Grow Your Own Mushrooms

You have heard of a yule log during the Holidays, but how about a mushroom log to grow your own mushrooms?  Grow Your Own Mushrooms

Every year your family asks you what you want for Christmas, why not ask for a mushroom log so you can grown your own mushrooms !   You can explain that mushroom logs allow you to easily grow mushrooms at home within a few months.   There are a few companies that sell tree logs that have been injected with mushroom spores.  The mushroom varieties have included shiitake, button, etc.

This is exactly what I asked of my mom for Christmas and to my surprise, on Christmas Day, I opened up a present and it was indeed a shiitake mushroom log!  I think it was my favorite present this year!

How to Care for Your Mushroom Log

When you get your mushroom log you must soak it for 24 hours.  It is VERY important to use spring or distilled water, or in my case…melted snow.    You can’t use tap water because it has chlorine that will kill the mushroom spores.  (Luckily for me, it had snowed the night before and so I went outside and collected snow and melted it down.)    Soak Mushroom Log for 24 HoursUse a large tub to soak your wood and be sure to weigh it down to keep it … READ MORE...

Spiced Pumpkin Butter

I can’t make enough Spiced Pumpkin Butter, I use it in everything that plain old pumpkin puree can be used for because I like (LOVE) the added spice flavors.  I use pumpkin butter to make Pumpkin Spice Waffles, Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins, and Pumpkin Bread!

  • Start by making pumpkin puree from pie pumpkins or bigger jack o’lantern type pumpkins. Each year I find that I use a mixture of both because that is what I grew, had on hand, or got from the farmer’s markets.  If you have never made pumpkin puree before, follow the directions here: Processing Pie Pumpkins for Pumpkin Puree.

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  • The recipe that I use is Spiced Pumpkin Butter from The Better Homes & Garden book, Can It! on page 213.  
  • Making the puree is the most labor intensive part of the process, but once you have puree, the butter is SIMPLE to make.  It is as easy as gathering all the ingredients, throwing it into a crock pot and waiting a few hours for it to cook down to a thicker consistency, then can it and enjoy!   I cook it on high for about 3-4 hours, or until it gets a little thicker in consistency.  Once it reaches your desired thickness, pour it into some clean canning jars (leave 1/2″ headspace) and FREEZE.  

Create a Storage System For Your Canned Goods

Create a Storage System for Your Canned GoodsIf you are just starting into the world of canning or have been canning goods for a while, you will have to organize all your jars and equipment.  If you are newer to canning, it will feel like every canning season you have to organize and re-organize everything…..and that is because you do as your jars and equipment expand.   Here are ways to create a storage system for your canned goods in order to keep everything manageable and expandable.

Expandable Shelving

I am a big fan of the IKEA Ivar System shelving because it is modulCanning Storage System Includes Different Areas of Organizationar and I can keep adding or taking away shelves as needed.   The 11″ deep shelves are perfect for fitting 4 pint jars deep or 3 quart jars deep.  The Ivar shelving units can all be bought individually; the uprights on either side of the shelf and then the shelves.  If you have a corner, like I do, there are also corner units than easily add on to the traditional shelving units.  I use the larger corner shelves to store the larger items like: the pressure canner, water bath stock pot, fermentation crock, etc.

Dewey Decimal System

Okay, so the Dewey Decimal System doesn’t work for canned goods.  However, you should create a storage system for your canned goods  based on the type of … READ MORE...

Making Pumpkin Puree

img_0005Fall is the best time of year because it is PUMPKIN SEASON!    Now is the time to get a few pie pumpkins and quickly make pumpkin puree.   Freeze the pumpkin puree and use it throughout the year to make delicious goodies.   Here are a few of my favorites:

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

  • Cut open the pumpkins, scoop out all the stringy goop and seeds (not the flesh). Cut into halves or quarters (depending on how big the pumpkins are)
  • Place pumpkin halves upside down on a cookie sheet (with a raised lip) and place 1/2″ of water in the bottom of the cookie sheet
  • Cook in the oven at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until the pumpkins are really soft.
  • Remove the pumpkins from the cookie sheets and allow to cool slightly
  • Scoop out the soft pumpkin flesh and process in a food processor until it is smooth
  • Transfer to freezer bags or jars,  label with how much it holds & the date,  freeze (or continue to turn into pumpkin butter)

**My little hint for the best ever pumpkin bread, turn the puree into Pumpkin Butter first and then use the Pumpkin Butter in place of regular pumpkin puree … READ MORE...

Pumpkin Spice Waffles