One of my goals that I had last year was to make more stock at home. I use a ridiculous amount of stock each week for cooking. Everything from soups to rice. Because of that I wanted to rely less on store bought stock and more on homemade stock.
Since our move here I’m happy to say that I have been using homemade stock exclusively! Since local meats are super abundant and because I bought a meat share this year, bones have been plentiful for stock making.
I’ve also found two things to take my stock from average to perfection. Before my homemade stocks, while tasty, were missing something. I had no idea what but they didn’t seem to have the depth and rich flavor that I expected from homemade stock.
Reading different homesteading blogs and food blogs I noticed that most people add some sort of acid, usually in the form of cider vinegar to their pot of stock.
Read more on Making Stock Better…
Last fall I purchased a half hog meat share.
This has easily been one of the best decisions I have made! One, albeit large, payment and my freezer is stocked with pork cuts. Enough to keep us in pork until summer.
It’s been a learning experience and one of the new things that came along with with purchasing a half hog is learning how to render lard.
I got the fat from the pig as well as the meat cuts and to be truthful, this was what I was looking forward to the most.
Lard from pasture raised (meaning properly raised pigs) is a great source of fat and good for the body. Lard from the grocery stores is hydrogenated making it full of transfat and very bad for the body.
Fresh lard = great for you
Grocery store lard = stay away from
While lard is fat from the pig, you have to do some work to get it. Lard doesn’t just happen, it takes a little bit of time. The process requires rendering down the fat to separate it from anything else that might be in the fat. The little resulting bits leftover from rendering are referred to as cracklings. You can fry them up and eat them!
Read more on Embracing Lard…
One of the things that I wanted to be able to do this summer was can. I was hoping to purchase a pressure cooker and go to town canning stocks, veggies, and sauces.
However the rental we’re in comes equipped with a flat top range.
So pressure canning is out. I’m sure it can be done on a flat top but I’m not patient enough to try and figure it out. Or risk something happening. If this were my house that would be a different story but since we’re renting I’m not doing anything risky.
While I put canning on hold for this year, I’m turning to my freezer instead for preserving.
I want to make sauces from tomatoes, possibly stock (we’ll see, I’m not a huge fan of frozen stock), and veggies.
I do have a standup freezer that provides me with some extra space. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend getting one! They are very convenient to have on hand.
Read more on Preserving by Freezing…
Making butter at home is super easy though it can be a little messy, but don’t let that dissuade you!
When you make your own butter you get to control the ingredients which means you can get a better product.
Try to find cream from grassfed cows. The cream tastes better which means the butter will taste better. It will also be a pretty yellow color without the need for additives to get it that way.
If you cannot find grassfed cream, look for the best possible source of cream you can find. See if there are any local dairies in your area. You can check Local Harvest and Eat Wild to discover local producers.
I purchased whipping cream by the half gallon, so my post today will be based off of that.
You’ll want to get whipping cream to make your butter. You need the fat in this to create your butter.
What you’ll need:
Read more on Making Butter and Homemade Buttermilk…
When I made butter not long ago, I was left with a quart of buttermilk and I was looking around for ways to use it up.
The buttermilk you get from making butter is a lot different from the buttermilk you purchase at the store. Store bought buttermilk is usually cultured so it has that tangy sort of smell to it and has a much thicker texture to it.
The buttermilk that is leftover from making butter is a lot smoother, creamier, and has a soft sweet butter tast to it. It’s not tangy at all and is in fact, very pleasant.
I was excited to cook with it! Take a look at all that I made!
Buttermilk French Toast
Buttermilk Potato and Parsnip Mash
You can do a lot with a quart of buttermilk! Recipes coming soon!
If you recall from this post, I mentioned that I wanted to start making more things at home. I wanted to start saving on costs but I also wanted to be more in control of our food.
The three B’s that I was going to start making at home were:
I have kept to my promise and have made all of these things at home.
I have made stock several times now, both chicken and a beef stock. However I’m finding that because it’s summer, I’m not using nearly as much broth as I used to. I still use it for making rice but with warmer temperatures soups, stews, and braised meats aren’t so abundant.
Stock will keep for several weeks in the fridge (I’ve double checked this and also have done it without issues) but I also felt the pressure to use it up. For right now I’m only going to make stock on occasion and rely on boxed stock to see me through summer.
Read more on Update: Exploring Homemade…
In January, I mentioned that my word for the year was going to be “Explore”. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately over the past four months. However it’s been more internal than external.
Meaning that I’ve been exploring feelings, thoughts, and emotions more than anything else.
I’m working on changing that starting this week.
I want to focus on exploring things on the homefront as well, because I want to become a little more resourceful.
I want to make more things at home for several reasons but two of the biggest are:
Cost: By making more things at home, I will be saving us money in the long run. We are over-hauling our budget and changing things up in regards to food purchases. I don’t have a strict or dedicated food budget but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to save us money or readjust priorities.
Control: By making things at home, I will have more control over the ingredients and what goes into the product.
Read more on Exploring Homemade…
We’ve been dabbling with the idea of grinding our own meat for burgers and homemade sausages.
I knew nothing about grinding meat and but luckily my friend Rachel had put on a class all about making sausage at home.
Scott and I went to the class and bought a grinder attachement for the stand mixer right away.
I’m still learning and this year I would like to explore this a little more.
The first thing we did was make burgers!
I forget what cut of meat I bought but I know it was a roast cut from Blues Creek. I didn’t really know what cut to look for but threw caution to the wind. I mean, no matter what I used I knew everything would work out.
I chilled the mixing bowl, and all of the parts to the grinder until they were super cold.
I cut up the roast and tossed it with a few spices and placed that in the freezer until it was cold and firm.
Read more on Grinding Meat At Home…
I’ve had a couple people ask me about the Honey Face Wash Challenge and asking me to talk about why I stopped using it. I didn’t mention that I had stopped using it so it kind of surprised me that everyone thought that I had.
To catch up, you can read about the challenge here and my results here.
The truth is, I have stopped using honey to wash my face, so those that suspected are right!
I used the scrub method, honey + baking soda + wash cloth to wash my face when I was wearing makeup. This was too rough on my face and so I eliminated the baking soda and only used honey + wash cloth on those occasions.
That was still very rough on my face. Then I started using a scrub from Lush for the times I wore makeup and that was also too rough. I don’t wear makeup often but it was enough that this routine caused me to breakout and for my skin to become really rough and irritated.
Read more on Honey Face Wash Update…
ETA: Update At The Bottom
Hello my honeys! We are at the end of the two week honey face wash challenge and it’s time to talk about our results!
For those that are just see things for the first time, you can catch up by reading these posts.
Crunchy Betty’s Challenge
Crunch Betty’s Honey Face Wash Makeup Remove & Check-In
Food Embrace Takes The Challenge
Food Embrace’s Week One Check-In
Let’s talk about honey! I have been dutifully using honey on my face twice a day and I only missed one wash with honey during this whole two week challenge. When Crunchy Betty mentioned using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as toner, I have done that a few times as well.
With the makeup remover version, I found that the baking soda was actually a little bit too harsh of a scrub on my face. I also found that using a straight face cloth to wipe away the honey and to help remove the makeup was also a little rough on my face. Though that method is much preferred over the baking soda. It worked well enough but I may need an alternative method for makeup removal. This will take a bit more research on my part.
Read more on Honey Face Wash Challenge – The Results…