Tag: Cooking

A Master List of Skills for Modern Homesteaders

Milking a Goat | photo via PioneerSettler

Milking a Goat | photo via PioneerSettler

Do you know how to set up a greenhouse, grow herbs, pluck a chicken, and properly train an animal? PioneerSettler serves of a list of 133 Homesteading Skills for the Modern Day Homesteader along with links to information and resources that will help you master these skills.

Some of these skills are ones that you’d¬†obviously want to try at home, like making candles. Others are maybe not so obvious, like how to build a geodesic dome:

What is a Geodesic Dome?

Geodesic domes are one of the strongest, lightest structures you can build. Due to their unique design, they are wind, hurricane and tornado resistant. Geodesic domes can be used as extra storage, a greenhouse, or as a living space. It takes about 3 hours to put one together and about 15 minutes to take it apart. The parts are readily available at local hardware stores, and it the cost for this 19 ft x 9.5, 278 sq. ft dome is about $300.

These tips are amazing – like the Whole Earth Catalog for a new millennium.

One skill that is inexplicably missing from the list, considering all the advice about backyard poultry, how to dig a grave.

 

Forget Quinoa and Kale – 2015’s Superfood Should Be the Pickle

You’ve heard (ad nauseam no doubt) about the health-giving benefits of garlic. Hot tip: it’s all about the allicin.

For the record, garlic is said to:

  • Fight harmful bacteria
  • Ward off viruses
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve cholesterol
  • Prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • Boost athletic performance
  • Remove heavy metal from the body (sadly not from the neighbor’s stereo)
  • Fight off osteoporosis

You may also be vaguely aware that apple cider vinegar is supposed to have near-magical healing properties including:

  • Weight loss
  • The ability to moderate blood sugar (especially in pre-diabetic persons)
  • Improving digestion
  • Clearing up sinus problems
  • Curing dadruff
  • Eliminating acne
  • Whitening teeth (or possibly eliminating teeth altogether)

But you may be less aware of the proven bacteria-fighting effects of the lowly cucumber. Among other things, cucumbers are said to:

  • Heal sunburn
  • Remove toxins
  • Repair skin, hair and nail damage
  • Reduce muscle and joint pain
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Ward off diabetes

All that said, what’s all the fuss about kale and quinoa? Pickles have to be packing at least three times the punch of these supposed superfoods. In fact I don’t know why you’d have to eat anything else at all – except maybe bacon now and then. So why don’t we kinda all get together and agree that the pickle is the superfood for 2015?

Bear-Proof Expedition Quality Kitchen

Kanz Field Kitchen

One of the dreariest chores that goes along with car camping is stashing your cookware and supplies in the bear-proof cupboard at each campsite. You’ll never have to do that again with these expedition-tough purpose-built field kitchens from Kanz Outdoors. Built from marine-grade aluminum with polished birch plywood interiors, Kanz certifies that their rugged boxes are bear-proof. But before shelling out six bills for one of these high grade boxes, you might want to check local regulations regarding bear canisters.

Unfortunately I think the Kanz boxes are a little too pricey for the typical Suburban Frontiersman. But they look well worth the attention of outfitters, trail guides and yurt-dwellers.

Via The Kitchn

Turbo-Tune Your Gas Grill

Chevy V-8 Grill

Our gas grill recently reached the point where it was more blowtorch than barbecue. We figured it was time to pony up for a new outdoor cooker. But face it, a barbecue is a pretty simple machine. Not much more than a bucket with fire inside. So why not fix the old one?

The first thing to go on most barbecues is the vaporizer, the tent-shaped piece of steel that protects the burners from drippings and keeps the heat flowing evenly. If you’re handy with sheet metal cutters you can replace a worn vaporizer with a piece of galvanized flashing. Personally I always worried about the possibility of zinc toxicity from using galvanized metal while barbecuing. Apparently zinc poisoning is a matter of debate amongst grilling gurus. While zinc toxicity is unlikely unless your food is in direct contact with galvanized metal, you can put your mind at rest by using a food grade stainless steel replacement vaporizer. The benefit is that the heavy duty stainless steel will outlast galvanized flashing by a long shot.

Other things you can do to restore a perfectly good BBQ are to replace the burners as well as the piezo igniter. You can also get replacement cooking grids for most grills.

If your old grill suited your outdoor cooking needs you can save a bundle by giving it a tune-up instead of pitching it into the landfill.

Image from Wired Blog | Gadget Lab via Mega BBQ, Great BBQ Food, Grills & More

Hone Your Knife Skills

Rules for a Knife Fight

There are no rules in a knife fight

Recently I tried cutting a crusty baguette with a sharp, serrated bread knife. Instead of placing the bread on a cutting board like a reasonable person, I simply held the loaf in one hand and the knife in the other while thinking “this is a bad idea.” Which it was. Ouch.

Make: Online has a great set of tips for using and maintaining knives in your kitchen, including tips for using a sharpening steel, that metal rod that you so often see coyotes and wolves using as they prepare a helpless bunny for dinner.

How to Do Crack

I don’t eat eggs all that often and I find that I make a mess of cracking them when I do. Apparently it is better to crack on the counter than on the side of the bowl, as the video linked below clearly demonstrates.

HANDY HINT: If you do mis-crack your egg, a piece of eggshell makes a dandy scoop to retrieve errant flecks of shell from the egg white. It seems to work by some magic force of attraction.

Cooks Illustrated Video: The Right Way to Crack an Egg via Lifehacker

Cowboy Cooking with a Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens come in all sizes

Not for the ultralight crowd, though I once ran into some guys who hiked into Tassajara with heavy cast iron cookware, a dutch oven lets you prepare gourmet meals you wouldn’t think possible at the campsite. Casseroles, fresh baked bread — it’s all possible with with a humble cast iron pot and some red hot coals. Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchen can get you started with dutch oven cooking.

Dutch Oven Madness is a blog with recipes including Dutch Oven Orange Rolls. This recipe is similar to one of our favorites, only we put the dough inside a hollowed out orange rind. Before your trip you take a dozen or so oranges, cut off the top third, spoon out the pulp (juice it) and then freeze the remaining rind. The frozen orange-shells keep well in a cooler. Then fill the orange-cups with the dough mixture and bake until brown.

Target has a nice selection of dutch ovens. You want one with a loop handle, and the spiral handle grip is a nice touch. The only thing is, as of this writing, none of Target’s dutch ovens have feet and the lids don’t have a lip so you can’t really pile hot coals on top. The Camp Chef oven available through Sports Authority has the better design for true cowboy cooking.