I've been away from the computer -- and NT -- for a while. Reading what you ladies are doing is certainly inspiring!
For starting babies on meat (I think it was gardenmommy who asked?), I would maybe do slow-cooked meat bits in stock or gravy (though then you would have a thickener in it). That's what I've given to my baby, who is one year, a couple of times. She enjoyed it, but then, she enjoys anything she puts into her mouth -- food or not.
I have a question similar to the plum one -- we have a bushel of peaches sitting on our counter upstairs. They are seconds. I would prefer drying them, but I don't know if I have the space to do it. I don't have a dehydrator, but I do have a shelving unit that the shelves aren't solid on, in a small, south-facing room upstairs. I am thinking of lining the shelves with cheesecloth, putting 100-watt bulbs into a few lamps, and bringing a fan up there. I don't have room for freezer jam. Peach butter seems to have a shorter processing time, but the recipes I've seen all call for sugar, and I'm not crazy about hot water canning anyway. NT has recipes for peach chutney, but they don't keep long. My organic farmer does a lot of NT stuff, but she says that all of the recipes are junk, basically. She does her fermenting in sterilized jars with boiled salt water, not water and whey, and they ferment for 2 weeks in a warm shelf, then keep indefinately in cool storage. (Like a pantry, root cellar, etc.) So does anyone have a longer-storing fermented fruit chutney recipe? I'm also going to make a few peach pies, I think.
Uhm, I'll be making the crust with lard, does that count for anything?
And speaking of lard, I need some meat fat help. I'm just not really clear on it, I guess. If I, say, cook a whole chicken for stock, the fat that rises to the top -- can I just keep it in the fridge and use it for frying things in? Does all of the fat in the meat liquefy when you cook the meat, or is there more in there to be used? I know when we make roasts, there is often fat left in the meat (which I love, by my dh refuses to eat it). What do I do with this fat? I have read in the Little House books how they heat the fat and strain out the cracklings. Is this rendering? How does it change the fat? I just need to watch someone doing all of this, it isn't making sense to me otherwise.