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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Canning/Bottling Cherries

I'll be leaving on Saturday for 9 days of mountain man style camping, so like a responsible blogger, I'm breaking up something that could be one long post and scheduling it to run in segments periodically throughout next week so you won't be bored silly while I'm gone. It should actually be more regular posting than I've been doing lately while I've been here!

A while back a friend and I picked a boatload of cherries. Okay, about 4 buckets full. They were sweet cherries like Bing (not sure the actual variety, but they were not pie cherries). This cherry source came on kind of unexpectedly, so I had to make some time to take care of all the cherries. Here's my advice when you've got a lot of food to preserve: invite a friend or two over to help you.

We ended up bottling, dehydrating, and freezing cherries until we were sick of seeing cherries, but we got those 4 buckets of cherries taken care of in a day (this would have taken a week of afternoons on my own--hooray for friends!).

If you get a bunch of cherries, bottling them is the easiest and quickest way to get them preserved. It requires no special equipment aside from some pots, canning supplies (jars, lids, etc.) and a water bath canner.

First, wash the cherries. I just stick them in the sink in some water and kind of swish them around a bit.
Heat up some light syrup in a big pot (3-4 C water to 1 C sugar or 4:1 ratio of whatever you want to measure with). Put some lids in a pot and put them on low heat. Put water in your canner and get it heating up. Now while everything is heating up, put cherries in jars. This is not technical, you just take them out of the wash water and put them in clean quart jars. You could do pints also if you want to--I just have kids, so we do fruit in quarts now.
When you've filled 7 quarts (or however many jars your canner holds), pour the hot syrup over the cherries. I put the jars on the stove when they've got the cherries in them so they'll kind of heat up before I put the hot syrup in. Wipe the rims, screw on your hot lids and put the jars in the canner. I had one jar break this round because the water in the canner was boiling when I put the jars in. These jars are not real hot, I had better success putting them in before the water boils and letting it all heat up together. Subsequent batches I shut the canner's burner off and let the water cool a bit while I got the next round of cherries in bottles.
Put the lid on the canner and let the water boil 25 minutes for either pints or quarts. So if you put the jars in before the water boils, don't start timing until the water is boiling. At the end of the canning time, take the jars out and let them cool. For some reason, these seemed to take a long time for the lids to pop down--had me worried a bit, but they finally did.
I loved bottled cherries as a kid, but this is not my favorite way to process cherries anymore. The great thing about it is that you are able to process quite a few cherries with minimal equipment. You do have to spit the pits out as you're eating them--that's half the fun of eating bottled cherries!

Original: http://selfrelianceadventures.blogspot.com/2009/07/canningbottling-cherries.html

Dehydrating Cherries

Here's the second post in the cherry series coming at you through the magic of blogger scheduled posting while I'm camping.

Dehydrating Cherries is pretty easy, but does require that you have a cherry stoner unless you really want to cut the pits out of every cherry (NOT recommended unless you really have nothing better to do with your time, which I can't imagine).

Step one is to wash the cherries. Yep, that's the same wash the cherries picture from the canning cherries post.
Next you'll run the cherries through the handy dandy cherry stoner--mine is made by Back to Basics and clamps to the counter edge. The cherries go in one side, then you push the plunger and it pushes the pit out into a little container and the pitless cherry falls out the other side. It gets hung up every once in a while, but most of the time works pretty slick.
Next, cut your cherries in half and put them on your dehydrator trays so the cut side is up. This preserves the juice in the cherry as it dries.
Once the trays are full of little cherry halves, start the dehydrator. Depending on how large your cherries are and how humid your climate is, it takes from 13-20 hours to dry cherries.Dry them until they're like old raisins. Still sticky, pliable, not crispy, but not meaty.It took 2 1/2 trays of cherries to fill a quart jar. Dehydrating is like that. You do a lot of work and it ends up taking up very little space, which is good for storing lots of food, but not so good when you look at it and say, "I did all that work and that's all I have to show for it?" I was going to do some fruit leather with the cherries also, but the dehydrator was busy drying plain ol' cherries, so I froze a bunch to work with later.

I love to eat dehydrated cherries straight or put them in homemade granola type cereal. They are more tart than eating the cherry raw. They could go anywhere you would normally put a raisin, so cookies are fair game also. Yummy!

Original: http://selfrelianceadventures.blogspot.com/2009/08/dehydrating-cherries.html

Freezing Cherries

This is the third post in the Cherry series. Freezing cherries. This one won't take too long, it's pretty easy, but I'm trying to drag out a little information over the week, so freezing cherries got its own post.

When you have lots of cherries and not a lot of time, some things just have to wait. When we got all these cherries, I wanted to make fruit leather and dry some more cherries, but just didn't have the time to do it. Freezing the cherries made it so I can do something with them later. The frozen cherries will also be good for putting in ice cream, fruit smoothies, or any other recipe calling for fresh cherries.

First, wash your cherries. Seriously, if you've been following these cherry posts, these first couple of steps are going to look familiar.
Run the washed cherries through your cherry stoner. Mine is Back to Basics brand. You could probably skip this step, but I want my frozen cherries ready to use when they thaw out.
Next, put them in freezer bags and freeze them. I used my FoodSaver, and measured 2 cups of cherries into each pack so I know how much I have to thaw if I'm planning on using them in a recipe.
Lastly, label your packages and put them in the freezer. Yep, that's all there is to it. That was easy. Hope you're enjoying your week! I'm probably ready for a shower about now on my camping trip . . .

Original: http://selfrelianceadventures.blogspot.com/2009/08/freezing-cherries.html

Audio Podcast: Episode-199- Methods of Rain Water Harvesting

Today’s show expands on last weeks first show about Permaculture Zones and Layers (Episode 196) by discussing different methods to harvest and conserve water. Today’s link section includes some of the best resources i have ever featured on a shows subject matter, I encourage you to check them all out. Tune in today to hear, Why you [...]

Audio Podcast: Episode-198- Thoughts on Selecting a Bug Out Location

icon for podpress Episode-198- Thoughts on Selecting a Bug Out Location [48:31m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

Today’s broadcast discusses options for setting up, finding and selection of a bug out location, (also called a BOL or fall back location). There is also a bit of follow up on yesterdays show about the swine flu and some other little pieces of advice.

Tune in today to hear about…

  • How far is far enough away, how close is to close
  • Does a BOL have to be remote, think about Hurricane Katrina
  • Why a bug out location is a highly personal choice and what you want is most important
  • Hidden gotchas to watch out for in buying a second piece of property
  • Why tent camping is not a good idea for your BOL and why you really need a structure ASAP
  • Starting with an outbuilding is a good option
  • Thoughts on over looked benefits of mountain land
  • My personal big 4, (water on property, guns are acceptable, land is good for growing food and livestock are welcome in the community)
  • Is the Northwest the most ideal place, thoughts on rough winters and possible global cooling
  • Watch out for potential annexation by surrounding towns/cities
  • Buyers covenants are good, home owners associations are evil!
  • If you move permanently to your BOL you no longer have a fall back position
  • Stay away from major roads, roving hordes are not the only reason
  • Know the community you have chosen before you buy
  • The hidden danger on land that borders “National Forest”, etc.
  • Have redundancy options for your well, (manual, solar, something not grid dependent)
  • Using slope to your advantage with water harvesting
Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/survivalpcast/~3/_DNzcFp-FbU/episode-198-thoughts-on-selecting-a-bug-out-location

We Leave No Trace

By Joseph Parish

As survivalists it may come down to a situation where we must hide in the woods while we are embarking upon our way to our chosen retreat in order to survive. If and when this event happens it is important that we leave no trace of our existence for others to follow.

When a survival situation happens there are likely to be many marauding groups of people that are not so nice and are merely looking for others that they may prey upon. In these types of situations we certainly do not under any circumstances wish to have these groups on our trail. In this sense it is important that we clean and prepare our stop over as if we had never been there.

Perhaps our final destination is several days ride from our departure point. In that case we may have a stop or two along the way. Never leave a dirty location. There are all kinds of ways that a tracker can tell where you are heading by the trash that you leave behind. A little effort on your part is all that will be needed to ensure the safety of your family when you leave your temporary location.

The old saying of “pack it in, pack it out” is certainly one that holds water in a situation such as this. Never leave any sort of litter laying around for strange eyes to see. In fact, you should always carry a small plastic garbage bag with you to place your trash in as you travel to your retreat.

Make certain that you dump your gray water at least 200 feet from where you were settled for the evening at your stop over area and if you use soap try to flush it away after dumping your water. Either bury the ashes of a fire or place them in the trash bag to be disposed of later. Make certain that your fires are out completely before departing the area.

Dig a hole that is at least six inches deep when you need to dispose of human waste. Watch where you leave footprints as this not only tells a tracker how many people are in your party but also the approximate ages and sex of the individuals.

Remember that not all people in times of crisis can be trusted and are of good character so it is up to you to take the proper precautions.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


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