Archive for August 2009

What to Do with All that Zucchini

It’s zucchini time and the annual overrunning of the Squash has arrived. Yes, fresh zucchinis are good, but anyone who grows zucchinis always has too many. You can always give some to your neighbors but after awhile even they will no longer accept your gracious garden gift. After all there’s only so much zucchini bread the body can stand. Before considering lobbing mammoth mammoth zucchini into the compost pile here are a few things you can do with them.

  • zucchiniSliced and fried with garlic and onion
  • Can with Stewed tomatoes
  • Throw some in your spaghetti sauce
  • Dehydrate and grind into flour
  • Grate and make Zucchini Coleslaw
  • Freeze and save for later use
  • Slice, batter and deep fry them
  • Use zucchini for a pasta replacement
  • Make corn and zucchini tacos
  • Try zucchini pickles
  • Zucchini Parmigiana or Lasagna
  • Make zucchini relish
  • How about a zucchini tini
  • Toss some in your salad
  • Zucchini Fritters
  • Slice marinate and grill
  • Cut zucchini into sticks and serve with a dip
  • Make stuffed zucchini
  • Zucchini Omelets
  • Put some on Pizza
  • Sneak some in soup or stews
  • Finally Zucchini bread and muffins

Getting Off The Grid

Bank of BatteriesEver wish you could sever the ties to your electric company? With alternative energy sources, it may be possible. Getting off the grid is a term that refers to a home not consuming any electricity from the local electric company. Getting off the grid doesn’t mean you have to live primitively. You can still have a full ranges of appliances including washer and dryer, refrigerator, stove and even a dishwasher. When it comes to whether or not you can reasonably expect to produce all of your own energy, it’s all about your lifestyle; everyone will be different, depending on different individual needs. Have a home office or computer? Like to watch television? Do you have carpets that need regular vacuuming? Have a family of five, or is it just you?

inverterWhile it’s tempting to pull yourself off the grid entirely, you should start with a smaller system to supplement your main supply of electricity. You’ll have fewer up-front costs and you’ll also be able to gauge how much energy is needed to power the entire household. It makes sense to get a system that meets most of your needs and rely on the grid for extreme energy usage than it does to purchase an over-sized system you may not need.
In our quest to remove our household from the grid we’ve re-evaluated our home and lifestyle; getting rid of “stuff” we don’t need or can live without; updated our appliances to be more energy efficient; started growing our own food and eliminated Bank of batteriesour debt. We done hours of research into cost effective ways on producing our own electricity. We’ve purchased 5000 watt inverter; a diesel motor which runs on vegetable oil (which we get for free from local restaurants) to act as a generator to power a bank of batteries. We’ve also installed a system in our truck to charge a small bank of batteries while on the road. That way we can just plug the truck battery bank into the house for additional power. Eventually we will install other alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. Although we are not completely off the grid yet, we’re getting there and definitely headed in the right direction.

Nothing Beats Fresh Canned Beets

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables! If you just like beets and want information on how to preserve them safely.  Read on:Fresh Beets

Gather your canning supplies

  • pressure canner
  • canning jars
  • canning seals and rings
  • large pot or blancher to cook beets
  • jar lifter
  • canning funnel
  • sharp knife

Select beets that are 1 to 2 inches in diamater, wash the beets and leave approx 2 inches of stems and the tap root on. Boil the beets in a large pot until the skins can be slipped off. This will take a couple of minutes. You’ll just need to watch. It always takes longer that I think it needs to. It helps to scrape a spoon against the beets while cooking to see when the skins start to scrape off easily. Drain and let the beets cool until they can be easily hr handled. Using you hands peel off the skins and cut the stems and tap roots off. You can leave the beets whole or slice them. When you’re done, you will have lovely beet red hands. Pack the beets into hot jars, leaving an inch of head space. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each pint. Remove air bubbles and adjust the caps. Process the jars in your pressure canner for 35 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Canned Beets