Making tortillas at home

We love making everything from scratch. Lately, tortillas have been on our mind. I have many different recipes that we have used over the years however, we are trying out a new recipe this week for regular corn tortillas.  We had picked up two tortilla presses from years ago, but they are not necessary if you have a rolling pin (just a lot harder to get even and round tortillas.)IMG_20160818_121915 IMG_20160818_114735885_HDRIMG_20160818_114745408

These are extremely easy and are GLUTEN FREE if you use the masa harina that I have pictured below. 

IMG_20160818_125531957_HDRHere are a few tips to making tortillas…

  • Plastic wrap, Saran wrap or even a gallon sized zipper bag will work GREAT to prevent sticking on the tortilla press.  (TIME SAVER!)
  • If you are using a rolling pin instead of a tortilla press, make sure that you are 100% even on the rolling of the tortilla dough so that it doesn’t cook unevenly.  

The Masa bag says that this makes 18 – 6 inch tortillas – It makes more like 10 or so… and 8 if you counts the ones that kids keep snitching from the plate. We double or triple the recipe below to make enough for our clan. 

Ingredients
2 cups masa harina (we have found this at the local Mercado as well as our local Safeway)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( I use pink Himalayan Salt) 
1 1/2 cups hot water 

Instructions:

Prepare the tortilla press: Cut the zip-top bag open along the sides or wrap the base of the tortilla press with plastic wrap. Open the tortilla press and lay the opened bag on top. You will only need to do this ONCE during the process. You can reuse the plastic for all of the tortillas. 
  1. Mix the masa harina and the salt together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the water and stir to combine.
  2. Using your hands, knead the dough for a minute or two in the bowl or you can use a dough hook attachment on your kitchen aide. The dough is ready when it’s smooth, but no longer sticky, and easy forms a ball in your hand. The dough should feel a bit “springy,”. –  If the dough absorbs all the water but is still dry and crumbly, add water a tablespoon at a time. If the dough feels sticky, or gummy, add more masa a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel and rest the dough for 15 to 30 minutes. 
  4.  Pinch off a few tablespoons of dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball. This will make roughly a 6-inch tortilla. If you want larger tortillas, use more dough. 
  5.  Place the ball of dough on the plastic-covered tortilla press in the middle of the IMG_20160818_114753019press. Fold the other side of the plastic bag over the top of the dough. Bring the top of the press down over the dough, then press with the handle to flatten the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. If the tortilla doesn’t look quite even after pressing or you’d like it a little thinner, rotate the tortilla in the plastic and re-press.
  6.  Peel away the top of the plastic, flip the tortilla over onto your palm, and peel off the back of the plastic. Be careful that you don’t tear the tortilla… Although, they taste the same whole or torn. 
  7. You can either cook the tortillas as you press them, or you can press all the tortillas and then cook them. Keep both the dough and the stack of pressed tortillas covered with clean towels. If you choose to press all the tortillas and then cook them, be careful when peeling each tortilla off the stack — they can stick to each other or break around the edges, especially the ones on the bottom.
  8. Warm a large, flat cast iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. 
  9. Gently position as many tortillas in the pan as will fit in a single layer without overlapping. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the edges are starting to curl up and the bottoms look dry and pebbly. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. 
  10. Serve Immediately! You can also save these for a few days in the fridge. However, they never last that long in our house. 

 

Let’s Talk Goats – Oathkeeper Preparedness Presentation

Basic Goat Facts

  • Female goats are Does or Nannies
  • Male goats are Bucks or Billies
  • Young goats are Kids (AKA doelings or bucklings)
  • Neutured males are Wethers
  • Goats are herding animals and do get lonely when by themselves.
  • Goats are intelligent animals
  • Goats are good at climbing trees, cars and buildings
  • Goats have a distinct pecking order (you will always have a “queen” in your herd.)
  • Goats can live for 15 to 18 years and does can breed until well into their senior years.
  • Goat milk is healthy and nutritious
  • Goat milk is more digestible than cow’s milk due to lactose molecule size (many lactose intolerant can drink goat milk)
  • They are the smallest domesticated ruminant
  • Goats are herbivores and are considered browsers and will eat leaves, grass, shrubs, etc.
  • Goats have been used by mankind longer than cows or sheep

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Goats need fresh water, dry fresh food, and a shelter. Not only can you milk goats, but their meat is tasty and goats usable on a homestead to eat down weeds and other vegetation.

What do goats eat?  Hay is the general name for a number of dried grasses and legumes such as alfalfa and clover. Commonly used plants for hay include types of grasses such as Ryegrass, Timothy, Bluegrass & Orchard grass. Legume hays such as alfalfa and clover tend to be higher in protein. Feeding goats a mixed grass hay and other greens may be best as alfalfa can be too rich and may cause health problems. We feed our goats a mixture of alfalfa, alfalfa pellets, sweet grain, Chaffhaye (which is a naturally fermented alfalfa hay), soaked beet pulp, wheat/Austrian pea fodder, black oil sunflower seeds, fresh carrots and lettuce/chard and in the summer, weeds from our garden. We also have a mineral block out for them. We limit our corn and other straight grains to prevent belly aches.

This is just a partial list of what is poisonous to a goat: Avocado leaves, Foxglove, Black Walnut, Holly trees/bushes, Lilacs, Milkweed, Mountain Laurel, Nightshades (tomato plants leaves), Oleander, Rhubarb and Cherry leaves, Azalea, Red Maples, Lily of the Valley

Breeding your goats: Many goats breeds are seasonal breeders. They will go into heat in the fall (from August – December) We generally breed in mid-September for a February kidding season. Most goats’ gestation is about 145-150 days. We keep track of when our males and females breed so that we know approximate birth dates and can be home during a birthing to assist if needed.

Goats have horns! We have our babies disbudded at 10 days old using a heat dissbudder and wether any males with a bander that we aren’t using for our breeding program. Find someone trustworthy to do this!! Horns do get stuck in fences. And disbudding can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.

Male goats are stinky!!! While in rut and around females in their breeding season, male goats have a “beautiful” smell, will urinate on themselves among other interesting actions and will call out to you and his ladies… Be careful, because you will look like a goat to him. Does seem to love it. But be warned it is extremely hard to get their stench out of your clothes and takes a good scrub to get the smell off of your skin. I have a single outfit that I wear when working with our males and I toss it at the end of the season. Males will knock down fences or anything in their path to get to the ladies. A males needs at least a 5 foot fence to prevent jumping over over for a “play-date”. My males do live with my females during off-breeding season.

declan2Although there are many different breeds of goats, our homestead chose to have Nubian Dairy goats. We milk twice a day, first thing in the morning and in the evening. We use their milk for drinking, baking, making butter, cheese, and yogurt. You must have at least 2 goats as they are herd animals and need companionship or they can get depressed and lonely. We both hand milk and use a manual milking machine from www.henrymilker.com.

You can purchase mix breeds of dairy/meat goats, full bred goats or registered purebreds goats. Our goats are all registered. The only real difference is that registered goats have proven bloodlines. This prevents inbreeding and gives healthier generations of goats for better milking lines. We carefully select our goats for their linage and breed accordingly. This allows us to pick and choose who is breeding with whom. We currently have 3 bucks and 10 does on our homestead as well as several wethers. We plan on adding a new lines from Colorado to our herd in the spring as well.

Major Goat Diseases – CAE – Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) is a virus that affects goats in multiple ways. Most often characterized by big knees, the virus also does irreparable damage to the lungs as well and affects the immune system leaving the goat defenseless against most common ailments. Can spread via milk from mama to babies and in saliva.

CL – Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), also known in some parts of the world as “cheesy gland”, is a disease that affects a goats lymphatic system, most often characterized by an external abscess – lump. CL manifests itself either internally, externally, or both and is very contagious to all other goats as well as humans. The size of the abscess is largely dependent upon the immune system and overall health of the goat. An abscess that is allowed to rupture will contaminate the ground for many years and infect other goats that come into contact. Likewise, a goat with internal CL can cough out the bacteria and spread it to other goats as well. There is not a vaccination that cures or prevents CL or CAE in goats. These two diseases are ones that goat breeders try to keep out of their herd.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOAT WHEN PURCHASING

  1. General = Are they friendly? Do they interact with other goats, humans, dogs, etc? Check teeth, joints, chests, hips and lymph system. Check hooves. Check for lumps, runny nose and eyes? Is their general health good?
  2. Does – Are their teats uniform? Breeding history? Did they lose any kids? Did you have to assist in birthing? Were they good moms? How much milk were you receiving? If a doe has already been milked, ask if you can put her up on a stand. Does she kick?
  3. Bucks – who you want to use for breeding. Is there a record of babies sired? Check that their testicles are uniform.  
  4. If purchasing a kid – Are both parents on site? Can you interact with the parents to see their personalities and mannerisms? Have they been disbudded? Or are the polled (born hornless)?

 COMMON BREEDS OF DAIRY GOATS IN THE US – Mac Mendell, Undergraduate Student, Dept. of Animal Sciences

Nubians have very long floppy ears that should extend about 1 inch beyond the muzzle. They can be any color and should have a convex (Roman) nose. Nubians are one of the larger breeds of goats with a height requirement of 30 inches weighing around 135 pounds. This breed of goat tends to produce somewhat less milk than other breeds, but their milk tends to be higher in protein and butter fat content than other breeds. They tend to be a little bit more stubborn than other dairy goats and make a distinctive sound. Even Nubian kids sound like they are complaining. This is probably the most popular breed of dairy goat in the US. Most Nubian goats in the US derive from English lines developed by crossing English dairy goats with Afrhican and Indiana lop-eared breeds. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 1835 lbs milk, 4.6% fat, and 3.7% protein] Nubians can withstand hotter climates. Nubians can more fleshy than most dairy goats and are used for meat as well as milk.

LaManchas have ears that are so small that it looks like they don’t have ears at all and can be any color. The breed originated in Oregon from crosses of short-eared goats with Nubians. They have a straight nose and are a small breed. LaMancha does are required to be 28 inches in height and a weight of around 130 pounds. The LaMancha sound is typical of other goats. LaManchas are usually more calm and docile than other breeds. They are recognized to be a very productive breed of goats. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2246 lbs milk, 3.9% fat, and 3.1% protein]

Alpines (French Alpines, British Alpines, and Rock Alpines) can be almost any color, except solid white and light brown with white markings (characteristics of the Toggenburg breed). This breed originated in the French Alps and was first imported to the US in 1920. Their face should be straight and they have erect ears. They are a medium-large breed with a requirement of does to be 30 inches in height and around 135 pounds. They are popular with dairies due to the amount of milk they produce and they are recognized as the leading dairy goat breed for milk production. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2396 lbs milk, 3.3% fat, and 2.8% protein]

Oberhaslis (Swiss Alpines prior to 1978) have very specific color standards. They are a bay color known as Chamoise, with a black dorsal stripe, udder, belly, and black below the knees. They should also have a nearly black head. Another acceptable color would be all black, but this is only acceptable for does. They have erect ears and are considered a medium-small breed. Oberhaslis does are required to be 28 inches in height and weight around 120 pounds. They produce a moderately high amount of milk and milk components. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2256 lbs milk, 3.5% fat, and 2.9% protein]

Toggenburgs have very specific color requirements. They range in color from light fawn to dark chocolate and have white ears and white on their lower legs. The side of the tail and two stripes down the face must also be white. They have erect ears and they grow a shaggier coat than other dairy goat breeds. They have the smallest height requirement of 26 inches and weight around 120 pounds, but most of the Toggenburgs are moderate in size. The Toggenburgs are the oldest registered breed of any kind of livestock. They tend to be more spirited and less docile than other breeds. Toggs, as they are nicknamed, rank in the middle of breeds for average milk production, but one holds the all-time records! [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2047 lbs milk, 3.0% fat, and 2.7% protein]

Saanens are usually pure white or light cream, but white is preferred. Their ears should be a medium size and carried erect, preferably pointing forward. They have short fine hair and often have a fringe over the spine and thighs. They have a straight or dished face. They originated in Switzerland, but now represent the second most popular breed of dairy goat in the US. The Saanens are the largest of all breeds with a required height of 30 inches and weighing around 135 pounds. They usually have a large udder capacity and are popular with dairies due to the quality of milk they produce. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 2545 lbs milk, 3.2% fat, and 2.8% protein]

Nigerian Dwarf is a miniature breed of dairy goats. The balanced proportions of the Nigerian Dwarf give it an appearance similar to the larger, Swiss breeds of dairy goats. Shorter height is the primary breed characteristic of the Nigerian Dwarf, with does measuring no more than 22 ½ inches at the withers. They are known for their high quality milk, often with exceptionally high butterfat content. Their medium length ears are erect. The face is either straight or slightly dished. The coat is of medium length and straight. They are the only dairy breed known to occasionally have blue eyes. [ADGA averages for 2010 lactations: 729 lbs milk, 6.1% fat, and 4.4% protein]

A common meat goat – Boer goat is primarily a meat goat with several adaptations to the region in which it was developed. It is a horned breed with lop ears and showing a variety of color patterns. The Boer goat is being used very effectively in South Africa in combination with cattle due to its browsing ability and limited impact on the grass cover. Producing weaning rates in excess of 160% the Boer goat doe is a low maintenance animal that has sufficient milk to rear a kid that is early maturing. The mature Boer Goat buck weighs between 240-300 lbs and ewes between 200-225 lbs. They can be bread with the dairy lines above.

From the website: http://piedmontdairygoats.com/Education.html

goathooves injections-goats

Have you seen what we have on sale on our homestead this week?

Have you seen what we have on sale on our homestead this week?  We always have animals  (or a waiting list available). 

Currently we have the following available: 

Male Rabbits – Rex and New Zealand/Rex Mixes – $10 each

Coturnix Quail (mix of breeds – Pharoah, Texas, Tibetan, Tuxedo) – $3 each or 10+ are $2.50 each

Chicks  (Americauna and barnyard mixes, straight run) $2 each

Misc Ducks – Currently Laying – $10 each (males and females available)

Registered American Nubians (from our registered Male, Declan – at the Neighbors 4 doors down) Doeling – $250, Buckling (intact)- $150, born on 5/23/2016 – See the Craigslist ad: http://prescott.craigslist.org/grd/5705835950.html

 

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Oathkeepers Presentation – Prepper 101 – month supply of food

With all of the research that our family does on being prepared and in lines with sharing that information with others, we came across a GREAT article – ADDED BELOW! 

For a demonstration of the the foods, we pulled and brought the amount of foods that they listed below. It all stacked neatly in our farm’s garden cart. 

Prepping 101 – Food Preps: 30 Days Worth Of Food

By Pat H http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2013/02/16/prepper-101-food-preps-30-days-worth-of-food/

When you start to consider prepping, one of the first things you need to start prepping for is food. Simply put, food is one essential you need to live and your family must have a supply of food on hand regardless what the day or your situation is. Because of our just in time supply chain model, most grocery stores do not have more than 3 days’ worth of food stocked. In any type of emergency or disaster situation, the store shelves are cleaned quickly. You do not want to be one of those people who realize you have nothing in the house for dinner and a major snow storm, hurricane or  other event is imminent. You will go to the grocery store and find bare shelves like they did during hurricane Sandy. This happens in every instance where people could face the possibility of going hungry. The stores are cleaned out and the larger your city, the quicker the shelves are bare.

Not only will there be no food on the shelves, but the shelves could stay that way for a long time. What if the roads are impassable? What if there is some supply disruption. You could be out of food for a long time and this should never happen. You eat every day and so does everyone else. Running out of food should not be an option for your family at least for a reasonable amount of time.

FEMA recommends 3 days’ worth of foodand water to last most common emergencies and I would say 30 days is a better goal to shoot for. If you have a month of food stored in your house you can worry about other things like getting back to your family if you are away from home or not going out in the first place to fight the lines of panicked people who waited until the last-minute.

Storing food can be complicated and costly but it is possible to start with a very simple list of itemsthat you can purchase from your local grocery store or big-box chain like Wal-Mart, Costco or Sam’s Club. I have compiled a simple list of common foods that you can go get today that will allow you to feed a family of 4 for 30 days. If you have more or less people or giants in your family tree then you would need to adjust accordingly.

Basic Foods

I shop at Costco or Sam’s, but you can get all of these at your friendly neighborhood grocery store. You may have to adjust the quantities. I like Costco and Sam’s because I can buy larger containers and have to worry about fewer items, but you can also use Amazon.com. At a store, you can also throw these into your cart and nobody is going to look at you like you are a deviant. If anyone does ask you what you are doing, just tell them you are having a big Chicken Stew or some other neighborhood type of event.

  • Rice– First off, buy a 50lb. bag of rice. These contain 504 servings and I don’t know too many people who won’t eat rice. It is simple to cook and stores for years if you keep it cool and dry. This bag at Sam’s costs about $19 now.
  • Beans– Next buy a bag of dry beans. This will check off the Beans part of your Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids list. A good size bag is about $5 and makes 126 servings. Buy two if you think your family would like them.
  • Canned meat– Cans are great for fruits and vegetables and anyone can find something they will eat. For canned meat, I recommend tuna or chicken because it tastes a heck of a lot better than Spam and you can easily mix that into your rice. For the meat you will need approximately 35 cans. Each can has about 3 servings and this will be the most costly, but they last over a year usually and your family probably eats chicken or tuna on a semi-regular basis anyway so restocking this should be simple.
  • Canned Vegetables– you will need about 40 cans of vegetables and again this can be whatever your family will eat. Expect to pay around a dollar each so $40 for veggies to last your family a month.
  • Canned Fruit– again, simple fruits that your family will eat. These can even be fruit cocktail if that is the safest thing. At Costco they have the #10 cans of fruit like pears or apple slices and each of these has 25 servings. 5 of these will cost about $25 and give your family their daily dose of fruit.
  • Oatmeal– Good old-fashioned oatmeal is simple to cook and store. A normal container has 30 servings each so purchase about 4 of these and your family won’t starve for breakfast. At $2 each that is about $8 for breakfast for a month for a family of four. Could you exchange Pop-tarts? Maybe, but I find oatmeal more filling and less likely to be snacked on.
  • Honey– Honey is a miracle food really as it will never go bad if you keep it dry and cool. Honey will last you forever and Sam’s has large containers that hold 108 servings. You can use this in place of sugar to satisfy the sweet tooth. Honey even has medicinal properties and you can use this to add some flavor to your oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Salt– Same as honey, salt will never go bad if you keep it dry and helps the flavor of anything. You can buy a big box of salt for around $1 and that will last your whole family a month easily.
  • Vitamins– I recommend getting some good multivitamins to augment your nutrition in the case of a disaster or emergency. Granted, rice and beans aren’t the best and you won’t be getting as many nutrients from canned fruit and vegetables so the vitamins help to fill in the gaps and keep you healthy. One big bottle costs about $8. You will need to get a kids version too if you have children small enough that they can’t or won’t swallow a big multivitamin.

 

All of the list above will feed the average family of 4 for right at 30 days and makes a great start to your food preparations. The meat was the most expensive part but the bill comes to around $500 give or take but this will vary by where you live. Should you stop there? No, but this is just a good starting point and you should expand from here. I would keep all of these items in your pantry along with your regular groceries and rotate these to keep the contents fresh.

What Next?

Once you have 30 days of groceries in your pantry I would recommend looking into storing larger quantities in Mylar bags or purchasing freeze-dried foods and bulk grains to augment your supplies. You would also need to plan for basic necessities like hygiene (hello toilet paper!) and different food items.

What else should you have? I would recommend several large candles (very cheap at WalMart) or a propane powered lantern, matches or lighters, batteries for flashlights a good first aid kit, radio and plenty of water. You should also add bullion cubes and spices in to make the meals more palatable. Is this going to be as good as some toaster strudel or 3-egg omelets from your chickens in the morning? No, but this list above will keep your family alive.

Water is another post, but for a month you will need 120 gallons at a minimum. Storing this isn’t as easy as groceries but there are lots of options.

This should get you started on your food preps and you can build on from here. Let me know if you have other ideas I missed.

 

Oathkeepers Presentation – Laundry soap

From our family site (www.krisandlarry.com) We have been making our own laundry soap for over 5 years now.

December 28, 2010 – Our first batch is just about used up – 11 weeks later for a family of 7 – not too bad – I will NEVER go back to store bought. I love how my clothes feel and smell and the amount money that we saved!!!

Here are the ingredients and step by step.

Ingredients:

  • 5 gallon bucket (reusable for additional batches) I picked mine up at the Chino Valley Ace Hardware
  • Long handled spoon
  • “cheese” grater that you use for only soap.
  • 1 whole bar of soap (I have used Ivory- it was really soft and easy to grate) but you can use goats milk soap (plain), dove, felts naptha, etc.
  • 1 cup Washing Soda – NOT BAKING SODA!! I found this at Chino Valley Ace Hardware (not at Walgreens or Safeway)
  • 1/2 cup Borax – Found this at both Safeway and at Ace Hardware
  • 3 Gallons (48 cups of water) plus 4 additional cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon Essential Oil or Soap Fragrance(OPTIONAL)

Directions:

  1. Boil 4 cups of water
  2. Grate bar of soap and add to boiling water
  3. Stir until dissolved (took about 4 minutes.)
  4. Add 3 Gallons of warm / hot water to your 5 gallon bucket. (3 gallons = 48 Cups)
  5. Add the dissolved soap to the bucket and stir
  6. Add 1 cup of washing soap and stir for 2+ minutes with a long handled spoon until dissolved
  7. Add 1/2  cup borax and stir until dissolved (about 3 minutes)
  8. OPTIONAL: add 1T of essential oil and stir. (I used lavender for our first batch)
  9. Place lid on tight and let it sit overnight. It will be lumpy… Just keep stirring every day!

NOTE: Stir twice a day for the first week after making it and it won’t be lumpy and will look like store bought laundry soap!!


Homemade Laundry Sauce

We love making our own cleaning products. I save so much in this size household. We do have a 5 gallon bucket of homemade laundry soap that I have been making every 3 months for the last 5 years… Several months ago, I made a “Laundry Sauce” that I adapted a bit from this recipe. … Laundry Sauce On Budget101

We do double this recipe and make 4 jars instead of 2 (which often fluffs into 5 jars every 3 months)

  • 1 bar DOVE soap, grated –  Some people use Fels Naptha, (we don’t because I don’t like using anything with color)
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda 
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • Essential oil of choice or soap fragrance (OPTIONAL)
  • You will also need 2 quart size mason jars and either a blender or a hand mixer. I picked up a blender at a yard sale for $1 that I use for soap only.
  1. Put 4 cups of water in a large heavy saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Mix together the Borax and the washing soda in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Grate your bar of soap and add to the boiling water. Stir until melted down (about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the soap is dissolved, turn to low heat and add the washing soda and the borax. Stir until COMPLETELY dissolved.  (DOES NOT FEEL GRAINY!)
  5. Pour the liquid equally into two quart size Mason jars.
  6. Add water to fill the jars to the “shoulder” 
  7. Add 10 drops of essential oil of choice to each mason jar. 
  8. Put the lid on the jars, shake a few times and turn them upside down Let them sit upside down for a few hours.
  9. After a few hours, you will notice that the soap has separated into several layers. YEA! 
  10. Once this happens, pour the contents into a blender and BLEND AWAY! Until Fluffy! (If you are lucky enough to find a blender that the blades unscrew and the mason jar screws right onto it. … I am not that lucky! YET!)
  11. Add the “soap fluff back into your jars (you may need a 3rd jar depending how “fluffy” it blended.

Add 1 Tablespoon to a load of laundry in any type of machine, conventional, Front Loader, High Capacity & High Efficiency (HE), etc. Add the spoonful directly with the dirty clothes and not into the detergent tray.

Piglets born on our homestead

Today we were blessed with 6 piglets on our homestead. Although we were hoping for more, these 6 are healthy and all 6 are eating well. All of these are already sold and we have a waiting list beginning for our next set of piglets. If you are interested, please message us through facebook or email us at kris@krisandlarry.com

We sell piglets for $150 at 8 weeks old, or have us raise them for you for 8 months for $800. You will still need to pay the butcher fee of about $265 at the end of the 8 months. 

Click here for our piglet options. 

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Oathkeepers presentation – Dehydrating Foods


51BNPS4kYOLDehydrating Foods
 

Every gardening season, we have an over-abundance of vegetables in the garden. We can and dehydrate everything that we don’t eat fresh.  Some of the favorites in our household are “sun-dried” tomatoes, zucchini chips, watermelon chips, fruit roll-ups and jerky. We also use our dehydrator for rising bread and for making yogurt. (This only works in the box dehydrators like the Excalibur.)

Here is a link to the Excalubur dehydrator that I have on Amazon (about $199): http://amzn.to/29ohJKJ

What is Food Dehydrating? (http://www.rhubarb-central.com/why-dehydrate-food.html)

Dehydrating food is a method of preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, and other food by removing the moisture from the food. Drying food helps prevent the growth of microorganisms and decay of the food, and increases the “shelf life” of the food.

What Types of Food Can be Dehydrated?

Fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, flowers, bread (for bread crumbs), and pet treats, are examples of foods which can be dried. You can dehydrate almost anything that contains water!

Can I Dry Different Foods Together in the Same Dehydrator?

Yes, you can dry, for example, various fruits together, different vegetables together, etc., and the flavors should not mix. However, it is not advisable to dry onions with any other food.

Does Drying Food Destroy the Nutritional Value Foods?

Sources suggest that a minimal loss of nutrients occurs during the food dehydration process, however about 90% of the vitamins and minerals will be retained. When using a higher heat temperature, the foods will dry faster, but this will also result in more nutrient loss. 

How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Food?

The time to dry food depends on the type of food, quantity, and the capabilities of the dehydrator.

Do I Need to Pre-treat Foods Before Hydrating Them?

Pre-treating foods may enhance the color and flavor of certain foods, but it is not necessary to pre-treat foods. If desired, options are dipping, blanching and marinating. Apples and pears can be pre-treated to help prevent them from oxidizing when exposed to air, and turning a brownish color.

How Do I Store Dried Foods?

Always store dehydrated food in airtight containers or bags. Store the containers or bags in a cool, dry place, away from light and humidity.

How Long Can Dried Foods be Stored?

For the best appearance, and the optimum nutritional value, dried food should be stored for a maximum of one year. Vacuum packaging extends the “shelf life”. Refrigeration or freezing of dried food will double or triple the “shelf life”.

Can I “Powder” My Dehydrated Foods?

Yes, you may wish to “powder” certain foods, such as onion, garlic, tomatoes, etc. Dried food can be processed in a blender or a food processor to the desired texture, for use in sauces, pastes, and seasonings. If desired, options are dipping, blanching and marinating. Apples and pears can be pre-treated to help prevent them from oxidizing when exposed to air, and turning a brownish color.

 

5 Simple Food Dehydrating Tipshttp://learn.compactappliance.com/guide-to-dehydrating-food/

Here are five basic food dehydrating tips that you should keep in mind.

1.    Make sure you have the right temperature:

The temperature and time required to adequately dehydrate will vary depending on the type of dehydrator you buy, as well as the food you want to dehydrate. General time and temperature guidelines will be printed on the dehydrator label or included in the instruction manual along with suggested times needed.

2.    Make sure foods are 95% dehydrated:

In order to be stored properly, foods need to be at least 95 percent dehydrated. If your items feel soft, spongy or sticky, put them back in the dehydrator for additional time. Hard and crunchy or breakable pieces are done. High indoor humidity, air conditioning or breezes may alter the time needed to dehydrate foods. Ideally, find a dry, warm place away from air vents and windows to set up your dehydrator.

3.    Don’t try to dry foods quicker:

Do not worry about over-drying your foods. You can dry them longer if necessary, but it’s not wise to turn the temperature settings up in an attempt to dry the foods quicker. This will seal the outside, leaving moisture within, which will ultimately lead to the food spoiling before you have a chance to eat it.

4.    Preparation is key:

Before you add dehydrate anything, make sure you thoroughly wash all foods with an anti-bacterial vegetable cleaner. Wear gloves when preparing foods to avoid getting skin oils on the food. Steam all low-acid vegetables for 10 minutes prior to dehydrating. After they have been steamed, pat them dry before placing them in the food dehydrator. Spritz bananas and apples with lemon juice to avoid browning.

5.    Become more efficient

Just like you’re using an oven, it is wise to turn on the dehydrator prior to use to allow it to warm up to the required temperature before adding food. Prepare items that require the same temperature, and dehydrate at the same time. For best results, slice all items to equal thickness and size.

Simple Dehydrator Recipes

 

Watermelon

  1. Remove the rind and cut the watermelon in desired shapes and sizes.
  2. Place the watermelon on the mesh sheets that come with the dehydrator.
  3. Dry at 145 degrees (F)  for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees (F) for 6-8 hours or until dry.

The dry time will vary depending on the machine you are using, the climate you live in, humidity and how full the dehydrator is. It will also depend on thick or thin you cut the pieces.

  1. Store in an airtight container for 3-12 months.

 

Meat Jerky (You can use beef, pork, venison, elk, buffalo, etc.

  1. Cut meat into 3/16 inch thickness
  2. Combine all ingredients into a bowl making sure meat is completely covered in marinade.
  3. Cover for 4-10 hours.
  4. Place on Excalibur dehydrator trays and dry at 155F until meat cracks. This takes approximately 6-8 hours.

Dehydrated Tomatoes Recipe

  1. Wash and slice tomatoes 1/4 inch thick
  2. Add 1 gram of pure absorbic acid (vitamin C) to a bowl of water
  3. Submerge the tomatoes in this water for about 3-4 minutes – this helps preserve the color
  4. Remove the tomoatoes from the water
  5. Place slices on Excalibur Dehydrator trays
  6. Dry at 135 degree F for 7-8 hours or until dry
  7. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container

 

Dehydrated Potatoes Recipe

  1. Peel potatoes (optional) and slice crosswise 1/8″ inch thick or dice into 3/8″ cubes
  2. Then boil for 5-10 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool
  3. Next, place in a single layer on a Paraflexx lined Excalibur Dehydrator tray
  4. Season with salt and pepper if desired
  5. Dry at 125 degrees F for 6-8 hours

 

Dehydrating Eggs (http://bigredcouch.com/journal/?p=3923)

1 tbsp of the egg powder to 2 tbsp water

  1. Scramble 1 dozen eggs without any oil or butter.
  2. Once fully scrambled, place eggs on dehydrator tray and dehydrate for 12 hours at 145 degrees.
  3. Once dehydrated, place eggs into blender or food processor and blend until a fine powder.
  4. Once blended, place powder into a jar.

Homemade Yogurt

  1. Pour milk into saucepan, heat over medium until temperature reaches 185°F-195°F.
  2. Cool milk to about 100-115 degrees F. Whisk in yogurt with active cultures. Make sure yogurt is mixed in well with milk.
  3. Transfer mixture into glass jars, and close with lids.
  4. Remove all trays from dehydrator and place jars inside.
  5. Dehydrate for 8 to 10 hours. Do not stir or check yogurt during this time.
  6. Once dehydrating is done, place in fridge. Yogurt will thicken as it cools.

 

Websites with dehydrating recipes:

http://momwithaprep.com/101-dehydrating-recipes/

http://pioneersettler.com/category/homesteading-lost-skills-tips/cooking-food/drying-smoking/

https://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/index.php/recipe/index/list/

 

 

 

Growing Herbs – Book review for Medicinal Herbs

medicinalherbsThere are times that I look around and ask myself “why don’t you just take a tylenol like everyone else… and then I remember all of the side effects and that I hate the fact that everything in medicines are so processed. 

We picked up this book about a year ago and I was so fascinated that we are now grown 80% of the plants from this book because we want to learn to use these plants rather than running to over-the-counter medicines. 

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs book is a fantastic starter guide for anyone looking at growing their own medicinal herbs.   This book not only has a list of different herbs and their uses, but also how to make tinctures, herbal teas, poultices, salves, infused oils, syrups, decoctions, etc. When reading through the book, I noticed that there are several herbs that I already use for our family including garlic, elderberries and turmeric for colds as well as yarrow and mint teas for fevers. But there were recipes for other herb combinations that I knew that I needed… so I began ordering seeds to get our garden growing. 

The books include the following herbs: 

  • basil
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • thyme
  • turmeric
  • aloe vera
  • burdock
  • calendula
  • chamomile
  • chickweed
  • dandelion
  • echinacea
  • elder
  • goldenseal
  • hawthorn
  • lavender
  • lemon balm
  • licorice
  • marsh mallow
  • mullein
  • nettle
  • oats
  • peppermint
  • plantain
  • red clover
  • st. john’s wart
  • spearmint
  • valerian
  • yarrow

Basic Muffins (plus a ton of “flavor add-ins”)

ABM_1467402580INGREDIENTS

Makes 12 muffins
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (we use goat milk in ours)
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted  (yes, you can use homemade butter in this)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sift, measure and then place the flour in a large bowl.
  2. Add the baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Beat the egg well in a small bowl.
  4. Add the milk, vanilla and melted butter to the egg and mix thoroughly.
  5. Put the above wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients.
  6. Stir just until the flour mixture is moistened.
  7. Fold in any optional add-ins gently
  8. Fill greased muffin tins 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  9. Bake at 400 F  for 20-25 minutes.
  10. The muffins should be golden brown in color and spring back when touched.

Optional Items: 

  • Blueberry Muffins. Use 1/2 cup sugar. Reserve 1/4 cup of the flour, sprinkle it over 1 cup blueberries
  • Pecan Muffins. Use 1/4 cup sugar. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the batter. After filling the cups, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and more chopped nuts.
  • Whole-Wheat Muffins. Use 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour and 1 cup white flour.
  • Date or Raisin Muffins. Add 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates or 1/3 cup raisins to the batter.
  • Bacon Muffins. Add 3 strips bacon, fried crisp and crumbled, to the batter.
  • Cherry or cranberry Muffins – 2/3 cup of cherries or cranberries, mixed with 2 Tbsp. of sugar 
  • Dried fruit Muffins – 1/2 cup apricots, currants, peaches, figs, prunes, raisins or dates
  • Nut Muffins.  – 1/3 cup chopped
  • Cheese Muffins.  – 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • Cornmeal Muffins. – 1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup flour -change in main recipe
  • Banana Nut Muffins. – add 1 cup mashed bananas and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
  • Pina Colada Muffins. – add 1 small can drained crushed pineapple and 1/2 cup coconut.
  • Apple Spice Muffins. – add 1 peeled chopped apple, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and a dash nutmeg.
  • Coffee Walnut Muffins. – add 1 teaspoon coffee extract and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts.
  • Pumpkin Spice Muffins. – add 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices, 1/2 c. nuts.
  • Mincemeat Muffins. – add 1 cup canned mincemeat and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.
  • Date Nut Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped dates and 1/2 cup nuts.
  • Cranberry Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup nuts, 1 teaspoon orange rind.
  • Chocolate Chip Muffins. – add 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, nuts if desired.
  • Cherry Almond Muffins. – add 1 cup chopped dried cherries and 1/2 cup toasted flaked almonds.
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins – add 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips, plus 1/4 additional milk.
  • Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins – add 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and  1/4 additional milk, 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • Zucchini Muffins – add 3/4 cups grated zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.