Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Getting ready...

for a busy weekend. 

I have been watching the reports of storms and flooding across the country.  Here in Minnesota a couple of thunder storms rolled through last night with high winds and rain, knocking out power in some areas.  Thankfully my town was on the edge of the worst of it and power remained on.

Farmers here and in many other areas are behind in planting due to the wet weather.  Many of those who did get their crops in the fields have had them drowned out.  And many along the rivers have their entire farms under water and have lost everything - their homes, their crops, their livestock.  Our hearts go out to those farmers who are struggling against the forces of nature.  And I am sure this will have an adverse effect on prices at the grocery stores.

As for me, I feel like now is the time to kick my prepping into high gear.  My grocery order to be delivered Thursday includes bacon and chicken breast to can.  I have also ordered 5 lbs. of green grapes to can.  I saw a video on how to can grapes and thought that might be something that would give me more of a variety of fruit for my food storage.  The person who did the video said the grapes turn out like those included in a can of fruit cocktail, and I like those, so it is worth a try.

I guess most of the elderly who use the same grocery delivery service as I do, order in small amounts.  I don't, and that sometimes befuddles those who do the actual shopping.  I don't always receive food in the amounts ordered.  I suppose that is because the shoppers don't think a gray-haired granny type would actually order 10 lbs. of cabbage, as I have this time in order to make my relish/slaw recipe to can.  The lady who takes my order gets it, so she has added notes to the order saying that yes, the amounts are correct.  We shall see...

Yesterday I opened a jar of butter that I had canned 6 years ago.  I wanted to make sure it was still good after all that time on the shelf.  It tasted as fresh as the day I canned it.  So when I go to Sam's Club in a week or so, butter is at the top of my list.  I am also considering canning lard.  Mother made the best pie crusts using lard and she used it for other dishes as well.  I think in this time of dieting and calorie counting, we forget that fats are an important part of our diets.  Oils will go rancid after a while, but canned butter and lard will last a good long time.

And now I'm off to wash canning jars and assemble the ingredients needed to can up the food I have ordered.  Each grocery order from now on will include items for food storage, for I just can't see that prices will go down, but likely will hit new highs. 

Whatever I buy today will cost less than if I wait until tomorrow.

Keep prepping!


  1. Yes, I go so sad for all the farmers. Such a hard life and they do not get enough credit for producing our food. I think that it is just taken for granted that canned foods will always be there. I remember being so amazed one year on a trip going from San Francisco to Yosemite. Miles and miles of all different crops and trees. I was so amazed. I think everyone needs to see something like that to get things in perspective. I also am amazed at producers of live stock and chickens. I frequently ask younger relatives just how many millions of chickens have to be raised just so you could eat chicken wings.....just to have them think about how food gets to our table. They don’t get it sometimes.

    1. Karen...If a kid was raised on a farm, I think they get it. Sadly, family farms are slowly becoming a thing of the past. My brother-in-law ran their family farm after his father retired, and his son is now taking over the business of raising hogs. All three generations worked hard to get where they are. I hope another generation will carry on. Most kids today seem to want to do work that involves a desk and a computer. Most wouldn't last a day if they had to do the work of a farmer.

      It isn't just the kids who think the food will always be there. There are many delusional adults who haven't a clue. I have actually talked with people who didn't know the steak they bought in the store came from a steer. They thought that meat just magically appeared on styrofoam trays, wrapped in shrink wrap.

      I actually saw a woman at a Farmer's Market who was all upset because the farm grown potatoes had a little dirt on them - they weren't squeaky clean. She then proceeded to tell her little boy that potatoes shouldn't be dirty because everybody knows potatoes grow on trees. Sigh.

      Farmers are the unsung heroes of our nation. And should we ever have a major crop failure, folks will find out just how important farmers are.

  2. I can't remember how you can up your cabbage slaw --pints? And how much will 10# give you -- is that enough for one canners worth of pressure canning? Just curious.
    I stocked up on canning lids this week at the monthly sale. They were already on sale but another 10% off was nice - one of those impulse buys as I was reading the sale prices on the shelves.
    I meant to say somewhere that I've tried the WalMart store brand for antibacterial cream. It was about $2 less per small tube here then the name brand kind. And that wasn't even on sale. I know we're alike and not big fans of that store but wanted to tell you about it.
    Cheers, SJ

    1. SJ...I'm not sure just how much slaw 10 lbs. of cabbage will give me. Depends on the size of the heads of cabbage. I usually use some pint jars and some half pints. The half pints are just right for a meal for one. I will do a post about the results when I am finished with the canning this time.

      Here is the recipe. I'm not sure if I posted this one earlier. I have another called 'Amish Coleslaw,' and I have decided I like this one the best.

      Coleslaw to Can or Freeze

      1 medium head cabbage
      1 large carrot
      1 green pepper
      1 small onion
      1 tsp. salt

      1 cup vinegar
      1/4 cup water
      2 cups sugar
      1 tsp celery seeds
      1 tsp mustard seeds

      Shred together vegetables. Add the salt. Let stand 1 hour.
      Drain water from vegetables. Boil syrup ingredients together for 1 minute. Cool.
      Add syrup to vegetables. Pack into jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, or put into freezer containers and freeze.

      The recipe isn't an exact science. Sometimes there are more carrots, other times more of something else. Just so there is enough syrup to cover the vegetables in the jars. If the syrup doesn't cover, the top 1/4 inch may turn dark over time. There is nothing wrong with it - it just looks nasty.

      I need to stock up on lids, too. I find I have lots of lids for small mouth jars but only a dozen or so for wide mouth. I have enough to do the canning this weekend, but will surely need to stock up after that. Wish I could find a good sale.

      I probably could find the antibacterial cream for less at Wal Mart, but I just can't get there from here. :) I use Bacatracin, which is about $2 less than Neosporin. I may be able to switch to an antiseptic cream like Bag Balm which sells for around $1 an ounce as opposed to the Bacatracin at $6 an ounce. I no longer have any leg infections to deal with, so antibiotics are no longer necessary. Worth a try and a trip to Wal Mart, who carries Bag
      Balm. Thanks for the reminder. I hadn't thought about looking there. :)

  3. I want the recipe for canning grapes! I can see one of the young people who gather the orders saying that surely this person only wants 1 lb of cabbage, not 10.

    1. Linda...Keep in mind I have never canned grapes before, but the instructions I saw were to remove the grapes from the stems, wash them well, fill pint jars with grapes leaving a one-inch headspace, and cover with a light syrup. I'm using 1 cup of sugar to 5 cups of water. Then just boiling water bath them for 15 minutes. I'll do a post to let you know how they turn out.

      Anyone who has done any amount of canning probably would recognize the reasons for ordering 10 lbs. of cabbage. The order lady wrote all sorts of notes about the amounts of food I ordered, and also left a note to call me if there were any questions. So we will see what happens. I think home canning, like so many other old skills, is becoming another lost art.

  4. Hello again...My lists of things to do are getting longer and longer. I am with you on "keep prepping!" Although I pretty much stay to myself, I recently had a couple of opportunities to visit with some people in the small community near us. It gave me chances to confirm my suspensions...they haven't got ONE clue about where this country/world is headed. We are very accustomed to the fact that many people we know, those who are not involved in farming, think we are "rich." They do not have any idea of the risk or our costs for production and the cost of machinery and land. We have been told we only "work a couple of months a year and make a fortune." Now when visiting with these people, I was able to quiz them carefully about a couple of serious concerns, one of which was Venezuela's crisis of epic proportions. Not a single person knew anything about what is happening. Could it be they watch a different cable network from the one I watch? Are they illiterate? So pathetic! And yet, they can tell you all the recent local gossip. As I said, I pretty much keep to myself. I really appreciate your understanding and appreciation, Vicki, for the farmers and what they do!

    We still do not have our garden planted. When things finally dried up the guys needed to be planting in the fields rather than tilling the garden. We did drop some potatoes in some rather muddy conditions. Amazingly, they are beginning to pop through the muck. We are hoping soil conditions will improve by the end of this week or the next rain. We have been enjoying and giving away lots of fresh asparagus and rhubarb. The strawberry patch is beginning to show signs of ripening berries. I will be busy canning pickled asparagus and strawberry-rhubarb jam in the next few weeks. Fortunately, we did not have a hard frost when our fruit trees were blooming this spring so we should have sour cherries soon; apples, pears and peaches will come later. I am so thankful for what we do have available.

    I can see fruit and vegetable prices increasing with the tariffs being placed on Mexico. Trump really has no choice other than pressuring Mexico to stop the "herds" of humans crossing into our country ILLEGALLY. Yes, the tariffs are hurting the farmers, but China trade policies have been ripping off the farmers in this country for decades. It needs to stop so...we need to be tolerant of the tariffs in order to improve trade conditions. Sorry for the political rant.

    Vicki, I had a thought that may help with your food storage. Our family has been able to obtain FREE 2 gallon buckets with lids and 1/2 to 1 gallon glass jars with lids from several local restaurants. The buckets are food grade quality and originally held frosting. I simply remove the rubber rings in the lids, wash thoroughly, rinse in bleach/water solution, and allow to dry naturally. We then fill them with sugar, flour, oatmeal, honey, etcetera. They stack very easily in the corners of closets or pantry shelves. The clear glass jars are also very handy for dry ingredients on shelves. We label them with contents and dates. Do you think Duane might have access to any buckets or jars through the restaurant where he works? It's just a thought.

    Well, I had better start working on my list again. Oh, and don't think I won't be using your fantastic cookie recipes in a bag brilliant! Take care, CW

    1. CW...I have been thinking about you when I see the storms rolling across Iowa. Glad you have been able to get into the fields. So many are still waiting for them to dry out. Those with gardens are in the same fix. Here in the area around Minneapolis, it hasn't been so bad, but the outlying areas have been hard hit with rain and storms.

      I am not the least bit surprised that so many haven't a clue about what is going on in the world around them. I have found that as long as bad things are not happening in their back yard, they just don't care. Nor do they realize that what is happening in Venezuela could just as easily happen here if the socialist movement gets voted into power. Mention the threat of an EMP strike from North Korea and all you see is a blank stare. Talk about the border crisis and nobody seems to realize what it is costing us to pay for the hundreds of thousands pouring across our borders, to say nothing of the drugs, trafficking, etc. I have been reading about the diseases that have not been seen here in the States for years that are now breaking out again due to being brought across the border. This has got to stop.

      I am glad you mentioned the proposed tariffs. I have been wondering how the farmers - those who will be affected the most - are seeing this move. I don't know what else we can do. Congress refuses to address the issue and is more interested in harassing our president than they are in fixing our problems. So many see the short term pain and not the long term benefits. And do not ever apologize for your political rants. Lord knows, I get on my soapbox here often enough. :)

      I have the utmost respect for farmers. When my kids were young, we lived on a working farm. I know all about tossing hay bales and mucking out barns and chasing baby pigs in order to give them their vaccination shots. And I remember passionately hating one particular field that grew a crop of rocks every spring that needed to be picked up, tossed onto a rock boat and hauled off. Farmers earn every penny they make and none of it comes easy.

      I was able to get about a dozen buckets from a bakery located in the next block and those I use for mostly sugar and flour, keeping three of them empty to fill with water should we lose power. The bakery has since closed. Duane was just here and he said the restaurant where he works makes much of the food that other places get by the bucketful, so they don't have buckets or jars to get rid of. But I can manage. Sometimes I just have to think outside the box, though. :)

      My list seems to be growing as well. I just keep plugging away at it. I don't think we can ever be 'ready,' but we can give it our best shot!

    2. I keep a lot of stuff in popcorn tins. you can pick them up at yard
      sale for 25 cents. Just found your blog.

    3. Coni...Thanks for the suggestion. I had forgotten all about those popcorn tins. They would be great for storing lots of dry food like bags of dry beans and they don't take up as much space as five gallon buckets. Win - win!

  5. Hello Vicki. I've never tried canning grapes. I do make my own raisins. I buy them on sale, wash them, poke them then add them to my dehydrator. I'll swap the trays and shake them to keep the soon to be raisins loose. Once they are just right I vacuum seal them in pint jars. I also candy and dry cherries for later. If you are able to buy pork, make sure it is locally raised. China has a virulent strain of Pig Virus right now that has decimated their Pig farms. Buy what you can that is local, and either cut it up, vacuum seal, date and then freeze it, can it or dry it. Buy the components for meals and baking. Make sure your baking soda, baking powder and oils are good. If you are so inclined, buy whole spices for grinding later. Grow and grind your own herbs. Look at the dates on everything in the cabinets and pantry. You don't want to get in their and find the only things not expired are the Diet Sodas.

    God Bless


    1. Red...This is my first attempt at preserving grapes in any form. I really like the idea of making my own raisins, but haven't tried it as yet. I much prefer to buy locally, but because I am pretty much housebound, that isn't always possible. I do keep track of things like the Pig Virus and try to stay away from products that are made in China or those that have recalls. You have lots of good advice and I appreciate it that you share it with us. I mostly store ingredients because my shelf space is limited and it makes sense to use the space for items with multiple uses. I don't however, pay much attention to the expire dates. I do rotate, using the oldest items before using the newest ones. I have found that many canned goods are still fine well past the expired date. I have yet to find a dented or rusted can or one that is bulging, but those I would toss. I think I prefer home canning because I know what is in them, but don't always know what is in commercially canned food. I don't suppose that will matter much if we are in a place where we are truly hungry.

    2. I wondered how close to store raisins I would get when I dried white grapes. I slit the grape, just the skin on one side, put them in my dehydrator. AND, I had grapes that looked and tasted just like raisins in the box. I was tickled pink!

    3. Linda...Thanks for telling me how it is done. I think this is something I will try when I get caught up with the canning. Any time I can make something myself I like better than just buying it in the store. Plus there are no additives, which is a good thing. What temperature did you use for drying the grapes?

  6. I got my 1 gallon jars with lids from restaurants and even places like caseys or kwik trip. They get their pickles in them.

    1. Cindy...I was hoping to get gallon jars from the restaurant where my son works, but they get their pickles in buckets and then use the empty buckets to hold things like the pizza sauce they make in house. On my next trip to Sam's Club, I plan to get gallon and half gallon jars of pickles to re-can into smaller jars, so I will have the jars from that. I can't get out to scout jars due to physical limitations, but I may send my adult kids on a treasure hunt to see if they can score jars for me. They are so very good for so many things. I particularly want one to hold my homemade Bisquick.