Monthly Archives: August 2013

When Disaster Strikes (A Love Story About Canning.)

I’ve been reluctant to tell this story of the recent events in my life because I do not want to scare anyone from canning. I do want to let people know what can be done to prevent what happened to me and I still think that people should preserve food. It is one of the most rewarding and beneficial things to do. What happened to me is totally preventable, and maybe that makes me a bit of a dumbass. Here’s my story:

Sunday night I was pressure canning with the big 14 quart All American like I’ve done so many times before.
As I screwed on the lid I asked myself through groggy eyes and foggy pregnancy brain if I was doing everything safely.
I was doing it right at that point except that I had mismatched an old glass lid and rim jar with a gem jar meant for a short, metal lid and rim. Like this:

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I had put Vaseline on the rim of the canner and screwed down the wingnuts evenly a little at a time. I sat in the kitchen and watched the pressure carefully as it climbed up to 11 lbs.
It took a couple of hours to can the stew and I was eager to get it out. I waited for it to depressurize and I screwed off the lid. Here’s my MAJOR mistake: The mismatched jar would not have mattered (other than it may not seal) if I had simply let the jars cool down in the canner before removing them.
LET THE JARS COOL IN THE CANNER BEFORE REMOVING.
As other advice I could add to not can when tired. Read your manual and proper recipes. Seek the advice of professional canners who use modern methods and canning companies. Another thing I will start doing is writing up a list of safety reminders and I will go over it at the start of the new canning season. I had simply forgotten this year.
As I went to pull the jar up, the lid blew off due to pressurized heat and the hot stew came spewing out onto my face, hip and almost my entire inside of my right arm. It also got my daughter a little on her back as she was in the kitchen when it happened.
Right after, I had my eyes closed and I didn’t quite know what had happened but Nova was screaming. I yelled for help and led her to the bathroom to wash it off to stop the burning.
I called my mom and she came over right away. All I could do to soothe the pain was to keep it under cool water, for hours. My mom sat with me for most of it. My neighbour and good friend came by and talked with me and then made food for everyone. My dad and partner got busy cleaning up the mess. I felt immersed in it all; in the pain and in their collective care.
I got into the shower to wash off the hot stew and contemplated what it will be like to be in my house in labour in pain and naked in the shower. This is coming up in just a few weeks.
Again, I found myself amazed and in awe of how beautifully people come together to help one another in an emergency. This time was different as I was the person being helped. It really shows the true colours of life when tragedy hits. It is the happening that highlights all of life making you see how whole it is. Through our vulnerability we bond and are reminded how fragile and precious life is.
I need these reminders.
Once the pain was at the point that I could have it out of water, we went to the hospital.
As I poured water over my arm while waiting for the nurse, and all I could think was “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
It felt a little insane, because for what would I be grateful in such hard time?
For cool water, for friends, for food,
for kind nurses, for family and for life. I always think to myself during hard times that something good will come of this. And it always does.
Just to be alive and to feel all that it means. Sometimes it means pain. And in the pain we find what matters:
Each other.

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Update:
Many people are giving me ideas
Of remedies to use and saying to go to the hospital. I’ve been going everyday where they re-dress the wounds and put flamazine (antibacterial silver) on it. Thank you so much everyone for the kind words, support and advice!

Perfect Gluten-Free Waffles, light and crispy.

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I get very excited when I discover a new recipe that is super satisfying and full of real ingredients like eggs and butter. It’s been years of eating satisfactory waffles until this week!

WAFFLES:

This recipe *could* be all thrown together in a bowl and blended instead of doing separate bowls like in the recipe:

Melt on low:
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil

Whisked together to remove clumps:
1 1/4 cup rice or sorghum flour (or half and half)
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tbsp potato flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, rapadura, honey or maple syrup)
1/2 tsp sea salt

In another bowl:
3/4 cup of milk or other liquid
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Combine all ingredients.
Let the batter stand and it will be thick and this is good!
Cook until golden and perfect.
These waffles freeze perfectly.
If you freeze on a cookie sheet and then bag, it makes it convenient to grab one or two for a quick snack or meal.

How to easily make delicious beet kvass.

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This is a picture of the beet kvass after I’ve drank most of it. Beet kvass is a wonderful and richly nourishing drink that’s loaded with probiotics and healing properties. It supports immune function and cleanses the blood. I find that it gives me energy and an overall feeling of goodness. It’s my favourite ferment right now.
*update* I am finding that when I do not consume the beet kvass regularly I get dehydrated with headaches. I try to start all my mornings off with beet kvass. Here’s something else that’s interesting… If beet kvass makes your pee (not poo) red, then you have low stomach acid. I figured this out after I went on a research hunt to figure out why the beets had suddenly stopped creating red urine even though I was drinking more than ever. And when I quit drinking it for a while, the beets make my pee red again (low stomach acid) until I’ve been drinking it for about a week consistently every morning.

*i highly recommend making this in a FIDO (clamp down jar). The FIDO (made in Italy) brand does seem to be the best or other brands like LeParfait (made in France). Anything really not “made in China” should be good. When you make it in a FIDO, you don’t have to worry about yeasts and moulds as the environment becomes anaerobic (without oxygen) and yeasts and moulds need oxygen to survive.*

HOW TO MAKE BEET KVASS:

PER LITRE: (I make 4 litres at a time in a large FIDO jar):

-2-3 large beets, cut up with skins on. Notes: (do not grate your beets or they will ferment too fast and turn alcoholic). Your beet to brine ratio should be about half and half to get a good, thick kvass.
To make beets sweeter for your kvass, cut tops off and leave a week to let the sugars concentrate.

-1 TBSP salt (20 grams precisely)- you can use a bit less salt if you don’t like salty tastes.

-1 litre of unchlorinated water (I use the beet water from cooked beets, cooled)

Enchanting Additions:
-cut up pieces of ginger
-cayenne
-peppercorns
-carrot
-dill
-some people swear adding by onions and cabbage for people that don’t like beets.

1. Put all ingredients in a jar, the clamp down ones work best. Leave a good amount of head space, about 1-2 inches. Don’t leave too much or the environment may not become anaerobic.
2. Let ferment 5-9 days on the counter, or longer. It’s fine for long periods of time as you don’t open it.
3. Strain the liquid out once its thick and delicious. Refrigerate liquid. You can use your beets now to make a second batch by adding more brine. I usually add a few more beets.

OR The leftover beets can eaten as pickled beets or in a salad. To make them they should be placed in another brine to ferment them further. 1 tbsp salt to 1 litre water. Add some dill?

Healing Our Emotions

When I’m feeling stuff, the only thing I know how to do is write. Not much else helps me. It’s been emotional times these last few weeks and because of that I am beginning to clearly see what it is that triggers the emotion and then take responsibility for it. I put a lot of thought into what to say to about the emotions. I have this burning desire to get it out but at the same time I don’t want anyone to get defensive or feel responsible for it. We all have to do our own work.
When someone incites anger or sadness in me, I now know that it is them mirroring for me where I need work. That may sound stupid, but its incredibly empowering. To me, It’s all just too relative to be able to pinpoint fault. It must be me, after all it is my experience. Who’s to say what will incite my anger or sadness? It must be me. Maybe the same goes for you too?
So, I’m contemplating where I need work and asking how. But as I write this the “how” feels like its already working itself out.

Fudgy Flourless cookies, as promised…

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I promised everyone a recipe taken from this Flourless chocolate fudge cookie recipe that did not use confectioners sugar.
I’ve done about six text batches and they’ve all turned out very tasty! The stickiness and their ability to hold together was very different depending on whether I used the whole egg, a clay baking sheet, arrowroot added and the time baked. Some turned out really sticky and ended up as one, big delicious cookie once put in a container together. When baked a little longer, they turned out like the cookie
In the picture.
They are also super simple to make!
So basically I just substituted the confectioners sugar for coconut sugar and 3 tbsp of arrowroot. One batch I use xanthan gum but I really don’t think it is necessary. It was easy to play with, adding mint or dried cherries, cranberries. Maybe you will play with the recipe too and let me know?

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cookies:

Oven at 350 degrees

Mix together:

3 egg whites (or 2 whites and 1 whole egg for thicker cookies)
2 1/4 cups coconut sugar (rapadura or sucanat would be great too)
3 TBSP arrowroot
1 cup cocoa (I use the high fat red cocoa)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tBSP vanilla
For thicker cookies add 1 tbsp. potato flour and 1 tbsp. potato starch

Drop onto greased parchment paper (never wax!).
These cookies REALLY spread out. So I tried to do 1 inch across blobs with lots of space in between.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
They worked best with waiting until they COMPLETELY cooled. Very hard to do, very hard to do. 🙂

Options, ADD:
-1 tsp espresso powder
-a drop or two of peppermint oil
-dried cherries or other fruit (add after its been dropped onto cookie sheet)
-what can you think of?

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Chaz and Emmett and Brother-Love.