The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “save money”

Converting A Lawn Into A Food Garden

Joanne in Northeast Seattle (she gets some help from the community) converts her front lawn into a food-growing garden. She talks about and shows us the various steps in the process.

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How to Make Paneer

Paneer is a fresh, non-melting, pressed cheese of Indian origin. It’s usually used in chunks.

Here Bhavna shows us how she makes her paneer using full fat milk, cream and lime juice (to curdle the mixture). She emphasizes weighting the cheese curds heavily to express as much water as you can.

She notes that if you want to grill or barbecue the paneer you may want to add flour to the curds as you are making the paneer, so that the cheese is bound more firmly and won’t fall apart on the grill.

You can also flavor the paneer by adding herbs or spices to the cheese as you add your citrus juice to the milk.

Bhavna says that the paneer will keep in the freezer about 3 months.

DIY Boxbike (bakfiets)

DIY boxbike

DIY Boxbike from cheaphack.net

Nick Johnson in Princeton, New Jersey details his build of a boxbike cargo bike. These go for thousands of dollars, so building one himself would have saved a lot of money.

He was looking for a bike that would allow him to transport groceries as well as let him get around.

He writes, “Sure, I could simply buy a trailer, but I don’t really like trailers. I had built a trailer back in my Virginia days, but I didn’t like how it affected the feel of the ride. The joint between the frame and the weight added an unsettling resonance to the ride, especially around corners. I wanted a design that offeres a more rigid ride.

The dutch have long ago perfected a design known as the Bakfiets (“box bike”) for transporting cargo. These literally are the SUVs of Holland; Dutch moms even use these to carry their children to school. I thought about it, and the design seemed perfect for my needs. In short, the design is a two-wheel bicycle, with a large cargo platform between a 20″ front wheel and the steering column.”

For materials for his boxbike Nick used steel piping he bought at Lowes, a scavenged child’s Huffy bike and scrap plywood he found in a dumpster.

Check out what Nick did here.

Chamois and Fan Swamp Cooler

Pepemapache writes:

“This video isn’t great but it shows in a very simple and cheap way how to make a swamp cooler at home. Get a shammie or its famous equivalent: a shamwow. Get it wet and place it in the back of a regular 20” fan that you probably already own or can be bought for cheap at any store.

The wet shammie will cool down the flowing air about 15° F to 25° F but ONLY if you live in a dry environment, like Arizona or some parts of California. It doesn’t work well in high humidity places like Florida or Georgia.

This is perfect when you have 100+° F outside temperature and your room or apartment is rapidly heating up, even with all those fans in the windows running at a 100%.

Now, remember, this is not an air conditioner. Do not expect air conditioner temperatures. It only cools down the air so your place isn’t burning hot when it is time to go to bed. Keep the shammie constantly wet so it keeps cooling down the flowing air.

This is a very cheap, energy efficient trick to cool down your room or apartment when it’s really hot outside. If you need more cooling power for a bigger place, just do the same in several rooms and remember to keep the shammie moist. Hope it works for you just as well it worked for me.

How To Make Cultured Butter

Melody Kettle shows us how she makes cultured butter at home. She used Greek yoghurt to culture cream and then her hand mixer (first with whisk attachments and then with paddles) to “churn” the butter. She rinses the butter in ice water and then uses her hands (she could also have used butter paddles) to knead and squeeze the butter.

I’m guessing that the taste of the butter will vary depending on what you use to culture the cream.

In this video Kali Lilla makes unsalted butter and a flavored butter (garlic butter).

Kali Lilla makes her cultured butter in a blender (with a chilled blender chamber/cup). She also used yoghurt to culture her cream but says that the cream can culture on its own but that it will take longer without using the yoghurt as a starter. She saves the buttermilk she presses out of the yoghurt for other uses.

Kali Lilla mentions that the culturing of the cream helps make it easier to digest.

The What, How and Why of Sourdough Starter

From Wardeh Harmon in Oregon. She discusses the science and the benefits of sourdough:

No need to buy your yeast – the wild yeasts and lactobacilli in sourdough starter are everywhere in the environment, you just need to encourage them.

Sourdough breads don’t stale as quickly.

-Sourdough starter is more versatile and resilient than store-bought yeast (for example, sourdough starter can tolerate a wider range of temperature and ph than storebought yeast).

How To Make Clarified Butter

Clarified butter is butter from which the milk solids have been removed. Commercial operations may use a centrifuge or decantation to do this.

The traditional ghee method involves melting and heating the butter so that its water evaporates and some milk solids rise to the top of the melted fat (to be skimmed off) and others sink to the bottom (to be filtered out later). If the butter is cooked long enough the milk solids caramelize and give a nutty flavor to the butter fat.

Advantages of clarified butter over fresh:

Clarifying butter preserves it. As the water and milk solids in the butter are removed, butter prepared this way can last indefinitely without refrigeration in an airtight container.

– Clarified butter’s smoking point is higher than that of fresh butter, which makes it useful for sauteeing and frying.

– Since you’ve removed the milk solids the clarified butter is low in lactose and so can be tolerated by many people who are lactose intolerant.

Here titlinihaan in the UK shows us how she makes ghee on the stovetop. Using 500 grams (so, about one pound) of butter the process takes her about an hour and a half:

Titli didn’t mention this, but you want to be careful that you don’t burn the solids on the bottom of the pan, because that can ruin the taste of the whole batch.

Here David Bruce Hughes in Santiago, Chile shows us how he makes large batches of ghee. “The time that you spend to make a large quantity of ghee is not going to be much more than to make a small quantity, so you might as well stock up, ” he says. He mentions a lot of the technical aspects of the process.

A hands-free method of making ghee is to use the oven. In “The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking”, Yamuna Devi writes “This is the best method for making a stockpile of ghee. Because the heat surrounds the ghee, rather than contacting only the bottom of the pan, the cooking is slower but almost effortless. More of a crust will harden on the surface, and the solids at the bottom of the pan will remain soft and somewhat gelatinous.”

Yamuna uses a baking pan deep enough to allow about three inches (approx. 7.5 cm) of pan above the surface of the melting butter and bakes her ghee at 300 F (150 C).

If you are processing a pound of butter you may need to leave your pan in the oven for an hour before you can skim and filter.

Instead of skimming off the solids as the butter cooks, as Titli did, you skim after you’ve removed the pan from the oven. Then you filter the mixture – either with a clean tight-woven cloth, layers of cheesecloth or with a coffee filter as Titli suggested.

Yamuna writes that you can save the milk solids for use in dishes or to spread on bread.

For flavored ghee, you add herbs and/or spices (added by themselves to the butter or you can put them into a sachet you’ve made with cheesecloth and add that to the butter) to the ghee as it cooks.

Other terms for clarified butter: brown butter, beurre noisette (French), samna/samneh (Arabic), ghee (Hindi-Urdu), butterschmalz (German), manteiga da tierra (Portuguese), manteiga de garrafa. Spiced clarified butter is known as niter kibbeh. Smen(North Africa) is spiced, cultured clarified butter.

How To Make An Electric Bike/Convert Your Bike to Electric

Dennis shows us how to convert a mountain bike to electric:

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Dishwasher Detergent

Ingrid Barlow shows us how she makes her homemade laundry detergent. She uses borax, baking soda, and shaved bar soap for the laundry detergent:

DIY Composting Toilet

“Make your own composting toilet using a 55 gallon drum, peat-moss and a few other items.”

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