I have been given some Feuerbohnen beans that are from Germany. Do you have any info on how to pick, store and cook these beans? Any special instructions for growing these in the US?
Feuerbohnen beans, or Fire Beans are a rank, beautiful pole bean that has red and white flowers. While you can eat them young like string beans, many people let them dry on the vine and shell them to use as any other dry bean. You can use them in soups, stews, baked or simply boiled up tender with butter. Enjoy. — Jackie
Freeze dried strawberries?
Planting some strawberry towers and plan on having lots of strawberries. Will make some jam but want to dry some. what is the taste and texture difference between freeze dried strawberries and air dried strawberries? I like freeze dried and have never tasted air dried. Is there an easy way to freeze dry at home? Do you have a favorite?
Dallas City, Illinois
Freeze dried strawberries are more colorful and less leathery than air dried strawberries. No, there really isn’t a home method of freeze drying that I know of. I dry my strawberries and we enjoy them a lot. I whir some sliced ones briefly in the blender and use them on cereal! Really good, even if they aren’t as “beautiful”. — Jackie
I purchaced the industial sized cans of olives and mushrooms from the local bulk chain store. I would like to can these into smaller jars that are meal time size. is this possible and if so how do I do it. I’ve made jelly before but never used my preassure cooker for anything besides cooking.
Trenton, South Carolina
I wouldn’t advise recanning olives; they are low acid food and when re-canned for lengthy periods, which is necessary, they tend to mush. The mushrooms, however, do not readily adapt to re-canning. I would not use a pressure “cooker” for home canning. If you do not have a regular canner, why not invest in one now; they aren’t that expensive and will soon repay you in tons of great home canned food. — Jackie
Substituting suet for tallow
Tallow is very had to obtain in the city. I want to make some pemmican. Is there a suitable substitute for tallow?
Go to your local meat market and ask for suet. It isn’t exactly tallow, as tallow comes from around beef kidneys, but suet is pretty close. — Jackie
Using a metal dehydrator
My parents blessed me at christmas with a stainless steel electric dehydrator. I have never tried drying foods before and have been reading anything I come across on the subject. I guess my first question is about the metal racks in the machine. The squares are about 3/4 of an inch, can I put parchment paper or wax paper down on these shelves before I place my food on it so they don’t fall through the squares or will this restrict the air flow? Also was wondering because I read that the metal shelves may scorch the food. Any words of wisdom for this newbee?
St. Mary’s, Georgia
To keep foods from falling down the holes, cover the trays with screen or regular dehydrator plastic screen tray liners, if they will fit, or can be made to fit your trays. I wouldn’t advise using a solid liner because, as you guessed, it will restrict the air flow and may cause problems for you. I’ve never heard of a stainless steel dehydrator scorching foods, provided that the heat has been regulated properly. Great dehydrating! — Jackie
Just to let you and the readers know, canned bacon is now available at MREdepot.com.
Clay City Indiana
Thanks, Marcia. Several other readers, too, have discovered that the MREdepot has the bacon they want. — Jackie
Botulism from sugar?
Do you know if brown sugar can safely be presevered in sealed #10 tin cans without the danger of Botulism developing? My husband is Mormon and we have access the the Church’s cannery. We’ve already “put up” 6 cans of brown sugar, but now someone told us it was dangerous to do this. Also, we were told sealing corn meal or self rising flour could cause an explosion due to the leavening. Have you heard this and is it true? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
East Palatka, Florida
You won’t get botulism from sugar, canned or otherwise. Corn meal won’t explode, but I don’t know about self rising flour; I haven’t canned either because it stays perfectly fine in any airtight, dry container for years. This also applies to flour, except for whole wheat, which will get rancid because you haven’t removed the oily germ. Instead of storing whole wheat flour, I store clean wheat and grind it as I need it. — Jackie
Getting juice from pulp
You are such an inspiration to people like me who are just starting out the homesteading lifestyle. I can never wait patiently for your next installment. My question is this: could you, instead of cooking them with a little water until mushy, use an electric juicer to get all of the juice out of berries to make jellies? It’s really sad to have so much damp pulp left in the cheesecloth after a jelly-making session, and not be able to squeeze it without turning the jelly cloudy. Would a juicer make the resulting jelly cloudy?
Yes! You can use a steam juicer to remove the juice from fresh fruits. And yes, you do get more juice that way. I often cheat if I don’t have much of a kind of one fruit. I sometimes run apple juice through the pulp, heating it well again, then using mixed juice, which tastes and looks like, say, chokecherry. And I also have cheated by squeezing the bag. Yep, you do get cloudy jelly, but you know what? Nobody has ever complained! Of course it wouldn’t win a prize at the fair, but it sure tastes better than NO jelly! — Jackie
I’m looking for ice cream and yogurt recipes, as I have access to extra quantities of whole milk gallons. I don’t have an ice cream machine, and really can’t afford to buy one. But, I am willing to make yogurt and ice cream by hand if you can help out. Thanks, always enjoy your blog.
Andrea Del Gardo
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
There are tons and tons of both ice cream and yogurt recipes online and at your local library; I can’t really give you a bunch here, because of time/space restraints. I don’t have an ice cream maker, either, so I just mix up my recipe and put the bowl in the freezer. When it’s about half frozen I take it out and mix it very well. Back in the freezer until it’s almost hard, then it gets mixed again. We eat it like soft serve and it’s great. Have fun! — Jackie