Episode 28: Craig Cole joins us to talk about getting starting with Bush Craft

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Becker BK7

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Bushcraft on Fire

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The Pathfinder School

Basic Fermentation: Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is really easy to make and very healthy for your gut. Darcy over at Stumbling Homestead blog posted this article, “Easy Sauerkraut, last year and I planted cabbage this year especially to try it. I setup my first batch last night and it came together really fast. I’ll be excited to see the results.

  • First I sterilized some quart mason jars
  • Next I shredded some cabbage with a mandolin slicer and the dicing insert. A plain old knife would work fine too, just take a bit longer
  • Stuff the cabbage into the jars and pack it down hard. Fill it up to just below the threads
  • Add a tablespoon to 1.5 tablespoons of salt. Make sure to use pickling salt or natural, unmodified, sea salt. In short, you do not want iodized salt.
  • Heat up some water to not quite boiling (Darcy suggests using filtered water, however I decided to use heated water as a friend suggested to me)
  • Ladle the water until it covers the cabbage
  • Put the lid on VERY loose so that air can vent
  • Now is where it gets interesting… my friend claims 6 weeks of fermentation for good Sauerkraut, however Darcy claims it is ready within a few weeks. The bottom line is you should go down and sample some from time to time and get a feel for what you think will taste best.
  • Ok, so it is the way you like it… great! At this point you can tighten the lids down and now you can choose one of two options to preserver it and stop the fermentation:
    1. Process the jars in a hot water bath (boiling water) for 30 minutes. It should keep for 9 months or more.
    2. Place in refridgerator and consume it as with any other pershiable.

Personally I will be canning some and eating some. It would be interesting to learn if the canning process negativately impacts the beneficial bacteria within the Sauerkraut.

Also Darcy points out in his article that he didn’t even like Kraut and is now addicted, so even if you don’t like store bought you might just want to give this cheap and easy method a try.

A mandolin makes quick work of cabbage
Make sure to use salt with no iodine
Ready for fermentation

Episode 27:Basic Home Beer Brewing with Bryan Vandenheuvel

Bryan has been brewing beer for awhile as a means to circumvent the high prices of beer where he lives. In this podcast we learn how brewing your own beer is an economical choice if you enjoy the taste of a nice craft brew.

Bryan is a blogger and he breaks down the process at his website here: http://thecityhomestead.blogspot.com/p/home-brew.html


3 Interesting ways to preserve fresh peaches

Today was a good day. When I showed up at work there was a box of peaches sitting on my desk. My lovely project manager remembered how much I was raving about Chambersburg Peaches and surprised me!

My first thought was to look up a recipe in my ball book and can them all in light syrup and be done with it, but then I thought… this would be a great opportunity to try out a new book I picked up at a yard sale The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving

The idea behind the book is that rather than always having to process 40 pounds of tomatoes when you make salsa you can make a few small batches regularly as you harvest. I decided to make 3 recipes this evening.

A jam, a marmalade, and a salsa.

On with the recipes:

Fresh Sweet Pepper and Peach Salsa

Fesh peach salsa
Fresh peach salsa

4 cups chopped peaches (approx 4 peaches)
1/2 cup sweet red pepper
1/2 cup sweet green or orange pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (the book had a typo… it had “coriander” written… wow that would have been a lot of coriander!!)
1 tbsp chopped jalapeno (I added 2 full large jalapenos, however I seeded them for my wife)
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey

Combine all in bowl. Cover and put in fridge for 30 minutes minimum. It will be hottest eaten that day, and heat will mellow over time.

I did a double recipe and I processed 1/2 in a hot water bath.

Minted Raspberry Peach Jam

we jammin'!

3 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup mashed raspberries (fresh preferred, or frozen)
2/3 cup chopped peaches
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 pouch of liquid fruit pectin

  1. Put sugar in a shallow pan in the oven at 250F for 15 minutes
  2. Combine raspberries, peaches, mint with warm sugar in a large bowl. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes
  3. Add lemon juice and pectin and stir constantly for 3 minutes
  4. Ladle jam into clean jars with 1/2 inch head space. Let set for 24 hours

Here the book says you can put it in the fridge for up to 5 weeks, however I processed mine in a hot water bath canner and it should now store as long as any other jam.

I did 2 batches of this recipe.

Microwave Gingered Peach Marmalade

peachy marmalade in a microwave... made a mess since I let it boil over in my shallow container

1 orange
1 lemon
1/2 cup water
2 cups chopped peaches
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp candied ginger or crystallized ginger

  1. Zest the lemon and orange until you have removed all of the outer skin from them
  2. Put zest and water in a covered container. Preferably a deep one (I made this mistake). Cover the container and microwave at 100% for 5 minutes stopping halfway through to stir. Then microwave at 70% for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the rest of the rind from the lemon and orange and discard the rind. Put the meat into a food processor (remove seeds first). Make it into a puree
  4. Add puree to rind mixture . Microwave on high for 5 minutes stirring once
  5. Add peaches, sugar and ginger. Microwave Uncovered on high for 6 minutes stirring once.
  6. Microwave on high for 12 to 16 minutes stirring every 4 minutes or until it forms a gel. You can test this with a spoon. If you dip it in it should have a consistency like molasses
  7. Ladle into hot jars and process with a hot water bath canner

Note: When you make marmalade it is important that you don’t double the recipe as this will drastically effect cooking times.

I made one batch of this recipe and it did not yield very much. I would probably prefer to make marmalade the old fashion way like when I made my orange chilli marmalade.