{Reader Question} What Foods Should I Preserve?

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My wife and I are newer to the preserving game and are super pumped on it. Last year we preserved a lot of food but it wasn’t really conducive to living off of. We canned mostly jams, jellies, some pickled veggies (cauli, beans, asparagus, etc) and then did a lot of peaches! What I hope [Continue Reading...]

Food Storage For People Who Don’t Hate Food

Food Storage

In the preparedness world, things like this list go around periodically: This is a guide to building your food storage on $5 a week. Ignoring for a minute that food prices have clearly gone up since this list was put together (5 pounds of honey for $5? I don’t think so), my reaction every time [Continue Reading...]

You Can Make Bacon At Home. And It’s Delicious.

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In about a week you could be eating the best bacon of your entire life. You could be holding in your hand a glistening mahogany slab of perfectly crisped pink, tender, juicy meat streaked through with succulent fat. You could be proclaiming to the world: “Behold what I have made! It is bacon and it is sublime!” Instead [Continue Reading...]

How Not To Die From Botulism: What Home Canners Need To Know About The World’s Most Deadly Toxin

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You may have seen this article. A Seattle man recently contracted botulism from his improperly canned elk meat and is lucky to be alive. His description of how he canned the elk is like a checklist for everything you never, ever do when canning food. I love to see so many new people taking up home [Continue Reading...]

Whole Life Integration: Tips To Simplify Nearly Everything In Your Productive Home

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A reader emailed me this past weekend and in a few sentences got right to the heart of why getting started with productive home- and garden-keeping can be so dang challenging. Hi Erica, I’ve been working on getting a garden going and redesigning my life, but the current life really gets in the way.  Lots [Continue Reading...]

Three Sisters in Seattle Chili

Three Sisters Chili

The thing about this chili is, you pretty much just open up a bunch of jars and simmer. So on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “Boil Water” and 10 being “The Food They Invent at Moto” this chili is maybe a 2, and that’s only if you need to rummage around for a [Continue Reading...]

My Big Fat Hippie Pantry: A Full Larder For Fall

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A friend of mine who’s known me for eight years or so was over a few days ago. She was checking out my pantry and said, “When we met, you had a total Costco pantry. And now it’s a total hippie pantry.” Excuse me while my heart swells with a little self-indulgent pride over my [Continue Reading...]

How To Make Jerky At Home with Venison or Elk

Lazy Homesteader: Venison Jerky

Some urban homesteading families have the inclination and skill to go beyond gleaning and gathering and put their meat on the table – literally – through hunting and fishing. Anisa Schell’s family is one, and today I am thrilled to share her recipe for Wild Game Jerky.  Anisa blogs at Lazy Homesteader and gets dirt under her [Continue Reading...]

Stop Throwing Away Free Tomato Sauce

Making Thick Tomato Sauce From Tomato Skins (3)

It has come to my attention that many people are unwittingly throwing away free tomato sauce when they preserve their summer tomatoes. Here’s the thing: like all fruit, the skin of tomato is where much of the natural pectin resides. Pectin is the starch that gives jams their thickness and good tomato sauce its natural, [Continue Reading...]

Zombies vs. The Joy of Canning: Motivation in the Productive Home

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“Hey, we were planning on getting together later today, right?” I asked my friend. “Yeah, but after dinner.” “Can we push that back to later in the week?” I was exhausted from Can-o-Rama and the idea of a social commitment after dinner was more than I could handle. “Sure. What’s up?” “I’m pretty tired. I [Continue Reading...]

How To Make Pectin-Free Jam: Ditch The Box and Increase The Creativity In Your Preserves

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Do you need pectin to make jam? I used to think so. I followed the recipe on the inside of the pectin box slavishly for 7 years before I broke free of the pectin bonds. Every year, my strawberry jam tasted exactly like the strawberry jam of everyone else who wore the Sure-Jell shackles. The [Continue Reading...]

Create Your Own Signature Jam By Mixing and Matching Flavors

Apricot Jam with Lime, Ginger and Tequila

It’s unofficial Preserve Week here at Northwest Edible Life. I know because my floor is sticky with canning syrup and my refrigerator smells like pickle brine. It’s hard for me to think of anything else but putting food by right now, so I’m going to be talking jams and pickles all week long. I hope [Continue Reading...]