Thursday, February 27, 2014

Encapsulate Your Own Fermented Cod Liver Oil

If you are following any of the health blogs these days, you'll see a lot of talk about the many benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil.  It's some really awesome stuff!  But gross!  Especially to anyone who is not incredibly fond of fish to begin with.  Let alone swallowing a mouthful of oil.  Ick!  My kids, take it no problems!  We mix 1/2 serving of orange fermented cod liver oil, and 1/2 butter oil.  We've done both plain, and butter pecan flavor and chase it with raw milk.  No problems.  Me though....  No way I'm even gonna try it!  I know myself well enough to know, it ain't happening!  So....the capsules are probably a much better option for me, right?

Well, yeah.  Probably.  Except I'm not made of money.  According to this article by holisticsquid,  I would need to take between 10-20 capsules a day.  I'll make it easy and say 12 because a bottle of capsules have 120.  That would be a 10 day supply for around $47.  So, you're talking almost $150 a month in fclo/bo capsules!!!!! WOW!  I don't know about you, but I just don't have that kind of money.  Plus, the capsules don't have the correct proportions of the oils.  They are 2/3 fclo and 1/3 butter oil.  The actual servings are much closer to 50/50.  Not exact, but closer.

Instead, I bought an encapsulation tool (The Capsule Machine "00" Capsule Machine 1 Kit) from our Frontier wholesale buying group (so the price I paid was cheaper than shown), plus the gelatin capsules.  That cost me $20 and then I fill my own with fclo and bo.   You can get those at this link Green Pasture's Products! Mix and match flavors, do just the fermented cod liver oil, or just butter oil separately, there are lots of options.

I had previously gotten an awesome deal on the Caramel Infused Coconut Oil.  1 serving (1/2 Tablespoon) has a serving of Fermented Cod Liver Oil, Butter Oil, Coconut Oil, and Skate Liver Oil.  1 container has 56 servings.  I paid $15 for it from a friend that bought a bunch of them and didn't like it so sold them off again.  That's what I used to encapsulate in the pictures.  However, you can encapsulate whatever you have.  Just mix in a bowl your Fermented Cod Liver Oil with equal servings of Butter Oil, mix, and use that.

I used the syringe that came with the oil to fill the capsules.  It can get messy if you aren't careful with the oil and squirt out too much at a time.  Or if the tops of the capsules don't go on well.  It took me a few times to not have a mess all over my counter, but today, I did three batches of 24 each and only had 1 botched capsule.  So much less mess than times before when I'd have 1 or 2 oops in each batch.

Following are the pictures I took along the way to show the process.

Put the empty capsules into the machine.  They actually get pushed down flush, but I wanted you to be able to see them in the machine.

Fill the capsules.

Put the tops on.

Here they are together.  I go through each one and push on it gently to make sure they are together well.

The final product!

Doing it this way, even if you paid FULL price for the fermented cod liver oil and butter oil ($44 + $60 = $104), and couldn't get into a bulk group order or any other discounts, you would come out paying just over $1 a day for your supplement.  Rather than the $5 a day previously mentioned if you bought the already blended capsules by Green Pasture.  Same great product, only a little cheaper with just a tad bit of work on your part.  That encapsulation tool, will end up paying for itself!  Think of all the other things you can use it for too!  In my world of growing and using herbs for health, it opens up all kinds of possibilities.  :)

* This post may have affiliate links.  If you click on them and order a product, it will not change the price you pay, but will help me out a tiny bit.  I thank you for helping out another momma to get the good stuff for our family!

Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Boil an Egg So That It Peels Easily

Eggs from our chickens

I'm actually quite surprised by the number of times I've seen people ask HOW to boil an egg.  Mostly because the peel doesn't always come off nicely and so what they're really asking is how to boil an egg and make it easy to peel and pretty.

I've seen lots of suggestions.  Vinegar, baking soda, salt, and on and on.  But you don't really need to do any of that.

 All you really need to do is bring your water to a boil

then lower your eggs into the water one at a time with a slotted spoon, and boil your eggs  

I like to boil mine between 12 - 15 minutes depending on the the size.  That's it.  It's really that simple.  You can either then let them cool in the hot water after you've removed them from the heat, you can dump out the water, you can fill it back up with cold water.  It really doesn't matter.  The outcome is the same.  Beautiful, perfectly boiled eggs.  This works for fresh eggs, it works for grocery store eggs, it works for them all!

How about that.  No need to add anything else to the water!

So, since that was so simple, I'll throw in a bonus on how to make deviled eggs. :)

Take your beautifully peeled eggs

Cut them in half and put the yolks in a bowl.

Mash up the yolks
(Notice how dark the yolks are!  That's because they're from our backyard chickens.)

Add in mayo (my son is allergic to soy, so that's why I have safflower mayo), a dab of mustard, and about a teaspoon or so of sweet pickle juice.  

No, I don't have exact proportions.  It will depend on the size of your yolks, the number of eggs, your personal taste preferences.  *I* don't like much mustard, but some people love that being the dominate flavor, just mix in a small amount til you find your personal yum spot.

Mix it all up.

Fill up a sandwich baggie with your yolk mix, cut a hole in the corner and use it as a pastry bag and squeeze it into the egg halves.  Or, use a spoon and spoon it in, but the baggie way is more fun.  :)

Then I sprinkle the top with paprika just to be pretty.  I've even used chipotle pepper powder before for a bit of a smoky pepper flavor.  You can get fancy and sprinkle some cut up bacon, chives, green onions, just about anything you'd like!  

And there ya go.  Easy Peasy.  :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits.  It's been touted as a breath freshener, a rinse for your hair, a remedy for acid reflux, brightening skin, balancing glucose levels, lowering cholesterol, and much much much more.  The research is ongoing for all the uses this can be for.

Me personally, I don't like vinegar.  Not apple cider vinegar.  Not even the common fall drink of apple cider!  So what am I doing making apple cider vinegar?  Well, because I can.  :)  Truly, that's about the only reason why.  When I started learning how to make tinctures and herbal remedies, I learned that you can use vinegar to make them.  So I thought maybe I should learn how to make vinegar in case I ever need to make a home made remedy out of it and not have it available. (Yes!  I TOTALLY intend on learning to make vodka too!  Shhhhhhh) Hey, if the world falls apart and I can't get to a store, I need to know how to do this stuff!  So that was why I learned how to make apple cider vinegar.  Now that I have it, I'll use it.  I'll put some in the water bowl of our chickens for their gut health, I'll use it in place of other vinegars in cooking, and I'm sure I'll find other uses for it.  Maybe even cleaning.

The process is simple enough.  It really just mostly requires time.

Tools you'll need:

Apple peeler or knife to cut off your peels and cores
Distilled Water (cause it's free of metals, minerals, bacteria, etc)
Glass Container
Plastic lid that will fit inside of the containers neck
Coffee filter or cheesecloth
Rubber band
Colander (eventually)

I'll start by saying that many of the directions I read online said to add sugar.  I did not.  That kind of defeated the whole purpose in my mind of making something from nature that turns out awesomely useful and untouched by chemicals and toxic ingredients.  Why couldn't the natural sugars in the apples themselves do the job?  Well, it did just fine.

First off, find your apple source.  As I've mentioned before in an apple related post, go for organic apples.  Even better is a old country person with apple trees willing to let you have them for free.  Cause they certainly aren't spraying anything and don't want to have to pick them all up when they fall to mow the lawns! They are usually more than happy for you to take them off their hands.

So, that's step one.  Find your good clean apple source.

Next, you can use those apples for making some homemade crockpot apple sauce, apple butter, or whatever you want to do with them.  But save your peels and cores.  Let them lay out for a couple of hours to turn brown.  Why?  I don't know.  I just read directions from several places that said to do that, so I did.

Then, put your peels and cores in a jar and cover them with distilled water.  Use something in the jar that will keep the apples submerged under the water so that they don't mold.  I used a plastic lid from a cottage cheese container because I could bend it to get it in, then it would open back up to fit under the neck and keep everything underwater.

Then, use a coffee filter, cheese cloth, whatever you want, but it needs to be breathable, to put on top and secure.  I used a hair rubber band.  Remember, we're making vinegar here, so it will off gas as it ferments so you have to allow it to breath.  Otherwise it will likely explode and leave a big stinky mess.

This next picture (under this) is what it looks like after a couple of weeks.  I did need to stir it a couple of times as the apples all floated to the top leaving several inches of liquid at the bottom.  I stirred it just to loosen it back up.  Also, you'll need to add more water as it evaporates so that your apples stay submerged.

This is the beginning makings of the mother on top.

After 5 months of it sitting in my kitchen cabinet, occasionally adding more water and stirring, I took it out, used a cloth in the bottom of a colander and strained out all the apple pieces.  This is what I have left.  Apple cider vinegar.  You can do the draining anywhere between 3-6 months based on how it's looking, the type of apples you use.  (Sweeter apples have more sugar and ferment better than sour apples.)  The temp in your house, etc.  So just check it every now and then, taste it if you like the taste and strain it whenever you want.  It's YOUR creation, so do what you want with it!  Once it was strained, I put the apple remains in the compost box.  Nothing went to waste!

See.  Easy peasy.  And wow was that so much cheaper than buying Braggs!  My 2 gallons of apple peels and less than a gallon of distilled water came out to be a gallon plus a quart of apple cider vinegar.  I only spent a couple of bucks total to make that!  So.....go get your savings on!