Friday, May 27, 2016

3 Bucket "Nappy" Laundry System

     Someday.....all those wonderful paper, disposable products that we couldn't live without will be unavailable, or too expensive to buy or all used up and we will have to go back in time and use fabric...what I call "Nappies".   Think of baby diapers; many mothers today are all ready using cloth diapers which you can make yourself or buy online or department stores.  Think also of Feminine menstruation products,  nose blowing  and bottom wiping products.  Cloth "nappies" prepared ahead of time may/will become very precious.   But how are we going to clean and reuse the "nappies"? 
                                                       You will need 3, 5 gallon plastic buckets with only 2 lids.  You will need a "plunger" type laundry tool, usually blue, with wooden handle, and some pvc pipe cut in 6" lengths and a T joint to affix a horizontal handle to the top of the wooden handle, with screw and bolt.  You will also need a 1/4 " or 1/2 " plastic chopping board that is at least 11" by 14"  to cut into a circle that fits the bottom of the buckets.  And, a "garage" handle with screws to attach it to the circular chopping board. 

The laundry process goes like this;  one bucket and lid hold a second bucket (with several holes drilled in the bottom and sides)  inside and stays by your toilet or changing table with 1 1/2 gallon of water in it and 1 cup of white vinegar or bleach.  Soiled "nappies" are dropped inside for a few days and are soaked in the "treated" water. 

When decided it is time to wash,  2 gallons of water need to be heated up with laundry soap added.  The "holely" inside bucket is removed and placed inside the bottom half of the 3rd bucket to hold dripping while the first bucket is taken to a place appropriate to dump the soaking water.  The hot soapy water is now put into the

Holding bucket and the 2nd, "holely" bucket with soiled nappies is put inside.  Now the "plunger with blue bottom is inserted and is pumped up and down to clean the nappies.  To prevent splashing, one of the lids can be attached to the plunger and snapped into place during the washing. 

The pvc pipe handle at the top just helps facilitate the washing action.   When it is determined that washing is complete, the "holely" bucket is brought up and is allowed to drain and the upper half of the 3rd bucket is intserted to act as a "spacer" so that the  chopping board "presser" can be used to press out excess wash water.

The rinsing process echos the washing process until the nappies are clean enough to pick them up with hands and hang them out to dry.  
This system can also be used for smaller loads of laundry like socks and underwear. 

I made 210  nappies out of a used flannel, fitted king bed sheet ( purcashed at a thrift store) cut into 6" strips.  I cut those strips into 6 or 12 or 18" pieces and then using my ordinary sewing machine, zigzaged the edges.  Watching a movie or listening to a podcast during this task helped the time to whiz by.  I have 104 stitched nappies and another 106 cut but not yet stitched stored in zip lock bags.   

Friday, May 13, 2016

Cooking Beans in a Home-made Thermal Cooker

My Large Home-Made Thermal Cooker  (Sorry photo is tilted)
This is one of my thermal cookers.  A few days ago I tried cooking a soup ( a recipe I got on facebook) with beans, rice, dehydrated vegetables and seasonings for a group, but the beans were not done.  Everything else was and the flavor was good but the great northern, small white beans and split peas were not completely tender. Disappointing.

     So I did some research and found a book, "Let's Make Sense of Thermal Cooking Cookbook" by Cindy Miller.  I found out how she uses beans in her thermal cookers.  

     Her process is to thermal pre-cook the beans first and then use them with a recipe for thermal cooking, later.  So I tried her process and was successful!  ( I think pre-cooking the beans in a solar oven would work well also...if good clear day)

4 cups of dry beans,  soak in a bowl with enough water to keep them all wet as they expand and add 1 TBS Real Salt ....for 20-24 hours. 
Next day drain and rinse the beans and add to a large heavy pot.  I use a new, 5 quart iron, Dutch Oven without the "feet" for mine.  Add 8 cups of water and 1 tsp. Real Salt and bring to a boil on the stove.   It took about 35-40 minutes to get all that water, beans and pot hot enough to boil.  I then timed the boiling for 20 minutes.  I wanted the heat and steam to build up so I inserted a toothpick between lid and pot to off steam a little without it dribbling down the side of the pot.  

     After 20 minutes of cooking, I used hot pot holders and buried the lidded pot in my home-made thermal cooker.  I had a silicon pad at the bottom on top of the pillow so it wouldn't burn the pillow. I then enclosed it with the old towel and put the foam lid on top.  I waited 6 hours and 15 minutes.  

   The iron pot was still hot enough to send me for the hot pad holders to get it out.  But the beans were PERFECT!  (picture of them not perfect-too dark)  Not burned, not chewy, just right and tender and still hot.  Wow!   It worked.    
The inside of my cooker is insulated with some old foam sheeting that was on one of our beds, cut to size and pushed into old pillow cases.  2 old pillows on the bottom and the top is made of more foam sheeting cut into 3 concentric circles with another old bath towel stitched around it to fit the top of the plastic bucket.  

Cindy Miller's continued recipe is to use the cooked tender beans in a recipe and dehydrate the rest for future use.  That is just what I did.  I cooked up some bacon, carrots, onion, garlic, celery and kale added some ham bone broth and bean water and  made a delightful, tasty soup. 

 But the rest of the beans I dehydrated. 

It seems to help to have more food in the pot. On my first try, the food and water came to only about half or less of the pot capacity.  2/3 capacity seems to work better for thermal cooking.    



Crushing Beans for Quicker Cooking and for Pulses

     I have written so much about pulses for your blood types in previous posts as being sooo good for your health, but people tell me they just don't have a way of crushing the beans to make them smaller. 

     For successful Pulse cooking, the beans need to be crushed so they cook up with the grains at the same time in the same pot and without a handy grain mill with steel burrs to do this task, like I have, it can be a challenge.

      Recently I came across a product that bartenders use to crush ice for cocktails called a "Lewis Bag".  They are made of heavy duty cotton canvas sewn tightly with a string to close it with.   I bought 4 of them online to try out. One of them is pictured above. 

     I just now crushed 2 cups of black-eyed peas or beans and it took about 3-4 minutes.  My husband got this orange hammer for me to try.  It has little steel pellets in the head of it that creates more force when pounding and it worked great!   Both the bag and the hammer worked really well.   The bag cost me $7.49  each and the hammer...don't know.   Would have to check it out at a hardware store.  

I believe I have found a solution for crushing beans that is simple and inexpensive and yet effective. Crushed beans means quicker soaking and cooking time!     Google  "Lewis bag".    

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ginger Ale From Ginger Bug

Thanks to Kyle Christensen of Woodland Hills, Utah County, I can now enjoy my own ginger ale.  I lived in Detroit Michigan for a few years and there was a brand of ginger ale there that I loved          ( Schewpts?) but my own home-made tastes even better than that.  

To start you have to create a "ginger bug" in a glass jar like the one in my picture.

Put 2 cups unchlorinated water into a clean quart jar.  Add 1 TBS  chopped raw ginger and 1 TBS white sugar.  Next day add more chopped ginger, little bit more water and 2 tsp. sugar.  Do this for a week.  Cover the jar with coffee filter paper and secure with elastic.  
It should smell wonderfully gingery. The natural lactobacillus bacteria on the raw ginger have begun the fermenting process by consuming the sugar and the sugars in the ginger. 

Now you can make your "ale".  
For 2 gallons of Ginger Ale you will need:

2 - pieces of ginger that are about 6 inches long 
4 - 2 quart jar bottles or 2, 1 gallon jars
4  - cups of sugar
1  - cup of your strained  "ginger bug"
 almost 2 gallons of unchlorinated water.  

Mix part of the water with sugar to dissolve and divide between the 2 containers, add 1/2 cup "ginger bug" to each, fill with more clean water. Chop up the raw ginger and blend it at high speed in about 3 cups of the water. Add the blended "slurry" to the containers and fill with more water but leave about a cup of space from the top.   Put coffee paper caps on and secure with elastics.  Keep at room temperature for about 4-5 days.  It should get bubbly (by product of carbon dioxide)  and smell good.  There will be some residue or scum at the top but this can be scooped off when it is ready to pour off and strain.  Put strained  ginger ale into glass jars with tight fitting lids, label and date and keep in cold storage for another week.  

It is so good!   well worth the trouble and don't forget all that raw ginger is so good for you.  You can flavor the finished ale with some fresh lemon juice or other fruity flavors before storage.  

Note;  You can add some whey about 1 TBS  to each 2 quart jar to  insure there are enough lactobacillus to start the fermentation.  Also, if concerned about alcohol content, add a pinch of salt to each container helps keep down the alcohol content. But, it rarely gets above 1%.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Preserved Lemons ( Fermented lemons )

      Lemons without spray, like some from someone's back yard will do very well for this ferment.  I got a bag of these at Christmas time from some good person in Las Vegas visiting our neighbors and did not know what to do with them so I did an internet search and found a really easy way to ferment or preserve them.  

I loved licking a half lemon with salt on it when I was a child and these fermented or preserved lemons taste just like that.  This recipe is a Near Eastern process and they use it for many recipes but I just like eating them right out of the jar. The rinds get softer with time.

To a 1 ( wide mouth) or 2 quart jar, add some fresh lemons that are cut up into quarters or 8ths and seed them, if you want, as you go.  With your fist, or some other tool that fits, press them down to bring up the juice.  If not enough juice,    add 1-2 TBS chlorinated water.  To each quart add 2 TBS Real Salt  as you go.  When filled to the neck of the bottle, where it slopes in, press hard again to bring up the juice.  Attach an air lock device to the top and ferment for about 5 days.  Then, remove the air lock and secure a regular lid and put in refrigeration for a week.  
After that, date and store in cool, dry, dark place or start eating them.  You might try researching "preserved lemons" to get some recipes on how to use them .