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skills

So I’ve mentioned my canning addiction.

I was talking with a co-worker about the canning stuff. I mentioned how I was disappointed I hadn’t found local garlic but that next summer I was going to get as much as I could get to preserve. told him I love garlic but hate peeling and he laughed and told me about the “two bowl trick” you take two stainless steel bowls. throw in however many cloves you want (I did a dozen to test) put the bowls together like a giant metal ball and shake like hell. I’ve seen videos now of it and they say 30 seconds, 20, 10 etc.. I did it for about 4 and my dozen cloves were peeled and the hard bit on the bottom was gone.

I love these simple little tricks.

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I enjoy surviving. I’m not exactly a Prepper but I do like to hone my knowledge and skills so I can survive just about anything. Summer hobby has been Canning, and plans for next summer include canning using only produce, water and tools (juice preserved, no sugar, etc) to see if I can and how much work it would take to make a worthwhile yield. I planted a Black Currant bush on Tuesday, kind of excited about that. Hoping to find more local organic stuff next year, garlic especially. Also want to make a Zucchini tree for my patio this spring.

I got into First aid as part of my work, and I have since made it a hobby as well, collecting more gear, learning new skills outside the norm. I have almost all I need for a fully portable first aid station (hoping to get that finished soon) I have a small library on edibles in my area, survival skills, herbalism etc.

Collecting some tools and weapons, some old, some new. Knives, bow and arrow, basic tools, power tools.. all kinds of stuff, nothing too freaky (no battle axes, machine guns, etc) I want to find an old apple press by next summer.

Sorry its a bit random.. had a bunch of thoughts in my head and wanted to get them out. wrote a lot more and deleted it down to what little I thought made any logical sense.

Tried my hand at a new recipe, something I have never had before. Now trying something new and cooking either with no recipe or a new recipe is old hat for me. I love to cook and try new things. it was a lot more work that I expected, and far far more time. I didn’t know you had to let it sit overnight in pickling salt, so I started believing I would be throwing the final product in the canning bath within the hour.

Next day rolls round. Finally have the veg pickled and ready for the pot. all that is left is to add spices, and a Jalapeno. I cut up the pepper, lick my thumb and suddenly my mouth is on fire. Now I love heat, but apparently my nose decided to drip because of the heat, so I wipe with the back of my hand and my nose is suddenly on fire! put my knife down walk to bathroom to wash hands and I wipe the moisture from my watering eyes. I’m blind, Eyes chemically cooking I wash up.

Relish sealed in its jars, bath time over I clean up the cooking area, moving dirty dishes to the washing machine. I wipe my eye again and once more the fires of hell are in my eye.

This better be the tastiest Relish I have ever had.

My family has always canned. Jams.. pickles.. make the cheap summer fruits and veg last into winter. Plus they taste WAY better than store bought.

We always did huge affairs, 2-3 households getting together to do a single project. Pickles was always the biggest event, bathtubs full of baby cucumbers, hundreds of cloves of garlic and a forest of dillweed.

Everyone had a task. Peel garlic. Cut stems from cukes. stuff jars. boil jars. secure lids. move to storage area. clean up, keep everyone supplied. Hell even some of the older kids playing baby sitter so the adults and bigger kids could work without distraction. When I was little it was Grandma Lady running the show, Then as she got older it was Mom and Auntie Col. These days the huge gathering is gone, and as someone who hates crowds, it surprises me how much I miss it (and not just for the pickles). I hate crowds, even family events like Xmas or birthdays. but the family working together for something that will make us all happy for the whole year, and potentially a couple years after that too depending on the product.

At home I ran out of Family Jam in winter. This summer I was asked if I wanted Red Currants, and what could I do with them. I knew I could do jelly if I had the equipment but I figured it would cost a fortune to get everything. 50 bucks later I had all my equipment and a case of jars to get started. I made a handful of red currant jelly and since I didnt have enough to finish another full batch I made a currant-raspberry jelly.. and it was easy. it brought that same warm feeling of helping with family canning in the comfort of my own home, and it only took a few hours since I was only doing 6-12 jars at a time.

I figured hell, I have the equipment and extra jars.. maybe I can do some more flavours! ataulfo mango jam, which I ran low on and decided to mix with strawberries and came out amazing so I made more of that, then I made Mango raspberry, and Mango Blueberry. sugarfree blackberry-apple. then canned peaches and pears. some plums.. made plum jam and plum sauce. I keep planning for more and more types when fruits will come in season next year. planning to make my own pectin, juice apples to preserve fruit in. a co-worker of mine has a cranberry farm and I am excited to get my hands on more of those and some late season apples for a jelly. and then wait until spring for more canning as stuff comes into season again.

guestimating I think I’ve canned 400 jars this summer.