** Someone asked me about canning salsa. I knew that you could water bath tomatoes, but salsa has other ingredients and I wasn’t sure if it was safe. So…I looked it up. The short answer is YES if your additional ingredients do NOT lower the Ph level to less than 4.6 Here is the link and some suggested recipes that WILL work for water bath canning: National Center for Home Food Preservation | NCHFP Publications
** Fire Season is already here. Do you have one of these Grab & Go lists??? You don’t need to use this one, but you NEED one!!!
** Does baking soda expire? Yes. After opening, it is only good 6 months – 1 year. How can you test it? Put a little spoonful in a bowl, and add something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar. If it starts to bubble vigorously, the baking soda will work well in the recipes. If not, DON’T throw it away. You can use it as a cleaning agent. Check it out here: How to Tell If Baking Soda Is Still Good | Martha Stewart
** Sprouting. I looked up the video on growing alfalfa sprouts. This is the one I did with a paper towel and a colander. How To Grow Alfalfa Sprouts – Cheap Easy Method You do NOT need a sprouting kit. Here is a link to alfalfa seeds at a good price. Organic Alfalfa Sprouts Seeds.
My favorite sprouting seeds are the crunchy lentil mix. But they are sold out. Luckily I bought a large bag on my last purchase, and I’ve got my name on the list to be notified when they are in stock again. Organic Lentil Salad | Crunchy Lentil Fest Sprouting Lentils
** If you are wondering about what you can plant in grow bags, I found this chart:
** I always enjoy reading these to see how I’m doing. Find your zone and click to see what you should be doing in June: How to Start a Garden in June: A Checklist | Kellogg Garden Organics™
** I finally covered everything in the garden with the shade cloth. My plants were very grateful.
The 7-gallon size is not listed here. I have a few tomato plants in the 7 gal. size. I also found that broccoli grows well in larger sizes. I have cucumbers and also butternut squash in the 7 gal. size.
** This week’s issue:
This is what powdery mildew looks like. This was NOT the worst of the leaves, but typical of this plant. Nearly every leaf looked like this. Powdery mildew is a fungus. There are lots of natural remedies you can try – everything from hydrogen peroxide to baking soda. I happened to have some fungicide mixed up already and used that. Neem oil is what I used last year. I think this plant is getting too much shade and I need to move it so it gets more sun. Ugh. This is a constant battle for me all summer long.
If you don’t take care of it, it will kill your plants:
AND….. of course, it is super contagious.
THIS WEEK’S PURCHASE: dry beans
You can get dried beans at any grocery store in one-pound bags. Winco, Costco, and other large stores also have 25-pound bags of beans. For long-term storage, your beans should be repackaged in buckets with oxygen absorbers, OR the small bags can be vacuum sealed. If you are just beginning your food storage adventure, get one or two 25-pound bags. The recommended amount is 60 pounds PER PERSON. When cooked, beans triple in volume. One pound of dry beans will make 6-7 cups of cooked beans. 60 pounds of beans will give you 1 cup of cooked beans a day. Pinto beans, white beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans will give you a good variety.
MISC PURCHASE: jam
When I went to buy jam last week, I was surprised at how small the selection was. There were NO large jars of jam. There were only pint-sized jars, and not many of those. If you think peanut butter and jam sandwiches would be filling and easy to prepare, get a couple of jars and stick them away. Note: I was at Stater Brothers and they did have the large jars of jam. Go figure.
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
There are three ways to cook beans.
There are a lot of ideas for getting old beans to soften. Some say to add baking soda. Some say to use a pressure cooker. Frankly, I don’t know because I have not tried to cook my old beans. If you have a sure-fire way that works, let me know about it.
Homemade Refried Beans
This is from Tastes Better From Scratch
Homemade Refried Beans Recipe – Tastes Better From Scratch
Cook 1 pound (2 cups) of pinto beans as above, except add 1-2 tsp salt and 1 onion quartered. Drain the beans, remove the onion, and reserve the bean broth water.
In a skillet, add
2 TB oil and heat
Add 3 cloves garlic and soften.
Add back in the cooked beans and
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 c. of the bean broth
(chopped up onion from the beans if desired)
Gently smash the beans as they cook with a fork.
Continue smashing and adding broth until you get the consistency you want.
I like this recipe because she tells you how to adapt by adding other ingredients (bell peppers?) or how to cook the beans in a crock pot, or in an Instapot.
You can use refried beans to make tostadas or burritos, or just as a side dish for some tacos. Personally, I tried the dehydrated refried beans and couldn’t get them to get the right consistency. We didn’t eat them. But I HAVE made homemade refried beans (many, many, many years ago) and liked them! Cooking the beans is a pain, but if that’s what you have to eat, then that’s what you do!
This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. It makes a lot.
2 pounds ground beef. Brown and add
2 cloves garlic. Cook till beef is done and garlic is fragrant, then drain.
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 5sp oregano
1 TB cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 TB chili powder
1 tsp salt
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring in 1/2 c. water at a time if the mix becomes dry. Add
1 can of pinto beans drained
1 can of kidney beans drained
Continue to cook for another 30 min.
In a separate dish put
1/4 c. masa (corn flour found in the Mexican food section)
1/2 c. water. Stir together with a fork.
Dump the masa mix into the chili. Stir together well. Add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency.
1 jalapeño seeded and finely diced if desired
1 can diced tomatoes and chilies if desired
Simmer 10 additional minutes.
From this recipe, you can see that if you are relying on your dried beans, you may want to cook up a batch of beans and save some out 2 c. for this and other similar recipes. You can freeze cooked beans. Otherwise, you’d need to soak and cook 3/4 dry beans of each pinto and red beans for this recipe.
Boston Baked Beans from Cook’s Comfort Food Favorites
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Cook
4 ounces of salt pork cut into 1/2 inch pieces and
2 slices of bacon cut into 1/4 inch pieces in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally until lightly browned and most of the fat is rendered about 7 minutes. If you can’t find salt pork (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it in the store), you can use only bacon, 6 oz.
1 onion, chopped fine – Add and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onion is softened, 5-7 min longer.
9 c. water
1 pound dried small white beans, picked over and rinsed
1/2 c. molasses – DO NOT use blackstrap molasses.
1 1/2 TB brown mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
Add and increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Bake until beans are tender, about 4 hours, stirring halfway through baking.
Carefully remove the lid and continue to bake until liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency, another 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer. Remove pot from oven.
1 tsp apple cider vinegar – Add in
1 TB molasses – Add in
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Beans can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Author’s Note: These beans have a pleasantly firm texture and intense flavor. They are well worth every minute they take to cook.
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That is pretty much how I make my refried beans. Learned it as a prep cook in the 70s, when I got a lucky break in the business — back when I was a country-bumpkin kid with almost zero familiarity with Mexican food, (except maybe I’d been to a Jack In The Box a couple of times — again, this was the 70s, when JITB was owned by…<raising eyebrows> Ralston Purina… But, I digress).
Came to really love them, esp with rice, (as it should be!), but with many other things. Your recipe nails it!
Awesome article!! Thank you! I’m going to have to dig into your archives and learn more.