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Snow DriftHow much you stock your larder in anticipation of storms or power outages depends on where you live. If you live in the Great Plains, the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, or in the East, a storm (winter or summer) can be very serious. In the Northern Plains, winters are normally harsh and winter storms really are the blizzards of the Little House on the Prairie books. There, the stores are usually full of customers before a winter storm with folks stocking up on milk, bread, and serious munchies. Even in cities in this region, travel the day after a storm is difficult. If you live in a small town or on a ranch or farm, getting into town to a major grocery store may be impossible until the roads are plowed. 

Click to continue reading Hurricanes, Snow Storms, and Power Outages


Hicks Coffee“Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than…wine!”
From J. S. Bach’s “Coffee Cantata,” 1732

Oh, that rich aroma, wafting in from the kitchen, lures us from our beds. It tantalizes us throughout our day and into the late hours. It can found in any number of roasts, blends, and flavors and even in other delicious treats besides its popular liquid form.
Coffee, once only a Middle Eastern delight, is grown today in many countries. South America, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, India, Sumatra, Java, New Guinea, and Hawaii all grow coffee. Much like hot peppers, each country’s unique growing conditions produce distinctive coffees. There are also decaffeinated versions and now new tummy-friendly coffees for folks suffering from GERD, IBS, and stomach problems.

PantryWhen you start stocking up for winter, you will automatically be thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Take advantage of store sales. Pick up extra flour or another frozen pie crust (if you don’t make your own) if your grocery store offers them at a good price. Start thinking of tucking in an extra can or box of this or that as you shop now.  Over the next few weeks, you should be able to have most of your staples ready in preparation for your holiday dinners or just in case unexpected guests drop in. 

Another way to tackle your holiday shopping is to make out your menus well ahead of time. Then draft your grocery lists. As you shop each week, pick up something on your holiday shopping list. That way you will be spreading the cost over the coming weeks and take advantage of sales. Your perishables will be the only things you will need to buy right before you entertain. 

Click to continue reading Start Stocking Up Now for the Holidays

Root CellarOur pioneer grandmothers also stored root vegetables (potatoes, beets, carrots, and turnips)  in aptly named root cellars. These were usually dirt-floored rooms dug into the ground with a door on top. Vegetables were stored in baskets, laid out on shelving, or buried in sand to keep them from drying out.  Most basements and many garages today however are heated, making storing root vegetables there no different than storing them in your kitchens. 

Click to continue reading Storing Garden Abundance: Root Veggies, Garlic, and Tomatoes

Canning JarsIn years past, almost every woman in America canned or dried garden produce. Some of us still do today. With the advent of bigger and better freezers, more people have opted to freeze fruits and vegetables. You can still get great information about canning and freezing from your County Extension office in your city or town. Or, you can go to the library and find books about canning safety and recipes to use with a pressure cooker or water-bath canner.

Most fruits and vegetables can be blanched briefly in hot water and then put into freezer bags. Label each bag with the contents and the date it was frozen. Freezer bags can be stacked easily or put into cartons in the freezer.

Herbs can also be frozen. Wash them well, pack in small quantities, and freeze them as flat as you can.  You can usually break off a bit as you need it. Frozen herbs are best used in foods that will be cooked.

Empty jarsWhen the crisp air of these mornings whispers to us that fall is on its way, many of us start thinking about stocking up for those cold days to come. Our foremothers did it out of stark necessity and with some real urgency. If they didn’t prepare for winter–and prepare well, they might starve. Today, though we won’t necessarily starve if we don’t put food by, we still prepare our larders for winter whether we live in an apartment or a Victorian mansion. 

There are three good reasons why we stock up for winter. The first, like our grandmothers, is to store the abundance of our gardens so that we can enjoy it all winter long. The second reason is to stock up for the coming holidays when our homes will receive guests. And the last reason is to prepare for snow storms and power outages when it might be difficult to get out to a grocery store.

We will be offering tips on putting food by over the coming days.

Golden DeliciousApples should be firm to the touch, free of bruising and punctures. They also should be relatively shiny. Dull-skinned apples are not as fresh and will not be crisp. 

Store apples in the refrigerator, unless the apples will be eaten within 24 hours. In that case, they may be placed in a fruit bowl or basket and stored at room temperature. 

Peel and/or slice apples just before serving since they will brown. You can also mix one part lemon or lime juice and three parts water and dip apple slices into the mixture. You can also keep apples fresh in a salad by adding them last and pouring orange juice or wine into the fruit bowl.

Red DeliciousWhen I was little, I wasn’t sure my mother meant fried, apple pies or fried-apple pies, but either is great. I think the fried-apple pies are tastier, but if you’re in a hurry, warm applesauce is a great substitute. Also, you may use pie dough for the pies, but biscuit dough makes a more tender crust.


  • Biscuit dough (see recipe below)
  • Fried apples (see previous recipe)
  • Oil

Biscuit Dough:

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk

Preparation: Put the dry ingredients into a bowl. Grate the butter or margarine into the flour mixture with a cheese grater. (Clean by using some of the flour to remove the butter clinging to the grater.) Mix in the milk and stir only until moistened. 

Roll out dough onto a floured board to one-half inch thickness. Cut into circles or squares, whichever is easier for you. Put 1/4 cup of fried apples (or applesauce) onto the middle of the circle or square. Moisten the edges of the dough and fold over the apples. (Fold the squares diagonally to form triangles.) Using a fork, press the dough edges together.

Heat a half-inch of oil in a small iron skillet. Using a spatula or egg turner, lower a pie into the oil. Brown on each side.  (It will take longer for the first pie to cook than subsequent ones because the oil will be hotter for them.  As the oil heats, turn the heat down a bit, making sure your are maintaining an even temperature.)  Drain the pies on paper towels and enjoy.

[I have made these with nearly any kind of apple available, even red delicious apples, which are supposed to only be used for eating out of hand. Almost any apple works.]

Empire AppleEveryone has a favorite apple recipe. This one is mine. Coming from Tennessee, my mother loved pork (pork chops, fried ham, fried slices of pork loin).  She always fried up a pan of apples to eat with the pork.  I also fry apples to serve with pork or potato pancakes.


  • 3 apples
  • 3 Tbls. butter
  • Salt to taste, optional

Preparation: You can peel the apples if you wish. Core the apples and slice thinly. Melt the butter in a small iron skillet.  Put the apples in and cook over low to medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn the apples so that they all have a chance to be basted in the butter. Cook the apples, without the lid, letting the slices caramelize in the butter. Watch carefully so that the slices do not burn. Some people just want the apples cooked through. Others, like myself, appreciate the caramelization on the apples.

Apple TreeThere are many different varieties of apples available today. Some are old favorites and others are a bit more difficult to find. 

Lady or Api apple. One of the oldest varieties, this apple dates from the first century A.D., but is not readily found in most supermarkets. Gourmet shops or fruit sellers in large cities often stock this sweetly tart apple. It is a small red or yellow apple with a red blush and is great for desserts and sauces. Because of their small size, Lady apples add a lovely touch to fruit baskets or are used as a garnish. They are available during the winter.

Click to continue reading A Guide To Different Apple Types