Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CARROTS Today, I thought I would talk about storage of carrots.

While we usually associate carrots with the color orange, carrots can actually be found in a host of other colors including purple, yellow, red, or white. In fact, purple, yellow and red carrots were the only color varieties of carrots to be cultivated before the 16th century.

A 10-year study out of the Netherlands studying the carrot intake and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Intake of fruits and vegetables in the study was categorized by color and focused on four color categories: green, orange/yellow, red/purple, and white. Out of these four categories, orange/yellow (and in particular, foods with deeper shades of orange and yellow) emerged as most protective against CVD. And carrots were determined to be the most prominent member of this dark orange/yellow food category. This new research knowledge, along with the long standing known value of carrots in regard to health makes keeping & putting up carrots, a most valued endeavor.

Nutrients in Carrots

1.00 cup (122.00 grams)
Nutrient% Daily Value

vitamin A407.6%

vitamin K20.1%


vitamin C12%



vitamin B68.5%


vitamin B36%


vitamin B15.3%


vitamin B24.1%

vitamin E4%

Calories (50)2%

Even people who usually boil carrots have discovered that they taste better steamed! But whether you liked to have canned or boiled carrots, steamed or raw --- carrots are worth having in your food pantry & more so, your root cellar!

There are numerous ways to store carrots. The typical modern method is to buy them raw at the store; frozen or canned. However, they are not the only methods. Some alternative methods include storing in a root cellar as a dry root crop or in a root clamp; or dehydrating or freeze drying the carrots for long term storage.

METHOD #1: Root Clamp

This method would not work if you live in an extremely cold climate where ground freezes deeply, but in more mild climates, this method would be an effective way to store a large stockpile of carrots or other root crops.

METHOD #2: Canning

Canning has long been used by numerous cultures to store carrots. Some pickle the carrots, while others merely boil the carrots in a solution during the canning process in a pressure canner.

Canned Carrots
How To Make Your Own Canned Carrots

Carrot Jelly

1 pound carrots 1 package
Sure Jell Fruit Pectin
1 package orange Kool-Aid
5 cups granulated sugar

Boil carrots until soft.
Remove carrots and measure 3 1/2 cups of the juice in pan to make jelly.
Boil juice for 1 minute.
Add remaining ingredients and boil 5 minutes.
Pour into jars and seal.
Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. - See more at: http://www.recipegoldmine.com/canveg/carrot-jelly.html#sthash.uDy2DLiH.dpuf

METHOD #3: Root Cellar

Under-ground root cellar storage of carrots was the method my own mother & grandmother used for storage of our garden carrot crop. Each year we harvested the carrots. Removed the majority of the green top (leaving the rounded top in place with the green stub) and removed the soil from the tap root (carrot). Then we placed the carrots vertically in large crocks. Once the crock was full of carrots, we carefully poured in amongst the carrots fine sand until the sand filled the bucket well over the top of the carrots.

The crocks were ALWAYS filled in the place they were to sit for storage, due to the extreme heavy weight they became due to the sand, carrots & crock weight combined.

If you are using this method for the first time; Prepare the carrots like you're going to store them in the refrigerator. Then pack into containers surrounded by straw or moist sand or sawdust for keeping. If you don't own a large crock, you can use a large food safe tub or food safe bucket.

The Storage area should be approximately 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ideally and about 95% humidity.

METHOD #4: Sand Box

Sand boxes - If you have the space, say in a garage, try the sand box method - This method is basically the same as the one mentioned above, but doesn't depend on you having a root cellar.

METHOD #5: Dehydrating

Carrots are easy to dry. Simply top & tail the carrots & then wash & peel. Chop the carrots into slices and then place on the trays of your dehydrATOR, making sure the pieces aren't touching. Dehydrate for approximately 10 hours.

You can also choose to grate your carrots & create your own dehydrated carrot flakes. These should take between 6 & 10 hours to dry, and should be placed on Mesh Sheets. Carrots are 88% water so they will reduce in size considerably. When ready, the carrots should be crisp to the touch with no visible signs of moisture.

Dried carrots can be used directly in recipes where they will absorb a lot of water. Another great idea is to place the dried carrot pieces into a food processor and make into a fine powder which is delicious in soups, casseroles, drinks & more.

To store your carrot pieces, flakes or powder, place in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place.

METHOD #5: Freezing

METHOD #5: Pickling

It is one of the easiest and most economical pickles to make. Use carrots, which are fresh, firm and without blemish. Wash them thoroughly and wipe them with a clean cloth before use. Traces of water will make the pickle rancid. With a beautiful bright red colour, this pickle goes very well will rotis or parathas. It is best eaten the day it is made. But it must be kept in the refrigerator to make it last for 4 days.
Storage (refrigerated for) : 4 days
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 2 mins
Makes 4 servings

1 cup carrot , cut into thin slices
1/2 tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
2 tsp split fenugreek seeds (methi na kuria)
2 tsp split mustard seeds (rai na kuria)
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
salt to taste
1 1/2 tbsp oil
Combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a bowl and mix well. Keep aside.
Heat the mustard oil in a small pan, add it to the carrot mixture and mix well.
Serve immediately or keep refrigerated till use.

Handy tips:
This pickle stays fresh for 3 to 4 days.
Indian or red carrots are ideal to use for this pickle.
Indian or red carrots are ideal to use for this pickle.
RECIPE SOURCE : Achaar Aur ParatheBuy this cookbook

OTHER RECIPES for Pickled Carrots: Pickled Carrot Sticks
Easy Pickled Carrots
Vietnamese Pickled Carrots
Gajar Ka Achaar - Carrot Pickle
Spicy Pickled Carrots

METHOD #5: Refrigeration

Carrots can stay in the refrigerator, if stored properly for up to three months.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Once again Life has stepped in & I've neglected to keep up with this blog.

Since early spring, when I last posted the snow melted & we were behind the eight ball trying to get the gardens in & the yards cleaned up from winter.

Its been a slow crawl into real spring weather & summer has been slowly crawling in too. Hopefully the gardens will produce well.

I've done a number of things to test the theory I have, that I need to bring different environments to my garden zone. So since tomatoes & peppers prefer dry roots & heat... (two things we aren't have naturally in South Dakota) I've elevated my tomatoes in tires, with a 8 inch base of broken concrete & debris --- then a layer of mulch, mule manure & top soil.

To determine if its really any different from traditional method, I've also got some "control" tomatoes that I planted on the same day, that are in the soil with landscape cloth around their base & tomato cages surrounding them. They get the same water, just have different rooting opportunities.

The tires also provide heat as they absorb the sun's rays & "bake" the zone with added heat.

I've also planted peppers in containers since often container gardens suffer from needing more waterings... I figured perhaps this negative issue could be utilized in a positive manner.

I've also planted fennel in containers & some of my herbs. This year, I've planted all my sage in containers since my garden patches mysteriously died though they were hundreds of yards from each other.

I've got broccoli, cabbage and Kholhrabi all doing great this year with the cool spring and cool June weather.

My corn crop was eaten initially by something and few of the seedling made it, so I had to replant. Luckily the replanted corn is almost knee high and as they say "Knee high by the fourth of July" is the old measure of whether your corn is going to be successful.

Dakota Stoneware Pottery shop owner, Dave Huebner, gave me the use of a portion of his former mule corral to plant some of my corn & squash, so I've got two different gardens I'm overseeing this year. Will try to get photos uploaded as soon as possible.

I also successfully started my vertical lettuce garden. Its in a 6" deep wooden "trough" that I made from scrap boards and covered with hardware cloth following me filling it with peat moss as a medium.

Summer Produce perfect for Condiments

As my own garden begins producing, I started realizing I could make small batches of relishes and the like easily with the small amounts of produce coming from my garden.

So I thought I would share some old recipes I found in a cookbook.

"Good Housekeeping's Book of Menus, recipes and Household Discoveries" 1922 edition.

Title: Emergency Relish
2 qts canned tomatoes
3 medium-sized onions
3 green peppers
1 cups brown sugar
1 c vinegar
1 T salt
1 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp whole allspice
2 good sized sticks cinnamon

Place the tomatoes in a preserving kettle, cutting them apart until well broken. Add the onions and peppers put through the food-chopper. Scald together the sugar, vinegar, salt and spices. Combine mixtures and cook slowly, stirring frequently about two hours. Bottle while hot.

Title: Emergency Chili Sauce
1 qt canned tomatoes
2 onions chopped fine
1/2 tsp celery salt or 2 pieces celery minced
1 green pepper chopped fine
2 tsp salt
3 T brown sugar
1/8 t pepper
1/2 t mustard
Dash cayenne pepper
1/4 c vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a preserving kettle; stir together, bring to a boil, and boil gently about forty-five minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook a little longer if needed to make the sauce the right consistency.

Title: Chutney Conserve

12 apples
8 green peppers
1 red pepper
1 cup seedless raisins
1 pint weak vinegar
8 bay leaves
1 tsp whole allspice
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
2 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
Juice 6 lemons
1 T salt

Pare, core and chop the apples. Chop the green peppers after removing the seeds, and chop the red pepper retaining the seeds. Mix all the ingredients together and boil until thick. Seal in jars while hot. This quantity makes four and 1 half pints.

Title: Celery Sauce

24 ripe tomatoes
2 stalks celery
8 large onions
2 red peppers
2 T salt
1 pint vinegar
1 lb brown sugar

Clean the vegetables and cut them fine. Add half the vinegar first (you may not need it all), sugar, and salt, and boil slowly till tender, about one hour and a half. Put in jars and seal while hot.

Title: Beet Relish

1 qt. cooked beets
1 small head cabbage
1 cupful grated horseradish
2 cupful sugar
2 T salt
2 t mustard
2 t celery-seed
1 pint vinegar

Put the beets and cabbage through the food-chopper and add the rest of the ingredients in the order given. Let stand at least twenty-four hours before using. This will keep indefinitely. It may be botled or kept in a covered crock.

From my old 1900s cookbook:

Title: Baltimore Chow-chow

Part One
1 peck ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 qt onions sliced
1 cup salt

Part 2
1 pint cider vinegar
1/4 lb ground mustard
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T celery seed
1 T ground cloves

Mix part 1, let stand two hours and drain; then boil two hours in a preserving kettle, then add the ingredients of part 2. Boil another hour and can in pint jars.

Title: A Fine Cucumber Relish

1 doz cucumbers
2 qts small onions
3 red peppers
2 T salt
1 lbs brown sugar
1 qt vinegar
1 1/2 t white mustard-seed
1 t turmeric

Peel onions and slice cucumbers, onions and red peppers thinly. Remove the seeds from the red peppers. Let them all stand one hour well sprinkled with the salt. Drain and add the brown sugar, white mustard-see, and turmeric. Cook forty-five minutes or until tender. Pour into sterilized jars and seal hot.

These are just some of the recipes from the cookbook. Recipes like these allow you to use the same basic main ingredients, but change their flavor outcome. Thus stretching the bulk ingredients such as rice, beans & meats.

Title English Mint Chutney Sauce

1/2 lb ripe tomatoes
1 lb tart apples
2 c granulated sugar
3 large peppers
12 small onions
1/2 c chopped mint leaves
1 1/3 c seeded raisins
3 c vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt

Chop the tomatoes, add the salt and mix. Chop the apples, onions, raisins, and peppers, and add mint. Scald and cool the vinegar; add the sugar and mustard. Mix all together and allow to stand at least ten days before using. Severe with lamb. This will keep indefinitely and is the better for standing several months. It may be put into pint preserve jars, if you wish; shake them occasionally. This relish has the advantage of not requiring any cooking and is entirely different from the usual chutney sauce.

Title: Green Chili Sauce

35 large green tomatoes
10 large onions
1 3/4 c sugar
5 large green peppers
10 c vinegar
5 T salt

Chop tomatoes, peppers and onions fine; add seasoning and boil for two hours; then seal in jars. This quantity makes about seven pints.

Title: Green Pickle

1 Peck green tomatoes
5 small onions
1 quart vinegar
1 c salt
1/2 tsp allspice
7 c sugar
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 t ground cloves
1 t cinnamon
4 tsp celery-seed
1 cup mustard seed

Slice or chop tomatoes and let stand in salt overnight, or though the morning; drain, and add the chopped onions. Add spices and all the other ingredients and boil hard in a preserving kettle fifteen minutes. Whole closes and stick cinnamon may be used if perferred. Can Hot.

Title: Green Tomato Pickle

1 peck green tomatoes
12 medium sized onions
2 heads cauliflower
3 green peppers
1 bunch celery
3/4 c salt
2 quarts vinegar
2 pounds sugar
2/3 c whole spices

Wash the green tomatoes and slice; peel the onions and slice. Separate the cauliflower heads into small flowerets. Remove the seeds from the green peppers and chop. Wash and dice the celery. Place all in a large preserving kettle in layers, sprinkling each layer with salt. Let stand overnight. In the morning, drain, add one quart of vinegar, and two quarts of water, bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes. Drain again. Make a syrup by boiling together for fifteen minutes the other quart of vinegar, the sugar, and the spices tied in a cheesecloth bag. Add the pickle, bring to a boil, and can hot. This makes five quarts of pickle.

Title: Harlequin Sauce

12 red Peppers
12 green peppers
12 good sized onions
2 T salt
2 c light brown sugar
1 quart vinegar

Chop coarsely the peppers and the onions. Pour boiling water over the peppers and let them stand five minutes; drain and repeat, letting them stand in the second water ten minutes. Drain, add chopped onions, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Cook twenty minutes after it begins to boil and put into sterlized jars while hot, or store in a crock.

India Chutney

15 large sour apples
2 green peppers
1 c seeded raisins
2 good-sized onions
1 quart vinegar
2 T white mustard-seed
2 T ground ginger
2 T salt
2 c brown sugar

Pare, core, and chop the apples, together with the green peppers, from which the seeds have been removed, and the onions. Add the raisins and vinegar, put in a preserving kettle, and simmer two hours. Add the sugar and seasoning and cook slowly for another hour. Seal in glass jars while hot. This recipe makes about five pints.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Food Storage and Food Security

Its supposed to be Spring, here in South Dakota. At least that is what the calendar says. But nature has another calendar it is apparently going by! This week we got hit with 3 inches of sleet, then 2 inches of snow before the first storm ended. Within two days a second storm hit us with 8 more inches of snow! We were the "lucky ones". Less than 60 miles south of us, in Sioux Falls, people struggled with freezing rain & inches of ice on trees, power lines & everything else. Leaving 20,000 homes without power in wintery cold conditions. Trees crashed into homes & vehicles, as nature showed its last minute winter wrath on the area. This whole ordeal made me re-evaluate my food security as it relates to being able to cook, clean & use basic sanitation (ie toilet). Few of us really think much when we flush a toilet, but if you are without electricity, even if you have a well, you likely won't have a means to get the water from your well to your toilet! Having a cup of coffee or tea becomes impossible also since most coffee pots & tea pots are electric these days. So too is making a meal a far more difficult task, if you have an electric stove! The microwave is out of the question also! Even some of our modern "wood stoves" are electric or electricity dependent. So, what does your family have that could be utilized in such power outage times? Do you really know? I would recommend testing your household's needs prior to an emergency power outage. That way you can determine where your family's weaknesses are & you will have time to modify your supplies & equipment to accommodate for short-term power outages. One suggestion is to take one full 24 hour period and NOT use electricity at all! No accessing anything that uses electricity. This includes the following:

the frigerator,

the freezer,

the air conditioner,

the furnace

the water softener

the cell phones

the internet

the play stations

the television

the washer & drier

the dish washer

the alarm clock you use to get up in the mornings....

What could you cook for your family?

Would you get to work on time?


While many of us in South Dakota would do fine if we were without power for a day or a few hours. We should take the time to evaluate our food security, if the power was out for a week or several weeks. This can happen, even in South Dakota & has. Consider the tornado that ripped through Flandreau a few years ago and the number of people, in the heat of summer who were without power.

While some families embraced their extended families and neighbors & helped those without power. Some vulnerable families including single moms with small children were without power & help. Those families lost all their food in their refrigerator and freezers, even though within blocks of them people they knew & worked with had power. If this a vulnerable family on public assistance, that food lost could not be replaced for another month. A month with no help from neighbors, family or the government.

It could easily happen to anyone, but the most vulnerable people in our society (even in South Dakota) often are the victims most devastated by such events. Without safety nets in place and without food security, the children, elderly & disabled feel the impact the greatest.

I saw this same pattern of impact in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Single parent households, elderly & disabled were more vulnerable due often to issues of transportation to and from food distribution sites, which are often placed in areas of convenience for able bodied organizers, not disabled or mobile limited victims. Canvasing for the vulnerable & needy rarely takes place by emergency personnel who focus initial search and rescue on people they consider "at risk" or the bodies of those lost. As a result the semi-mobile "able bodied" vulnerable like single parents with small children, who can't just walk about with small children in tow, through disaster areas -- find themselves trapped in the "safety" of their home but barred from going after needed food distribution.

The Flandreau case illustrates even short term disasters have the same affect on the vulnerable single family structure and on "able bodied" elderly if they do not have family or neighbors who are willing to step up and be prepared to care for their needs as well.

Outages are our biggest risk for food security in the upper high plains, but its not just winter weather that brings it. Its also not merely a few hours that it can occur. While summer months means easier cooking solutions, if you have the financial means to replace your entire frozen and refrigerated food stocks.

What are some solutions for ourselves & our community's vulnerable families?

Let us consider how we could address winter outage and the food security of no power to keep our refrigerated foods cold. This is perhaps the simplest solution. We can merely take totes and coolers of food and place them on our secure porches or balconies (out of reach of neighborhood dogs & vermin).

Those items you need to refrigerate, and not freeze, should be placed in the cooler. By placing them in the cooler, the insulation factor of the cooler keeps the item from freezing. Additionally if its too cold to leave it outside even within the cooler, simply take some icicles or snow & pack it around the items in the cooler & bring the cooler inside the house. The snow will act like packed Ice in a summer cooler. Keeping the foods cold but not frozen.

For those items you want frozen can stay outside in secure containers and be kept there until the power is back on. Do however, check on them daily to make sure hungry critters aren't getting to them. Remember crows and other birds such as blue jays, magpies & ravens are hunting for food also, so its not just dogs and other ground dwellers you have to contend with. (wind chimes work to keep birds away however).


If we want to claim to be a civil society, we must continue to remember to care for the vulnerable amongst us. While its been quite popular for the last few decades to villianize the poor and vulnerable, its not a civil society that feeds its wealthy at the cost of its poor & vulnerable.

When disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes happen, we see the true nature of human kind.

Let us remember and plan our best to be one of those who will be favored in the Creator's eyes for caring for the vulnerable of the Creator's creation. We find in numerous faith teachings reminders of the importance of caring for the poor and vulnerable. Some of these include the following:

Bible: Matthew 25: 40-46 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

In the Quran: "What will explain to you the path that is steep? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage, or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative or to a needy (stranger) in distress, and to be of those who believe, enjoin patience (in adversity) and encourage deeds of kindness and compassion." Quran, 90:12-17

In Buddhism:

Geshe Dadul Namgyal, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who as served as an English language translator for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, spoke of compassion as a state of "harmlessness".

We also find in Buddhism the following saying,

"The Great Compassionate heart is the essence of Buddhahood" Ghandavyuha Sutra

In Hinduism:

"When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union." Bhagavad Gita 6.2

In Judaism:

"The world stands on three things: Upon the Law, upon Worship, and upon showing kindness." Mishnah, Abot 1.2

All these faiths share a common thread of the importance of having compassion for the vulnerable & the injured, weak or needy. It is this common thread of humanity that weaves the diverse communities of faith together. None of the teachings limit who is to be helped. It should therefore not be our practice to help only our family members or only the well-to-do or those who can "get to help".

We should prepare ourselves and prepare our community so it can stand up and be Good Neighbor to its needest during times of crisis.

This can easily be done, even by individuals. If we utilize a basic system of helping from the core area we are in outward to others.

1) Start by making sure you as an individual are basically safe in your home.

2) Make sure the vulnerable in your household are secure.

3) Make sure the vulnerable next door to you on all sides are safe & secure.

4) Make sure the vulnerable next door to your next door neighbor is secure.


If you have time to plan and prepare for possible risks, such as tornadoes & outages. Consider planning out this wave of securing your neighbors as well.

If each able bodied adult works to secure not only themselves but also their neighbors & their neighbors neighbor.... the entire town will be covered in a very short time by a mass team of individuals paying it forward.

In show moving about in this manner, the neighborhood becomes stronger as well and a side affect can be more "neighborly" to one another. (which these days seems to be a dying art needs major CPR!)

============================================================================= As I was writing the power went out! LOL ============================================================================= So I write this portion now that the power is back on. (I just have to smile at the irony!)

When disasters big or small happen, we have to have in place a plan of action -- so that (1) we as individuals can survive the disruption, (2) so our families can survive the disruption safely & (3) our communities can survive the disruption safely.

Far too often average Americans "ASSUME" the government will take care of them. We fail to recognize that at moments like these, the organism known as "government" is trying to survive itself. It must work to regain its strength & its ability to be mobile.

For this reason, we must consider the advice of F.E.M.A., when it recommends that individuals & families have stored water & food to last for a few days.

We all know how slow the government is in processing paperwork.... so why in the world do we expect that same beast to move quickly any other time? Let alone at a time of total or even partial disruption?

I believe therefore it is time we embrace the old civics lessons of by-gone times & become pro-active citizenry and work to help our communities during good times & in times of stress & disaster.