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How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes

Let’s freeze them sweet potatoes shall we.

We, aka my husband, harvested our purple sweet potatoes recently and we ended up with more than we expected.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a basement or a cellar that we can store these bad boys in so, I had to get creative.

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First thought was, let’s can these beauties.

Then I did some research and found that while canning sweet potatoes was definitely an option, the only real way to use them after they were canned would be to mash them up.

Sweet potatoes are already a softer potato than let’s say russets or red potatoes. And because we MUST can them in a pressure canner for a specific amount of time, which is 60 minutes for pints and 90 for quarts, it produces a very soft well cooked potato.

This just wasn’t gonna work.

We love to eat our purple sweet potatoes for breakfast mixed with bell pepper and onions and garlic. So……..

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Second thought, let’s freezes these little suckers.

This method was slightly time consuming but well worth it. We have our potatoes ready whenever we like and have more options when cooking them, then just mashed potatoes.

This process requires cooking the potatoes just before they are done, so it does take a bit of time to complete. Make a plan to spend some well worth it time in that lovely kitchen of yours. Y’all ready to get cookin’ and freezin’?

How to freeze sweet potato

Things you need:

Big pot

Steamer basket or you can use a pressure cooker, if that tickles your fancy.

Cookie sheet

Parchment paper

Spoon

Directions:

  1. Wash your potatoes well.
  2. Fill your pot with a few inches of water and turn on high heat. Place your steamer basket inside.
  3. Put your potatoes inside your pot and cover.
  4. Cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are just cooked.
  5. Allow them to cool. Take your spoon and gently scrap the peel off the potatoes.
  6. Then cut potatoes into desired size and place on cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Place your tray in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Remove tray from freezer and place in a labeled freezer bag or container of your choice.
  9. That’s it y’all!

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How to use frozen sweet potatoes

Use your potatoes just like you would store bought frozen potatoes.

We like to heat them up in a skillet with some bacon grease. Then we caramelize some onions and some red and yellow bell peppers. Mmm it’s delicious.

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Hope y’all enjoy your harvest.

Don’t forget to check out our sweet potato baby food recipe.

Happy preserving!

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Incredibly Easy DIY Fruit Roll Ups

Kombucha Style.

So, you have made a crap ton of kombucha and now you have found yourself with a crap ton of SCOBYs. 

Don’t you worry homie, I’ve got a fun super easy solution to this “problem.” If we can even call it a problem because I mean, come on, SCOBYs are your friend. We want them around but not a crap ton, right?!

Am I right!

Today we are making some fruit roll ups, Kombucha style. This is a perfect way to put all those SCOBYs to work, all the while putting a smile on your kid’s face. 

Or yours, I am not here to judge.

Y’all ready to make some deliciousness?

What y’all need:

2 cups Kombucha SCOBY

1 cup Kombucha tea

3 cups organic frozen or fresh fruit

1/4 organic cane sugar

Parchment paper

dehydrator or an oven, whatever

What y’all want to do is:

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Take your SCOBY out, using gloves or extremely clean hands. We don’t want to taint all of those beautiful SCOBYs left behind. Cut it up into chunks and throw in a blender.

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Add your tea to the blender. And blend like a mofo.

Once you got that all nice a smooth. In a sauce pan add your fruit and sugar. Heat just enough to release those natural sugars and until a little liquid appears.

Next, throw your fruit in the blender with your SCOBY puree and puree your little heart out again.

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Take your parchment paper and spread a nice layer of your SCOBY/fruit puree. If you spread to thin, your roll up will be brittle. If you spread to thick, your roll up will not roll like it should! Like I said, a nice layer! An 1/8 of an inch, if you will. 

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Place your parchment paper on your dehydrator racks and let dehydrate for about 12-18 hours. Or until your roll ups are nice and tacky but not gooey. 

I know, I am extremely precise. 

If y’all are using an oven, same concept. Turn your oven on the lowest setting and allow to bake until you achieve that tacky not gooey texture. 

Now, how easy was that?! 

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Oh, and if you have some left over but not enough to make another layer, make some popsicles with it. Another delicious treat for the kiddos. I got these popsicle molds from amazon and love them. They are small, the perfect size for an after dinner treat for the kids.

Don’t let those SCOBYs go to waste y’all. 

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And……they LOVED them!!

Happy fruit roll up making!

If you have no idea what Kombucha is and want to check it out, head on over here. And if you want to get started with a SCOBY to start making your own Kombucha tea, we’ve got you covered there too. 

Got questions? We want to hear them! Leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

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Preserving Purple Pole Beans

The time finally came.

We canned our beautiful purple pole beans y’all.

And they came out perfect.

Purple pole beans are so much fun to grow. They are these perfect little beans that are the most gorgeous shade of purple. Give them an upright fence to grow on and boom son, no huge planter space taken up. This year, we planted them along this old ladder we had just sitting on the side of the house. We plopped the ladder in the middle of the garden and planted seeds that we harvested last year and we couldn’t believe how happy these little plants were.

This whole gardening thing is pretty incredible. Especially when you have the pleasure of utilizing your very own harvest to replenish the garden over and over again.

My husband and I have a deal. He grows our food and I make sure it gets to our table in some form or another.

He grew us some beautiful purple pole beans. And so….

I canned those beautiful purple pole beans.

Here is how I did it.

Well first off, lets talk about a few important things. When canning foods that have little to no acidity, you need to use a pressure canner to can. This ensures that all bacteria that can cause severe illnesses are killed in the process and what you have left over is safe pure food.

Beans fall into the little to no acidity category. So, for this adventure we are using our All American Pressure Canner. Wanna take a side note with me?

Ahhh I knew you’d say yes….

Which canner to use.

I did a ton of research on pressure canners before I made this investment. I landed on the All American Canner  because of a few reasons.

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  • These canners do not require gaskets. So there is nothing you have to continuously purchase. Only requirement is that you lube the edge of the lid with coconut or olive oil before each canning session.
  • These canners are built in the USA and are made to LAST, your great grand-kids could benefit from this investment.
  • They offer multiple sizes for your canning needs. Making it incredibly efficient if canning is your main source of storing food or if you just want to occasionally can at times. I invested in the middle of the road canner, model number 921. On the website I states that it holds 19 pint size jars and 7 quart size jars. What I have found is that I am only able to can 12 pint size jars. Or 6 quarts. It does state under the specs that quantity of jars may vary depending on jar brand.

I gotta to say that this last batch of canning I did, I wanted to make it count so, I canned 12 quart size pinto beans and 6 pint size black beans and I was really wishing I have invested in the bigger size available.

BUT…. I made it work and I’m still in love with my canner. Every time I bring it out, I have this feeling of confidence. This feeling of self-sufficiency. This feeling of, F-yea!

Lastly, I also love the weight on this pressure canner as well. It is incredibly easy to use and it gives you full control over your pounds per pressure.

So if you have been going back and forth on what canner to how with, I highly suggest you research the All American Canner and take the plunge.

Small disclosure, I am not affiliated with Pleasant Hill Grain, the company who makes this canner. I just have experienced their superior product and don’t mind dancing on roof tops and yelling, “I LOVE THIS CANNER…….” Because I LOVE THIS CANNER! I am, however, affiliated with amazon and that is the link I provided you. So, if you decide to take the plunge, would you be so kind as to purchase through the link I provided. There is no additional cost to you and it helps us out tremendously.

Ok….

Back to canning beans? You got it!

Oh, if you are new to the whole canning food thing, head on over here to read about all the equipment you need to get started.

And, if you want to check out the quick reference list before you get started, head on over here.

Canning Pole Beans

What y’all want to do is:

First off, get all your equipment and utensils ready. Use your quick reference list I gave you. And then get a cutie to help you pick those beautiful beans from the garden.

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  • Fill your pressure canner up with about 2-3 inches of hot water. Using hot water helps heat the water when on the stove.
  • While your canner is heating up, fill a big pot with filtered water, enough to fill all jars. ***Heat more water than you think, the last thing you want is to not have enough water in the middle of your session.
  • While both pots are reaching their boil. Rinse your pole beans. Break the ends off if necessary. Then break into half inch pieces. Place in a bowl.
  • If you used your quick reference list, you should already have a bowl set aside with your lids in it. If this is true, you just earned yourself a star, yo! If it’s not and you just had to scrabble around to get yourself a bowl, I say, USE YOUR LIST! It’s time to fill your bowl with some hot water from your pot. This step is important, it heats up the seal on the lid allowing it to properly seal onto the jars during the canning process.
  • Fill up desired size jars with your beans.

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  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, this step is completely optional. It only adds to the taste.

Canning Purple Pole Beans

  • Using your funnel, fill jars up with boiling water. Leave about a 1/4 inch of head space at the top of your jar. Use your “knife” utensil and remove any air bubbles that may be present.
  • Use your paper towel dip it in some clean water, or vinegar and wipe the rim of each jar. This is also important because it removes any debris that may have gotten onto the lid. If debris is left on the rim and you put your lid on, there is a great chance that your lid won’t seal properly.
  • Using your magnetic lid lifter, place lids onto your jars. Place the rings on top of the lid and only tighten finger tight. Don’t over tighten. Air still needs to be able to escape.
  • Use your tongs and place jars into canner. *** I am not gonna lie homie, sometimes you’ll come across a jar that will break the moment you place inside your canner. Or even during the canning process. Sometimes you just have a faulty jar. So just be prepared.
  • Place your canner lid on and tighten knobs. Tighten knobs opposite of each other. This ensures that the lid is evenly tightened.
  • DON’T PUT YOUR WEIGHT ON YET. Allow the canner to reach the proper temperature. You will know it’s time to put the weight on when you hear steam releasing from the steam valve for a stead FULL 10 minutes.

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  • Once you allowed steam to release for 10 minutes, place your weight with the correct pounds, usually 10 pounds. Unless your altitude is insane. Now allow the canner to build pressure to the amount of pounds you have on your weight. Once you hit your pounds, turn heat down just a tad. I mean, just a tad. And start your timer. 40 minutes for quart size jars. 20 minutes for pint size jars.
  • Once done, just turn off your canner and set an hour timer. This allows all the pressure to naturally release from the canner. Once the hour is up I usually take my weight off and the last bit of pressure will release. I then wait for about 10 more minutes before I attempt to open the lid. ***Always unscrew the knobs opposite of each other. And open the lid away from your face.
  • Using your tongs, take jars out of canner and place on your towel that you already had prepared because you used your quick reference list!
  • Leave jars alone for a full 24 hours.

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  • I only hope you get to hear the sweet sound of the PING. That sound tells you,  spending all day in the kitchen like a 50’s house wife, was all worth it!

Canning purple pole beans

  • After 24 hours, remove rings from jars. I like to hold my jar by the lid, gently, just to make sure all my lids are actually sealed. ***You may notice some water spots, no biggy, just spray some vinegar on a paper towel and wipe clean. Don’t forget to label and date!

That is it my friends. It may seem like a lot but in reality it takes about 15 minutes to prep. The time consuming part is waiting for your canner to reach pressure and then decrease in pressure. The best part is that you get to fill your pantry with your own green beans that taste like heaven.

How to use your canned green beans

I love to heat up some oil in a cast iron pan. (We use bacon grease from high quality bacon to cook with.) 

Slice up some sweet onion and throw them in the pan. I like to caramelize the onions before throwing the green beans in. The green beans only need to be heated, not cooked so they take about 5 minutes in the pan. I usually make this side dish at the very end.

Add some salt and pepper.

And the best part, take a few pieces of cooked bacon and cut it up into pieces and sprinkle on top of your green beans.

Y’all, its heaven!

Happy canning! AND eating!

Questions? I wanna to hear ’em! Leave a comment or question down below! Oh and hey, wanna free eBook with some awesome recipes utilizing herbs? Subscribe to our email list yo!

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Homemade Dog Treats

 

Well homemade dog treats is kind of misleading. These dog treats are made out of chicken feet. Wait, let me correct that, they ARE chicken feet. Just dehydrated.

Should I change the title of the post? I mean, they are homemade and they are the perfect treat for dogs.

Ah F it. Homemade dog treats it is.

If y’all didn’t read the last post about our chickens, take a gander. We unfortunately had to get rid of our chickens sooner than expected. These ladies were our first major step towards our homesteading journey and our intention was to love them, allow them to be chickens and then they would provide us with food at the end of their production.

The time had come and even though we tried to chicken out, literally, we stuck to our intention and butchered our first chickens. A more in-depth post on our experience is coming soon I promise. It was nothing like we expected. It was harder than we ever imagined.

But let’s get on with our dog treats shall we. Unfortunately, the only salvageable part of our butchered chickens were their feet. Again, a more in-depth post will come soon.

Their feet, being the only thing we were able to save, were dehydrated and made into perfect dog treats for our pup Angus.

It was super simple to. Ready to hear how to do it?

All you need:

Dehydrator

Chicken feet…….obviously

All you do is:

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  • Soak chicken feet in a bowl of water over night. This helps get all the dirt off their feet.
  • After soaking run under water and scrub feet with a bristle brush. Using soap is not necessary. Be sure to scrub off as much dirt as possible.

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  • Next, you want to clip off their nails.

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  • Bust out that dehydrator of yours and lay the feet on a tray.
  • Now, turn that bad boy on and let it go for about 24-48 hours. Or until they become super crispy. You will know they are ready when you try to bend a toe back and it breaks off without bending. If it bends, even a little, let it keep going. I think ours actually took about 3 days.

***Small tip, plug the dehydrator in the garage if available. Not like the dehydrator is super loud but it can be annoying to listen to after about an hour. In the garage, it’s away doing its bad boy thing.

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That is is y’all. Super easy and your pup gets insanely delicious healthy treats.

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Happy dehydrating!

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Strawberry Jam Yo!

Canning strawberry jam

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Wanna can some jam?

It was 93 degrees today with a humidity of 84%, sounds like a perfect day to stand barefoot in the kitchen over a hot stove and make some jam.

Don’t you think?

I mean, when really is a good time to can. No matter what, you are going to be dripping sweat so, I say F it…..

Can it up yo!

I love canning food. It is just so empowering to take a delicious piece of food, homegrown or from the farmers market and preserve it at its finest. But canning to many can be super intimidating. When really, it’s not. Today we will can up some delicious strawberry jam. Now, back in the day rule of thumb was a cup of white sugar to a cup of fruit. That just seems a little intense. When you have a pure piece of fruit that is organically grown with love and picked at its prime, there really shouldn’t be any reason to cover up it’s natural sweetness with processed white sugar. This recipe we will be using honey and the ratio will be more fruit than sweetener.

Jams, jellies and other high acidic fruits require the water bath method. Water bath method is using boiling water to process your jars. Usually you can find a water bath canner at walmart, target or even the grocery store. Or you can just click here and bam get one delivered right to your door.

Usually I skip out on added pectin when making jam in the past, which pectin is just a natural starch found in fruits and vegetables. This helps naturally thicken up jams and jellies. I did use it in this recipe and was pleased with the results.

Ready for the recipe…..

What you’ll need:

8 cups of strawberries

1 cup of honey

6 tablespoons of pectin

Juice of half a lemon

Whatcha wanna do is…..

Start up your water bath canner first thing. It’s a ton of water and takes some time to get boiling. Next, place a small plate in the freezer, trust me.

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Then wash and de-stem your strawberries. Now, you can either throw whole strawberries in a sauce pan and use a masher to mash them up or you can puree your strawberries. Either way bring those bad boys to boil.

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Add in your honey, pectin and lemon juice. Bring to a boil that can not be stirred down.

***Let’s take a second to talk about “scum.” Scum is simply air bubbles that rise up from the fruit during the heating process. It is a white foam that sits on the top of your jam while cooking. If you do not remove the scum, your jam will be discolored and processing may be compromised. You do not want air trapped in your jars. You can easily remove the scum as it rises to the top with a spoon.

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Next, remove the scum. See now aren’t you glad I explained what scum is first, now you’re not scratching your head wondering what the in the hell is scum?

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At this point, the water bath should be boiling. Go ahead and put all your jars, rings and seals in the water. Allow to boil for 10 minutes. This will sanitize and keep everything safe for canning.

Now, take that plate out of the freezer, I told you to trust me, and put a small spoonful of jam on it and place back in freezer for 3 minutes. This is an old trick to see if your jam is ready to can. When you run your finger threw it, it gels up a bit, that is when it’s ready to rock.

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Now take those hot jars out carefully, along with the rings and seals. Place a funnel over the jar and fill those bad boys up with jam, leaving a quarter inch of headspace. Gently wipe the rim of the jar, this prevents any residue from not allowing the jars to seal properly. Place seal and ring on and tighten only finger tight. ***Do not over tighten.

Allow filled jar to wait in canner by lifting your rack.

***Ball blue book suggests you do one jar at a time and allow filled jars to wait in hot water until jars are ready to be processed. By doing this all jars stay hot and at appropriate temperature.

Now gently drop your rack down, put lid on and process your jars for 10 minutes.

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Place jars on a towel and do not touch for 24 hours. This allows the jars to properly seal. Hopefully you get to hear the sweet sound of a delicate BING throughout the day. That sound my friends tells you all that sweating you did in the kitchen was worth it.

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***If your jars have white residue from hard water after processing, spray a paper towel with vinegar and wipe jars down.

Boom son, you just canned yourself some sweet delicious strawberry jam.

Happy canning!

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