Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ginger Candy Recipe

by Rosalee de la ForĂȘt

You'll LOVE this ginger candy recipe.
Ginger is a powerful antimicrobial, which is why, like garlic, it has been traditionally used in cooking to help preserve foods and keep them safe for eating. We regularly add ginger to our meals, especially those involving meat.Ginger is also the herb of choice for motion sickness. When making first aid kits for those who often get car sickness I include ginger candy and ginger tincture; both work quickly to quell the nausea.

Ginger is one of those spices that does everything. Rather than seeing it as a "Jack of all trades" without ever truly performing well in one area, I see it as a renaissance spice; doing it all and doing it extremely well.
Ginger originally comes to us from Asia and nowadays most of the ginger found in North America is grown in Jamaica.
Ginger is found fresh in most US grocery stores all year round. Quality ginger is firm and vibrant looking. If ginger at your store is wrinkled or soft, request that fresher ginger be made available.
If you take a bite of fresh ginger you’ll notice it’s quite spicy! If you compare fresh ginger with dried ginger you’ll notice that the dried ginger is even spicier. Fresh ginger is classified as warming, while dried ginger is hot. Because of this we use them for different purposes, with more caution being used with dried ginger, as it is more heating.
You know how some people can experience discomfort after eating food that is too spicy for them? The same principle applies here.
Let’s look at a few ways in which ginger can be used.
Ginger tea is often drunk after meals to help with the digestive process. Anytime a meal doesn’t sit right with me, I reach for ginger tea and any digestive disturbances are calmed quickly.
But why wait to drink ginger after eating when you can include it in your meals!
Ginger excels at helping relieve many different kinds of pain.
Ginger can calm spasms, making it a great ally for women with menstrual cramping. Ginger can reduce pain receptors and is often used by those with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis to reduce pain. It works especially well for those with arthritic pain who also feel cold or who know that heat can relieve the pain.
Herbalist Steven Buhner recommends cooled ginger tea as an external wash for burns. Not only does it prevent infection, it also acts as a pain reliever.
Ginger is a perfect herb for many symptoms of colds and the flu.
Fever: In the beginning stages of a fever when you feel cold and are shivering, a strong ginger tea is a great way to help your body warm up. In herbalism we call this a stimulating diaphoretic.
Congestion: Ginger keeps mucous flowing and can break up thick congested mucous in the sinuses and lungs. We call this a stimulating expectorant.
Sore Throat: Ginger is antimicrobial and pain relieving. Taken as a tea or as an infused honey it soothes painful sore throats.
Coughs: I recently came down with a cold and I was coughing nonstop especially at night when I laid down to sleep. I found that by sucking on a ginger candy it quelled my cough and relieved my sore throat, and I was soon sleeping peacefully.
Now...ever want to know how to make candy? This is healing candy. :)
Ginger candy can bring welcome relief for colds and the flu or even motion sickness but is also a sweet and spicy treat.
To make this ginger candy recipe you’ll need...
  • A pound of fresh ginger
  • About a pound of sugar
  • Water
  • Saucepan
  • Kitchen scale (very helpful)
  • Wax Paper
Begin the ginger candy recipe by preparing the ginger. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to peel ginger. However, if you’d like to do this I recommend using a spoon to gently scrape off the papery sheath. Once the root is either peeled or well washed, slice it fairly thin, but not paper thin.
Place the sliced ginger into the saucepan and cover it with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30-40 minutes. It’s done when the ginger has become more translucent.
Drain off the ginger tea and reserve 1/4 cup. The rest you can drink but you may want to dilute it a little since it’s going to be very strong!
To determine how much sugar you will use, weigh the ginger. You’ll use the same amount of sugar by weight. So if your ginger weighs 8 oz then measure out 8 oz of sugar by weight.
Return the ginger to the saucepan along with the sugar and the 1/4 cup of ginger tea.
Turn the stove to medium high heat and stir the ginger frequently. The sugar will quickly dissolve and what will remain is the ginger and the sugar liquid. Once this starts to simmer turn the heat down to medium and continue to stir very frequently.
In between stirrings lay out a sheet of wax paper on the counter.
Total stirring time will be around 20 minutes. During the twenty minutes the liquid will continue to reduce and will finally crystalize. Remove the pan from heat once the mixture looks fairly dry.
Warning: If you don’t stir often enough the mixture will easily scorch.
Lay the ginger out on the prepared wax paper and allow to cool.
Once cool keep these in a covered container in a cool place. They should keep for at least a couple of weeks.
I hope you enjoyed our ginger candy recipe. Now you know how to make candy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dehydrating Food

Dehydrating food is an easy and cheap way to preserve and store food.  Here are some tips for success:

Dry food too slowly and it could become contaminated with bacteria or spoil. If food is dried too quickly it will cook. Food dehydrators come with instructions on how to use the machine, temperatures and food drying times. Temperatures vary but guidelines temperatures are as follows: meat and fish, 150 degrees; fruit and veggies, 140 degrees and herbs, 110 degrees.

Pick a dehydrating method. To dry food in the sun is difficult and takes consistent temperatures of 100 degrees for 3 to 5 days with low humidity. Oven temperatures vary but it needs to maintain 200 degrees or below for several hours and this is not energy or time efficient. Food dehydrators are the most practical choice.

Know what food to dry. Good choices are fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, fish and bread. Foods that are extremely high in moisture like lettuce, cucumbers and melons will not dry well. Potatoes are fun to dry with sea salt and make into potato chips.

Select foods that are fresh, not bruised or rotted. Use good quality foods that are not stale or outdated. It is best to use food as quickly from the harvest date as possible. It's important to know that dehydrated food will not taste like fresh, frozen or canned food so know what to expect.

Start off with a small amount of food at first so it won't get wasted during the learning curve. Practice with the time and temperatures to get the feel for the right food consistency. Prepare the fruits and veggies by washing, pitting, slicing, dicing, and blanching them. Keep pieces small and similiar in size and shape for even and faster cooking.

Marinate food with spices before dehydrating. To keep fruit from browning use a bath of lemon juice for 5 minutes. For meats like beef make a jerky marinade. Marinating food takes more time but adds so much needed flavor to dehydrated foods. Marinate times will vary according to recipe.

Arrange prepared food on cooking trays and dry based on the instructions. Most foods will have a leathery consistency and this is normal. Store food properly.

All food must be completely dry before storing it to eliminate moisture build up. Use airtight containers, jars or plastic storage bags to store your food.

Canning Water-To Have on Hand in Case of an Emergency

Some time ago I saw where people were canning water to have on hand in case of an emergency. This made lots of sense to me (why buy water).

However this summer I was doing A LOT of canning and I needed every jar to can actual food, so I did not worry with water. Now as I am emptying jars while feeding my family I am filling them back up with water, since filled jars take up the same amount of space as empty jars. Also if you don't have your canner full when doing a batch of something else throw in a jar of water to fill it up etc.

I am using my Tattler reusable lids as well as some used lids... DO NOT USE USED MEDAL LIDS on actual food, they are not really made to be used more than once, but if they don't seal I am not out of work, time or money when there is only water in the jar. I have not had any of my used lids not seal on my jars of water.

The process is simple, put hot (I use filtered) water in hot jars, and process in water bath for 10 minutes. If you are just filling your canner up with an extra jar you can process as long as the rest of the batch needs to go. Then Next year when I need my jars I will just empty the water and start over.

This is an easy almost free way to help provide for your families, since we never know when we may be with out power or water for an extended period of time.
Borrowed from Recipes We Love blogspot.  Check it out for other great recipes!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Healing Herbs, Motherwort

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)

This beautiful pink fuzzy plant, as its name implies, has a host of special benefits for women. Females from puberty to old age find this herb indispensible! If you suffer from PMS, get to know motherwort. It consistently quiets the nervous irritability associated with the premenstrual condition. Motherwort helps restore emotional balance when feeling stressed and tense. It soothes and strengthens the entire nervous system. Motherwort is an excellent tonic for the uterus and reproductive organs, is unfailing at relieving menstrual cramping, and will consistently bring on menstruation when late. Motherwort is a very good herb for girls just coming into puberty and just 10 drops in water a few times a week will help regulate menstruation and ease their transition into womanhood. Also an ally of high repute for the menopausal women, motherwort will balance hormones, moderate mood swings, ease hot flashes, depression and heart palpitations. Motherwort is a gentle heart tonic and very strengthening to the heart and circulatory system. Tests conducted in China have shown motherwort’s ability to relax the heart and other studies have demonstrated this herbs ability to prevent internal blood clots that trigger heart attack. German tests show motherwort’s sedative action and Russian researchers found that it contains chemicals that reduce blood pressure. Typical dose of motherwort is 10-20 drops twice daily, or as needed. 

If preferred a tea of dried leaves can be made into motherwort tea. Place 1 to 2 tsp. of dried leaves, slightly crumbled, in an 8 ounce cup. Pour boiling water over the leaves, and let cool 10 minutes. The leaves infuse the water, making the tea.  Use a mesh tea strainer, and pour the infusion into another cup. Discard the used leaves.

As with all medicines, there are side effects.  With Motherwort, as you can see, the beneifits outweigh the side effects.  Some side effects of an excess of motherwort include diarrhea and stomach irritation. In more severe cases, uterine bleeding can occur. Some individuals report an increased sensitivity to light after taking motherwort. The leaves can have an irritating effect and cause inflammation when in contact with theskin  of some individuals. Taking motherwort during pregnancy can lead to uterine contraction and potential miscarriage.

This is never a replacement for your doctor's care, but is a good option to discuss with him/her.

Motherwort tincture (to order tincture) and  ( two company to order seeds, there are many more)

Look for more healing herb posts!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

How To Store Fruits and Vegetables Without Plastic


Apples‐ store on a cool counter or shelf for up to two weeks. For longer storage in a cardboard box in the fridge.

Citrus‐ store in a cool place, with good airflow, never in an air‐tight container.

Apricots‐ on a cool counter to room temperature or fridge if fully ripe

Cherries‐store in an airtight container. Don’t wash cherries until ready to eat, any added moisture encourages mold.

Berries- Don’t forget, they’re fragile. When storing be careful not to stack too many high, a single layer if possible. A paper bag works well, only wash before you plan on eating them.

Dates‐dryer dates (like Deglet Noor) are fine stored out on the counter in a bowl or the paper bag they were bought in.

Moist dates (like Medjool) need a bit of refrigeration if they’re going to be stored over a week, either in cloth or a paper bag‐ as long as it’s porous to keeping the moisture away from the skin of the dates.

Figs‐ Don’t like humidity, so, no closed containers. A paper bag works to absorb excess moisture, but a plate works best in the fridge up to a week un‐stacked.

Melons‐ uncut in a cool dry place, out of the sun up to a couple weeks. Cut melons should be in the fridge, an open container is fine.

Nectarines‐ (similar to apricots) store in the fridge is okay if ripe, but best taken out a day or two before you plan on eating them so they soften to room temperature.

Peaches(and most stone fruit)‐ refrigerate only when fully ripe. More firm fruit will ripen on the counter.

Pears‐ will keep for a few weeks on a cool counter, but fine in a paper bag. To hasten the ripening put an apple in with them.

Persimmon‐Fuyu‐(shorter/pumpkin shaped): store at room temperature.

Hachiya‐ (longer/pointed end): room temperature until completely mushy. The astringentness of them only subsides when they are completely ripe. To hasten the ripening process place in a paper bag with a few apples for a week, check now and then, but don’t stack‐they get very fragile when really ripe.

Pomegranates‐ keep up to a month stored on a cool counter.

 Strawberries‐ Don’t like to be wet. Do best in a paper bag in the fridge for up to a week, check
the bag for moisture every other day.

Veggies and Herbs:

Always remove any tight bands from your vegetables or at least loosen them to allow them to breath .

Artichokes‐ place in an airtight container sealed, with light moisture.

Asparagus‐ place them loosely in a glass or bowl upright with water at room temperature.
(Will keep for a week outside the fridge.)

Avocados‐ place in a paper bag at room temp. To speed up their ripening‐ place an apple in the bag with them.

Arugulaarugula, like lettuce, should not stay wet! Dunk in cold water and spin or lay flat to dry. Place dry arugula in an open container, wrapped with a dry towel to absorb any extra moisture.

Basil‐ is difficult to store well. Basil does not like the cold, or to be wet for that matter. The
best method here is an airtight container/jar loosely packed with a small damp piece of paper inside‐left out on a cool counter.

Beans, shelling‐ open container in the fridge, eat ASAP. Some recommend freezing them if not going to eat right away.

Beets‐ cut the tops off to keep beets firm, (be sure to keep the greens!)by leaving any top on root vegetables draws moisture from the root, making them loose flavor and firmness.  Beets should be washed and kept in and open container with a wet towel on top.

Beet greens‐ place in an airtight container with a little moisture.

Broccoli‐ place in an open container in the fridge or wrap in a damp towel before placing in
the fridge.

Broccoli Rabe‐ left in an open container in the crisper, but best used as soon as possible.

Brussels Sprouts‐ If bought on the stalk leave them on that stalk. Put the stalk in the fridge or leave it on a cold place.  If they’re bought loose store them in an open container with a damp towel on top.

Cabbage‐ left out on a cool counter is fine up to a week, in the crisper otherwise. Peel off outer leaves if they start to wilt. Cabbage might begin to loose its moisture after a week , so, best used as soon as possible.

Carrots‐ cut the tops off to keep them fresh longer. Place them in closed container with plenty of moisture, either wrapped in a damp towel or dunk them in cold water every couple of days if they’re stored that long.

Cauliflower‐ will last a while in a closed container in the fridge, but they say cauliflower has the best flavor the day it’s bought.

Celery‐ does best when simply places in a cup or bowl of shallow water on the counter.

Celery root/Celeriac‐ wrap the root in a damp towel and place in the crisper.

Corn‐ leave unhusked in an open container if you must, but corn really is best the day it’s

Cucumber‐ wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room.

Eggplant‐ does fine left out in a cool room. Don’t wash it, eggplant doesn’t like any extra moisture around its leaves. For longer storage‐ place loose, in the crisper.

Fava beans‐ place in an air tight container.

Fennel‐ if used within a couple days after it’s bought fennel can be left out on the counter,
upright in a cup or bowl of water (like celery). If wanting to keep longer than a few days place in the fridge in a closed container with a little water.

Garlic‐ store in a cool, dark, place.

Green garlic‐an airtight container in the fridge or left out for a day or two is fine, best before dried out.

Greens‐ remove any bands, twist ties, etc. most greens must be kept in an air‐tight container with a damp cloth‐ to keep them from drying out. Kale, collards, and chard even do well in a cup of water on the counter or fridge.

Green beans‐ they like humidity, but not wetness. A damp cloth draped over an open or loosely closed container.

Green Tomatoes‐ store in a cool room away from the sun to keep them green and use quickly or they will begin to color.

Herbsa-closed container in the fridge to kept up to a week. Any longer might encourage mold.

Lettuce‐ keep damp in an airtight container in the fridge.

Leeks‐leave in an open container in the crisper wrapped in a damp cloth or in a shallow cup
of water on the counter (just so the very bottom of the stem has water).

Okra‐ doesn’t like humidity. So a dry towel in an airtight container. Doesn’t store that well, best eaten quickly after purchase Onion‐ store in a cool, dark and dry, place‐ good air circulation is best, so don’t stack them.

Parsnips‐an open container in the crisper, or, like a carrot, wrapped in a damp cloth in the fridge.

Potatoes‐ (like garlic and onions) store in cool, dark and dry place, such as, a box in a dark corner of the pantry; a paper bag also works well.

Radicchio‐ place in the fridge in an open container with a damp cloth on top.

Radishes‐ remove the greens (store separately) so they don’t draw out excess moisture from the roots and place them in a open container in the fridge with a wet towel placed on top.

Rhubarb‐wrap in a damp towel and place in an open container in the refrigerator.

Rutabagas‐ in an ideal situation a cool, dark, humid root cellar or a closed container in the crisper to keep their moisture in.

Snap peas‐ refrigerate in an open container .

Spinach‐ store loose in an open container in the crisper, cool as soon as possible. Spinach loves to stay cold.

Spring onions‐ Remove any band or tie and place in the crisper.

Summer Squash‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut.

Sweet peppers‐ Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as wetness decreases
storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple a days, place in the crisper if longer storage needed.

Sweet Potatoes‐ Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate‐‐sweet potatoes don’t like the cold.

Tomatoes‐ Never refrigerate. Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness place in a paper bag with an apple.

Turnips‐ remove the greens (store separately) same as radishes and beets, store them in an open container with a moist cloth.

Winter squash‐store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Many growers say winter squashes get sweeter if they’re stored for a week or so before eaten.

Zucchini‐ does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth
and refrigerate for longer storage.

Homemade Laundry Soap

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Sick of buying laundry soap?? Me too. This stuff is awesome because it is way stronger then the store bought laundry soap. You only have to use 1 Tablespoon per load. This recipe makes a huge cookie jar full of soap and is going to last a life time, well maybe not quit that long. I originally made mine in July and I still have a ton and I do at least 8 loads of laundry ever week. So I am thinking it will last me almost a year. 1 year of laundry soap for less than $20, have I got you sold yet? I love not having to buy laundry soap all the time anymore. This laundry soap also works just fine in HE washers. Update: **I just ran out of laundry soap and it is March. So July to March that's 9 months of laundry soap for $20 bucks. I am pretty happy about that.**

Here is what you need:

1 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (1.81 kg) found in the cooking isle
1 box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz) found in the detergent isle
3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the detergent isle (if you use Zote bars use 2 bars instead, Zote can be found at Home Depot)

2 small containers of Oxy Clean or store brand Oxy Clean (try to get about 3.5 lbs total (1.58 kg)) found in the detergent isle.
(this is optional, I added it into mine because I have pretty messy kids and the cleaner the better)

You should be able to find all of these items at your grocery store.

**Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load. I know that does not seem like enough but this recipe does not have fillers like the store bought detergent so you only need 1-2 Tablespoons.**

This detergent is fairly mild smelling, it is not over powering. If you love a strong scent you may have to add a fabric softener or laundry crystals to each load. You can find laundry crystals in the detergent isle.
Start out by grating your Fels-Naptha soap just like cheese. You can use a food processor or just use your hand held grater, what ever you have. Those of you with an HE washer may want to run the mix through the grater again to get an even finer mix.
**Don't worry the Fels-Naptha will dissolve in your washer even if you only use cold water like me.**

Toss all ingredients in a 5 gallon bucket lined with a garbage bag. This part makes your whole house smell great. Once everything is mixed store soap however you like. The recipe makes
about 2 gallons worth of detergent. Walmart has large glass jars in the kitchen department.
I used a jar that my sister gave me a few years ago from a little home good store. Then used my Cricut to cut out the word Laundry to put on the front of the jar. I keep it above my washing machine, I also got a little scoop that is about 1 tablespoon to keep inside. Wasn't that easy? Sure was! Enjoy your soap.

**Update** I have had a lot of repeat questions so I though I would answer a few here.

-This detergent is safe for HE washers and should be added to the barrel instead of the dispenser.
-This detergent is safe to use on sensitive skin.
-It does not have a strong scent, you can add laundry crystals to the batch to add fragrance.
-Some of my followers have used other bar soap instead of Zote or Fels-Naptha. I have personally not tried it but from the feed back I get it sounds like any bar will work.
-Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.
-Walmart has nice big glass jars in the kitchen department!
-This is not safe for cloth diapers because it contains baking soda which affects how the diaper is able to soak up liquid.
-I am not sure if this detergent is safe for a septic tank or not, you may have to research it and do what you feel comfortable with.
- I used my Cricut to cut out the vinyl letters for the jar. I used the Story Book font.

Linked to:

Disclaimer: Please use at your own risk.

Maggie's Cough Remedy


A curious orange syrup that can cut through the croup, sore throat, hacking cough, and tight congestion.

All the ingredients can be found in your pantry, so mix up a batch, and start feeling better.

Made some this morning, my husband coughed all night.

¼ teaspoon Cayenne
¼ teaspoon Ginger
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)
2 Tablespoon Water
1 Tablespoon Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)

Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough. Hoo-wee.

Note: this doesn’t dissolve perfectly. Always shake well before using.

If you make this in small batches as the recipe is written, there is no need to refrigerate.
If you prefer, you may refrigerate this. It keeps as long as you need it. I like to make small batches (it is so easy to mix up.) and use it up in a just a few days.
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