Category Archives: Homesteading Recipes

Dehydrating Foods

dehydrated_preservesDehydrated foods make great, healthy snacks, a convenient lunch or a vitamin-saving way to preserve foods.

Most commercially dried fruits and vegetables use sulfides and preservatives even on dried foods as a precaution. Many people have allergies to these preservatives and if you don’t want chemicals on your foods, you might consider dehydrating your own. Dehydrated fruits make excellent snacks as drying preserves almost all of the vitamins and nutrients of foods.

Dehydrating Basics: Clean and slice vegetables very thin. They will dehydrate better if cut into thin slices rather than chunks. Lay all the pieces out on racks in a dehydrator or use metal oven racks. Make sure none of the vegetable slices overlap or touch each other.

They must be completely dry before you store them or they will get moldy, so it’s better to over-dry them than not dry them enough.

If using an oven to dehydrate, you will have to get some very small-spaced metal racks or use cookie sheets and flip the produce on a regular basis until completely dry. Use a heat setting of 200 degrees or less. You want to dry it not cook it, or it will still rot and spoil. Dehydrators are not that expensive and well worth the investment. They will pay for themselves in no time.

dehydraterPeach or Apple Chips:

Rinse and clean fruit. Core or pit it but leave the peels on for flavor and nutrients. Slice thinly, about 1/8 inch thin or less. Arrange on dehydrator or oven racks and dry according to directions.

When fruit is dry enough to snap it in half and it is not rubbery or flexible, it’s dry enough for chips and to store for about 6 months in a glass jar with a lid.

Not only do these make tasty nonprocessed snacks, but you can add them to your homemade granola. Recipe is on page 122.

Banana Chips: Slice bananas 1/8 inch thick or less. Banana slices must be dipped in lemon juice to prevent them from browning while they dry. Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice in a bowl and after slicing the bananas, drop them into the bowl to coat them. Then arrange them on racks for drying.

Dried Vegetables: Vegetables such as Okra, peas, carrots, potatoes, onions etc., can be preserved and used in soups, stews or other dishes. The best way to use them once dried is to either put them in a dish with enough liquid to re-hydrate them fully, or to soak what you need for a recipe for a couple hours to re-hydrate them before use.

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Electrolyte Tea

Medical reports are increasing regarding the number of people who are suffering health problems and heart damage due to not getting enough potassium in their diets. Potassium is found mostly in raw, uncooked foods and the majority of the public simply just does not eat enough unprocessed fruits and vegetables to get the RDA of 5000 mg of potassium daily. Reports show that the average person does not even get 2,000 mg of potassium daily. Electrolytes play a huge roll in providing energy to the body. The four major electrolytes are calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. This tea will give you an even electrolyte boost that is much healthier for the body than a sudden jolt caused by energy drinks.

This tea is not big on taste, but it is big on vitamins, minerals, and supplies more electrolytes than Gatorade.
1C alfalfa leaves and flowers
1C dried nettle leaf
1C dried oat straw
1/2 C crushed rose hips

Mix above dry ingredients together in a glass jar with a lid and store in a dark kitchen cupboard. When ready to have tea, use 1 Tbsp of this mixture for 1 cup of hot or cold tea. The above recipe makes enough for several cups, so it can easily get you through a week or more. If you want to sweeten it, using unrefined, unfiltered raw honey is best.

Optional: You can ad hibiscus, dried fruits or berries, mint or other herbs to boost up the flavor a bit. Flavored with fruits, it makes a good iced tea or cold beverage to take to work and replace sugar-laden sodas with.

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Cranberry Poppyseed Loaf

A bit like a cake and a bread in one, but one of our favorites to bake around the holidays because it’s so festive.

Makes 1 loaf

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup honey, or 1 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar,

or 1 tsp stevia

2 Tbsp poppyseeds

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries, chopped

Confectioner’s sugar glaze (can make your own with 50% evaporated cane juice (Rapadura or Sucanat) and 50% organic cornstarch.

Grease a loaf pan. In large bowl, mix flour, sweetener, poppy seeds and baking powder. In a liquid measuring cup, measure milk and add butter, egg and vanilla. Beat thoroughly with a fork and add to dry ingredients. Mix just untilmoist and add cranberries.

Spread in prepared pan.Bake at 375º for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean and loaf is lightly brown. Cool inthe pan on a rack for about 10-15 minutes before trying to remove loaf or it may stick. Drizzle with confectioner’s glaze (add just enough water to confectioner’s mix to make it drip down sides of loaf), honey, or maple syrup before serving.

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Refrigerator Pickles

Probably the easiest way to make pickles, but these pickles also have a unique taste that you cannot find in any store-bought pickles.

refrigerator pickles5 cups cucumbers (3 large) thinly sliced

1 medium onion (red onions are good)

1/4 cup salt

3-4 large sprigs fresh parsley

3/4 cup honey

1 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar

fresh ground pepper

Slice the cukes and onion and layer with the diced parsley in a large bowl or jar. Sprinkle with salt and add enough cold water to cover the cukes. Mix the salt around a bit and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

The next day, pour off about 1/2 of the salt brine and save the rest. In a medium saucepan, heat to boiling the honey and vinegar. Cool to room temp and sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper. Pour over cukes and mix with the reserved salt brine. If  you do this in a large jar, it’s much easier because you can simply put a lid on the jar and shake it up to mix everything together and you don’t have to dirty an additional bowl. Cover and let sit in frig at least 1-2 weeks before enjoying. Stir or shake up occasionally. Will last in the frig for about 2-3 months.

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How to Use Fresh Pumpkin in Recipes

pumpkin-pureeBy now, we should all be aware that the cans used for canned foods are coated with a thin layer of plastic on the inside. That means all canned foods leach petroleum by products from plastics into the food they contain. Canned Pumpkin is one of the worst. We believe in using fresh ingredients whenever possible, but using fresh pumpkin in place of canned in recipes can be a bit tricky. This is because canned pumpkin is pressed to squeeze as much water out of it as possible so it’s very condensed. Fresh pumpkin tastes so much better though, and with a little preliminary preparation is well worth it in taste, vitamins and reducing toxins.

We find the easiest way to use a pumpkin for baking recipes is to cut the stem off, then chop it into smaller chunks or slices, remove the seeds (but save them for roasting later – see our roasted squash and pumpkin seeds recipe)  then bake it on a cookie sheet until soft. About 45 minutes at 350º.  Baking it takes most of the water out of it so it is more dense like canned pumpkin. You can steam it, but it will have a lot more water in it and may not work for baking recipes.

After it’s cooked until soft, then cut the peeling off. It is much easier to cut the peeling off of hard winter squashes and pumpkins after they are cooked and not before. Besides, leaving the skin on during cooking holds in nutrients.

Cut the cooked flesh into chunks and put them in a blender or food processer to puree. You can freeze the extra for use in other recipes later.

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Thyme Oatmeal Bread

oatmeal_thyme_bread3  cups organic flour

1/2 cup uncooked organic oatmeal flakes

1 cup warm water

1 package baking yeast

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

Grape seed or olive oil for dipping

Sprinkle thyme

Using a mixer with a dough hook or bread machine, pour hot water into the bowl you will use to mix everything in to warm it up for a few seconds. Dump out the water, add 1 cup warm tap water to the bowl, stir in the honey until it dissolves, sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let it proof for about 2 minutes.

Add the oil, eggs and salt and about 1/8 tsp ground thyme. Mix well. Add the oatmeal and flour, one cup at a time mixing well between each cup. Knead dough or your dough machine or mixer and mix or knead for about 2 minutes until dough is well mixed. Put on a floured surface and knead dough by hand for another 2 minutes working a lot of air into the dough by folding it over on itself.

Grease a loaf pan with oil, put the dough in the pan, flip it over to lightly coat both sides with oil from the pan. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (at least 70 degrees) for an hour and 15 minutes. Preheat the oven at 325º and bake bread for 25 minutes until the crust is medium brown.

Let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes – this will make it easier to remove the loaf from the pan without it sticking. Slice and dip in a shallow dish filled with olive or grape seed oil sprinkled with a little thyme and salt.

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Super Bowl Guacamole with Homemade Chips.

Guacamole: Makes about 3 cups.

Guacamole4 ripe avocados
2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 C. organic sour cream or unsweetened yogurt (optional)
1 organic tomato, diced
3-4 sprigs of fresh cilantro or chives
1 clove garlic
Sprinkle ground chipotle pepper to taste. Will get hotter as it sits.
1/2 tsp sea salt.

In a small bowl, peel, pit and mash avocados with a fork. Squirt the juice from 1-2 lime slices (depending on your taste) on the avocados, add salt, chipotle pepper and yogurt and mix well. Dice tomato and add to guacamole.

Serve with tortilla chips or make your own chips by microwaving a flour tortilla for about 50 seconds on each side until crispy but not too brown. Break into pieces for homemade chips.

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Super Bowl Best-Ever Salsa

This homemade salsa is not just flavorful, it’s full of vitamins.

salsa3-4 ripe tomatoes
14 oz tomato sauce
3-4 sprigs cilantro, basil or parsley 1/4 tsp chipotle
2 cloves garlic
3-4 green onions
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all above ingredients in a blender, making sure to put liquid foods in first, and just pulse until slightly chopped and well mixed together.

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Super Bowl Tex-Mex Chili

Tex-Mex ChiliOur favorite way to eat chili! There’s some debate over whether true chili has noodles or not. However, this recipe
uses a wonderful substitute for noodles. Makes 6-8 servings:

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion
1 cup kidney beans (if using dried beans, soak them overnight in water with 1 tsp salt and pre-cook them until they are soft.)
16 ounces of tomato sauce
2-3 fresh tomatoes
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste Flour tortillas

Topping: fresh green onions, cilantro, cheese and tomatoes.

Brown beef until cooked through. Drain off any grease. Add the rest of the ingredients except the tortillas and topping ingredients.

Simmer on low for 30 minutes or until chili thickens to a sauce.

Serve in individual bowls with the fresh toppings and dip a flour tortilla in the chile. If desired, use a small teaspoon to scoop up some chili and place it on the edge of a tortilla and take a bite.

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Make Your Own Apple Butter

Apple Butter10 apples such as Granny Smith (cored and sliced – don’t peel, all the flavor and nutrients are in the peel.

1/2 cup honey or to taste (some people find apple butter is sweet enough without much sugar or honey, it depends on the type of apple you are using and your taste, but we find a minimum of 1/2 cup honey is a good place to start for any apple.

1/2 cup apple or cranberry juice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Simmer everything in a pot until the apples are soft, most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is thick and dark brown. Puree the mixture in a blender if necessary. Put in canning jars and process according to the directions for your canner or keep refrigerated and eat within one week.

Variations: Add your own special twist, such as adding cinnamon or ground cloves, another type of fruit such as peaches, or raisins.

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