Last year Melissa K. Norris was on the show to teach us how to start a garden and get our plants to grow successfully. Now 1 year later, we should be proficient at growing food, and now it's time to learn how to preserve food to last all year long!
There are many different preservation methods that can be used with food. We will cover what those methods are, and dive deeper into a select few that are more common for people to try.
What To Expect From This Episode
- [0:00] Welcome to the Summit For Wellness Podcast
- [3:15] Has Melissa K. Norris had any new food revolutions since the last time on the show
- [7:15] With all the people gardening last year, it brought about a sense of community because people were sharing their extra food
- [9:15] What did Melissa do to protect her homestead in the 110+ degree weather we had
- [14:00] When it is that hot, the early mornings and very late evenings are the only time when you can get into the garden
- [16:45] What are different ways to preserve food for long term
- [23:00] Are there ways to leave potatoes in the ground and let them sprout on their own
- [25:00] What are the correct ways to can and how do you avoid getting sick
- [27:30] Canning needs to have a specific pH level to prevent botulism
- [32:45] What are the signs of botulism and what should you be watching out for
- [35:30] How do you know if the canning recipe online is safe and are there classes (like Melissa's free canning class) that helps you to avoid botulism
- [39:45] How do you get started with fermenting food
- [45:00] What is the weirdest thing Melissa has fermented
- [46:30] Has Melissa played with curing meats
- [48:15] If you want to use root cellar techniques, what temperatures does the area need to be
- [54:15] Final thoughts from Melissa on preserving food
Resources From This Episode
Some of these resources may contain affiliate links, which provides a small commission to me (at no extra expense to you).
- Order your 2021 Raw Honey from our bees before it sells out- Learn More
- Listen to Episode 114 with Melissa
- Join Melissa's Canning Class- Learn More
- Join Melissa's Organic Gardening Workshop- Learn More
- The Family Garden Plant Book- Get on Amazon
- Get Melissa's Free Plan to Grow Food For a Year- Learn More
Transcript For Episode (Transcripts aren't even close to 100% Accurate)
Bryan Carroll: [00:00:14] If you have a garden and at this point in the season, you're probably starting to harvest some of the goodies that you've been growing. And you might be wondering how can you save a lot of these booths so that you have access to them?
Throughout the entire year. So in this episode, I am bringing Melissa K. Norris back onto the show to talk with us about how to preserve food so that we have food throughout the entire year from our gardens. What's up everyone, I'm Bryan Carroll, and I'm here to help people move more, eat well and be adventurous.
And if you remember back to episode 114, Melissa came on and talked to us about how to grow a garden from scratch and how to successfully. Grow these plants so that they're producing as much food as possible. Now, once you grow the food, then you're going to want to know how to then save and preserve the food, which is what we'll be covering in this episode.
But back in one 14, we have a lot of good resources on how to have that successful garden grow for you. Different companion plants to plant with your plants, to protect them from predators and pests. So definitely go check out that episode, if you want to make sure that your garden is set up for success.
And in this episode all about preserving, we're going to have a lot of different links to some of Melissa's different. Yeah. Programs and courses such as her canning class that she has. So if you want to support the show, then head on over to summit for wellness.com/154, and we have links in the show notes there to all of these different offers that Melissa has also coming up.
I will be harvesting a bunch of honey in the next couple of weeks here. So our bees have been working very hard. And if you want to get some honey. Then head on over to mountain side, herbals.com, which is where you can. Put yourself down for pre-orders of our honey. All of our honey was sold out in four hours.
Last year. This year, we should have a lot more honey available. I'm estimating at least 200, possibly 300 pounds in the first batch. So go ahead and get your name on that list. If you want to get some of our local honey to the Snoqualmie valley. Other than that, let's head on over to my conversation with Melissa.
Thank you, Melissa, for coming back onto the show.
Melissa K. Norris: [00:02:38] Yeah, I am thrilled to be back. Thanks for having me.
Bryan Carroll: [00:02:42] Of course. And last time you were on, it was right at the beginning of the pandemic. So that was about 12 plus months ago. And so we were talking about how people can get started with gardening and different ways to have a successful garden.
Cause a lot of people were looking into gardening and. They were trying to figure out, you know, how can I grow my own food when there is a potential food shortage. That was one of those things that a lot of people were fearful of. And so in that time, between the beginning of the pandemic, and now I would love to know if you came up with any new revelations around home setting and gardening and food prep between now and then.
Melissa K. Norris: [00:03:23] Yeah. You know, it has been, you said it's only, you said 12 months of I could totally have been 12 months. Part of me feels like it's been a bit of a lifetime since that, but we have actually, it's been really interesting. We have increased the amount of food that we're growing. We actually added in an entire nother gardening space and we brought on more livestock and not because.
We're fearful that we're going to have a complete economic or food system breakdown per se. But we really. We're looking at the way we were spending our time and the way that we were using our property and our land. And for example, my husband was mowing our front yard. Cause we have still a decent amount of space of grass in our front yard, right next to where the orchard is at.
And he's like, man, I am spending during the summer months, how many hours actually mowing this grass? You know? So there's the time expense. There's the gas for your lumber, all of those things. And we really started looking at it in way. Of how can we make this area work more for us and actually produce food rather than just lawn and yes, in our lawn, we have dandy lions, which of course are a wild thing that you can harvest in forage, but let's be realistic.
There's only so much dandy linked. You are going to eat at least for most of us. So we had more than we needed. So we decided that we also would love to do more things locally. I think. Looking at the pandemic and seeing that there was breakdown in supply chains. I mean, we even saw the ransomware attack on the east coast.
We happened to actually be in Tennessee when that happened on the east coast. And so you had this breakdown of fuel. We didn't even know, like, are we going to have enough fuel in this rental car to get back to the airport? Are the airplanes going to have enough fuel to fly home? I mean, lots of things.
And so having things locally is I feel even more important. As time moves on for lots of reasons. So we decided that we are going to take that yard space that is just spend being moan and the kids use the backyard. We use the backyard for recreation and fun, but the front part we don't really. So we decided that we are going to be raising meat, birds, not just for ourselves, which we've been doing for a number of years, but actually raise them and offer them to people in our community.
As a food source and then that we'll use our front lawn, the birds will eat the grass. We have them in a chicken tractor, so we move them around. And so therefore we're not spending time mowing. And what was lawn is now feeding chickens that are also going to feed local community members or people within our local sphere.
And so we've, you know, breaking down that chain. So we're now looking at, once you start really looking at things that way and not just producing for your own self, which is awesome, but also serving those around you. Maybe it's just family and friends. Maybe it's doing like a little local CSA or, you know, selling things as a community farmer's market, whatnot.
It just really. Change the way that we evaluated and looks at our lands and the way that we're kind of moving forward with things. So I felt like we had a huge revelation and that, that was kind of the big part.
Bryan Carroll: [00:06:46] I love it. I think a community stuff like that is so important. I noticed last year with so many people, gardening and friends, gardening and all sorts of stuff.
We had more people to talk with about this is working really well. This wasn't working very well. So I did this to change it up. And then everybody had so much extra supplies that we all kind of were trading stuff around. With other people, because you know, if you're not going to use it, you might as well give it to someone else that can use it.
So I love that it brought about more of that community feel that you're
Melissa K. Norris: [00:07:19] talking about. Yeah. And I think without being able to, well, I shouldn't say, I don't know, obviously this is all going to depend on where you live in what timeframe, but for a lot of people, they didn't have the ability to go to town or to go to big meeting places or gathering places that they had in the past.
And so. There was a lot of feeling of isolation. And so being able to reach out to your neighbors and people who are right next door to you, or right down the street for you or whatever, I feel like that was more important. And even though things are opening up more, so at least right now at the time of this recording, where we live.
I feel like people are value valuing those relationships more so in realizing the importance of them within a small community, four times as such as we just
Bryan Carroll: [00:08:11] right, totally. Now in the last few weeks up here, we had an unprecedented heat wave that we've never. Gone through before we broke every single record on the book.
And I'm very curious, because last time we talked a little bit about preserving food, which we're gonna talk a lot more about today, but one of the things you had brought up was curing different produce. And if we get a week. Maybe two weeks every now and then of 85 ish degree weather, then that works really well for curing.
And we were saying how that rarely ever happens. And now we had 110 plus degree weather. It's been 80 degrees ever since. So it seems like. I don't know if someone was listening into that conversation and trying to help us out, but it's a little early to have that type of temperatures, but what happened with your garden with all that heat and what type of things did you do to protect the garden and make sure that everything was still able to successfully grow?
Melissa K. Norris: [00:09:09] Yeah. Great. Yeah, we actually hit appear in the foothills on our back porch. We got 120 degrees Fahrenheit as what we topped out on that day. In sane this time of year, unfortunately it hits so early that most of the things that you would cure are not on yet in the garden, because you're looking at potatoes, onions, garlic, and ours weren't re when we had that, it was in June.
And so it was a little too early for those crops here for us. Winter squash, those types of things really benefit from curing, but that's usually not until, you know, Moving into July for the, yeah. July, September, July for the garlic crop onions, usually August and then on into September. So yeah, it was a little too early, but interestingly, so when we knew that the heat was coming is we were making sure everything was watered really, really well.
Even during the day, if things started to look stress, I would go ahead and water them, but we were able to water overnight. Which is obviously better when you're having those high temps, because water you're putting down during the day when it's that hot is going to evaporate off. So we focused on watering really well at night.
A lot of the garden and my high tunnel, it was really worried about the high tunnel, because even with all of the doors open there, it still has plastic covering. I couldn't move it. Everything was in ground inside the high tunnel. They were too mature for me to be able to dig up and move all of it.
But that adds another 10 to 15 degrees inside that high tunnel, which typically we need that for tomatoes and peppers here. So I didn't know how they would fare, but what was interesting is I had mulched very heavily with woodshed. And so even during the day when it was 115, 120, then one day I could put my hands down beneath the wood chips and put my finger into the soil to make sure one that it was still wet at, but because the wood chip layer was so thick of the malt, the soil down where the roots were, was still cool.
So because the roots stayed cool. The tomatoes and peppers came through just fine. It didn't, it didn't overly stress them. So that was a big revelation to me on truly how much of a difference mulch can make. So when I discovered that that was like the first day, and then I kept checking it every single day through there, I went out to the portions of the garden that I don't have wood shipped yet.
That do have some bare soil. And any weeds that were growing, I chopped them and I left the weeds on top of the dirt and would kind of put them around the base of any of the plants, the weeds that I had just pulled to act as a mulch, like just some type of mulch because that bare soil, I could feel a huge difference.
Touching the bare soil outside that didn't have anything on. It was very, very hot and. Compared to anything that was mulch, which meant the routes for getting hot and drying out faster. So actually use the weeds to my advantage. I use those as a mulch on any of the other plants, kept the watering. And that was kind of the majority.
I didn't have shade cloth. I did move our chicken tractor actually in front of some of my elder berries that I didn't want to get scorched. And so I used that to kind of create shade, but I didn't put up like actual shade clause and everything in the garden vegetable wise came through really.
Where we did see some loss was the apple trees because the apples got send skull just because we got so hot. Like once you reach those temperatures, even apples that were underneath leaf canopy, still within the tree, we could, did get some sense called on those. So I estimate I probably had to remove and lost, probably close to a third of the apple harvest, honestly, from, from that.
And that's just kind of an unavoidable loss. The blueberries that heat was so hot coming on, that it did affect some of the blueberries that were beginning to get ripe. Thankfully, there were still a lot of green berries and they were okay. But the ones that were just starting to ripen over that weekend, all of them.
I was almost like they brought it overnight. It was the weirdest thing. I'd never, I've never seen it before, but they don't normally get 120 degrees blueberries ever either. So so the blueberry blueberry crop was really impacted as well. But interestingly enough, like the plums, cause they weren't ripe yet.
Cherries loved it. They did phenomenal. The peaches are so far being, it didn't harm them at all. The raspberries did fine. They just ripened a little bit earlier. So I'll be interesting to see more on the perennials if we have any loss, just because it did get so hot that we won't see. Like they just won't come back next year.
And it was from the heat stress of this year, even though we've tried to keep up on the watering. Yeah. I feel like we actually did pretty good, but I feel that there may be some loss that we just won't see. It won't be evident until fall or even next spring. Probably.
Bryan Carroll: [00:13:59] Yeah. It's definitely tough because when you have such a large amount of garden space, like what you have it's, I mean, you're probably working on that all day long, just trying to keep it alive in that type
Melissa K. Norris: [00:14:11] of heat.
Yeah, well, in the morning, if we didn't do anything in the afternoon, it was so hot. We were like, we were hiding we, we were freezing. We don't have air conditioning because normally you don't ever need it here. And so we we're freezing wet washcloths and towels and the deep freezer, and then like wrapping them around the neck because the hot inside the house was cooler than outside.
Cause you didn't have the direct sun, but it still got really hot. But yeah, evening and mornings were spent all on the garden. And watering it, including, you know, the livestock, everything we were spraying down the chickens. Cause they don't sweat. They're like a dog. We were spraying down the cows. Yeah. It was something I hope to never go through again, honestly.
Bryan Carroll: [00:14:49] Yep. Yeah, I was up at like 4 35 every single day working in the garden and the outside. And then again, starting at like 9:00 PM going back through and trying to water everything. And and that spread out through the day, working on the animals as well. Just like you said, to keep them cool. Cause they're not really used to that stuff.
The chickens did surprisingly very well. I thought they would have a hard time. I saw a little tiny bit. Yeah. Beaks open them overheating, but I, it didn't take much to bring them back down to a nice temperature. So it was definitely a rough one. Yeah. Yeah, it
Melissa K. Norris: [00:15:25] was. We had, well, I had talked about getting, you know, meat, birds and using the lawn.
So we had got four days, we had four day old 55 meat bird, chickens chicks, but they were only four days old. So they seem to be more effective. We did end up losing three, but I was. Really, I was surprised that we didn't lose more. So I'm like, Hmm, that probably wasn't the best timing, but I thought that was pretty good odds just because, I mean, you know, like infants in anything with infants are so much more susceptible to temperatures, they can't regulate as well as adults.
Anyways, so the, but my adult hens, like none of them we see, they seem to just, like you said, like a few panting open beaks, but we just missed it them down. And then they were.
Bryan Carroll: [00:16:10] Yep. Yeah. Yeah. Three out of 55. That's not terrible law
Melissa K. Norris: [00:16:14] overall. Yeah, no, I was, I was surprised it wasn't more so, yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:16:20] So now let's do diving into a preservation of food.
Can you talk a little bit about different types and different ways of preserving food for the longterm?
Melissa K. Norris: [00:16:31] A lot of ways to preserve food for the longterm. Now, some of them are going to seem really obvious, a deep freezer. Obviously we can, you know, deep freeze, you can freeze produce in it anywhere, you know, from 3, 6, 9, even up to a year, I've had PR we keep producing as long as it's not freezer burn, it's just fine.
So definitely using your deep freezer and that's something. Most people have a freezer and have access to. Of course, you're limited to the space within their freezer. It does require electricity. So it's. We do use that for some things. Next up is going to be canning. One of the beautiful things about canning is your food is shelf stable and it's best used within 12 to 18 months.
It's not that it becomes unsafe after then. It's just like with any food you start to have the longer, it goes a breakdown of nutrient flavor, nutrition, all of those just slowly begin to lessen and lessen and lessen after time. So within 12 to 18 months is ideal. But as I said, it's on the shelf. No electricity required.
It's a hundred percent shelf stable. So that's really nice. And as long as you can get canning jars and Liz, which for some folks. Depending on where, where you were. And even now, sometimes it was hard getting those where they would sell out really quickly, but you have the ability to store a fairly large volume of food with canning.
Then you have dehydrating, which again is going to give you a really long sh. Life it's completely stable. It's lightweight. It's easy to pack if you're going on trips. If you're backpacking also space because we take food, we remove the moisture, it gets much smaller. So finding storage space inside the home is really a lot easier.
I should say, can be easier with dehydrated food than some of your other canning jars. You're going to need a good support system, you know, heavily brace shelves, et cetera, with dehydrated food. That's not an issue. There's freeze drying. So you do need to have a home freeze dryer in order to freeze dry, but that's another form of dehydration and freeze dried food will last even longer than a peat dehydrating, which is what most of us think about when you're thinking about a dehydrator.
So, and it also allows you freeze drying will allow you to dehydrate more food. Or different kinds of food than your heat dehydrator. So for example, you can dehydrate meat and it's going to be more shelf stable for longer than if you're using like a fan type dehydrator. You can do dairy, you can do egg.
So it allows you to do a lot more with a freeze dryer. Then you can do with your regular dehydrator. Usually it's fruits and vegetables. If you're doing some forms of meat like jerky, you still should be keeping them in the fridge after. Right. So there's a lot more versatility, I should say, with the freeze dryer, then there's fermenting.
So we'll ferment. The majority of people usually ferment vegetables, some people ferment fruit I'll do like homemade vinegar which is a form of, you know, fruit and. Preserve it that way, but usually it's doing fermented pickles, sauerkraut Cortina, which is a Spanish version of sauerkraut kimchi, all of those different types of things.
And then you do need cold storage for them to slow down the fermentation process. If you're looking for a long-term thing. So if you have a garage and during the winter and the fall months, that's unhealed. Or crawl space or even a bedroom that you can keep 50 degrees Fahrenheit or cool. Or a fridge. So if you have an extra fridge, we've got room in your fridge that we'll keep for months, I'll make up a big batch of sauerkraut and whatnot in the fall.
And then it will stay in the fridge. Usually we've consumed it all by spring, but I've had it go at least six months if not longer. And that's been fine. So does. The fridge, if you don't have another area or a basement or something like that, that has those cooler temps. But it does keep food. I mean, there'd be no way that we could have cabbage sitting in our fridge that wasn't fermented for six to nine months without going bad.
So it does help prolong it. There's salt curing. So for both meats and then you can also do salt. I like to do And I will mix that with salt and have an herb salt, and that will keep Faisal fresh tasting of course, with the salt aspect, but it really keeps the flavor a much, much better than if you just dehydrate Bazell, which kind of loses most of its flavor.
So that will stay. And I'll make up basal herbs, salt in the fall with Alaska, that diesel crop. And I'll have that almost until the next year. And then there's using alcohol. So that's where a lot of it. Yeah, a fruitcake boy back in the day, because they would put the fruit in the alcohol in order to preserve it.
And so Christmas came and then they would bake that into their fruit cakes, make those fruit cakes. And then because of the alcohol content, those would remain shelf stable, much longer than regular baked cake and with fruit. So there's the use of alcohol to help. Preserve food. Goodness root cellaring techniques.
So that's where we talked about curing vegetables and then keeping them in a controlled or semi controlled environment of with humidity and cooler temps. Some vegetables require cooler than others. And then I even over winter in the ground here in the Pacific Northwest with a good mulch things like potatoes.
I will leave them in the ground all winter along and then just go out and pull them and check them. You just have to make sure that they don't freeze. So if we're getting a hard freeze or snow and making sure they're mulched really heavily, but they will last until it begins to warm up in the spring till about April.
And then we start to get warm enough, then that they'll start to rock, but they'll stay in that hibernation zone. I do the same thing with like Brussels sprouts, like Brussels sprouts in the garden all year long, all winter long, I should say, not all year. So those are. I'm trying to think. Did I miss any? I think those are the majority, the primary ways that we have to preserve food at home that will give longevity sometimes a year, sometimes a little bit shorter.
Bryan Carroll: [00:22:12] So I'm curious with the potatoes. I, you said they rot out once, like the spring comes or that the temperatures start to heat up. It seems like with mine, cause we don't always pull up all of them. They sprout. And so then I never have to replant them. They just sprout and they take off. Why would they not be sprouting and why would they be rotting instead
Melissa K. Norris: [00:22:35] combination, I should say.
So we, I dug up in March and the potatoes were completely fine. So that was the last harvestable event of potatoes that I grew up in March. And then we got some. Oddly warm days here that we don't normally get in the spring, but it continued to warm up. And so some of them sprouted and some of them had rot spots on them.
So where some of them, because they were whole potatoes, you know, in the ground thawing, there was also a where once it got warmer, you know, I could see there was some damage. Worms or whatnot. So if they had burrowed in there, that's my assumption, you know, where they had had some damage from insects and it opened it up.
And then we were having that, those warmer temps and with a lot of the rain and then warm it like half the potato would be rotted. So it wouldn't be something where you would really be able to harvest it, to eat it. And so then when it rotted, it didn't sprout on that side. But then I did still have quite a few that did sprout and then did grow for me.
But I did have some loss on some of them too. So it was kind of a combination. It was probably the volume that I still had in the ground as well. It wasn't like, oh, I just said missed a couple or whatnot. I actually had full, I had two full Hills that were the last ones that I, that we hadn't harvested yet.
Cause I was making my way down the row and completely getting all of the potatoes out of one area before I moved down to the next. So I think it was probably just the sheer volume and it could have been the depth on some of them, some of them were buried too deep to sprout perhaps. Yeah. I'm, I'm not actually sure of all the exact nuances of, of why some of them did what they did and others didn't
Bryan Carroll: [00:24:10] got it.
So let's jump back to canning. Like you said last year, it seemed like most canning supplies just kind of disappeared off the shelf. If you found somebody, you were really lucky. So can you talk about what are some of the, the key steps that people should make sure they always follow when it comes to canning and what are some cautions that people need to be aware of in order to not get.
Like, if something wasn't
Melissa K. Norris: [00:24:37] canned properly and all the, of home food preservation, I would say probably canning and salt, curing meat. You have the biggest danger of botulism, which can be a fatal form of food poisoning. It's actually a neurotoxin, whereas Seminole and Nikolai, you know, you probably get sick, throw up, you know, have some stomach discomfort, possibly in severe cases be hospitalized, but it's not something.
Generally speaking that you're going to die of, but botulism, because it is a neurotoxin, you actually have to catch it in time. And then they have like, basically like an antidote that has to usually be shipped in. It's something that most hospitals and facilities don't just keep on hand. And then if you know, you get that in time before too much damage has been done, then you will be okay.
But. Yeah, I have to get that in time. If you have bought, get botulism and are not treated, it is usually fatal. Now that being said, the cases of botulism are actually very, very low, but you do want to make sure that you are following with getting the safety precautions in order to avoid it. So it's very safe to can at home.
If you are doing it correctly, it's why we have. All of the things that I'm going to be talking about here and the safety things that are in place so that we can be sure that we are avoiding botulism and that we're processing things in a way that will kill the toxins so that it is safe. So there's a lot of sometimes fear around that when people first learn about botulism or hear about it.
But as long as you're following these safety protocols, it is very safe to do so. The first thing that we need to talk about is understanding is botulism. We come in contact with botulism, like all the time. So botulism spores are in the soil. They're in the air. We come in contact with them, but botulism will multiply and it's when those toxins multiply and then we can ingest them that we have issues.
And so they multiply in a non acidic anaerobic environment. So. In a canning jar of non acidic food without oxygen, they will multiply. There is a botulinum is tasteless. You, you're not going to taste it. You're not going to smell it and you're not going to see it. So it's not like where we see, you know, things bubbling or mold growing, et cetera.
Those are not signs of botulism. So we have to follow the safety precautions because we have no way of knowing if it's in the jar or not simply by look, taste and smell. If a food is acidic, specifically 4.6 on the pH scale or lower, lower, the number more acidic it is, then it's too acidic for botulism to grow.
So that's why we can safely water bath cake. Fruits, pickled vegetables provided we're using a tested brine recipe that has the correct ratio of vinegar to water to make sure that pH level is low enough, but relishes, pickled relishes, pickled vegetables, jams, jellies, fruit pie, fillings, those types of things, fruit.
That's why we can safely water bath. Can those at home without issue? Because of our pH level. Now I should say there are a few fruits that are not acidic enough, like bananas. Some melons you have to add extra acidity and use tested recipe, but most of your stone fruits in your berries were fine.
So that means meats, vegetables, broths, soups, all of those other things. They are not acidic. So that's why we have to pressure Canada. And with our pressure canning the only safe ways to canned foods they should say is acidic foods can be done in a water bath canner, where the jars are being immersed in boiling water and process for a specific amount.
Or a steam canter steam canners were approved for water bath recipes only a few years back now, like I think about three years ago, they went through independent third party testing and are approved for water bath recipes that have 30 minutes or lower processing time. If they require more processing time than that, there's not enough volume of water in the steam canner.
The steam will run out. So that's why there's that time limit. But everything else has to be pressure canned. And the reason it has to be pressure canned is because we don't have the acidity and botulism spores are not killed at the temperature of boiling water, which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn't matter if you boil the water for five hours or 30 minutes, it never gets above 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
That's the temperature of boiling water. So pressure can. We'll get you a higher internal temperature at 10 pounds of pressure. It's 248 degrees Fahrenheit. And so that will penetrate the jar with the contents of the food. And if there's botulism spores, it will kill it. Now with pressure kids. It has to be for the full length of time for the tested food.
So there was a case of a gentleman. This was like probably five or six years ago, maybe even a little bit further back in Oregon who was pressure canning venison, but he cut the time short. So with pressure canning, if it says it has to pressure canned. 40 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. You can't pressure it for 30 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure and then stop.
It has to be that entire time at the full pounds of pressure in order to make sure that the botulism spores are actually killed. So you have to use a pressure canner. It cannot use an Instapot to pressure can with, even though it does reach pressure, they went through third-party testing and all of the electric pressure canners that have went through third-party testing as of today's date have failed because they don't actually keep the pounds of pressure the entire time.
Accurate enough for pressure canning. That's a big one that comes up. People want to use their Instapot to pressure can, and they are not safe for pressure canning also your altitude. So if you are at 1,001 feet above sea level, then you'll be increasing the amount of time that you water bath process something.
And you'll also be increasing your pounds of pressure. If you're a 1000 feet or lower, then you'll stay with the recipe as written, or if it's not acidic foods and a pressure canner will be 10 pounds of pressure. So understanding altitude. Processing times and the ways that we can safely processor canning jars, water, bath, or pressure getting, and I have to say this cause it comes up a lot, no oven canning.
So even though an oven says it reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit, and a pressure canner is 248 degrees Fahrenheit. It's under pressure. And that forces that heat, which is a wet. Through the jars and the contents in a way you can't get in an oven. It's like, if you have a hot pad on, in short sleeves in the summer, and you put a baking dish inside your oven, where your skin isn't going to immediately burn you, keep it your hand in there long enough.
Yeah, well, but not upon immediately, but at the same token, a 212 degrees boiling water, splashes your skin and said instant blister and burn. The difference between why we don't use an oven to can, but we can use the pressure canner in order to can. So, sorry. That was really long, but that's kind of the, the, the basics of the canning safety they're in as much of a nutshell as I could provide.
Bryan Carroll: [00:31:56] Yeah, no, that was fantastic because I know of people that don't follow specific directions when they can. And I've always wondered if that. A bad idea or not. So now I'm definitely a little cautious about what could happen with the stuff coming from their stock, because I don't really want botulism.
No. So what, how fast is botulism kick in and what are some of the initial stuff?
Melissa K. Norris: [00:32:26] Yeah, that's a great question. So as far as like the canned food, the rule of thumb is you have 24 hours to reprocess something. If it wasn't done correctly or it didn't seal. Right. After that, it needs to go in the fridge or freezer.
So that's just, if someone's canned something, you're like, oh man, I don't know if I did that. Right. Or I think I forgot to do this or whatever you got 24 hours. Reprocess, or it needs to go in fridge and or freezer. You never want to put it on the shelf. If you are unsure of what you did or, you know, you missed a step somewhere.
As far as the botulism developing in the jar, I like, I mean, obviously there's that 24 hour safety rule right. Of reprocessing, but it doesn't always develop that quickly. So sometimes you'll have, you know, like for example, that the gentleman that I'm referencing, that was in the newspaper stories and on the news when this happened he had processed it and he had pulled it early.
He didn't press it the whole time. And then he put it on the shelf and he had a jar that the seal came undone. And if you have a seal, come on done. You never ever eat it. The reason it came on done is because something happened and it is not safe, but unfortunately he ate it because he didn't want it to go bad.
And so cl came on, done the eighth. So the first time he did that, I think it was like, let's say a week. I don't remember exact days, but it was like a week after he had candidate. He had CA and candidate improperly, and then the seal broke and then he decided to consume it. He was okay. Then I want to say like a few days later, maybe a couple of weeks later, relatively short period of time.
But some days went by a second jar loss at seal, and then he ate that jar. That's the jar that he got the botulism from. So it did take a little bit of time to develop. And then I'm trying to think, like signs are slurred speech blur, like blurry vision. It's a neurotoxin, so some neurological things.
Those are the two that, that really come up. I'm not sure about upset stomach. I would actually have to read back over your symptoms, which if you just Google botulism symptoms, they'll come up. But I know blurry vision, slurred speech. Are, are two of them. I'm sure that there's more, but those are the two.
I remember off the top of my head without doing it a quick Google search myself.
Bryan Carroll: [00:34:46] Yeah. So let's not get botulism. That sounds terrible. So with that canning, definitely. There's a big process with it though. So do you recommend. Are there specific classes people should be taking, or how do you know if you're looking for like a recipe online that that recipe is legit and the process that they're using is,
Melissa K. Norris: [00:35:07] yeah, that's a great question.
So what is, I actually have a. Free canning safety course where I go into in depth, just because of this, because I'm like, people really need to understand the science behind it because a lot of times people are like, oh, well, you're not supposed to do this. But kind of like with cooking a lot of times with like, oh, when you're baking like a recipe as a guideline.
Right? Not so with Katie, Kenny's the ones one place that's not true. There's the science behind it. So I. Once people understand the science behind it and all of the safety things then they, they follow them and then you can look at a recipe online and you'll be able to judge for yourself, usually like, oh, this is safe or this isn't safe.
So that being said, I do have a free canning class. That's completely free that you can go through. That really focuses on the safety. That's Atlas, kinara.com forward slash safe canning. But there is the ball book. So any canning, I shouldn't say any counting book with the amount of books that can be self-published that you can buy online.
I can't say any counting book, but the ball book of canning ball and the blue books are all safe, tested sources. You want to make sure that your copy. Is dated 1996 or newer. And the reason for that is because in 1994 and sometimes with publication, right, something could come out, but the science was changed in 1994.
So if you wait until 1996, you're going to be safe. So 1996 or newer guidelines changed, they had updated testing that removed. That you could pressure can summer squash by itself got removed. You can still safely pickle it, but you cannot or should not pressure can summer squash, winter squash is fine.
So that was one of the major updates that was done. Also doing like pie fillings or different recipes and using things like cornstarch or tapioca or flour was removed because they found on testing. It created uneven hotspots and density. And so it would be too. For the heat to evenly penetrate in order to kill certain bacteria.
And then after it sat on the cell for a few months, it would turn weepy and break down and it just wasn't good. So it's kind of both end product-wise as well as safety. So those were some of the major changes that were made and discovered in 1994 with some more testing. So ball or ball books, blue book of Kings.
1996 or later publication dates are great. The national center of home food preservation is an excellent website that you can use extension offices. So county extension offices have cans. Recipes that are tested. So those are, can be some great sources. And then if you purchase a pressure, canner, your pressure canner will come with a manual that has pressure canning timetables and instructions and recipes.
And of course, those are, those are safe. As well. And my websites, I, I would say I follow safety. So you have to be careful with, with websites that are, you know, like personal websites or blogs, but Moschino, russ.com. My recipes on there. Absolutely follow the tested times and procedures. So, yeah. Great question though.
Bryan Carroll: [00:38:20] Perfect. Yup. Yup. We want to keep people doing canning safely. So those are all great resources and I'll have all those resources in the show [email protected] slash 1 5, 4, and we'll have links to Melissa's safe canning documents and course, and all that type of stuff as well. Now let's dive into, you talked a little bit about freeze-drying dehydrating.
Let's talk a little about fermenting. So like you had mentioned sauerkrauts and stuff like that, you'd do fermenting. And in order to keep them from over fermenting, then you put it somewhere. Cool. So that it slows down the fermentation process. So when you're first doing fermenting, do you have it out at like room temperature so that the ferment can get going?
And then do you slow it down with a cold or what do you do? Yeah.
Melissa K. Norris: [00:39:12] Great question. You don't have to have nearly the amount of equipment. So I feel like it's a really low barrier to enter. So if you are doing a sauerkraut, then you actually just need to have some salt because you are going to be salting the cabbage.
That's going to draw out the moisture to treat your brine, and it's going to be at room temperature. And then the salt is also going to. Keep the bad bacteria from developing while the good bacteria is getting established, which is what's actually creating your from it. Right. So if you're doing a kraut type, you actually are just going to be using salt to cabbage ratio.
If you are doing like a fermented pickle, which is my daughter's absolute favorite, she loves fermented pickles. So we cucumbers from the garden. Then you'll be creating a brine, which. Amount of salt to water. Now, when you're doing a ferment I recommend using something like a sea salt Redmond, real salt, not just a regular table salt that has like iodine or antiquing agents in it.
Or other additives like that. So like a Celtic, sea salt, pink, Himalayan, salt, like I said, Redmond real salt, some type of sea salt like that. It has minerals in it, which is only assaults that I actually used by the way, because they are better for your body. Obviously they've got more of those natural minerals in there that we all need and nutrients.
But it's also the same for them. Good bacteria. That's going to be forming in your ferment. It needs good food to feed off of. So having those salts is helpful. I've never tried it with straight regular table salt, like just the white salt, you know, that you buy from the grocery store. So I would encourage you to use a good quality salt.
But you're just going to be mixing your salt with your water. We're on well water. We don't have chlorine. If you have coordinated water you can let that sit out for 24 hours to let that chlorine off gas. You could probably use purchase water, but while water works just fine. And you're going to mix your salt in to that.
So that's creating your brine, it's just salt and water, and then you pour that over your vegetables. And I like to use just a glass Mason jar. Again, I do prefer to use glass with the salt, so I don't use. Plastic is my vessel Crocs also work really well. So you're gonna put that in there. If you have, you know, like I said, a glass bowl, a crock, something like that.
The key is that the vegetable or the produce needs to be covered. Completely submerged underneath the brine. So be at the saltwater brine or the liquid that is seeped out from your sauerkraut, which is why, if you're doing sauerkraut, you'll see like people will pound them or push it down really hard.
And then you'll use a weight. So the weight, you can buy weights, like glass weights really easily, but you can also, I've seen where people have sterilized, like rocks really good and just used a rock that would help weight and keep things down. I had some old glue. My youngest is 12 and I have some glass baby food jars from way back in the day that I can fill with just a little bit of that brine and then put that down in there.
And that will act as a weight. If you're doing like a bowl or a crock, you could just use a dinner plate and put a, put that down and then fill a glass with water. So it, and then set that on the glass plate to act as a weight, to keep things beneath there. But you do have to keep everything beneath that brine level.
Otherwise if it's above air and exposed to oxygen, it will start to. So our key is room temperature beneath that brine. And depending on the heat of your room, I mean, it's kind of like sourdough in a way, the warmer, the temperature, the faster it's typically going to ferment. So if your home is on the really warm side, you know, it could be, you know, a couple of days, three, five days, and it's going to be.
Established and fermented to the point where then you're going to want to slow it down and put it in the fridge. If your home is really cold or you have a really cool summer, and also depending on your flavor preference, because the longer that you let that go, the it's, if you've not had fermented food, especially like fermented pickles, it's not tangy like a vinegar pickle, but it does.
Tangy your and more sour, the longer that it goes. So depending on where your flavor preferences I happen to like pickles that have a good punch. And so I will let my go up to like 10 days. Some crowds can go up to 21 days, like three weeks. So depending upon where you like it, flavor, preference wise, temperature of the room.
But once it's reached really like, oh man, this has like really good flavor. I'm really happy with the way that this is tasting. Then you're going to want to move it to cold storage. Because if you keep it out at room temperature, it's just going to keep going. And it's going to get to the point where it's too sour and too tenured.
Eventually it will completely break down. So moving it to that cold storage kind of it, it will continue to very slowly ferment. So it will get over time a little bit stronger, a little bit stronger, but it's greatly reduced in how quickly it does that. Once it's moved to cold store.
Bryan Carroll: [00:44:01] What's your weirdest, most unusual thing that you've fermented?
Melissa K. Norris: [00:44:08] goodness. Well, I don't know about weirdest because people ferment a lot of things, but I love pickled beets. I love roasted beets. And so I thought, oh my gosh. Well, the way that we love the pickled cucumbers fermented wise, like I'm going to love fermented beets. Oh, they were horrible. Horrible. They tasted like dirt.
I mean, I mean, and I like, I love beets, but fermented wise it was like eating salted dirt. I. Threw them out. I'm like, I can't even make the chickens eat these, like, they're so gross. That was like my fail. I've been told since what's, I'm gonna try this year. If you do that with like a carrot and some sweeter things, like some people will do the beets adding in like carrots, doing combination with carrots and maybe even a little bit of an apple and that, that will offset.
So I'm going to try a very small job. Just to give it a try. But I should say that's probably been my only fail. Isn't not that it went bad, but I just did not like it. Yeah.
Bryan Carroll: [00:45:12] Do you think the golden beets would be a little less dirt tasting compared to the, I just, what I'm going to try?
Melissa K. Norris: [00:45:18] Cause I did the red ones and I've got Goldens out in the garden that are about ready to pull.
And so, yeah, I'm going to try that with, with carrots. And then I might think I might put in a few, little apple slices too, just to try to up that sweetness factor and see how they go.
Bryan Carroll: [00:45:34] Have you done any like curing of meats?
Melissa K. Norris: [00:45:38] Me too, something like we've done jerky. But I have not done like sausages R or B ham, like our own ham that I haven't done.
That just from the research I've done, like, you have to make sure you're getting the right kind of salt and you're being very careful in the process and temperatures and monitoring. The water loss overall and all of that. And also to make sure that you do avoid botulism. And we, I just, I don't have a setup area, like in order temperature wise, like controlled environment to do it once it's reached that point.
So it's just something I haven't done yet. It's on my bucket list, but I have not done it yet. So I don't have experience with that other than just doing like beef jerky.
Bryan Carroll: [00:46:21] Yeah, I've always wondered because a lot of recipes always use the nitrites and all that type of stuff. And I've always wondered if there's a way to avoid using that and still not get sick, or if you have to use that stuff.
So I guess if anyone out there knows, they can always comment on this video and let us know. But yeah, if. Yeah, I've
Melissa K. Norris: [00:46:41] Melissa. The nitrate part is to avoid botulism. And I know I'm with you. Like, we hear a lot about nitrate and trying to avoid it and all of that. I should say we've done summer sausage, but I haven't done any, like long-term curing of staff where we've just, you know, made the summer sausage, made the jerky and then put it in the fridge and consumed it with then, you know, a couple of weeks usually.
So yeah, but the nitrate for long-term like ham and stuff. The research I've done says you have to use it or you're opening yourself up to botulism potential.
Bryan Carroll: [00:47:12] Yeah. You're going to get sick. Now I would say probably the last one we should talk about is root cellars. Are there a certain depth? That you have to go in order for that to be successful or does it just have to be a certain temperature range
Melissa K. Norris: [00:47:26] to our certain temperature range?
Because we use route selling techniques. Don't have a root cellar. We don't actually have a garage. I don't have a basement, et cetera. So for garlic onions, winter squash. Pumpkin those types of things, they don't have to be kept as cold and they don't have to have as much of a humidity as things like potatoes, because potatoes will shrivel up if they don't have enough humidity and they'll start to sprout if they're too warm.
So, you know, between 50 to 60, even 65 degrees Fahrenheit, really for your onions winter squash, I've had the best luck with butter now. And spaghetti squash will last the longest. Usually my pumpkins will go anywhere from two, sometimes four months. That's usually about the longevity of them, but I've had spaghetti squash go nine months and I've had butternut squash go definitely over six months.
And then my onions and my garlic, I still have from last year, it's been a complete year and they're just in our house, which ranges anywhere from 16. Normally like during the winter I have them in a back room, so you definitely wanna make sure that they're not in direct sunlight and they are away from a heat source.
So we have a min a back closet that doesn't have any windows or direct light in there. I keep them I actually keep them. I have them hanging on some lower shelves, not up too high cause heat does rise. So usually between 60 and about 72 degrees Fahrenheit will kind of fluctuate and that area of the house for the majority of the year.
Except of course, when we had that weird hate wave. But those will last a full year. Now, the winter squash and the summer squash, I try to keep a little bit closer to 60, so I will store those on. The floor, cause that's the coolest area in that same room, but check them like I haven't been baskets and ventilated bins so that there's still air flow in checking on them and they have to be cured.
They're not going to store if you don't cure them first, I should say they won't have that longterm storage. So those, you don't have to have any, really any type of death. And if you were to dig into the ground, those would still be items that you would be storing in a, in a basement or a root cellar that was stuck down.
Then you would be storing them higher up on shelves or higher up in that room, because that would be where the warmer temperatures were now for things like apples that you can store, you know, and potatoes that like, and that you do have to be careful with some of the different off gases from some of your vegetables and fruits and not storing them next to one another.
But those require higher humidity so that they don't shrivel. And also colder temperatures. You don't want them to freeze, but you do need to keep them closer in, you know, that high 30 degrees Fahrenheit ultimately, or really low forties for long-term storage. Otherwise they're going to start to rot or sprout in the case of potatoes, et cetera.
And they're not going to be good for eating then. So it's crop dependent and then it, you know, it and humidity wise on those. But as far as depths, like most of the time. For a root cellar, you know, people, you know, to be able to walk in there so completely beneath ground. So I would say, you know, like, I guess if you want to hunch over five feet, but you know, like ideally six feet, if you're actually building a root cellar, but I've just left.
Like I said, the potatoes and the ground, and those were only, I did Mount them up extra. I'd say probably. Oh, gosh, with the mounting of the dirt that I had on them already. And then the added like four, six inches of straw, probably like a foot down and we don't get like permafrost here. And if we get freezes, you know, maybe a few, three, four inches down, but rarely do we get frozen, you know, really we don't have a heart, a deep Frostline is what I'm trying to say here, where we live.
So it's going to depend too on your climate as well, but in a Pacific Northwest, that's been my experience.
Bryan Carroll: [00:51:00] Yeah, we still have some spaghetti squash, which is 10 months old at this point. But for the most part, most of them have rotted at this point that we haven't used. And then I kept one zucchini from last summer because I wanted to see how long it'll go and it still seems perfect.
Melissa K. Norris: [00:51:19] Katie does just one though.
Bryan Carroll: [00:51:26] It's in the garage. Wow. All those in the
Melissa K. Norris: [00:51:29] garage. I'm super impressed. That's pretty amazing.
Bryan Carroll: [00:51:33] Yeah. I've never had zucchini last before. And so I kept this one. It's kind of in a dark spot. It's, doesn't really heat up where it is. And I mean, that's one year of it staying
Melissa K. Norris: [00:51:46] in there.
That's a record. As far as I know you like me to submit that to the Guinness world book of records, fizzy Keeney. That's awesome. I've never had security last that long, so that's really cool.
Bryan Carroll: [00:51:59] Yep. I've been pretty impressed with that, but yeah, we've had really good luck with spaghetti squash. We used to not hear it until I talked to you last year.
So I think last year was the first time. We tried curing it and it seemed to work either way for us. But I think everyone's going to be a little bit different with that one.
Melissa K. Norris: [00:52:16] Yeah. I'm just at all over the zucchini, man. I, yeah, I've never had, so CUNY last that long. So now, now I like, I'm like, Hmm, maybe I need to test it again.
Bryan Carroll: [00:52:28] Yeah. See if he can keep it around. Yeah. Well, I think for food preservation purposes, I think we covered quite a bit. This is a really good starting point for people. If they want to get started with preserving food. Now in your book and on your website, you have plans available for people to. Kind of guesstimate, how much food that they should be growing last eminent, like an entire year.
So they can take those resources and figure out how much food they would need, and then they can determine out of that, what they would need to preserve food. So that is all available in the show notes and on your website. In your book. And you also, like you said, you had your canning program course that people can go through as well.
And everything [email protected] Is there any final things that you want to make sure that we cover when it comes to preserving food or homesteading in general?
Melissa K. Norris: [00:53:24] Yeah. You know, with the, the home food preservation obviously like following, as we talked about with the county, like understanding the method and what you need to know to stay safe.
So doing a little bit of research on it but really is preserving something. Just get into just like dive in. Sometimes we can get kind of paralyzed. And so I would recommend to just try something that you haven't done before, because everybody's kind of at different spots. If you've never done any type of food preservation before, then just pick like one thing in pick something that you're family.
Enjoys and likes to eat. And I know that feels really obvious, but oftentimes we are like, oh, so-and-so is doing this. Or I seen this online. Like that looks really cool. And then you do it, but it's not something that your family even likes or they've never had before. So I wouldn't preserve a ton of something that you've not either had in that form before.
Like if you've never done fermented food, like don't take all of your cabbage and ferment 10 gallons worth of sauerkraut. If you've never ate sauerkraut. And so you don't even know if your family likes it, like do a small batch first, because if I had put all of my beats into those fermented beets, I would have been really mad at myself that I hated it.
Right. So thinking about beforehand, The foods that your family likes to eat, the way that you like to consume them, or you like to cook with them, like what you like to do with them afterwards, and then picking the form of food preservation, because there are so many different ways that we can actually preserve food and picking a form that meets what your family likes to eat and will eat so that you're using what you want.
You're not just putting it up for the sake of peace of mind, which we do have with food preservation is knowing that you've have food there if you need it. But the goal is to actually consume it and to use it. So make sure that you're giving that a little bit of thought before. Moving ahead.
Bryan Carroll: [00:55:11] Awesome.
Very good advice. Yeah. If you end up wasting all the food, because you didn't prepare it in a way that's tasty for you, that would, that'd be a really big bummer.
Well, Melissa, thank you so much for once again, coming onto the show. I love chatting with you. You have just tons of knowledge around home setting and how to prepare food and be able to eat in very healthy ways. And I just really appreciate everything that you're doing. So thank you so
Melissa K. Norris: [00:55:43] much for having me on.
I always enjoy our time together too, and learning, hearing what you're doing. Like see, I learned, I learned stuff today too, so thank you.
Bryan Carroll: [00:55:54] Wasn't that just an awesome episode with Melissa. I love having her on the show because she just brings so much valuable information to the gardening and. Food growing world.
And if you've ever checked out her podcast and her YouTube channel, she's got so many good resources to go check out over there. But if you want to join in any of her Canon classes or her gardening one-on-one classes or anything like that she has worksheets on how to grow a year's worth of food, et cetera.
Then in our show [email protected] slash 1 5, 4, we have links to all of those, and that just helps to support our show. If you just go directly to her website, you can find the same resources, but if you go through our links, it helps us show out. Now once again, we have honey coming up for sale.
So if you would like honey, then make sure to get onto our pre-order list, go on over to mountainside, herbals.com and you will be able to see all the raw honey that is available. There. We are only taking a hundred pre-orders, those will be guaranteed. And then after that, whatever we harvest is fair game for everybody.
So again, head on over to mountainside, herbals.com to get on the pre-order list. Other than that, that is it for today. We will see you in the next episode and until then keep climbing to the peak of your health.
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