Hello all you fabulous recyclers. If you are recycling or not, save your egg cartons for me and drop off at the Buffalo Farmer's market Saturdays 8-noon. Same with canning jars. If you are just recycling canning mason jars, please hang on to them and drop them off with me. I go through a
My pigs are getting big! I don't corn feed and anyone that says that's the only way to go has truly been brain washed into thinking it's the only way for livestock to gain weight. If you are trying to accurately weigh pigs without using a scale, this is the formula: Length of back- middle of ears to base of tail X Girth - measurement taken from behind front legs around the chest X Girth again all divided by 400. My female (gilt) weighs 193 lbs and my male (hog) weighs a 213! So excited that my pigs are super healthy and growing well on vegetables, protein mix and free foraging. Treating animals humanely and allowing them to 'be who they are' naturally without antibiotics and all the nasty chemicals they pump full of commercially grown pork has been a very rewarding experience. No really, do a quick search on it and you'll be pretty disgusted. You'll easily find info on how commercial pigs are raised including small areas of confinement where bacteria and disease grow, wallowing in there feces, and once it's butchered- washed with a nice coat of ammonia....yum. In fact, most places that commercially feed pigs - feed lot style, concrete flooring, no area to roam, given shots for disease etc., won't allow you to view their facilities. Why? because they are filthy, nasty, unclean, chemical ridden places. They don't want you to see that or even know that. They go through great expense of hiding how their meats are raised. Next time you are at the grocery store look at the labels on the meat- it shows a nice little picture of a small farm where it looks like the pork/meat was raised... WRONG OH! No, most meats you can purchase at the grocery store are NOT farm raised/free-range/antibiotic free/humanely treated animals. Commercial producers create a facade for you to believe that you are feeding your family what you should be. Trickery at it's best. So, what to do. I am a believer in "don't present a problem without a solution." The answer to this is quite simple: Grow your own OR a more popular choice: Cut out and demand better products. Search for a local farmer that pasture raises animals. Take a tour of the farm and see for yourself how they raise their meats. You can certainly learn a lot from one glance/smell. "But it's more expensive than the commercial meats," I hear... Not really, if you buy 1/2 a pig or 1/4 from a farm it's about the same and can even be less because you cut out about 3 middle men. Plus you have extra meat for a few months to a year! I get saving money, and that's why I raise my own and also because I know exactly what I feed them but saving money can still happen with researching a little bit to provide hormone free meats for you and/or your family. Besides, you deserve it.
I love fresh herbs- but what's even better is when you store them yourself from your own making! The best grocery store varieties have been sitting on the shelves/manufacturers warehouses for who knows how long and the best herbs have a shelf life of 6-12 months, depending on the type. You can never be sure when they were harvested. So to get best flavor without pesticides and the costly price tag, drying and storing them yourself is the way to go. Herbs don't need much room to grow so you can grow them almost anywhere. I store mine in glass baby jars and paint the TOPS of the lids white. I like to hand write my labels, as it adds a little bit of 'home' in the kitchen. You don't have to use baby jars, they are super easy and a great size for herbs but if you start looking at the jars you throw away- some have awesome shapes and great lids- you'll notice those are great for herbs too. Save a few over the next month or so and you'll know what I mean :)
As the season progresses and the garden produces, I like to freeze my peas, snap peas, and broccoli at it's peak to enjoy in the winter months. I think freezing these items keep their freshness best. My garden peas are shucking peas and my snap peas are in the pod and more flat (stir fry pods etc). Each as follows: Broccoli: cut long stems/leaves off and wash in cool water. Toss into boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove Immediately and place into bowl of cold ice water. Drain - getting excess water off by laying on dry dish towels. Bag into freezer safe plastic bags and freeze! Snap Peas: Remove end by snapping it and pulling the string from the pea pod. It runs up the crease of the pod. Some people leave this but I don't like the stringy tough part. Wash in cool water, drain. Place in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and place into bowl of ice water. Drain- get excess water off by placing on dry dish towels. Place in freezer safe bags and freeze! Garden Peas: Shuck garden peas.....still shucking....still shucking... ok, rinse peas in cool water. Place in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove, drain - get excess water off by shaking the colander a bit. Put into freezer safe bags and freeze! Enjoy the freshest of the season throughout the winter months!!!