Potatoes and onions sprouting
Potatoes and onions harvested in July are sprouting now, they are in total darkness, at a constant temp of 54 F, with very low humidity. They were sun cured and brushed off, not washed, what am I doing wrong?
ps, You don’t happen to have a single twin sister?
It may be the variety of potatoes and onions you’re storing; some store very well but others do not. Potatoes do like a bit more humidity during storage, though. And a lower temp for both of them would also help, although that’s not always possible. I’ve found that storing potatoes in coolers or other covered containers helps lower storage temps, too. Are they are in total darkness or do you have a light bulb that comes on occasionally? I found that one year my onions and potatoes were sprouting way early and looked up where my basement light was burning brightly above me. Due to other basement uses such as washing clothes and retrieving canned goods, that light was on a lot. The next year, I moved my vegetables to a totally dark corner of the basement; no window, no light (only when I retrieved potatoes, carrots, onions or other veggies). They did much better. Here in Minnesota, I’ve quit planting potatoes so early. We’re so into “must get it in” during the early spring, due to our short season, that I was ending up harvesting my root crops in early August. Now we plant so we’re harvesting in early September. That month makes a huge difference in our potato sprouting in storage! They do better in the ground than in my pantry.
No, Pat, sorry. No twin and my unmarried sister doesn’t care to live like I do. But I’m sure there are a whole lot of great single women out there dying to meet a homesteader guy! — Jackie
Easter Egg chickens
A couple of years ago our neighbors bought several “Ameraucana” (probably more generic Easter Eggers) chicks from the local feed store. They came from a fairly well-known hatchery in the western US. One of their chicks turned out to be a rooster, and their hens have laid nice blue and green eggs faithfully. In April of this year I hatched three of their blue eggs in my incubator and got two pullets from the bunch. Now they have started laying–brown eggs! I’m a bit stumped. As the mothers are Easter Eggers and the father also an Easter Egger (they only have one rooster in a completely enclosed coop), I was expecting to get blue or green eggs. I don’t know the genetics behind the Easter Eggers, but I’m assuming because they’re probably not necessarily pure Araucanas or Ameraucanas, the brown eggs are a result of cross-breeding somewhere in their genealogy. Have you heard of this situation before? Shouldn’t they be producing green eggs? I’m glad the little girls are finally laying but was looking forward to the blue/green eggs both of their parents came from.
Some “Easter Egg” chickens produce pinkish, tan, and even brown eggs; all don’t produce pretty blue or green eggs. It’s too bad you got brown egg layers when you wanted ones that laid pretty eggs. Probably the genetics behind the eggs you chose to hatch resulted in the brown eggs and you’ve no way of knowing that. — Jackie
How many jars?
I am a brand new canner, my first recipe I want to try is your ham and beans recipe you posted on your Ask Jackie column, as we are getting fresh pork this weekend. Being a new canner, maybe this is a no brainer, but how do you know about how many jars you need for a recipe? I don’t have an excess of jars yet, so need to figure out how many to have on hand before I start the canning! I will be using a pressure cooker to make them and probably putting them into quart jars. Is there a good rule of thumb for knowing how many jars are needed for different recipes?
Congratulations on your beginning canning adventure! You’ll find it a great hobby and money saver when you begin canning all that great-tasting food. I would recommend having two dozen pints on hand for the beans and ham. You won’t need all of them — probably about 14. There’s no rule of thumb as there are always variables in canning foods. What I do is always have a few too many jars ready and on hand. If you need only nine, it doesn’t hurt to have a dozen ready. I just kind of “eyeball” it, seeing how much food my recipe seems to have made and go from there. As you can more, you’ll also develop a pretty accurate “eyeball.”
Keep us posted on your journey and let me know if I can help along the way. — Jackie
Do you have a recipe for homemade crackers, or do you think its cheaper to purchase them? (white saltine type)
I have several recipes for homemade crackers in my newest book, Jackie Clay’s Pantry Cookbook. They are not hard to make, but as many people are too busy, buying inexpensive crackers, on sale of course, is often a better choice. Here’s a basic cracker recipe; there are several available:
½ cup lard or shortening
7 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
Mix dry ingredients well; cut in lard or shortening. Add enough water to make a stiff dough, a little at a time so you don’t get a sticky dough. Knead lightly on a floured board, then roll thin. Cut into squares and prick with a fork. Place on lightly-greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. You may use a pasta machine or noodle maker to roll your cracker dough out thinly. You may also brush unbaked dough with butter and sprinkle on salt for baked salted crackers. — Jackie