Buckets as Giant Canisters
Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 3
Week 13: April 1, 2023
Five-gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids are really just giant canisters. Have you ever stopped to consider it?
The buckets are food grade, of course, and these two-piece lids are as easy to open as any other container in your kitchen: simply twirl the lid on and off.
We store, and more importantly, eat the staples we store. Rice and beans, yes, we have those. We also store good quality Redmond Real Salt for cooking and sauerkraut-making, popcorn for movie nights, sugar for jam-making and to make nectar for the hummingbird feeder, and a variety of grains for milling into flour and baking.
I use quart or half-gallon jars like canisters in the kitchen. They are filled with the most often-used staples. These are easily replenished from the buckets in the storeroom as needed. Since we are continually eating from our stored food, we don’t use oxygen absorbers; there is no need.
From top to bottom: preserving pots, boxes of canning jars, buckets of shelf stable pantry staples.
There is a misconception that “food storage” means boring meals. If you have been reading these Cottage Diary posts for a while, you know that simply doesn’t have to be true!
Then, too, I will add that it is important to incorporate fresh foods into meals. Gardening makes it possible to enjoy fresh produce in season cheaply, but in the off-season it can be expensive to purchase vegetables and fruit.
By starting an indoor salad garden, you can supply your household with all the greens needed for salads, tacos, sandwiches, omelets and green smoothies. You can sprinkle them on casseroles, scrambled eggs, soups, stews, bean dishes, and chili.
But I am getting ahead of myself!
Click the YouTube link below to watch a tour of my indoor salad garden and learn how to start your own!
I am so excited to share this with you! I have been growing greens in the house since 2016. This very simple and inexpensive system works. I created a printable Supply List and 7 Step Guide for you to make it easy!
In addition to adding an indoor salad garden to your home food system, I encourage you to preserve fruits and veggies in season. Dehydrating, freezing, fermenting, and canning are time-honored ways to fortify your pantry.
I particularly encourage you to learn the craft of fermentation. It is the only method of food preservation that adds nutrients to food rather than subtracting! Golden Sauerkraut is a wonderful intermediate recipe, once you have mastered basic sauerkraut.
Let’s talk plant starts. I walked by Lowe’s this week and couldn’t resist stopping to peruse their plant display out front.
I thought I was done being surprised by prices, but I have to say – I was shocked!
Take a look at the prices on these starts.
A packet of kale seeds, Red Russian the same or similar as the plants pictured, is around $2.50. Kale grows easily from seeds. So do peas and lettuce. Very easily.
If you want mint, ask around. It multiplies like crazy and lots of people have extra they would happily share. They won’t charge you $15, either.
If you are going to buy any of these plants as starts, let it be marigolds. But not these. These are all wrong. They’ve been overfed phosphorous fertilizer to force them to bloom much too early. Marigolds should not bloom when they are 2 inches tall. They should not bloom in March. They should be growing roots. When they are about 8 inches tall, they will have plenty of flowers naturally. Marigolds, by the way, are also easily grown from seeds. Seeds look like a piece of chaff, and it will surprise you that a tiny sliver of nothingness will grow into a beautiful plant.
I stumbled across a series of videos by Greta Dietrich called Measured Medicine that made an impression on me. Like most home herbalists, I started making tinctures using the folkloric method and then, wanting more consistent results, switched to the weight to volume ratio method, making measured medicine.
Tools are minimal and it really isn’t any more complicated. You might need to add a scale and Pyrex measuring cups or borosilicate beakers to your apothecary, but likely have everything else you need, if you are already making medicine with the folkloric method.
Proper labeling, including the scientific name of the plant and several other details, is stressed, which I appreciate. Making measured medicine has caused me to be more detailed in my record keeping, therefore my herbal products are duplicatable and consistent. This in turn has increased my confidence level and ability to use herbs effectively.
I am going to list each video in the Measured Medicine series below for my own personal reference and for anyone else interested in diving into the skill.
Greta is a clinical herbalist and medicine maker. I appreciate that she speaks thoughtfully on the subject with no overt woowoo.
- Measured Medicine; Tincture Making with Greta Dietrich Part 1
- Measured Medicine; Tincture Making with Greta Dietrich Part 2
- Measured Medicine; Tincture Making with Greta Dietrich Part 3
- Measured Medicine; Tincture Making with Greta Dietrich Part 4
- Measured Medicine; Tincture Making with Greta Dietrich Part 5
My knives were showing a little resistance when chopping vegetables. Sam decreed it was time to sharpen them. He moistens the blade with saliva and rubs on a sharpening stone (also known as a whetstone) in a circular movement to bring the metal fibers back into alignment.
Our daughter Cameo (far right) came for a visit! Grandma was so happy to see Cameo, and Miriam and I also, but especially Cameo. We had a sweet visit, went out to dinner at India Palace (the Butter Chicken is amazing), and did some mall shopping.
Thank you for joining us this week at Chocolate Box Cottage!
Michele and Samuel