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Post by Guest on 13th January 2010, 4:24 pm

This Christmas really did show itself in one of its “true lights” for us. Yes I was very aware that the sun was at its lowest extent and was now returning for a new year to begin but for the first time I could rejoice at all the food stored in the larder (which also houses the very large freezer).

We had so much good food we could be a little excessive. We obviously have to hope that spring will not be difficult and we will have substantial food by beginning/2 week of May and so pace ourselves…. but the joy of a full larder is definitely heart warming! :bounce:
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Post by Compostwoman on 13th January 2010, 5:18 pm

We have enough food in, as per normal, to cope with at least a month of all this, and on a restricted diet a lot longer....it might get a bit boring, but we wouldn't starve.....

Bigger problem would be getting food for the hens...as in this weather they need food rather than just foraging..

I find it incredible that some ( quite well off!) people have so little food in stock ( not people on here I would think though....)

Even if you aren't a "be prepared" sort of person, it makes sense to have a couple of days worth of something to eat, surely? Even on a very limited budget it is possible to have a few stock items.....
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Post by Guest on 14th January 2010, 9:50 am

One of the great joys of a larder are the bottled products. With the large water vat that is very common in France we can bottle 10 x 1 litre bottles. This means we can easily soak up fruit harvests into something that can be easily brought out in the fruitless winter.

Using bottling also means we can bridge any bad year. We still have some excellent pears from 2008 that were given to us as well as "french beans" from that year (they failed in 2009). 2009 saw a huge glut of tomatoes (well over 100kg harvested) so these will see us through another year too. Cherries tend to be every other year, figs occasionally fail to give a good crop. Various plums are sitting there with promise too!

Bottling fruit provides an excitement and pleasure to winter and early spring that is well worth the effort! ☀
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 14th January 2010, 10:15 am

Do you bottle french beans in just a water bath? I would have thought that was very risky.

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Post by Guest on 14th January 2010, 6:37 pm

Bottling French Beans is normal over here. The French (and Germans) have never stopped bottling vegetables. (In fact they do meat as well by processing twice).

90mins at guarenteed 100degC is normal. Some salt is added to the beans but they are packed dry. If there is a problem maintaining the temperature glycerine is added to the water in the water bath. We have a large burner on the ground to give out the burn that is needed. The boiler makers say you can do it again after 24hr if you're worried that the vegetables acidity is low but we tend to take the bottles up slowly for 1.5hrs to get to 100degC to allow the heat to penetrate the food. Test after they are cooled for a seal.

Basically the French and I believe the Germans rely on releasing the seal if its blown at anytime don't eat it.
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Post by Guest on 19th January 2010, 2:58 pm

Can I also add that the bath method I use is a barrel (about 25l) designed to take the pots closed, sealed and fully submerged into the water.
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Post by Guest on 10th February 2010, 1:53 pm

In these cold and miserable days we are greatly appreciating all my hard work in the summer and autumn.

Extra special is the excess "summer crops" tomato, pepper, carrot, onion, mais, aubergine, celeriac, and beans that I cooked up in large batches (6liters a time or more) and freeze in 1.2l tubs. Sometimes I add shop bought lentils to pad out the protien side.

These are now being used as "Shepardess Pie" with fresh mash potato on top. With us only being 2 at present it makes a meal for 2 days. It's a great hearty meal with the taste of summer for these cold winter days.
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Post by Compostwoman on 10th February 2010, 2:26 pm

I make up a "summer" sort of sauce sort of thick soup and freeze in marg tubs, and then use either as a soup base ( tinned down) or as a past sauce or as the base for a casserole or stew, with meat in or lentils or suchlike.

I am also very pleased with using the dehydrator so much as I now don't freeze tomatoes, except for use in chutney when I get some time (!)
drying them all instead. Freed up a lot of space in the freezer, for things which NEED freezing!
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 10th February 2010, 3:40 pm

Zoe wrote:Bottling French Beans is normal over here. The French (and Germans) have never stopped bottling vegetables. (In fact they do meat as well by processing twice).

90mins at guarenteed 100degC is normal. Some salt is added to the beans but they are packed dry. If there is a problem maintaining the temperature glycerine is added to the water in the water bath. We have a large burner on the ground to give out the burn that is needed. The boiler makers say you can do it again after 24hr if you're worried that the vegetables acidity is low but we tend to take the bottles up slowly for 1.5hrs to get to 100degC to allow the heat to penetrate the food. Test after they are cooled for a seal.

Basically the French and I believe the Germans rely on releasing the seal if its blown at anytime don't eat it.

Hmmm. We bottle beans and a lot of vegetables and many kinds of meat as well but always using a pressure canner, never in a simple water bath. We use a temperature of 120degC at a pressure of 10 to 15 PSI and times of 20 to 110 minutes (measured from when the canner is up to pressure) depending on what the foodstuff is. My understanding of using temperatures achievable with a water bath is that it would take between 7 and 11 hours to safely process low-acid foods.

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