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John Crawford

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since Jun 06, 2011
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Recent posts by John Crawford

Hey, I live in the Belfair area. I have also had a number of problems getting trees to grow here. I've started to have some success now. The problems (for me at least) stem from the fact I live in the sand hill area and it is aptly named. The drainage in this area is extreme and there is about 1 inch of top soil.

My suggestions for getting trees started would be if you are planting bare root from like Raintree or whatnot dig a hole maybe 2 feet wide and 3 feet deep, fill it with topsoil or compost or the like and plant into that. The problem for me was that when summer came around and it stopped drizzling the ground dried out so fast the trees died. I lost 2 sets of Hazels over 2 years that way and the third has now made it 3 years.
5 years ago
I was pointed to this article today from a blog I read. I know it's old hat to everyone here but I'm encouraged to see that some main stream research is being done and is actually showing a positive result.

University of California
7 years ago
I quite like the new graphics. Very nicely done.
Here are my thoughts on trying to reuse jars with smelly lids. You may well spend more on trying to clean the lids than buying new....

I use a completely different approach. I buy mason jars from St. Vincent DePaul, and Goodwill. I'm lucky that I actually commute more or less past 5 of them on my way to work every day. I collect all the branded mason jars I can get no matter what the size and take them home and wash them.
I then sort by size of jar, and size of opening. I get empty potato boxes from work (you can try asking at the grocery store) and cut the box down to the appropriate height. Then I cut and fit dividers for the boxes and crate them up. In a 50lb potato box I can fit 12 quarts, 12 wide mouth pints, 24 wide mouth half pints, 18 pints,18 half pints,18 quilted jellies etc....

I pay $2.40 plus tax so say $2.65 per dozen, the boxes and dividers are free and I collect 15-20 dozen per year. I have a personal capacity for use of about 20 dozen jars per year. I give away about 3 dozen jars of jelly per year around the holidays and I sell all the other extra boxes on craigslist for $6-$11 a box. The 18 pints garnering the highest price per box and the regular mouth quarts the lowest. All the proceeds from the sales go to buying next years jars, the sugar for jelly making and all the lids I need.

The best time to collect is the end of January until about late July. I've already gotten 4 dozen this year.

It can take some time and you do need some space to do it. Don't be discouraged if all you can find is like regular size quarts or something. If you are willing to sort and store the jars you will eventually get the boxes full and then like me you can sell of the excess to people who don't want to take the time to go looking. It's great, it saves them money and makes me enough per year that all my canning is essentially free except for the time it takes.
7 years ago

Brenda Groth wrote:that sounds really really good, being low acid is there any problem canning it..I suppose you could put it in the freezer too..but to have it ready instantly a jar would be best i guess.

I LOVE onions..thanks.

were your onions sweet onions or can you use the hotter ones in this recipe..i generally have a lot of the hotter ones on hand each year..as they are perennial here...carmalizing might make them sweeter


They were sweet onions. And no there is no problem canning it. I bought a pH test kit to make sure that the pH was below 4.6 before canning. That's why I used the vinegar it dropped the pH as if you are making pickles. With the batch I made the pH dropped to 4.3 with 2 cups of vinegar so it was all good when I canned it.
7 years ago
Onion Jam.

It started last fall when I needed to use 20lb of onions I could not store. I've since made a second batch and work and it turned out far better than the first. I'm sorry I don't have exact measurements yet but if you know how to can you should be able to dial it in.

Onions: Minced or Julienned, 10 cups
Sugar: White regular sugar 6+2-3 cups
Apple juice: or cider, whatever 6 cups
Apple cider Vinegar: 2-3 cups

You need 2 pans for this. I use stainless steel for jamming to prevent flavor transfer. You start by cooking the onions in a dry pan over medium heat to caramelize them. This can take 15 min or more and you have to stir frequently to prevent scorching. You know you are done when the onions are translucent and there is a thick layer of caramelized onion stuck to the bottom of the pan.
In the second pan start making your caramel. A good video of the process is here just use a regular pan instead of a pan for flan. deglaze the caramel with the apple juice. It will instantly crystallize, this is ok, just keep stirring. When all the sugar is dissolved pour the caramel sauce over the onions and return them to the heat. Bring to a boil and cook as you would to make a regular jam. When it is close to being done add the vinegar and enough additional sugar to give it the jam like consistency you want. When you reach 220 jar it up and water bath can for storage.

It should be noted this recipe uses NO oil. This is done intentionally to make it safe to can. It should also be noted that it's not going to be as thick as regular jam due to not having allot of pectin.
My idea for making this was to have caramelized onions available to use whenever I wanted. Just spread it on a burger/whatever. I have found it to be phenomenal on pork.
7 years ago
So just a simple question. What brand? I've been looking for longer lasting cloths and I can get a couple years out of a pair of Carhart's but I was curious if you know of someone making even more durable cloths?
7 years ago
I am floored by this bit of kitchen wizardry. It gives me so many ideas.... Redneck margaritas anyone?
7 years ago
I do have a question for them. I am looking to build a rocket stove in the back yard this year to cook on and have a quantity of calcium silicate bricks I was thinking about using to line the heat riser. Have they tried or do they know of anyone who has tried this? From what I have been able to find they seem less susceptible to thermal shock and spalling than regular red clay brick and are far cheaper (e.g. free) than buying firebrick for the same purpose.

paul wheaton wrote:John,

Maybe the thing to do is to craft an article for the weekly-funky-paper. Then maybe we can all send that to our weekly-funky-papers. ??


That sir is a good idea. Just change the who/where and maybe a couple details to fit your local. I like that. More efficient dissemination.