Quick & Easy Tips

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How To Freeze Bananas

How To Freeze Bananas

To freeze bananas, peel them, then wrap them tightly in freeze-proof cellophane or put them in a plastic container. They can be frozen for up to a month, but please note that they will turn brown.

Use straight from the freezer in smoothies or ice creams.

How many tomatoes are in a bushel?

Tomato Facts

One bushel = approximately 53 pounds, and yields 18 quarts of canned tomatoes.

Can I use leftover pickle juice?

Using Leftover Brine

Use leftover pickle brine to flavor another batch of pickles. Leftover Pickled Beet brine, makes delicious Pickled Eggs; just hardboil, peel, plop in the jar, and leave for at least a week, refrigerated, before eating. Peaches, fresh or canned can be added to Sweet Pickle syrup. And sliced green tomatoes are wonderful when "marinated" in dill pickle brine.

What is lye?


Lye is a term meaning a strongly alkaline solution. It originally meant a solution of potassium carbonate (potash) prepared by leaching wood ashes with water, but now the name also means a solution of sodium or potassium. You can find it in the household cleaning section in supermarkets. Lye should be used with caution, as it is caustic and poisonous. Wear rubber gloves and use lemon juice or vinegar to neutralize lye burns. Always read the label. Do not use plastic containers or utensils.

How can I ripen bananas faster?

Ripening Avocado/Banana

Enclosing an avocado or banana in a brown bag containing an apple hastens ripening.

How do I relieve the pain from a pepper burn?

Treating Contact Burns from Hot Peppers

I have used Lavender essential oil to stop the burn from the oil of hot peppers. Also of value in treating such burns is ice water, poultices made of ground oatmeal mixed with water, and the juice of the aloe plant.

Can I store all my cookies together?


Store different types of cookies separately, or they will all end up tasting alike.

Is it necessary to sterilize my jars?

Sterilizing Jars

Jars should always be sterilized, especially if you are going to process them for less than ten minutes in a food processor or a boiling water bath canner.

How can I make quick winter time jellies?

Turning Juices Into Jelly

Sometimes I can or freeze juice just to have on hand in the winter, so I can make fresh jellies.

What can I use old rings for?

Used, Bent Canning Jar Rings

Use old canning jar rings to scare birds from your fruit trees. Tie the old rings in your trees, and they will spin and reflect light, keeping birds away.

What type of water should I use in pickling?

Water In Pickling

When water is called for in brined pickle recipes, be sure to use soft water, because the minerals present in hard water can also cloud the brine. Distilled water can be used in place of soft water.


Tomato Sauce

For a thin tomato sauce, you will need about 35 pounds of tomatoes for a canner load of 7 quarts.

How do I keep my cucumbers from going soft when canned?

Squash Blossoms

Removing the blossoms from cucumbers, will aid in them not going soft when canned.

How many tomatoes do I need for seven quarts of tomato juice?

Tomato Juice

You'll need about 23 pounds of tomatoes for a canner load of 7 quarts of juice.

Can I use artificial sweeteners in place of sugar?

Sugar Substitutes

Saccharin-based sweeteners, and others are safe to use but the quality of pickle products made with both these sweeteners is poor. Some artificial sweeteners quickly lose their sweetness when heated while saccharin-based sweeteners become bitter.

What is head space?

Head Space

Head space is needed for the bubbling of liquids and fruit expansion.

Can I use dried strawberries for pies?


Dried strawberries can be used not only for jellies, and jams, but for making fillings, sauces, and pies.

Can I process meat in a boiling water bath?

Preserving Meats

When working with meats, be sure all work surfaces and containers are clean. Do not place raw poultry, beef and pork in a container or in the sink together. Wash separately, and keep raw meats separate to avoid contamination.

Always use a pressure cooker when canning meats. The boiling bath method does not get hot enough, and maintain a high enough degree of heat to completely sterilize the meats.

Follow all directions exactly when cooking and canning meats for home storage.

What is the simplest way to know how much food to store?

Knowing How Much to Put up

Keeping good records is the best way to know how much food to put up each year. See the site listed for the "Companion Booklets" offered. These are invaluable record-keeping tools to prevent you from running short or having too many jars of one thing or another on your shelves.

How do I freeze berries?

Preserve Berries Without Making Jam

Fresh, seasonal berries are easy to freeze. Don't wash them (the less damp the better), but do discard stems, debris and blemished fruit.

Freeze them in one layer on a tray, and when they are hard, pour them into plastic bags or freezer containers. When ready to use them, rinse berries under cold water, which washes them as well as helps to defrost them.

Though they won't be as good as fresh berries, they add color and nutrients to a fruit salad or smoothie. And them (defrosted) to pancake or muffin batter. Warmed with a little maple syrup, frozen berries make a good waffle topping.

How do I rehydrate fruit?

Using Dried Fruits

To re-hydrate fruits, place one cup dried fruit in a glass or plastic container. Cover with hot or cold water and let soak overnight, or 4 to 6 hours. The fruit may be served as it is, or you may simmer the fruit for 10 minutes and then serve.

Is open kettle canning safe?

Open Kettle Canning

Open kettle canning is a method where food is cooked in an ordinary kettle or pot. The food is then packed and sealed without processing.

What can I use bent rings for?

Used, Bent Canning Jar Rings

Use your old, bent rings as cookie and biscuit cutters.

When should I eat my pickles?

Wait Before Eating Your Pickles!

Pickled foods reach their full flavor about 6 weeks after they have been processed. Sometimes longer. Wait at least 6 weeks, 12 is better, before opening any of those home-canned pickles.

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt