1. water well storage in old times

    " It was the time without a fridge. We used to put the food in a bucket in the well just over the water level. The well was deep enough to keep the chilling air inside from cold water. So we would have two buckets hanging for the well, one for water, one for food….yes…food like butter, that rough but top tasty homemade butter…."

    I was excited to listen this story from my 82 year old Italian grandfather this evening! 

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  3. Preserving Butter

    I have never really been a big fan of butter, I never really liked the taste of things that were cooked in it and always pictured it as something that will make you fat if you eat it. However recently I have been reading a couple books on nutrition and health and I have come to the conclusion that butter is an easy way of adding necessary fat soluble vitamins in to your everyday diet, and if eaten in moderation butter can be quite healthy for you. I also learned that the darker yellow the butter the more nutritious vitamins it has in it. Also butter from grass fed cows is the most healthy and has many nutrients in it that are hard to find anywhere else stuff for maintaining healthy teeth and bones.

    I decided we should have some butter in our diet but because we are going cruising fridge-less I didn’t know how to keep it. So I turned to some old food preservation books.

    One way of preserving butter for day to day use is with a butter bell. I remember my mother had one of these when I was younger. I didn’t have fond memories of it, I always remember opening it up to the fowl stench rancid butter. I found out in my reading that this was because the water needs to be changed every other day to prevent the growth of bacteria. The butter bell will safely store butter for up to a month as long as you continue to change the water.

    Butter Bell
    A butter bell preserves the butter by soring it upside-down in an small amount of water that creates an airtight seal.

    Butter Bell

    The butter bell solves the issue of preserving butter in day to day use but what about for longterm storage? Again I turned to the pages of an old book this time an old cook book called the Presbyterian Cookbook. In there I found that for long term storage of butter with out a fridge you can place sticks of butter in a large jar thats filled with a salt brine. The brine needs to be really salty in order to keep anything from growing in the butter, and it works best if its stored in a cool dark place like a cellar or in our case, the bilge. We have yet to try this method but when we do I will fill you in on the details.

    Here is the excerpt from the book:
    How to Keep Butter: excerpt from Presbyterian Cookbook

    - Eric Taylor, San Diego CA

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  5. parsley, cilantro and dark leafy greens

    I keep market purchased parsley and leafy greens fresh like bouquets in a glass jar with water. Make sure to recut the stem ends just before placing in water and to keep the water level below the leaf portions. Leafy greens are beautiful and keeping them out in your view will encourage you to eat them while they are still very fresh and vital. Of course if you can grow your own picking just before cooking is best!
    This technique does not work for lettuce since there are no elongated stems. However, I have been known to put very beautiful heads of garden lettuce in a bowl with just a bit of water for table centerpiece for a summer dinner party.

    - Shari Trnka

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