Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tackle it Tuesday - Planning for the Winter

Summer is nearly over and autumn will begin in the wink of an eye. Then....winter starts in with a cold, blasting fury. Okay, if you live in the south or some other warmer climate, you might not think of winter the way that we do up here in the north. Before September ends, we will have had our first hard freeze and, by the time October ends, it'll be snowing.


For our family, not only is winter cold and snowy, it's more lean - financially speaking. In order to make money stretch, I'm just now catching on that I have to really stockpile during the summer months. So, with that in mind, my tackle projects this week are to really begin to store up for winter.

First on the agenda was to make some dill pickles. The cucumbers in my own garden have been extremely slow to set on and mature, so I have found deals at our local farmer's market. A local farmer whom we know gave us enough cukes to make these 7 jars of dill pickles - for a grand total of $1.00. The dill was already growing fine in my garden, so that was free. These are easy to make and taste fantastic. The recipe? Just make a brine of 3 quarts distilled water, 1 quart cider vinegar, and 1cup pickling salt. Place pickles, 2 heads fresh dill and some peeled garlic cloves in the jars. Cover with boiling brine, seal, and process.

Soap is another product of which I want to have tons already made. I filled a large box of bars that I had curing. There are about 50 bars in the box. Might I add that it is stored in our bedroom (open box so the bars "air"), making it smell wonderful?

Amanda and I then made another batch of soap. I've been trying different fat combinations lately - mostly because I'm bored making the same old recipe every time. Today I made a batch with coconut oil, canola oil, and olive oil. Olive oil makes a harder bar than the other oils do, but since I blended in canola, it won't be like castille or anything. This batch turned yellow of its own accord. Usually we place a couple of crayons in the hot, melted fat for color. The scent is lemon grass with a little macadamia nut. Strangely, it smells like fresh squeezed lemon juice - very citrusy and nice. Day after tomorrow, I'll cut the bars and get them curing. With this batch, we'll have somewhere around 75 bars of soap stored for winter use. If you'd like to learn to make soap, I did a little tutorial here.

Last but not least, I've been buying washing soda and borax little by little and mixing it with Fels Naptha laundry bars. I normally make the powder detergent only because it's easier to store than liquids. We now have four one-gallon buckets made up and stored. Each bucket lasts us a month or better. I need to get ingredients for a few more buckets to round out the winter storage.

I plan to can tomatoes, peaches, pears, and applesauce yet too.

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SunshineofAutumnQuilts said...

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!
What a great Tackle it Tuesday!!!
I am making our dishwasher soap later tonight.
I am going to dive in and try some soap next month. I have a little saved to get what I need to get started.
I am so excited about the pickle recipe. The kids have to eat them when they run track/cross country. We have already gone through 3 jars this summer. I guess it helps with their electrolytes and cramping. Now I am going to be on the hunt for good cucumbers. We grew some but they stayed very soft, they were not good for pickling.
Thanks for a great post

Susan said...

You have been busy! It makes one feel good when you have all that you need for the long winter stocked, made, and put up doesn't it? I try to do all I can for the two of us however, I am so limited on space. I do what I can. It's a good feeling.