Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jar Spouts

A few posts ago we talked about how Sunshine has been making soymilk from raw soy beans, and that process has really been working well for our family. We are sure we have paid for the machine already, and we like being able produce our own soymilk, which is a daily food item for our family.

We are hesitant to put hot liquids into plastics because of the potential of leaching of plastic chemicals into the food, and therefore into our bodies. For this reason, we have been searching for a glass container which would hold an ample supply of soymilk. We purchased a glass pitcher from Amazon, but found the spout not properly crafted for leak-less pour when the pitcher was completely full. It would do fine with the pitcher about 1/2 full, where the angle of the spout was ideal. Until trying the pitcher for myself I was not able to understand how some reviewers would complain about the pouring and others would say it did just fine.

I thought I would share with you are current solution. We found some screw on lids for normal canning jars. The lid pours well no matter how full the jar, and we have located small and large mouth lids. This has allowed us to use the 2 quart jars for our soymilk, which is an ideal size for our volume of use. I took a picture of these lids (note the gray lids with spouts while the white lids are solid) so you could get an idea of what we found. Here is a link to purchase the small mouth lids. These worked so well, we then ordered the large mouth lids as well.

We have found these lids are just what we have been looking for, and have been working well for a variety of liquid storage needs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tool Repair

The days are short in the north winter. The temps dive to the bottom of the thermometer flask, and the night winter air seems to stab at you more than any other time of year. I have a pile of gardening and seed catalogs always close by with wonderful pictures of ripe harvest products. I decided that if I look at too many pretty pictures, I will want to move south, and get a jump on spring planting! If you have not obtained your spring seed, yes it is past time for that. Not that you will be planting really soon, but some seeds may already be sold out. Make your selections early, and assure yourself of the seeds you will need for the coming year. Better yet is to have saved your own seed from your previous crops. We are saving more and more of our seed, and look forward to being seed independent.

So what should we be doing in these cold winter nights? Tool repair.

Now is a good time to clean, sharpen and oil the tools. I suggest a wooden handle rub to keep the wood in good condition. I have a small hammer that had some considerable summer abuse, and whose wooden neck is broken in two. This is an ideal project to fill some evening time, and return the tool to service, as good as new again.

You may want to organize your tools as well, and come up with a way to keep them orderly and neatly arranged.

If you like me find yourself straying back to the seed catalogs; consider making a planting schedule and crop rotation map, so you have a plan on where and when for your spring and summer planting goals.

It is only mid January, and I am thinking about playing in the dirt. Spring will not come too soon, I am sure. Get ready, and stay active in the dark nights of winter!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vegi Sour Cream

Sunshine is always on the look out for healthy eating ideas. And wow! she is a good cook. She recently produced a new recipe that ranked tops with all our family taste testers. (Some of whom have very discriminating tastes.) The creation? Vegetable based Sour Cream. She had in mind some other spread recipes as ideas, and made this recipe on her own. It is a keeper!

Some may wonder, why go to the trouble to make a Sour Cream from vegetable sources? So let's delve into  the topic of health for just a moment.

Animal products, specifically milk as in this post, contain a significant amount of fat. Fat is one of the features of milk making it so versatile. Think about the progression of concentration in this list: whole milk (3%), sour cream (20%), heavy cream (40%), hard cheese (95%), butter (100%). There are variations of fat percentages in various product brands, but the numbers listed are representative.

It takes one gallon of milk to make a gallon of milk. (profound aye? well, follow on.)
It takes 8 gallons of milk to make a gallon of heavy cream.
It takes 21 gallons of milk to make a gallon of butter.

But along with that concentration of fat there is also the potential of concentration of other items which may be of concern. Let's say the cow has natural or artificial hormones excreted in the milk. These would be concentrated by the same percentages in the milk products produced. To purchase these concentrated products from the store opens yourself to all of the unknown dangers of a vast array of vectors. Any time we concentrate food products, we allow the potential for concentrations of poisons as well.

On top of the factors present in milk itself, we also have external contamination dangers from the modern food inc industry, where foods are consolidated and intermingled, and potentially cross contaminated. Buy local means to buy from a farmer or a retailer who has not had a lot of processing steps between you and the source! Better yet, grow your own!

So, gently stepping off my podium, I will proceed to invite you into our kitchen. Sunshine has a treat for you!

The recipe below does have a lot of fat calories via the oil in the recipe, and Sunshine will continue tweaking things to lower the fat content. This recipe provides you a low cost, vegetable source sour cream substitute.

Vegi Sour Cream by Sunshine:

Blend all ingredients together until smooth:
  • 2 boxes of MoriNu Tofu, extra firm (12.3 oz boxes)
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar
Thin with soymilk if needed.