Hay

– © Don De Beyer

Hay is quite often an important part of the ration fed to herbivores such as sheep, goats, horses and cattle. Hay is simply a dehydrated version of green forage. It is easily stored and allows the farmer to feed forage to their animals whenever they wish.

The use of hay has become a common practice on modern farms. However, the practice of collecting, drying and storing forage for periods has been going on in one version or another for hundreds of years. The current methods of harvesting hay build on past methods and enable the farmer to produce hay economically.

The first step in making hay is selecting the right plants to grow. The choices are usually a legume (mix), legume – grass mix or a grass (mix). There are many environmental factors such as soil, fertility, moisture content weather etc which that can affect the quality of the finished product. Careful selection is important.

Dehydrated potatoes

Some time ago I stopped in a store to get plastic food storage bags.  I’d commented about drying potatoes and the lady looked at me like I said a space ship just landed in the parking lot.

“You dry potatoes?!”

Many don’t seem to think of this yet spend hundreds of thousands of dollars buying – you guessed it! – dehydrated potatoes. They’re in boxes you add water or milk, butter, seasonings…skillet dinners.

When a 50 pound bag of potatoes is less than $15 but you can’t get through the whole thing, freezing and drying makes sense! Drying isn’t dependent on electricity.

I’ve found they do best shredded (hash browns) or sliced thin when dried. Blanch for 2 minutes then spread on sheets in the dehydrator and dry them down.Fresh water is needed periodically as the starch makes the water thick…but this water is great to use in bread.

If you have a lot of potatoes, you may want to change the water several
times because the potato starch will thicken the water.  Usually after
blanching 6 cups of shredded potatoes, the water needs to be changed.  You
can place about 3 cups of shredded potatoes on a leather tray or the mesh
lined tray. Make potato flakes easily at home, slices or hashbrowns.

To rehydrate, just add 1 cup of potato flakes  to 2 cups boiling water with a little salt.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes.  Add butter and milk and fluff with a fork.

If you want hash browns, just let the shredded potatoes set in the water
until rehydrated then drain and use as fresh.  If you prefer diced potatoes its tricky to get them dried thoroughly…don’t have the cube any larger than 1/4-inch thick.

For au gratin potatoes, the slices should be 1/8-inch thick.

By blanching for 2 minutes they won’t turn brown or dark. Easy to store, easy to use, easy to do quick meals on nights no one wants to cook! It’s home processing at its finest!

Novice Beekeeping Factors to Consider

If you are considering bees as a hobby or in the same way as a sideline business, there are things you may well want to think about before making that choice. Because there are numerous things involved together with earning with the honeybees products, you may perhaps like also consider doing it as a hobby. There is a considerable sum of capital in the start-up of beekeeping for business.

Before investing whatever amount of cash in your beekeeping project, you may perhaps want make contact with beekeepers in your region. As a rule, they will more than glad to reveal their know-how with you. Most beekeepers like keeping bees and to them it is only a “hobby”, still they may possibly provide you some insight into beekeeping. Take lots of notes. There is a good probability that you would apply them in the long run.

In making the choice of becoming a beekeeper, you will want to think about the safety of love ones, pals, and neighbors. You wouldn’t want somebody to get stung that is allergic to bee stings. It is better to ask your friends and neighbors beforehand if they are allergic to bees. You would likewise be able to know if there may well be someone who would not want beehives so close to their proximity. You will also want to check with the county you live in. You would want to understand in relation to any regulations or rules forbidding beekeeping.

You would also want to think about whether you have a place that will be advantageous to keeping bees. You would also want to be concerned about where the bees would have to fly to retrieve nectar and pollen. Maintaining plant life they like in close proximity is not a bad idea as well. Since bees require water day after day, you might want to have water intended for them close at hand. You don’t like them going to the neighbor’s swimming pool. Here is a list of places undesirable to the wellbeing of the bees.

How many months of the year would pollen and nectar would be easily accessible to the bees?

Will you need to feed them in order for them to survive and how much of the year?

Is there a water reserve existing throughout the year intended for the bees? They require water day after day.

You would need to keep in mind what would be beneath the bees as they fly to get the nectar and pollen they need. The bees will defecate as they are airborne and their feces will leave spots on the whole thing under them. The feces may perhaps even spoil the exterior of a car. There are ways to utilize to make the bees to fly at a higher height, like a high hurdle or thick lofty plant life in close proximity to the hive.

If you would like to discover about more things that you ought to do prior to starting your beekeeping pastime or business, you can read more in relation to them in the Beginner Beekeeping Guide

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(ArticlesBase SC #2486141)

Michael Lundy

Michael LundyAbout the Author:
Visit http://www.thebeekeeper.info for additional articles in addition to information concerning how to begin beekeeping as a leisure pursuit.

Home Grown Mushrooms

The edible mushroom is cooked in a meal to give the meal a full flavor or cooked as a side dish alone or with a vegetable; does that make the mushroom a fruit or a vegetable? There are many species of mushroom that are used for different purposes. There are the mushrooms that are edible and used in our meals or as a meal, mushrooms that are used as medicine, psychoactive mushrooms which is hallucinatory and toxic mushrooms that are dangerous if eaten. When using mushrooms that are not from a super market specifically for eating, one has to be very careful and know their mushrooms. Because mushrooms are a fungus they do not grow out of the ground like other plants.

You enjoy mushrooms so why not grow them from home. There are easy to follow instructions offered in how to grow your own mushrooms. These instructions are in kits and are step-by-step tutorials along with the spores from which to grow your own mushrooms. These kits not only help you grow your own mushrooms, but teach you to calculate how long it will take for you mushrooms to mature and show you how to calculate their dry weight. The kit will give instructions on how to log their growth, print labels for your jars, grow bags and containers. In addition, the kits offer instructions on how to ward off contamination and have flushes of mushrooms.

As most home projects, mushroom growing has a language of its own which is explained in a glossary in the kit in the instructional guides. If you prefer not to have a kit to grow your own mushrooms you can do so without one. You can grow your own mushrooms with some tools, fresh cut oak logs and much patience and you can grow whatever species of mushroom your like. Mushrooms grown at home can be grown for profit or to be used at home.

To get started in growing your own mushrooms you should first go online and find a reputable dealer that sells what one needs to grow mushrooms. When you have found a reliable dealer than order spawn. Spawn is a wet sawdust that is bound with a material called “Mycelium” which is a vegetative tissue of fungus. Something like the root system of a seasonal plant.

Log cultivation is the method closest to nature and therefore, suggested as the best way to grow mushrooms. The logs must be young and healthy and without leaves. The logs should be cut into three foot lengths and have a diameter of about three to eight inches. When the logs are ready then the spawn should be punched into them/ Holes should be drilled into the log and the spawn punched into the holes and sealed with melted wax. Avoid letting the logs dry out as the dry logs can harbor bacteria which will contaminate the new mushrooms. The Chinese, Japanese and Europeans incorporate mushrooms into most of their dishes. Whether you grow mushrooms for profit or fun enjoy what you are doing and learning.

Find out more about growing mushrooms by clicking here!

Dehydrate Vegetables for Long Life

Drying or dehydrating vegetables is one of the oldest known methods of food preservation. The really great thing about it is that you can do it at home with equipment you have on hand.

You should pick your produce at it’s peak and work as quickly as you can to preserve its colour and taste.

Prepare your vegetables as if you were going to serve them. Wash them well, trim, cut, chop, slice, whatever. Thickness will play an important role in how long your veggies take to dehydrate, so bear that in mind when preparing.

Next you must blanch the vegetables. This will preserve the colour and flavour of the vegetable. Most vegetables have an enzyme that, left active, is what makes it spoil so quickly. Blanching the vegetables stops the enzyme action.

Follow available guidelines for blanching (available at http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com). Once blanched, chilled and drained, you are ready to dry or dehydrate your vegetables for long
term storage.

The Rules

Of course, there are heaps of rules…but let’s start here.

There are three methods used to dry or dehydrate vegetables.
Sun dried, commercial dehydrator or oven.

Sun drying is the least reliable method for areas with variable temperatures. Unless you live in a climate that is a consistent 90F with low humidity for a guaranteed 3 days in a row, you risk your produce.

Once the drying starts, it cannot stop until finished. So DO NOT let your vegetables cool again until they’re done. Having said that, lots of places do have that sort of weather…but more places don’t, so sun drying is a bit of a gamble for most.

You can purchase food dehydraters in a range of sizes, but unless you are going to be doing an awful lot of this, it’s probably better to wait or buy one with a group of friends to pass around. They aren’t very expensive, but they are usually used for quite short periods of time.

So, we’re left with the oven. It’s almost certain that you have one, so nothing new to buy. It is time consuming and a little fiddly, but it’s such a great result!

Oven drying

A home oven will only dry small quantities at a time (up to six pounds of produce, depending on the number of racks you have) so don’t be preparing bushells of veggies at a time!

Set the oven at the lowest temperature and preheat to 140F (60C). If you are uncertain of the temperature, put a separate oven thermometer on a rack you can see. Check your temperature
every half hour or so.

Lay out your vegetables on stainless steel screen mesh or wooden
frames covered in cheescloth. Do NOT use cookie sheets as the
air must circulate around the food. Having the food sit next to
metal sheets may also transfer a metalic taste. Using other
types of metal materials may react with the food so please don’t.

Load up the veggies. Doing trays of items similar in size will keep the drying even. For instance, doing pumpkin, carrot and
potato might be a good mix. Try not to mix strong flavoured items as the flavour may transfer from one vegetable to another.

Keep the oven door open about 3 inches or so during drying. It is vital that the temperature is maintained at 140F (60C) and that the moist air can escape. Move the trays around frequently to ensure even drying. No oven has even heat throughout.

Keep a close eye on your drying vegetables. Don’t let them scorch and keep them moving.

Depending on the vegetable you are drying it will take between
4 and 12 hours to dry. Once they’re done, the vegetable pieces
will be hard and should shatter if hit with an instrument.

Store in a water tight container. To use, just add them to soups and sauces as they are, or reconstitute (cover them in a container with water 2:1 ratio) for approximately 2 hours before using.

Judy Williams (http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com) splits her time between being an executive and an earth mother goddess.

No Dig Vegetable Gardens represents a clean, green way to grow your own food. The site covers all aspects of growing, cooking and preserving your harvest.

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