Tips
The Basics
These are what we consider basic to our group.  Each meeting will often have dialogue on these topics.
We dedicate at least 3 meetings a year to these basic topics.
  • Basic Nutrition
  • Fermentation
  • Grain & Legume Treatments
  • Bone Broth
  • Awareness & Avoidance of Toxins & Additives
  • Cow Shares, CSAs, and Access to Local Food
  • Nutrient density and nutrient profiles
  • Good Fats and Oils
  • Traditional Agriculture
  • Gardening
  • Food Preservation
  • Community
  • Exercise
  • Fresh Air
  • Sunshine
  • Faith& Forgiveness

Food Prep
  • When cutting fruits and vegetables, use a large knife and large cutting board.
  • The most time consuming part of cooking is the food preparation—washing, trimming, and cutting up vegetables.  Doing the food prep at one time
    saves a ton of time.  You can freeze them in freezer bags for later use or keep them in the fridge if you will use them that week.
  • Frequently used ingredients can be chopped in bulk ahead of time and stored for later use.  For example, many recipes call for garlic and onions.  You
    can chop a large quantity of garlic and onions in a food processor and store them (separately) until you are ready to use them.  Stored in a glass jar,
    garlic stays good for a long time (a couple of months at least), and onions will stay for about 2 weeks.  Frozen meal-sized portions of chopped
    vegetables are very convenient and will keep for a long time (especially if you use a vacuum-sealed container like a food saver).
  • Marinate and freeze.  If you purchase your meat in bulk and plan on freezing it, place the marinade in a freezer bag with the meal-sized portion of meat
    and freeze.  Remove from the freezer the night before you plan to cook it and the meat will be completely marinated.
  • To help avoid burning your eyes when cutting onions, chop the ends of the onion off and refrigerate for 20 minutes before cutting.
  • Use a counter-top composting bin for vegetable scraps.  Bio-bags (available through gardener’s supply websites) can line the bin and go straight into
    the outside compost bin.

Meal Planning:
  • PLAN.  Sit down and plan out a menu for the whole week.  Don’t forget about snacks and plan a few meals to be left-overs.
  • Make the week’s grocery list from the menu.  Plan one trip to the grocery store.
  • Make a master list of the things you like to cook.  Use the list when you make your weekly meal plan.  It saves time when you have the list in front of
    you—you don’t have to think.
  • When making weekly meal plans, make an effort to try a new recipe every couple of weeks.  This will add some variety to meal rotations.
  • If any of the recipes involve sprouting or soaking, make a note on the meal plan of when you should start the sprouts or do the soaking.

Making the Most of Your Cooking Time:
  • Cook Big & Freeze Small!!!  Prepare a huge portion and then freeze half for a future meal.  Defrost and reheat in an oven, toaster oven, or on the
    stovetop (throw away your microwave).  Examples of meals that prepare well in bulk and freeze well are Spaghetti sauces, Chicken Marsala, Curry
    Sauces, Soups, Meat & Bean Chili, Sprouted Bean Recipes, Barbequed Shredded Beef, Casseroles, Waffles.
  • Cook big at dinner time so you can have leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • One-pot cooking saves time in clean-up.
  • Placing salt in water for boiling raises the boiling point temperature and reduces the cooking time.
  • Baking tip: line the bottom of the pan with un-bleached parchment paper for easy cake removal.

Sprouting:
  • If using the jar method, you can purchase special plastic lids with small holes in them for sprouting.  The bags that onions and some citrus fruits are
    packaged in can also be used in sprouting.  Cut into circles the size of the jar’s mouth and secure with the metal lid.
  • A dish rack works well to rest the sprouting jars when they are draining—it can fit four or more jars at a time.
  • If you have sprouted small seeds in a tray sprouter and are storing them in the refrigerator, you can remove the tray from the fridge and uncover it a
    few minutes before you eat the sprouts.  This will liven the sprouts a bit and make them green.
  • Steve Trisko's sprouting tips from 10/10/09 - here.

Snacks & Treats:
  • Smoothies!!  Buy seasonal fruit in bulk.  Fresh organic produce from the store will often mold or spoil quickly, so immediately wash and trim/cut   
    fruit, then freeze fruit in freezer bags.  Strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, peaches, and mangos work really well in smoothies.
  • Yogurt or Kefir popsicles are great kid treats.  Blend yogurt or kefir with honey and fruit.  Freeze in popsicle molds or in ice cube trays with popsicle
    sticks sticking out of each space.

Raw Dairy:
  • Yogurt-making technique: Heat raw milk to about 100° (no hotter than 110°), mix in a few tablespoons of yogurt, pour mixture into a couple of  quart
    jars.  Seal the jars and submerge (to the level of yogurt in the jars) into a large stock pot full of water that has been heated to about 100° (no  hotter
    than 110°).  Insert a fish tank thermometer into the pot of water and plug it in.  If the fish tank heater has a temperature control, adjust the dial  so the
    light just turns off.  Cover pot and wrap it in a towel and let sit about 8 hours.  Monitor the water temperature to keep it between 100° and  110°.
  • What to do with sour-tasting milk? Use for soaking grains, Baking, soaking meat and fish.

Cookware:
  • Don’t use aluminum or non-stick Teflon-type cookware.
  • Crockpots, stainless steel pots, cast iron dutch ovens good for stewing and making sauces.
  • Cast iron pans and griddles are good non-stick environments for sautéing vegetables.
  • Eggs cooked in a cast iron pan are delicious, but require a little technique.  If you eat eggs often, designate a cast iron pan or griddle to be used only  
    for eggs.  Cooking meat or acidic vegetables on the cast iron pan can reduce its non-stick quality and the eggs will stick more.  When cooking the  
    egg, leave it alone for a while after placing it in the pan.  Don’t move it or try to flip it until it cooks thoroughly on one side.  It should lift up easily.  For
    scrambled eggs, scramble the egg in a bowl before placing it in the pan.
  • When cleaning cast iron, never use soap (unless you want to re-season the pan).  After using the pan, wipe the pan with a paper towel or rinse under   
    water and gently use a scrub brush.  For stuck-on food, boil water in the pan to loosen and then gently use the scrub brush.

Juicing:
  • Keep the juicer on the counter top for easy access.  Otherwise, you are not as likely to make juice.  You can combine both fruits and vegetables in  
    your juice.