People often ask me why I can food. My first response is always because I can. Seems simple enough but really there are other reasons. I like growing our own food but since fruits and veggies don’t grow year round, I need to can what we grow and don’t eat right away. I have a large family and I buy in bulk to help with the cost. That means sometimes I need to can the excess for another time. Then there’s the convenience factor. For example the other day everyone was home for Spring Break. We all slept in late but needed to get moving to head out the door. Since it would be hours before we could eat another meal we needed something substantial to fill our bellies.
So, I pulled out potatoes I had canned from our garden harvest last summer.
last summer’s potatoes
I melted some coconut oil, chopped some fresh green onions, and put in the potatoes with some seasoning to brown.
In the skillet
Because the potatoes were pre cut and precooked in the canning process, by the time cooked the sausage, gathered fresh eggs and cooked them, they were ready. I also heated up some pancakes I had made earlier in the month and froze.
In 20 minutes we had a hot satisfying breakfast and were soon on the road to enjoy our day.
quick easy breakfast
As we move closer and closer to Spring, it’s time to start getting the garden in gear. I’ve got seeds or starts already going for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, kale, lettuce, calendula, and potatoes. I still need to work on my herbs and lavender. This year, we decided to try using a portable hot house. Last month we set it up and started our seeds to see how it would work for us.
We added a set of plastic shelves and planted the seeds.
For a few days the weather stayed warm and the seeds stayed outside. Then we dipped below freezing. I left the starts out there for the first night and they seemed ok. The hot house kept temperature, but by the second night of below freezing temps, the hot house froze and I was a little worried about the starts. We moved them inside and kept an eye on them. The temps were again warm this weekend and I moved my little starters back outside and was happy to see some sprouting occurring.
Tonight the temps are supposed to get below freezing again so my starts will be indoors, but tomorrow we are on a warming trend for a few days and outside to the hot house they will return.
My brother-in-law “threw out some turnip seeds to see what would happen.” The result was astonishingly large turnips, which he just left in the field after eating a few.
We gleaned a lot of them. They are sweet when raw and extremely tasty when cooked. We stored several boxes in the cellar, but also decided to can up lots of them. It took 2 days with 2 canners (as one was cooling down the other was heating up)
and we netted 43 quarts of processed turnips.
I think we are good for now.
Our Soup of the Week is “survival soup”. It is a very easy soup to make if you have the ingredients on hand. This one can be made if the power is out, you are camping, you are busy running the kids to and from football practice all day, or you just don’t feel like cooking. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s still a healthy soup.
Ingredients we used:
Provident Pantry Freeze Dried White Chicken
Provident Pantry Freeze Dried White Turkey
Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Super Sweet Corn
salt and pepper to taste
Fill large pot about halfway full and add about 2 cups chicken, turkey, or some of both, about 2 cups or so of corn, 2 cans of drained peas, 2 cans of mushrooms and bring to a boil. This will also re-hydrate your freeze dried meats and vegetables so you might need to add more water. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add noodles and cook as per manufactures directions (in our case, we went about 8 minutes). Add any salt or pepper to taste. (This will feed a large family with leftovers so adjust your amounts accordingly)
Once the noodles are cooked, serve up and eat a steamy bowl of soup that is still healthy, hearty, and very quick to make.
Again, this is great if the power is out as long as you can heat water (which you can do outside using an Eco-Zoom stove like I showed here. It’s quick and easy for those times when life is running you ragged but you still need a quick meal for the family. Or, even if you are not feeling well and still need to get dinner on the table. Honestly, I think it took longer for us to photograph everything then it took for us to cook the meal. Enjoy.
Oh, here’s a quick look at the freeze dried corn and chicken before adding to the soup:
And then after a few minutes in water:
- 7 thumbs up from the family
- warm and good on a cold and chilly night
- easy to make
I am a little late posting our week 2 soup. This week was full of soup challenges. We were going to make steak soup, but that didn’t happen. I made a batch of squash soup and let me say, that was a huge fail! Three of out of the four people who took a taste said no way where they going to eat it. I was one of those people. The fourth, I think would have choked it down, but just to spare my feelings. Total failure.
Thankfully, Cary, over at Serenity Farms came to my rescue this week. She has taken up the soup challenge and made this squash soup recipe and posted it. Whew….she saved my squash soup attempt. I didn’t follow her recipe to the letter, but used it as a guide and we really liked it.
Large butternut squash
3 medium potatoes (skins left on)
1 large onion
2 celery stalks (I used celery I had dehydrated earlier this summer)
1 cup apple juice (also canned earlier this summer)
6 cups water
2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in pot and add diced onions. Cook until translucent. Add cubed squash (after peeling and seeding) and carmalize.
Add potatoes and celery and cook just a bit to brown the potatoes.
Then add apple juice and water, stir well and let cook for several hours.
Use stick blender and blend well to a creamy consistency.
Add milk, salt, and pepper and cook a bit more.
Serve with a bit of home made farmers cheese (or store bought if you wish…sigh…lol) and a toasted cheese sandwich made on home made bread and you’ve got a winner dinner.
It’s Monday, so it’s time for an onion update. As you can see, they are still going strong and we planted a few more bulbs.
I harvested a few stalks:
Chopped them up and they are ready for salad, soup, potatoes, or whatever we have this week:
I was able to transplant the onions to some dirt from the yard last Monday afternoon. As you can see, they really took off.
We just have them in the kitchen window because it still does get into the 30’s at night. I love how they are reaching towards the sunlight. Can you believe there has been that much growth since last Monday? One or two might be ready for cutting and eating.
We planted two more on Wednesday to see how they would compare to the first batch. They didn’t grow at all, so we took them out of the dirt and put them in a dish of water like we did with the first batch. They started growing in the water. I will transplant them into the dirt later today.
Did you know that you can regrow green onions? Seriously, how many like me, just cut up your onions and then threw away that precious bulb “waste” never thinking about it again? Yup, I was one of those. I would get my green onions from the store, then cut up, throw away, go about my day and repeat time after time. Well, no more. I have since learned that you can regrow your onions 3 or 4 times! So, after cutting up a few stalks of green onions last week (for a meal of potato soup and another of chicken fried rice) we are re-growing those onions. It’s been raining all weekend and I haven’t gotten any soil from outside to replant the onion bulbs, so I just put them in a bowl of water for now and they have already started to grow.
If you look closely you will see where they’ve already taken off and started their regrowth. Hopefully (that means, if I can remember) each Monday we will chronicle the growth of our onions so you (and I) can see how quickly these guys will regrow and you can have supplies of onions all year long with just a small investment.