Welcome Crystal Schmidt to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Crystal discuss the ins and outs of homesteading, Crystal’s background in living off the land, and offer tips and tricks for homesteading made easy.
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- Crystal worked on Stacy’s team for many years, even supporting this podcast, before branching out and building her own brand.
- Crystal lives off the land as much as she can: growing a large garden, canning, dehydrating and storing produce in our root cellar. She and her partner, Karl, forage for wild mushrooms, butternuts, hazelnuts, black raspberries, and anything else they can find. They hunt deer and rabbits, raise chickens, ducks and honey bees, and plan to branch out to other animals.
- She still uses grocery and conventional stores each month, but tries to buy local as much as possible.
- Crystal has recently released a book that just came out this July, perfect timing for converting the inexpensive boxes at the farmer’s market and PYO farms into a bounty for fall and winter! Freeze Fresh: The Ultimate Guide to Preserving 55 Fruits and Vegetables for Maximum Flavor and Versatility
The Benefits of Homesteading
- The very core of modern day homesteading is wanting a lifestyle of greater self-sufficiency or community sufficiency. It’s producing food or having a connection to food, a desire to participate in nature, and a values of old fashioned or forgotten skills like preserving cooking from scratch. Anyone can do it!
- Farmers and growers are incredibly passionate people who love to talk about what they’re producing. And they love to meet the people they’re serving. It can be a really rewarding relationship, and Crystal recommends also learning a few easy ways to preserve or make the most of the food that you’re buying.
- Lettuce, herbs, and citrus are great for preserving in the freezer. For lettuce, you have to get to it before it turns brown and slimy. Throw it into the blender, add a little water so it blends, and it’ll turn into a lettuce slurry. Then you can pour that into ice cube trays and freeze it. This works for other greens too and makes an excellent addition to a smoothie or a green juice.
- There are a lot of foods you can use that the “banana approach” and throw it in the freezer. Lemons, limes, and other citruses are great when you slice and freeze them. Crystal also loves using them in her water.
Homesteading Tips and Tricks
- Canning and other preservations methods will tell you not to use food that is moly or has a bad spot on it. You should only use the most pristine fruits and vegetables for canning. But for freezing, that doesn’t apply at all. You can just cut out that one spot and still freeze it.
- One of Crystal’s other favorite ways to use the freezer is keeping a frozen veggie scrap bag. It’s just a a freezer bag she keeps in my freezer and throws things like onion peels, celery tops, carrot ends, herbs stems, mushroom stems, and things like that into it. When the bag is full, or whenever she’s making broth, she adds the contents of that bag to her broth. That way she gets extra flavor and nutrients from it.
- With the end of harvest season approaching, it is a great time to take advantage of local fruits and veggies and putting them up for the winter. And this time of year, there’s a lot of produce available that will keep wonderfully without much input at all.
- If you want apples to store a long time in your fridge, they have to be fresh from an orchard and ideally picked yourself because you have to be incredibly gentle with them. They can’t have blemishes or bruises. Don’t wash them, either! You want them to have their natural waxy bloom.
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