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Eating locally has been the trend for a while now, but in-home food preservation is starting to make a comeback. And with more people gardening, it’s time to learn how to preserve those delicious delights of summer. Everyone’s saying it’s yet another indicator of a more frugal America.
How to get started? Well, here are some neat blogs: Food in Jars, Doris and Jilly, Bumblebee Blog
And lots of references: National Center for Home Food Preservation, Ball Book of Home Preserving, Canning USA
This year Ball has everything you need to get started, but really all you need are some jars and some other stuff you may already own.
My favorite thing to can is pizza sauce. Here’s a primer on how to make and can some of the best homemade tomato sauce you can put on dough. Mmmmm, pizza.
National Center For Home Food Preservation, from the University of Georgia. And it’s good for more than just canning food, too–freezing, drying, smoking, fermenting–go nuts!
You can sterilize your jars by first cleaning the hell out of them, then sticking them in a big pot of water, bringing it to a boil, and letting it boil while you’re getting the food together. Don’t turn off the pot of boiling water until you’re about to put the food into the jars.
Every recipe for how to can a specific food item has specific instructions for a) whether you need to add any acid, such as vinegar, lemon juice, or ascorbic acid; b) how long you should process the sealed jars in a water bath; or c) whether you should skip the water bath and go with a pressure canner instead. Follow both these points in your recipe to the absolute letter.
If you have processed your cans properly, while they are cooling, you should hear a little “pop” on each jar as the contents cool and the lid gets sucked down to form a seal. If there is any one of your jars which has NOT been properly sealed, either put it in the refrigerator or throw it out.
If you open a jar of something you canned and something just seems…off about it for any reason (anything from it is obviously weird-colored or smells awful, or it just smells mildly weird), throw it out — don’t even bother.
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WTF!!! Now the Federal Reserve is showing it’s true colors.