Acidity of tomatoes
I’m concerned about modern hybrid tomatoes, canning and ph. I cannot find anyplace that tells me definitively when to test ph, other than after canning. I want to test the product prior to canning, and prior to heating (many ph tester probes will not hold up to the heat involved in canning). What is your recommendation?
The best way to ensure your tomatoes are high acid is to buy and grow only tomatoes that are acidic in nature. Any tomatoes that are listed as “sweet” or low in acid should be avoided. Some of these include: Ace, Ace 55VF, Beefmaster Hybrid, Big Early Hybrid, Big Girl, Big Set, Burpee VF Hybrid, Cal Ace, Delicious, Fireball, Garden State, Royal Chico, and San Marzano. If you grow these, you must add lemon juice or vinegar to increase the acidity. Many modern hybrids are still high in acid If you do use high acid tomatoes in a recipe, such as salsa, where you add several low-acid vegetables such as peppers or celery, make sure you use a tested recipe and add the extra lemon juice/vinegar recommended to raise the acidity of the end product. If you wish to test your tomato product before canning, you can use a simple litmus paper test or a pH meter. To be considered high acid, foods must be at 4.6 or lower. — Jackie
Soft chicken eggshells
I am having a problem with soft, flimsy chicken egg shells that break open as they are laid. I find the paper thin shells and yolk on the ground in the coop house. I probably get two or three a week. Not sure what is causing this. I feed a Nutreena pellet and also give ground up shells for a calcium supplement at least once a week. Because there are 43 layers, I cannot tell which hens are laying these eggs. The internet said they may be stressed or have a calcium deficiency but I do not think either of these is the reason. They lead a calm and stress-free life and I have not had predator problems. Also, I don’t think their diet is the reason because I do give them the best feed I can find plus the ground up shells. Please help me Oh Wise One.
Ha, ha! Oh Wise One? Tell that to Will! I’ve found that this is often a simple hormone imbalance and often the hen’s system will correct it by itself with no help from us. We always want to DO something to fix a problem — human nature. One thing you might try, which also helps hens recover quickly from molt, is to add some cheap dry cat food to their feed, free choice, daily. (I even saw a commercial product like this in the farm store!) It contains extra amino acids and enzymes not found in chicken food and may help this problem of soft shells, too. — Jackie
Vitamin C to keep fruit fresh
I read your answer concerning the use of Vitamin C tablets to keep fruits from darkening. Is this to replace the “fruit fresh” product? To how much water should four 500-mg Vitamin C tablets be added? Thanks once again for your sage advice — we “Newbies” really appreciate you.
Thanks for the kind words. Yes, the crushed Vitamin C does replace the fruit fresh product. You can add four crushed 500 mg Vitamin C tablets to about 2/3 gallon of fresh, cold water. You may increase the amounts to suit your needs. — Jackie