* I brought three green peppers into the house from the garden. After a day or two, I thought I’d better cut them in half, rinse them, and put them in baggies in the fridge. When I cut open the last pepper, there were two LIVE earwigs inside. It was super gross.
* I found this Long Shelf Life Foods: An Approach To Longer-Term Food Storage guide and thought it was pretty good.
* If you haven’t fed your garden yet this summer, it’s time. Use a good fertilizer (this is my preferred organic brand Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer. Pretty sure you can get it at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Put it on everything but NOT the beans or peas. Beans and peas actually produce nitrogen, and if you give them more, they can burn the plant. A little compost if you want, but that’s it. I think I also gave my beans some bone meal. Be sure you get one with the smallest first number as possible (that’s the nitrogen number) This one is 3-15-0 Lots of phosphorous Down to Earth Organic Bone Meal Fertilizer 3-15-0, 5 lb.
* When it’s hot, plants will either drop their flowers or not make flowers. It’s pretty consistently over 90 degrees now. I find that my full-size tomatoes have stopped producing tomatoes, but my grape tomato plants are still going full-on! I’m still getting beans, cucumbers (although they have slowed), zucchini (although they have also slowed), and lettuce (although they are being eaten by invisible critters somehow. Earwigs again????)
* I had to spray for aphids last week for the first time this summer. I’m STILL spraying for powdery mildew. I alternate between a peroxide mix and a store-bought OMRI fungicide. AND, I cut off a lot of leaves. Sigh. Some kind of something is still eating the lettuce. Really!!!! Gardening is a giant guessing game of water, insects, critters, and weather. I’m the first to admit it is cheaper and easier to buy at the store. But what do you do when the store shelves are empty (and we know how fast THAT can happen)? For me…. gardening is practicing, spraying, and praying. LOL
LONG TERM FOCUS: Onions
Take it from me, you do NOT want to make your own dehydrated onions. Unless you do it outside, you will stink up your whole house. Your clothes will smell like onion, your sheets will smell like onion, your hair will smell. I may have learned this the hard way. Cheaper and easier to buy them already dehydrated.
SHORT TERM FOCUS: Vanilla
I decided a while back to make my own vanilla. Costco had a 16 oz. bottle of real vanilla for $25 and I thought it was outrageous. I bought the vanilla beans, the vodka, and resurrected an old bottle from the trash. When I added up the cost, it was the same! I mean, it’s kinda cool to know how to do that, but why? So, I was curious about the difference between imitation vanilla and real vanilla. Here’s what I found out. Pure Vanilla Extract vs. Imitation Vanilla Flavor | Better Homes & Gardens
According to Better Homes and Gardens, you CANNOT tell the difference in baked goods: cookies, cakes, brownies. Don’t waste your money on real vanilla for these items. You CAN taste the difference in low-heat sweets, puddings, pastry creams, and icings, no-bake treats, simmered sauces, custards, and frozen desserts. Now you know.
72-HOUR KIT FOCUS: Knife
This is one of the best sellers on Amazon. Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath, 15-inch Fixed Blade Tactical Bowie Knife with Sharpener & Fire Starter for Camping, Outdoor,
Bushcraft. I like that it comes with a sharpener AND a flint stick for making fires.
Here’s another one. I like this one because it folds up which is a plus when you’re putting it in a backpack. Pocket Knife Spring Assisted Folding Knives – Military EDC USMC Tactical Jack Knifes.
Whether it’s a Swiss Army Knife or just a knife, you should have something. This would be a valuable tool to have in an emergency.
MISC FOCUS: Laundry Detergent
You can make a DIY washing machine with a bucket and a plunger. Check this out. Off the grid Laundry Bucket Hack – YouTube
I actually have two buckets – one for washing, one for rinsing. They are stored in the garage, with the plunger, and a couple of boxes of soap.
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
All of today’s recipes use dehydrated onions (or fresh, of course) They are recipes I copied years ago, so I wish I could give credit, but that information is long since gone.
1 TB oil
1 1/2 – 2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped fine
Brown together until beef and onion are cooked.
1 clove garlic minced. Add and cook 1 min more.
1 small cabbage, sliced thin.
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 c. water
Simmer with a lid for about 15-20 minutes.
Add 1 c. water and
3/4 c. rice
Simmer another 20 minutes until rice is done.
Meatball & Tortellini Soup
32 oz. beef broth
1 can Cannellini beans, not drained
1 can Italian diced tomatoes – not drained If I don’t have the Italian tomatoes, I just use regular diced tomatoes and add 1 tsp Italian seasoning
2-3 cloves garlic minced
2 stalks celery diced
1 onion diced (or 1/4 c. dehydrated onion)
1/2 TB Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb. frozen meatballs
(and I always add carrots….well because I LIKE carrots and I like the color it adds to the dish)
Cook in a crockpot 6- hours on low.
Add 1/2 – 1 bag frozen tortellini. Let cook another 30-40 minutes.
My crock pot is small, so I just eyeball the meatballs and tortellini.
I have a couple of recipes for “restaurant” bread that they bring to you hot with a plate of oil and vinegar. THAT bread tastes really good with this meal.
Claudine’s Baked Beans
I CAN give credit for this one to Claudine Taylor. She included it in a Relief Society cookbook that we did years ago. I still make it at least once a summer.
28 oz. can of Bush Baked Beans
1/4 lb cooked bacon, drained and crumbled
1/4 onion, chopped finely (1-2 TB dried onions)
1/4 c. catsup
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 TB yellow mustard
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Simmer 1 hour.