December 7, 2011
Firstly, I always sterilize my kitchen counters and sinks. Clean hands always a must. Clean dish cloth, dish towel. All tools out. All food prepped. Oh and prior to all of that, I take a loaf of French bread and make the most humungous sandwich. That way when my three teenagers are hungry, they are allowed to take that submarine sandwich to a spot away from my sterilized jarring area and and slice a piece off to eat while I jam or pickle.
Secondly, and I know that was a long firstly, make sure you are using the right jar for the right job, 250ml jars are for jams, jellies, antipasto, etc. I use the 500ml jars for my bread and butter pickles (which are the absolute best bar none) and I use the larger 1 litre jars for dill pickles.
Thirdly, put a large stock pot filled with water, not to the brim but full enough to cover your jars, lids and screw tabs. I know you don’t need to sterilize the screw tabs but I like to – I mean it does not hurt to sterilize them as well. The lids must be sterilized in boiling water to soften the lid and make that seal airtight.
Generally, I boil my jars, lids and screw tabs about 10 minutes. I remove everything with tongs in one hand and oven mitt on the other. Please do not put the oven mitt into the inside of the jar. It wouldn’t be sterile then. As well, I have my pickling dish towels laid out and that is where I set the jars, lids and screw tabs. Set the jars upright. And yes, I have designated pickling dish towels because for my bread and butter pickles, I use turmeric in that recipe and it stains big time. So all my pickling dish towels are stained yellow – a small price to pay (and its only two dish towels that are so designated).
Now you are ready to fill those jars with your fresh organic fruits and vegetables. This is when you make your jam or your pickling vegetable.
When filling your jars leave 1/4″ from the top for everything you jam or pickle. When I made my organic jams and pickles this summer (2011), you need to remove the air from the jars after you have filled them. This does not need to be done with dill pickles. So what I do to ensure that there is no spillage, I initially fill my jars to 1/2″ from the top. Then I take my rubber spatula and slowly and carefully insert it into the jar and right up against the glass. Then pull up slowly. I do this on average in three different spots along the inside wall of the jar. Voila the air is removed. Then I gently top the jars to within 1/4″ of the top.
Before sealing, I run my finger around the top of the jar to ensure there is no spillage. Your jar will not seal properly if you have product on the jar. Put your sterilized lid on and place the screw tab on top. With one hand using your index finger hold that lid in place. With your other hand screw the screw tab on and not too tight. I give it one good turn at the end and that’s that. Set them aside and when they are cooled down store them somewhere dark and cool. Like under your basement stairs.
Now as you are cleaning up your kitchen and admiring your accomplishments you will hear your lids make a “ping” sound. That is normal. It simply means your jars are sealing airtight. When you reward yourself and open your jar filled with yumminess and organicness there is a sound you must hear upon opening. It is said that the screw tabs can be removed 24 hours after processing, but I leave them on for esthetic purposes and I never tighten them unless I am gifting them, which I always do each Christmas. Once you have removed the screw tab, take a butter knife and using the side of the blade, position is between the lip of the jar and the lid. Pull up and you should hear a “pop” when it opens. That means you had an absolute seal and your product is safe to eat. If the sealing lid removes easily or moves itself, that means “don’t eat”, the seal was not accomplished and your product is compromised. Refrigerate after opening and that is where those screw tabs really assist in keeping freshness in the fridge and another reason I leave them on.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and the process I go through when canning and preserving. It should be noted that I keep my organic preserves for one year. Any leftovers (if there are any!) are donated and fresh preserves are made. For more information on organic products I invite you to visit http://www.organicdontpanic.com. Good luck and always use organic foods where possible.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ann_Woolley
July 17, 2011
Eating organic foods is an excellent start in the journey towards eating healthier. However, many people find it a challenge to change the way they shop for groceries. Nowadays, you can actually purchase many organic foods in the same grocery stores you’ve always shopped. However, to get the best selection, you still will need to find a good local organic food store and learn how to shop for organic.. Fortunately, these health and organic food stores are becoming more and more common, making them easier to find than ever before.
The Internet is an excellent resource when you’re finding local organic food stores. In fact, you will also find them online. Unless you live next to an organic store, you can’t top the convenience you receive from shopping at online organic food stores. You can shop any time of the day and get door-front service. Best of all, there is a lot of price and quality competition online.
If you live in a relatively large community, you may want to look through online phone and business directories to see a complete list of the organic grocers in your area. You may be surprised to find out just how many health food stores exist in your area. Organic stores are becoming more and more common, and most of them are listed in these online phone and business directories even before they show up in your local phone book.
Don’t neglect Google in your search. Google has many built in local shopping features now. Often, it will not only bring up the stores for which you’re searching, but a map to the store and a list of similar stores in the area and their locations on the map. This makes it quite easy to quickly find the local stores which you are seeking. If they have websites, these are generally included in the Google results as well. You can go to these websites and get information about the types of organic foods they carry. You may also be able to find a great deal of pricing information or coupons at their sites.
Your local phone book should not be neglected in your haste to find local stores to meet your organic requirements.. It is rather easy to open your phone book, look in all of the grocery and health food sections, and come up with a list of stores to check out. You may wish to look at regular grocery stores in the area to see what organic foods they carry too.
Of course, no matter how much time you spend looking online, some of the best little boutique-sized organic stores slip through the cracks. These small organic food stores often provide the best service and will custom order products and take input on what products to carry if you’re a regular customer. So keep your eyes open for these types of stores when you’re driving around town.
While it is relatively easy to find organic food stores using the methods listed above, it is not always so easy to assess the quality of the products and service you’ll receive at these stores until you’ve shopped there. One of the best ways to avoid bad organic food shopping experiences is to ask around. Ask people you know about their shopping experiences and if there are any local health food stores or products that they particularly like or dislike. This is probably the best of all of the methods for finding local organic stores. It can save you a lot of time and money,in meeting your requirements..
Harry Raymond Cowperthwaite is a webmaster and Publisher. He is also a vegetarian and has a keen interest in organic fruit and vegetables. To learn more about organic food and where they can be purchased, visit: http://www.organic-veg.net
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Harry_Raymond_Cowperthwaite
June 17, 2010
An organic food store can be very tricky to find in some areas. Organic food shops have become all the rage in the marketplace.
No longer are people restricted to eating just whatever farmers and importers provide in the regular grocery stores. In today’s society, an organic food supplier can branch out in the mass retail market and make a ton of money. But, deciding where to shop and sell organic foods can be a hard thing to do.
An organic food store can be found easily if a person has access to the internet. One of the main ways to find not only an organic food store, but also be able to read the latest news in the organic food world is to go to the website of Organic Consumers. This website will link to the organic consumers association that has over 800,000 members worldwide.
According to their website, “The Organic Consumers Association is a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption.”
This website is a plus for anyone wanting to find more information on organic foods. The website also helps by providing a search engine for the area they live in to find the closest organic food store to them.
An organic food store that is known world wide is Whole Foods Market. According to their website, they are currently the “world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, with 196 stores in North American and the United Kingdom”.
They sell everything from organically grown flowers to the ingredients for organic baking. Whole Foods Market has a unique website that a person should check out if they are going to buy organic food.
This company does sell certain items on the site, however, they offer a myriad of different information on the products found in their stores. They also have recipes that a person can prepare using select organic foods.
An organic food store is a unique way to shop if one can be found. In order to locate one, a person can look on the internet, local paper, or even contact their local chamber of commerce.
Perhaps a Whole Foods Market is waiting around the corner just daring an individual to explore. If not, the local farmer’s market can be an excellent source of natural and organic foods for the whole family.
More than likely, foods that someone thought was out of their reach can be found, such as arugula and endive. Going green with organic foods has never been quite so easy.
Enrich your knowledge further about organic food store from Mike Selvon portal. We appreciate your feedback at our organic cooking [http://www.mynicheportal.com/food-drinks/your-search-for-an-organic-food-store] blog where a free gift awaits you.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Selvon
May 11, 2010
In this modern world, there are more and more food-related health problems. That is why, many people are turning towards having more vegetables on their dinner tables.
In fact, many have switch from meat-eating diets to vegetarian diets. There are many people stating that they are plant-eaters, but in actual fact there is not really a single vegetarian diet. Why is that so? I will share more as you read this article.
What are the 4 basic types of vegetarian diets?
#1 Food from plants mainly vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, grains and nuts is sometimes called a total vegetarian or vegan diet to many
#2 Another type of vegetarian diets includes not only plant foods, but also cheese and other dairy products. This is called lacto-vegetarian diet.
#3 You will be surprised people whom are consuming eggs are calling themselves vegetarian. They are having ovo-lactovegetarian or lacto-ovovegetarian diet.
#4 There are people who are called semi-vegetarian. These people don’t eat red meat, but include fish and chicken in their diet.
Are they really healthy?
In fact, the majority of vegetarian diets are low in animal products, which are lower in cholesterol, total fat and saturated fat compared to normal diets.
According to medical studies, vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and some types of cancer, as compares to people who are meat-eaters.
These type of vege-eating habits can be very healthy if carefully planned so that they include all the necessary nutrients in reasonable amounts. However, they can also be too high in calories or lack some important nutritional substances.
What about vegetarian vitamins?
If you’re a plant-eater, you can assure that you have more than enough nutrients in your body by taking the following organic vitamins:
#1 Where to get proteins?
You don’t necessarily have to eat animal products to ensure the correct amount of proteins in your body. Proteins can be found in plants too. However, make sure that your diet is varied and contains enough calories for your daily energy needs.
You can also depend on a good organic vitamin supplement. Vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are also rich in amino-acids. However, you don’t have to combine all these foods in one meal. Soy is also just as good in proteins as animal stuffs. You can take all the necessary amount of proteins just from soy.
#2 Where are the iron?
Vegetarians run a higher risk of having iron deficiencies, as the main sources of iron are liver, read meat and egg yolk. However, iron is also found in spinach, dried beans, dried fruits and brewer’s east. A vegetarian supplement can also help increase the iron level in your body.
#3 What about vitamin B12?
Animal products are the only natural source for this vitamin. Therefore, vegans need to take a vegetarian vitamin supplement to prevent vitamin B12 deficiencies. However, a little amounts of vitamin B12 can also be found in fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, soy beverages and other foods.
#4 Is vitamin D good?
Vegetarians have to use vegetarian supplement intakes to ensure a proper vitamin D level in their body, especially if they don’t get enough sunlight.
#5 Where to find calcium in vegetables?
Medical studies have shown that vegetarian diets usually lead to the absorption and retaining of more calcium. Calcium is found in vegetable greens, such as kale, spinach and broccoli, legumes and soy.
Zinc is an essential substance for ensuring development and growth. Grains, legumes, nuts and shellfish are great sources of zinc. If you take an organic vitamin supplement, make sure that it doesn’t contain over 15-18 mg of zinc. Such supplement with 50 mg of zinc may decrease the level of HDL cholesterol, which is good for the human body.
Although vegetarian diets are generally healthier than non-vegetarian ones, taking a good vegetarian vitamin supplement may help keep your body healthy. So, take action right now to improve your health even further.
Without a proper understanding of using and getting quality vegetarian vitamin supplements to treat many chronic diseases, there will not be much disease free lifestyle to craving for.
Applying this effective tips as being highlighted here, together with an thorough understanding of vitamin supplements is important so that you enjoy your life once again.
May 6, 2010
With an ever-growing emphasis placed on the eating of whole, organic foods, society continues to turn a discerning eye to the food and beverages we put in our bodies. Savvy shoppers attempt to keep toxins at bay by avoiding packaged and processed foods that contain a bevy of chemical additives; and it couldn’t be soon enough – experts agree that toxins that we ingest – in addition to the toxins present in our environment – are responsible for a variety of disease including cancer. So as we strive to minimize the risks, we have to take a hard look at the things we take for granted; and one such thing is our drinking water supply. The truth is that there are drinking water contaminants that greatly compromise the quality of our water supplies and do more to damage our health than increase it.
There is an inherent level of toxins found in both public water supplies and even in bottled water. Most often – and especially in the United States – these levels are well within safe standards and the health risks are negligible. But in those areas where the drinking water contaminants are above these levels, the quality of the water is severely compromised and health issues can result. In the United States, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set forth legally enforced guidelines for water safety known as the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations – or Primary Standards. These Primary Standards allow for a maximum level of drinking water contaminants; if these drinking water contaminants exceed this maximum level they could result in serious health complications including gastrointestinal illness, bacterial illness, and even cancer. These drinking water contaminants enter our water supply through chemical plants, soil runoff, and as naturally occurring environmental contamination.
The National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations – or Secondary Standards – are not federally enforced – but rather recommended – guidelines set forth by the EPA that sets a maximum level of drinking water contaminants that produce more surface effects – such as water that has a bad taste, smell, or discolors clothing or skin. It is up to each individual state to decide if they wish to make the Secondary Standards enforceable.
It is up to each of us in our towns and cities across the nation to ensure that drinking water contaminants are minimally present in our water supply. If you are still concerned about toxins that may be ingested through your water you may want to look into the purchase of a drinking water filter system that can be permanently installed in your home or the ongoing delivery of a water cooler system.
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