Preserving Mushrooms

While shopping at Aldis, they not only had onions on sale, but they had mushrooms on sale for $0.69, so I bought 12! What am I going to do with these mushrooms, especially since I already have a bunch of dehydrated ones?  I’m going to can these so that they can easily be added to homemade pizzas, etc.  Mushrooms have to be pressure canned.  They CANNOT be water bath canned.  I followed the instructions in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

 

First, trim stem ends & any discolored areas.  Soak in cold water for 10 minutes.  Drain & rinse well. Aren’t they pretty?!

 

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I sliced my mushrooms with an egg slicer, then placed them in a lemon juice solution to keep them from browning.  Next I placed the mushrooms in a stock pot with enough water to cover & bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boiling for 5 minutes.

 

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I drained the mushrooms, discarding the liquid, and the packed them into half-pint jars (half-pint or pint jars ONLY).  Next, I ladled fresh boiling water over the mushrooms, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Then, I pressure canned them for 45 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.  (The pounds of pressure & time are the same for half-pints and pints).

 

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And a close-up look:

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I think they turned out beautifully!  This is the first time that I’ve canned mushrooms, but I can guarantee that it won’t be the last.  I first read about it over at A Working Pantry, so I knew that when I came across another good sale on mushrooms, I was going to give it a try.  (Thank you, Patsy!) They were so easy to do.

 

My oldest daughter thought they were store-bought canned mushrooms!  LOL  I guess that means I did a good job, then!  Just one less thing that I have to buy that’s precanned/processed.

 

This post is linked to:

Heritage Homesteaders

Oak Hill Homestead

Long Term Onion Storage

My local Aldis had onions on sale this week – 3 pounds for $0.79!!  Great stock up price!  So, I bought 18 bags = 54 pounds of onions!  So, now what?  How in the world do you store that many onions until you can use them up without going bad?  Well, it’s simply really.  Old panty hose!  You take a pair of old panty hose, drop in an onion, tie a knot close to the top, repeat process until the legs are full, tying a knot above the last onion.  To store, simply hang in a cool, dry, dark place.  When you need an onion, simply cut below the last knot and you have your onion!  Simple.  Easy. Frugal. 
Here’s what 54 lbs of onions (minus 4 onions) looks like once they are in the panty hose. 
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They will hang in my pantry to await use.  I may eventually dehydrate some but, for now, they will simply hang in my pantry.  Stored like this, they will keep for up to 6 months!  Another great reason to take advantage of a great sale!
This post is linked to:

Laura Williams' Musings

The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival

Product Review & Giveaway!!!

On Monday, I was anxiously awaiting this little package in the mail!
Blog Pic - Tattler Box
Any guesses as to what might be inside? 

OK!  OK!  I’ll tell you!  Or, better yet. I’ll SHOW you! 
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I’ve been eyeballing these for quite some time.  When I mentioned them to my sweet husband, he was not as sure about them as I was, and the price definitely threw him.  His question to me was, “Are they really worth it?”  So, I contacted Tattler regarding their product, relaying my sweet husband’s doubts, and asked if there was any way I could sample them.  They responded to my email fairly quickly with a “Yes!”  They would send me a sample of their product to try.  And this is what I received! 
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I was extremely happy since I had only expected maybe a couple of them! So, I did what all canners do – I put them to work immediately! Since I was in the middle of canning tomatoes & banana peppers, that’s what I used them on.  Tattler lids are a little different than your regular metal canning lids, but they have a couple of big benefits that make them worth their money.  Not only are they reusable again & again, but they are BPA free!   The lids are made in 2 parts, you have the lid itself, and then you have the rubber seals that you use, both reusable numerous times. 
Here’s what I did when I used my Tattler Lids:

While getting everything ready, I placed both the lids & rubber seals in a pan of boiling water (turned heat way down right before placing in water) so that they would be heating up while I was ladling my tomatoes into my jars.   

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After my jars were full, I carefully wiped the rims of each one with a slightly damp rag to clean them of any food particles, then dried the rims.  I took 1 lid & 1 seal of the hot water, assembled, them, and then centered it on my jar, holding it in place while I screwed the metal band in place. Now, this step is extremely important!  Unlike your regular metal seals, the Tattler Lids have to be able to vent while processing, so only tighten to fingertip tightness, then turn back 1/4 of an INCH! So, just barely turn back.  Again, this allows the product to vent while processing. 
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Once all 7 quarts were sealed, I placed them in my water bath canner & processed for 40 minutes.
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Once their time was up, I carefully removed each jar, placing them on a towel, and tightened each band down tightly, which allows the Tattler Lids to seal properly. 
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I only had 1 causality, but am unsure if it was because I had the band too tight, or if there was a weak spot in my jar.  However, I did remove the Tattler Lid from the jar, washed both pieces carefully, reheated, & reused it on my next batch of tomatoes, being careful to turn the seal over for even wear as per the instructions.  
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I followed the same procedure with the Tattler Lids on my banana peppers as I did with the tomatoes.   I allowed my jars to cool completely overnight before removing the metal rings. 
Here they are, all cooled, wiped off, & ready to be stored until ready to open:
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See, they seal just as tightly as the regular metal ones!

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So, my overall opinion of the Tattler Lids?  I LOVE THEM!  I do miss the tell-tell “ping” that the metal lids make, but I am NOT going to miss the ever-increasing cost of buying  new ones each year, or the fact that they are not making them as well as they used to.  I’ve been a big Ball supporter for many years, but lately, the jars and lids just do not work as well as they used to.  Even friends of mine who use the same lids are saying they have had more failures in the last 2 canning seasons than they’ve had in many years combined. And the fact that it’s hard to find a new set of jars in the store without damaged metal rims, is also a problem.  When did the rims become so easily damaged? 

So, now I’ll be saving up my “egg money” to buy more of these wonderful reusable canning lids.  But, in the mean time, Tattler is happily allowing me to do a giveaway of 2 dozen of these wonderful lids!  A dozen each of the wide mouth & regular mouth lids!  Would like to win some of these for yourself?  Well, here’s your chance.   I’ve decided to time this around my birthday, which is next Tuesday.  So, between now and next Thursday (Sept. 20th) , get entered to win.  Just follow the instructions using the Rafflecopter box below.  Winner will be announced next Friday!

This post is linked to:

Laura Williams' Musings          Making your home sing Mondays

The Morris Tribe Blog Carnival

** AT THIS TIME, THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN TO RESIDENTS OF THE U.S.A. ONLY.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Quick Summary Of My Preserving So Far

I know I’ve posted a bit here on my blog, and a few more pics on my Facebook page of what I’ve been canning so far, but I thought I’d also do a summary post so even I could see what all I’ve accomplished so far.   So, here they are:

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These pics do not include all of my dehydrated potatoes, carrots, peas, corn, vegetable powder, tomato powder, dried basil, peppermint, rosemary, & thyme.  Or my frozen corn on the cob & zucchini.  I also canned some ground beef & ground venison a couple of weeks ago.  I opened the first one the other day for spaghetti & it was good.  So nice to have the precooked meat ready & waiting for me to add to our sauce. 

 

There’s still more to go.  One of my neighbor’s  is allowing me to pick a few pears from their tree (Thank you!!), and I’ve still got potatoes that need to be processed.  Plus, I’ll be going Monday to pick okra (more free food for which I’m very thankful!!) and I’ll be going next week to pick one more round of tomatoes before they’re all gone for the season.  AND, I’m hoping to go get some apples before too long.  Thankfully, apple season is really just getting underway so I’ve got some time before I need to worry about that.  I’m also keeping my eyes out for marked down produce whenever I go out to my local grocery store.   I also plan to can more dry beans & soups before too long to keep on hand for some quick grab meals, especially lunches for my sweet, hardworking husband, Brian.

 

If I keep this up, I’m going to have to really add to my canning jars next year!  But, I’m so thankful for this knowledge and ability.  Being able to provide for my family in this way is wonderful.  I thank God daily for my loving of all things related to cooking/baking/preserving. 

Dehydrating Tomatoes

As you already know, I absolutely LOVE my Excalibur Dehydrator!  Well, with all of those wonderful tomatoes that I had, I decided to try some “sun-dried” (aka dehydrated) tomatoes.  As a FRESH tomato lover, I have to say, “OH MY GOODNESS are they Delicious!!!”  Dehydrating them brings out the natural sweetness in them plus enhances that tomato flavor!  In fact, I love it so much, that I now have a whole gallon jar filled to the brim, just waiting for me to savor them this winter. 

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These will be delicious in dishes, but also just as a snack!  It was suggested that you could add extra virgin olive oil and salt/pepper to the slices before dehydrating, but I just dehydrated them as they were.  They really don’t need anything!  The flavor is wonderfully refreshing.  But, I might try a few different ones later on just to see what they taste like.  I’m sure they will be delicious, too. 

 

Oh, what a wonderful time we live in where it’s so easy to preserve foods for the long winter months ahead.  We will be eating well, that’s for sure!  I’m thankful to God daily for all that He is providing for us, and I’m trying my best to not let any go to waste. 

Canning, dehydrating, & more canning….

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I have been busy, busy putting food by for my family for the coming winter months, as well as enough of some items to last until next growing season.  Lately, it has been lots & lots & lots of tomatoes!! Oh, let’s not forget the potatoes, corn, & bell peppers! 

 

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I’ve managed to get all of my tomatoes (approximately 280 lbs) & bell peppers (approximately 80 lbs in a 2 gal. bucket) taken care of so far that we’ve picked.  I’ll be going one more time to pick tomatoes.  I’ve put up quite a bit of Italian seasoned tomato sauce, some plain sauce, & quite a bit of tomato juice, but I need to put up more plain canned tomatoes for use in soups & chili.  So, I’ll be going again in the next few days to get those. 

 

With the help of my son, Michael, I managed to get 61 ears of corn (purchased at 6/$1.00) shucked, blanched, & in the freezer!!  It will taste so good this winter!

 

You can see some of the potatoes that I’ve managed to get canned, but I still just a few more to go…..

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(I bought these in 5 lb bags for $1.00 each!!)

 

Even though I’m not going to get near enough put up this winter like I would like to have on hand, I’m going to put up as much as I possibly can.  I know God will take care of us no matter what, but I know He’s put a lot of this wonderful food in my path because I couldn’t have gotten it if I had to pay the outrageous grocery store prices.  Next year, I’ll be looking to have another garden as well has put up a lot more to feed our family. 

 

I think I’ve shared with you a pic of my pantry before, but here’s a pic of what my hall canning pantry looks like right now:

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(Custom built by my wonderful husband!)

I still need to do a bit more reorganizing on it to get all of my tomato products together & sorted better, but it’s filling up quite nicely!  I still need to do a current tally.  I just haven’t had the time to stop & count up everything & write it all down, but I will!

 

Linking up:

Laura Williams' Musings

Preserving season &Homeschooling are now in full swing!!

Even with the bad gardening season (especially for us since we didn’t even get one in this year), I’ve been extremely busy canning & dehydrating these last few weeks, as well as getting ready to begin an important year in the life of our homeschooling.  Melia, our oldest, is a Senior this year & Katie, our middle child, is a Freshman!  I still have one that has 1 foot in elementary school and is trying to stick the other foot into middle school, but I thankfully have 1 more year before that happens!

As I mentioned before, I’m in love with my new Excalibur Dehydrator!

 

I have been keeping it busy, let me tell  you!  With my last Azure order, I purchased 60 more ounces of Crimini mushrooms & 40 lbs of onions.  Out of the 40 lbs of onions, I dried 42 & still have about 12 left over.  Those 42 onions, filled 4 quarts!! I rough chopped them before drying them so that I will again have the option of either having dried minced onions, or placing a few in my grinder for onion powder as needed.  I love having this flexibility.  While I can say that I dried them in the house & the odor was strong for a short time, it really wasn’t as bad as people say.  Although, I family did avoid my pantry area for the first couple of hours. Winking smile  Of course, I also dehydrated my mushrooms.  I’m so thankful that I went ahead and purchased another flat of these delicious mushrooms because the price went up shortly from $18.00/60 oz to $26.00/60 oz after placing my order.  No more of these delicious mushrooms for me till the price comes back down!  I’ve also dehydrated some celery (since I somehow wound up with way more than we would get eaten before it went bad) and a few more carrots. 

I do have a few more head of garlic sitting in my kitchen that I’ll probably be dehydrating as well since there is no way we will get it all eaten before it starts to go bad.  Even though it’s fresher coming fro Azure, the outer cloves still have a tendency to want to spoil fairly quickly, which I’m assuming is from the drastic temperature changes that it goes through from being placed on the truck, shipment, & then being removed from the truck once it arrives. No biggie since I know this can happen & I will deal with it accordingly. 

 

After really losing my desire to want to can for a few years, I’m so very thankful that I did find my love for it once more.  While it is a lot of hard, tiring, & sometimes back-breaking work, I do love seeing all those beautiful jars of fresh foods lined up on the shelves just waiting for my family to consume them in the coming months. I know that my family will be eating healthier because of it because a lot of the food that I’m putting away will be BPA (no store cans) & preservative-free, & some will have been naturally/organically grown, which is even better.  I’m working on a tally of what I’ve canned so far this year.  As soon as I have that post ready, I’ll come back here & add a link. 

 

Now, as for homeschooling, it’s going to be an exciting year for us!  It’s hard to believe that my “baby” girl is a Senior this year & will be graduating from high school. She is so excited.  And, while mom & dad are excited, every parent out there knows that it’s also bittersweet.  Not only does it signify a new chapter in her life, but also a new chapter in our lives, as well.  We are so proud of the young lady that she as become & know that God has something special in store for her.  We are excited to see where He leads her in the coming months/years.  And then we also have another child entering high school.  I can’t say that she’s overly thrilled at the amount of work that she has to do, but she’s pretty excited about this new chapter in her life.  Mom & dad, however, are really beginning to realize that their babies are growing up way too fast & that there’s not a lot of time left that we will all still be together as a family unit before they start really spreading their wings & flying.  While we know that this is what we are raising them to do, it’s still hard to believe that it has already been long enough for these events to be right on our doorstep.  God has truly blessed us with 3 wonderful children.  We pray daily that He will watch over them & guide them in these crucial moments of life where they are just beginning to have to make tough decisions, & that He will help guide us as they look to us for wisdom & guidance to help them make the best decisions for their lives.