Cool Stuff – Pioneer Skills

How to Can Tomatoes & Other Tomato Tips

Before I begin, I need to share a tip. I was reminded via twitter by my friend Paul over at Foodcrunch of this important summer tomato rule, so if you take nothing else away but this, I’ll be happy. If you want your juicy summer tomatoes to last longer… simply rest them on the windowsill stem-side down, rather than the commonly seen stem-side up. When I worked in my first […]

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How to Clean a Crab & Other Crabby Adventures

There’s a man in my hometown here in the Hudson Valley who defines the word “local.” He’s been a local forever. He is this place. He has a commercial crab operation that he runs from the pier and he brings in all sorts of blue crabs every day. He drives his truck around and it says “Crabman” on it. And he has a little hand written sign on the telephone […]

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Homemade Elderflower Syrup

The elderflowers are blooming. This is good on many levels. For one, flowers are just a prelude to berries. And berries are just a prelude to jelly. And elderflower jelly is something that my grandmother made as a child with her mother. I’m going to make some and bring it to Grandma Pellegrini. Now that the weather is warmer, Grandma P. can go outdoors. I paid her a visit and […]

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How to Fix a Bee Swarm

We had a bee swarm around here at Tulipwood earlier this week. It all happened very quickly — we were planting vegetables in the garden, toiling and sweating away because somehow we decided it would be a good idea to plant 25 varieties this year. Think it was a cold long winter? We are embracing the sun and got a bit overzealous… luckily, my brother has friends and enlisted them […]

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Dandelion Wine

I could show you this fully finished step-by-step recipe a few months from now, [scroll down, I’ve added the finished steps!] but what good would that be if you had to wait many months for dandelions to come back around? So instead, I’m going to give you the recipe and show you the step-by-step up to where I have it, so you can get picking in the fields and follow […]

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How to Field Dress and Butcher a Turkey

Disclaimer: This is one of my “Not for the Faint of Heart” posts. If you fall into that category, please come back another day when I’ll be talking about pudding. ****************** Since it is turkey season, and since I found myself with two turkeys to haul off the field not too long ago, I thought I’d show anyone venturing out this spring how I field dress and butcher a turkey. […]

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How to Eat Crawfish

It’s crawfish season in Arkansas. Maybe it’s crawfish season everywhere, I don’t know, but I participated in the eating of 25 pounds of the little red lobsters and it was a fun affair. They were from “Grandma’s Best” after all, and boiled in a whole lot of salt water. Actually, I like a crawfish boil for its potatoes just as much as its crawfish. You see, sometimes, someone smart puts […]

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Corned Venison

When Lewis and Clark set out on their Corps of Discovery they struggled to find fresh meat, especially during the coldest winter months. The meat they obtained came from hunting and fishing, through trade, or through the kindness of American Indians. The Corps ate everything from dog, to whale, to horse, and because fresh meat spoils after a few days without refrigeration, what they could find needed to be preserved. […]

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Elk Jerky

I used to think of it as the strange stuff I’d see in strange gas stations on my strange cross country road trips. It was usually in stick form, a long tubular stick, wrapped in a coating of plastic, with a peculiar name like… Slim Jim, not because it made you slim, but because it was a slim, tubular portion…in a coating of plastic. But then, I made my own. […]

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How to Make Kefir

I have fond, peculiar memories of a glass jar sitting on the fireplace mantle, holding a liquid that constantly reinvented itself. It changed by the day, by the hour sometimes, from something strange to something more recognizable. This liquid, as it turns out, is intensely good for you, a drinkable yogurt full of good bacteria, and even better when flavored at the breakfast table with fruit purees. This is one […]

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