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pictures_with_words copy 6Nectar of the gods. . . glorious coffee.  I can’t imagine my life without it.  No only for its amazing flavor and energy boost is offers, but as images-14one who suffers with migraines, caffeine has been prescribed to me to help control them.  For me, it works really well.  As much as I love my morning cup (or 2, or 3) of java, hot coffee is not appetizing in the middle of the day during the hottest parts of summer.  Iced coffee is always a great option which I partook in by stopping at a local espresso stand drive thru, but at nearly $6 for a large double shot, it can get really expensive.  Besides that, I’m busy in the garden most summer days.  I don’t have time to get to the coffee shops.  My solution?  Making it myself for a fraction of the cost.  If you love your iced coffee, you really need to try this simple and delicious recipe.  It just might destroy the relationship between you and your favorite barista.  Honestly, no coffee-house has anything better than this blend.  And you will save a LOT of money!

I had a pound of whole coffee beans in my freezer that I used in this demonstration.  However, a rough ground bag is just as good.  Buy the least expensive brand you can get at your local supermarket works just as well as the expensive ones.  So save yourself some money and avoid the expensive brands.

Plus, you will be getting three separate recipes in this one post.  Obviously the iced coffee.  But I will show you how to make vanilla extract that you can use to make your own creamer!  Check out the links and video.

Now, gather a few things you will need:

 

pictures_with_words copy 8 1 pound course ground coffee – I keep my coffee beans whole and grind them as I need them.  For this large batch, I use my wonderful Ninja. But you can buy whole beans at the store and grind them on the course setting next to the whole beans (if you grocer offers them).

1 gallon plus 1 quart warm water – This will yield right at a full gallon of espresso-type coffee

PrepperPenny’s Vanilla Creamer using my homemade Vanilla Extract (check out my You Tube video at the end of this page)

Large air-tight container – Tall and thin or short and round, just make sure it is airtight and will allow your coffee to stay saturated

Colander(s) – As you will see, I use several sizes to make sure my grounds are completely removed and my espresso is dark and rich but not foggy

 

Pour luke warm water over coffee grounds

Pour luke warm water over coffee grounds

Simply empty your 1 pound of coffee into your container and pour warm water over it.

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Place in airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours

In a large, airtight container, pour 1 gallon plus 1 quart of warm water.  Give a quick stir to moisten all grounds and place the lid on.  Place in your refrigerator for 24 hours.

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Straining equipment

You are almost done.  No stirring  or shaking.  After 24 hours, you have en amazingly strong cold espresso.  Now you need to strain it several times until you have removed any debris.  I start with a larger colander first, move to a finer mesh and finish with butter cloth.  You want to be sure to strain it enough to make a dark, rich coffee without any trace of the coffee grounds, otherwise your coffee will become cloudy.

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Dark enough that you can’t see through it

Your coffee will be  dark and strong you will not be able to see through it!  That’s exactly what you want.

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Now it’s time to assemble your iced coffee.   This is where you will use a combination to meet your specific taste.  I like my iced coffee creamy, so I mix coffee and creamer at a 50/50 ratio.  If you like stronger coffee, use less creamer and more coffee.  You can use your favorite plain or flavored creamer, the same kind you might buy in the grocers.  I make my own vanilla creamer which is what I use.  Click here for that simple recipe.

Add sugar or favorite sweetener, top with whipped cream and enjoy!  From experience, I can say that it will keep well in your refrigerator for at least two weeks.  Beyond that, it’s trial.  Mine has never made it past that two-week mark.

Iced Coffee

Rich iced coffee

Kick it into the stratosphere and make your own vanilla extract to use in your own creamer.  This is my video to make your own extract.  It’s great in this recipe and amazing for all recipes calling for it.

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Holidays are great beyond just celebrating holy and other meaningful events in human history.  It’s a time to share meals, gather families and introduce traditions to our new generations.  Beyond that, holiday celebrations come with wonderful sales that allows families, especially those on tight budgets to fill their pantries with inexpensive but delicious food.  Easter is a perfect example of that.  Ham.  There are so many things to cook with ham and making leftovers into soups and stews provides for a variety of options that can feed a family for many months ahead.

First I will share a general recipe I follow.  I cook many things like this without actually measuring.  I did do my best to record what I did this time.  But keep in mind that this is a base recipe and you can add any other kinds of ingredients that you prefer.  You may want more carrots or you may want to add other vegetables.  Maybe you have a special spice that you want to add.  Do it!  The canning process will be the same.  Make it the way your family loves.

Canning Ham & Beans
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 90 mins
Total time: 2 hours
Serves: LOTS
Cut all ingredients into similar size pieces
Ingredients
  • 4 Pounds Dry White Beans
  • 3 Pounds of Baked Ham, cut into similarly sized pieces
  • 4 Tbsp Chicken Bouillon (Optional)
  • 5 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Medium Size Yellow Onions
  • 5 Large Carrots
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • Smoked Paprika to add smokey flavor
  • Dried Parsley
  • Celery Salt
Instructions
  1. Clean and soak beans overnight
  2. Rinse Beans and return to large stockpot
  3. Add all ingredients
  4. Cover with water and cook for about an hour before proceeding to pressure canning

 

 

Canning Your Ham & Beans . . . Step-By-Step

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Let’s begin with a friendly reminder.  These scraps are perfect to save in the freezer until you have enough to make your own vegetable stock or for making meat and seafood stock.  So never throw them out.  I keep a one gallon ziplock bag in my freezer and am always dropping in all my fresh vegetable scraps.  And yes, the skins from my onions, too!  How about that for free food!


pictures_with_words copy 8After having cleaned, rinsed and soaked your beans overnight or for several hours, chop your veggies and ham and dump it all into a large stockpot.  Then cover it with water and put onto a low but sustained simmer.

2-13116 jar lifter in use LARGE

Now is the time to get your jars, rings and lids ready and gather all your canning utensils.  There are a few ways folks clean their jars.  Some run them through the dishwasher.  Personally, I wash everything in hot, soapy water then put into my oven at 200 degrees which gives me confidence that they are as clean and sanitized as possible.  It’s also a habit of mine to run my bare finger across the rim to check for any flaws or chips.  I also give a visual inspection of every jar to be sure there are no cracks or flaws in the jar.  Any jar that shows signs of flaws should be set aside and should never be used for canning.

Canning jars absolutely must be kept warm to receive the hot ingredients.  When I first began canning, I made a terrible mistake by not having them hot enough and had two jars fail (break) in the canner.  Lesson learned.  Now you want to add 2″-3″ of water and begin to heat your pressure canner.

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With all things ready, lets begin to can your soup.  Using a ladle and canning funnel, fill your hot jars with a 1″ head space.  Make sure there are no air bubbles lurking in your jar.  Using a plastic spatula, remove any bubbles.  Failing to do so could cause your jar to break in the canner.

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I can’t stress enough how important ALL sanitary measures are at every stage in canning.  But making sure you wipe the rims after filling your jars is as crucial as any.  Any trace of food or oil can prevent your jars from sealing, and can (and likely will) cause your food to spoil and go rancid.  When canning anything oily, like meat, I use white vinegar which will satisfactorily remove the oils.

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After having your lids and rings warmed in boiling water, carefully remove them and immediately place them on the jars.

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Before the wax ring on you lid can cool, place your ring on the jar and tighten it enough to hold the lid in place.  Don’t over tighten the rings.  Simply finger tighten it.  Immediately place your jar into the canner at this point.

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Once your canner is filled, place the lid on it and follow your specific canner guidelines and process your jars at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes in pint jars, 90 minutes in quart jars.

Allow the pressure in your canner to completely dissipate before trying to remove the pressure weight.  Once the pressure is zero, you may remove the lid.  However, everything is still very hot!  Please use proper caution and care.

pictures_with_words copy 2Using a canning jar lifter, remove your jars from your canner and gently place them onto a towel and carefully tighten the rings.  Leave your jars to cool for at least 10 hours.  When you remove your jars, you will see they are still boiling.  This is normal.  You will begin to hear that heavenly confirmation that all canners love so much.  The ping.  That is the indication that your jars are sealing properly.  Don’t be discouraged if one or more does not seal.  It sometimes happens.

test_jar_seals

Once your cans have set and cooled (usually overnight), remove the rings and test the seals.  As indicated above, you can test by sound by tapping a spoon on the lid (I have never done that), give a physical inspection looking to see if the raised nipple has con caved.  It is quite easy to see if a lid hasn’t sealed because the nipple will protrude if it didn’t seal properly.  If you are not quite sure, press on the center of the lid.  It should not give and should be hard.  I always pick up my jars by the very top rim.  If the lid isn’t sealed, it will pull off the jar.  If this happens, you can put your contents into a container and either refrigerate it and eat it within a few days, or freeze it for later use.

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Now you will want to wash each jar with hot, soapy water, add your label with the content and date you canned it.

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This batch I just canned wound up yielding 14 jars.  To help protect them, I put my jars back into the box they came out of.  Notice here, when I opened this box, I cut off the top of the plastic wrap leaving the bottom of it intact over the box.  If one of your jars happens to break or leak without you noticing it, the plastic will save you from having an even bigger mess.

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THRIVE Powdered TomatoMy THRIVE Tomato Powder is one of the most used dried product I use in my house because it is so easy and versatile.  I make so many delicious recipes from it.  I make  tomato paste, tomato sauce and I use it in many dry-canned Meals In A Jar that I have posted here on my blog.

THRIVE Tomato Powder is dehydrated tomatoes and nothing else.  No additives, flavors or preservative.

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I love using it and feel good knowing I’m serving my family food that is good and healthy for them.   Here, I would like to share how to easily make ketchup within about 30 minutes with almost no prep-time necessary.

This ketchup is quick to make, customizable to meet your unique taste and is just another product you can make at home to add to your home store and control the ingredients you and your family eats.

 

THRIVE Tomato Ketchup
Recipe Type: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Yields 1 quart and is ready for last minute use.
Ingredients
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Cup Thrive Tomato Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Honey/Sugar/Sweetener
  • ¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • ½ tsp Mustard Powder
  • ½ tsp Celery Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Allspice
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce or 1 tsp dry Worcestershire powder
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients into saucepan and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Allow to set up 6 hours. It will have a strong vinegar taste until all the flavors settle and have time to blend completely.
  2. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Good for approximately 8 weeks.

 

How I Built My Home Store

THRIVE tomato-powder

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Soup, whether it’s winter or summer is a regular rotation in my meal planning.  With a side of bread and or salad, it’s a healthy way to get in a well-balanced meal.  This happens to be one that my family loves so I decided to make it into an easier recipe using my food storage.  I have worked inside and out all day and when it came to dinner time, I needed something fast.  I’ve cooked with my THRIVE for so long, it’s just a natural “go-to” meal for us.  Tonight I decided to convert our favorite Stuffed Green Pepper Soup recipe in to a convenient Meal In A Jar recipe.  No cutting veggies (which I didn’t have fresh anyway), no frying up ground beef (THRIVE is already cooked) and virtually no cleanup.  I was so pleased with the result that if you love the convenience of boil and serve Meals In A Jar, I knew you would love this easy recipe, too.

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Meal In A Jar Newsletter

Prepping Jars

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 6
This recipe converts my standard soup into a meal in a jar. It’s an excellent soup!
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup THRIVE Tomato Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Garlic Granules or Powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp THRIVE Beef Bouillon Powder
  • 1 Cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Onion
  • 1/2 Cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Tomato Chunks
  • 1/2 Cup Instant Rice
  • 1/2 Cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Green Pepper (Or Red/Green Bell Pepper)
Instructions
  1. Layer ingredients as I have listed them. You may need to shake (or pound) your jar as you fill it to make sure it all fits.
  2. Top with a 100cc Oxygen Absorber if you are not going to cook this for more than a few days. Or you can use you vacuum seal system to draw out the air.
  3. To Cook: Boil 10-12 cups of water and empty contents into it. Reduce boil to a simmer and cook (stirring frequently) for 20-30 minutes. You can add more water for a more brothy soup or cook to reduce for a thicker soup. Salt and Prepper to taste, serve with a side of sourdough bread and salad, enjoy!

 

To purchase any THRIVE Freeze Dried ingredients, please visit my store by clicking below!

For any THRIVE food, please visit my store by clicking here

For any THRIVE food, please visit my store by clicking here

 

 

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photo copy 6Something to keep in mind about minestrone is that, much like meatloaf, it’s a great way to cook and use up leftover vegetables and no two recipes are the same.  This is a recipe I would be proud to set in front of you at my dinner table.  But you may like more pasta and less potatoes.  You may want vegetables in it that I don’t put in mine.   Mine is a great flavor for how my family likes it.  You can make the adjustments you wish with the basics in this recipe.

This recipe is all adjusted and based on freeze-dried food.  You can use your own or commercially produced dehydrated vegetables, but you will need to adjust your cooking time and amount of water.  There is a significant difference in how they rehydrate and the amount of time and water it will take.  For information about this, please follow this link where I try to answer any questions you may have. Meal In A Jar Newsletter

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Add 100cc oxygen absorbers before closing

While these look beautiful in canning jars, if you want yours in vacuum sealed bag and in mylar, they are perfect to take camping or to keep in your bug out bags.   With these points in mind, here is the recipe.  Below the recipe will be links so that if there are any ingredients you wish to purchase, you can.

photo

 

 

 

 

You will need

  1. measuring cups
  2. measuring spoons
  3. canning funnel
  4. 100cc oxygen absorbers
Minestrone Soup Meal In A Jar
Recipe Type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 4
Layer the ingredients in the order by which they are listed. The 1st five ingredients are the base for your soup. You can add whatever vegetables you prefer, but keep in mind that there is about 1 1/3 cups of vegetables total. Keep this in mind as you will need to fit all the ingredients into a 1 quart canning jar.
Ingredients
  • 2/3 C. THRIVE Tomato Powder
  • 1/2 C. THRIVE Freeze-Dried Onion (You can use your own dehydrated flakes)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder or Granules
  • 1 Heaping Tbsp Beef Bouillon
  • 3/4 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Ground Beef
  • 1/4 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Sausage
  • 1/2 Cup THRIVE Instant Red Beans
  • 1/3 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Corn
  • 1/3 Cup THRIVE Potato Chunks
  • 1/3 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Green Beans
  • 1/4 Cup THRIVE Freeze-Dried Mixed Green/Red Peppers
  • Top With Pasta of Your Choice
Instructions
  1. Prepare your 1 quart canning jars, lids and bands by sanitizing them with hot, soapy water. You absolutely must make sure all pieces are completely dry. To ensure this, after washing my jars, I put them in an oven at 250* for 30 minutes. Moisture will cause your food to spoil.
  2. Layer these ingredients in the order listed. I purposely didn’t include the option for salt and pepper. I chose to add those and other spices as I cook the recipe. This recipe serves 4-6 adults
  3. If you are making these to keep longer than a few weeks, you MUST place an oxygen absorber on top before you close it and/or use your vacuum seal system to remove the air. These stay fresh and stable for 9-12 months. Wipe the rim of the jar to get a secure, airtight seal.
  4. Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Empty ingredients in and reduce to a simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add water or beef stock for a thinner soup or continue to reduce to thicken it according to your own preference.
Home Store

For these and other THRIVE Food or emergency supplies, please click here to visit my online store.

 

THRIVE F-D Ground Beef

THRIVE F-D Sausage

THRIVE F-D Corn

THRIVE F-D Green Beans

THRIVE F-D Tomato Powder

THRIVE F-D Potato Chunks

THRIVE F-D Red & Green Bell Peppers

THRIVE Instant Red Beans

Oxygen Absorbers

FoodSaver Vacuum Seal System

Small Mouth Jar Sealing Attachment

Wide Mouth Jar Sealing Attachment

 

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Baby Powder

There are many more uses for baby powder than just on beautiful baby bottoms.  Making your own is frugal and is another step in avoiding commercial products leading to self-reliance!

Consider these uses and make your own:

Cool sheets in summer
Are those sticky, hot bed sheets giving you the summertime blues when you should be deep in dreamland? Cool things down by sprinkling a bit of baby powder between your sheets before hopping into the sack on warm summer nights.

Dry-shampoo your pet
Is the pooch’s coat in need of a pick-me-up? Vigorously rub a handful or two of baby powder into your pet’s fur. Let it settle in for a couple of minutes, and follow up with a thorough brushing. Your dog will both look and smell great! You can even occasionally “dry shampoo” your own, or someone else’s, hair by following the same technique.

Absorb grease stains on clothing
Frying foods can be dangerous business — especially for your clothes. If you get a grease splatter on your clothing, try dabbing the stain with some baby powder on a powder puff. Make sure you rub it in well, and then brush off any excess powder. Repeat until the mark is gone.

Clean your playing cards
Here’s a simple way to keep your playing cards from sticking together and getting grimy: Loosely place the cards in a plastic bag along with a bit of baby powder. Seal the bag and give it a few good shakes. When you remove your cards, they should feel fresh and smooth to the touch.

Slip on your rubber gloves
Don’t try jamming and squeezing your fingers into your rubber gloves when the powder layer inside the gloves wears out. Instead, give your fingers a light dusting with baby powder. Your rubber gloves should slide on good as new.

Remove mold from books
If some of your books have been stored in a less than ideal environment and have gotten a bit moldy or mildewed, try this: First, let them thoroughly air-dry. Then, sprinkle some baby powder between the pages and stand the books upright for several hours. Afterward, gently brush out the remaining powder from each book. They may not be as good as new, but they should be in a lot better shape than they were.

Dust off your flower bulbs
Many savvy gardeners use medicated baby powder to dust flower bulbs before planting them. Simply place 5-6 bulbs and about 3 tablespoons baby powder in a sealed plastic bag and give it a few gentle shakes. The medicated-powder coating helps both reduce the chance of rot and keep away moles, voles, grubs, and other bulb-munching pests.

Homemade Baby Powder
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup Corn Starch
  • 1/2 Cup Arrowroot Starch
  • 12 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. Pour into a glass shaker-top jar. Use a repurposed glass spice jar – it work great.

 

 

 

Source: bOrganic.net & Readers Digest

 

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Infused OilOne thing I strive to do in planning my home store, I try to make sure I either have or can make all the things my family and I enjoy in these “good” times.  I don’t want to be pulling out buckets of legumes and beans without having the flavors I’m accustom to going into them.  Simple things really do make life more comfortable.  And this technique to infusing oil is an example of planning to thrive while others struggle to survive.  Pay attention to the little things.  Those sometimes unnoticeable extra’s that you might take for granted.  This recipe was given to me to share by reader Tess Pavlin.  She has tried and tweaked this until she was sure it was wonderful and felt comfortable in making it public.  Win for us, right?

Infused oils will spice up your cooking and lend to wonderful healing and relaxing massages.

When you are ready to start making essential oil from your herbs, follow these four steps carefully:

  1. Put a handful of your herbs or flower heads into a clean glass jar. Choose either a single herb such Basil Infused Oilas basil or a mixture such as oregano, rosemary and thyme. Crush them to release the flavor into the carrier oil. Make absolutely sure your herbs are completely dry.  Water will likely make your oil go rancid.
  2. Pour 12 oz. of oil into the jar until the leaves or flowers are completely covered. Put a well-fitting top on the jar and let it stand in a warm (but not sunny) place shaking daily for two weeks.
  3. Straining Infused OilAfter the two weeks, strain off the herbs (use a cotton muslin cloth or an old open weave linen handkerchief) and then repeat the process of infusion with a fresh handful of your herbs (but using the same oil). Do this, as many times as necessary until you have a jar of strongly flavored aromatic oil.
  4. Store your aromatic oil in a small to medium-size sterilized bottle and label it. Clean the rim and tightly seal the cap to reduce the chances of air getting into the bottle. Make sure that you keep your stored oils out of sunlight.

Always remember:

Use a good-quality, mild-flavored oil such as sunflower oil or grapeseed oil. You don’t want the taste of the oil to compete with the flavor and smell of your herbs. For this reason you should avoid using extra virgin olive oil.Cover your herbs completely with oil during the infusing process. Any bits sticking out will oxidize and spoil the flavor of the oil.

Before storing the oil make sure you have removed all the plant material. (If you don’t the oil will become cloudy and sour)

WHAT OTHERs ARE DOING WITH THEIRs

Another way to speed up the process of infusing your oils is by using a small crock pot on its lowest setting.

  1. Gently bruise the herbs or flowers by crushing the in the palm of your hands before adding them to the pot. You can also press them with a wooden spoon or in a mortar and pestle but it is not necessary.
  2. Add 16 oz. of oil to the crock pot and turn heat on low. Add the herbs, leaves, or petals. Let simmer covered for 12 hours. Stir lightly and turn off overnight. Day 2 turn back on and simmer again for 12 hours. Day 3 repeat. Strain oils through cheesecloth to remove solids and bottle the oils. They will keep for a minimum of 3 years if tightly sealed.

Extra Tip:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of Vitamin E (per pint) to your beauty and medicinal oils to preserve them. You could also try using 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract.

Alternative methods.

1. OVEN INFUSED HOMEMADE OILS – Place your herbs in an oven safe dish and cover with the natural oil of your choice. Cover the dish and place in the oven at 200 degrees or the lowest possible setting your oven has. Cook for three hours. While it’s still warm, strain through cheese cloth and squeeze the oil from the herbs. Pour the oil into a sterile bottle or jar.

2. STOVE TOP INFUSED OILS – Using a double boiler, GENTLY simmer oil and herbs for 2 hours. Strain through cheese cloth. For a stronger infusion repeat using the same oil and fresh herbs.

Infused oild in crockpot3. CROCK POT INFUSED HOMEMADE OILS – This method can only be used if your crock pot has a “warm” or very low setting! This works great for infusing several oils at once. Fill your sterile pint jars with your herbs and oils. Place the jars in the crock pot and cook on low for eight hours. You can do up to 5 different oils at once with this method depending on the size of your crock pot!

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