (located between Scotland and Iceland) told the Faroese that their traditional pilot whale hunts not might not be such a good idea, what with the mercury and DDT and PCBs being found in the meat.  Sadly, this advice came not as a precaution, but as a recommendation based on actual studies showing that the Faroese were suffering harm as result of these chemicals and heavy metals.  Studies on the Faroese have indicated that mercury in pregnant women, even at levels well within the “safe” zone established by the World Health Organization, had caused problems for their offspring including learning, memory, and attention deficits, as well as impaired immunity and high blood pressure.  Adults were dealing with higher rates of Parkinson’s disease, circulatory problems and possibly infertility.

This is not a problem isolated to pilot whales or to the island of Faroe.

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Answering Your Questions: Food Storage

You talk, I listen!  I promise to work my way through all your questions as I get to them (and please, feel free to submit more!), but today, we’re starting with Kathleen. Since I don’t have a picture of Kathleen, I am giving you instead a picture of my favorite eggplant in the whole world, photographed one fine summer day at the Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison, WI.

I have been calling that gorgeous piece of fruit “Eggplant McPurplehead,” but I am open to other suggestions.  Kathleen, since this is your post, you get first dibs.  Any nominations?

Anywho, let’s get back to Kathleen’s question, shall we?  She writes:

My question relates to storage. What’s the best way to store veggies like onions, garlic, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, etc.? Any help would be appreciated.

Why, Kathleen, I’m so glad you asked, and not just because you asked about the relatively uncomplicated ones.  Really.

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Creating Community with Weeds: Freecycling Hits the Garden

Here’s a little-known fact for you. If you show up at your neighbors’ houses with a milk crate full of the fragrant basil and marjoram you heartlessly ripped out of your garden in a fit of passion, you can make friends.

The good sort of friends.  The sort of friends that offers you things growing in their own yards.

Like aloe.

And lemons.

And grapefruit and oranges and pomegranates.

And suddenly, the weeks ahead are full of the promise of much backyard deliciousness.

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A Different Take on Granola

Because Miz Valerie has been asking about some rough-and-ready guidelines for granola for the faint of heart, in the interest of research, I riffed on my generic granola recipe and made some extra-nutty honey nut granola yesterday with twice as many nuts as usual, no millet or flax, buckwheat honey thrown in with the sweeteners, and a generous splash of almond extract.  Hello, deliciousness!

What prompted the out-of-season granola fest?  Well, a few things have been weighing on Miz Valerie’s mind about the granola-making process.  Specifically, she wanted some wet-to-dry ratios and the details on how long it would keep.  Miz V, this post is for you.

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Philly Food Tour Pt. 1: Sabrina’s, Di Bruno’s, and Reading Terminal

Having recently read Michael Pollan’s “Farmer in Chief,” I was excited to have the opportunity to visit one of the year-round indoor farmer’s markets he mentioned as a model for the nation: Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. My friends were ready, willing, and able to indulge in the experience, and we were off. Well, almost. After all, one should never try to evaluate food on an empty stomach. For that reason, Jon, Sara, Rachel, and I decided to pay a visit to Sabrina‘s to get fueled up before hitting the farmer’s market.

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Healthy Produce on a Shoestring: When to Pay Extra

One of the ways to protect your health while working within a tight budget is to prioritize which items are most important to get organically or sustainably farmed.  The Environmental Working Group has identified 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides–these are the ones you don’t want to get in the store if you don’t know how they were grown.  Here’s an excerpt of the information on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen–just follow the link here to read the whole list.

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When You’re Related to a Chef…

Everyone has favorites, right? One of my family favorites is my cousin Nathan. Besides the fact that he’s kind and fun and talented, he was also trained as a chef at L’Ecole La Varenne in Paris, France. (This makes for delicious family gatherings, by the way.)

Which is why, when the marjoram takes over an entire jumbo-sized pot in my container garden, I immediately go running to the expert: Nathan.

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