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SweetDrops Liquid Stevia – Item of the Day

steviaEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is SweetDrops Liquid Stevia and I recommend the 4oz bottle because it lasts a hell of a lot longer, though you can get it in a 2oz bottle or go the other way and get a twin pack of 4oz bottles.  This is one of those cases though were the more you buy the better the price.

I took a bit of time to come to love stevia, it is sweet, but no it doesn’t taste exactly like sugar.  It does taste a lot better than every single other calorie free sweetener I have ever tried including sucralose.  What I learned worked was to use just one drop say in tea, taste it, then add one more, until I found my perfect amount for a given cup.  After about a week of using it, you realize it doesn’t taste that different from sugar after all.

The deal is your body is highly tuned to sugar, it knows exactly what it is supposed to taste like, one reason those of us who grew up in the 70s know those of you who are younger have no idea what Coke is supposed to taste like!  Corn sugar is not cane sugar!

It is kind of the same with Stevia, it just takes some getting used to.  Once you do though you may very well prefer it to sugar.  The liquid alone means you can sweeten cold drinks and it will actually dissolve.  I use this all the time in my morning tea and in our amazing low carb strawberry limeade.

If you are looking for stevia on Amazon, SweetDrops Liquid Stevia is your best option.  It is on prime, a 4oz bottle is only about 20 bucks with free shipping, I paid 8 bucks for a one ounce bottle at a store recently because we needed it.  I have tried other vendors on Amazon, with poor shipping times and damaged and returned by the shipper orders due to shitty packaging.  While it may seem expensive I drink 8-10 cups of tea most days and a bottle lasts me about 3 months.

If you check SweetDrops Liquid Stevia has 561 reviews and 4.5 stars and if you actually read the one star reviews it will hurt your faith in humanity!  Seriously.  My favorite negative review is, “I don’t like this one either”. sigh.

The only valid criticism is that the dropper is a bit short so you end up with some at the bottom that is hard to get out.  This is a non issue to me, when I get close to running out, I simply order more.  Then, when it gets difficult to get the last bit out, I open the new bottle and use it about two weeks, by then you have some head space and just pour what is left in the old bottle into the new one.  Also frankly if you tilt the fricken bottle, you can get most of it out easily.  Again some negative reviews on Amazon make my faith in humanity fall further than it already is.

In the end guys being serious, excess sugar consumption is the number one cause of lifestyle disease in the modern world.  Yes this site is The Survival Podcast, and man this is a survival topic, getting off sugar could save your life.

Here is a simple low end break down, say you drink 4 cups of coffee or tea a day, with one tsp of sugar per cup, and 4 “soft drinks” or similar at 12 ounces each a day.  We will go low and say those have about 2 tsp of sugar per drink.  Well that is 12 tsp a day, 84 tsp a week.  That is almost 310 carbohydrates a week, in pure sugar form, jacking up your insulin resistance.

From a purely caloric standpoint, that is 1344 calories, if you are on a 1500-2000 calorie a day level, well that is almost an extra day of eating per week, 52 times a year.  And this is if sugar is your only vice and you only consume it in drinks!  And here we are talking self sweetened ones, look at what happens with say 4 cokes a day.

We toss out the tea, one coke has 39 carbs, x 4 is 156 x 7 = 1092 grams of carbs a week!  Cut that in half down to two a day, you are now at 546 carbs a week.  Can you even begin to know what that does to insulin resistance.  Calorically 2 cokes a day is almost 2000 calories a week!  If we go back to 4 a day, 8000 that adds up to four full days of eating to every week.  With no nutrition at all.

If you are thinking, but I don’t do that, what about your kids?  Kids seem to be able to eat this crap, and they can but if they do by adulthood they are addicts, and that amazing insulin resistance always goes away in the end.  Just something to think about.

Why not give SweetDrops Liquid Stevia a shot in your coffee or tea.  Try whipping up some of my special morning tea blend or my amazing strawberry limeade.  Trust me folks kids love the limeade, so do big kids.  Sugar isn’t evil but read a label it is in almost everything any more.  All it is doing now is creating lifelong customers for the medical industry and drug companies.  Take your health back and this is just one simple way to start doing that!

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – For my latest uses of this stuff involving the world of mixology (IE adult beverages) tune in to today’s episode of TSP.

Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus for Dogs – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus with MSM Chewable Tablets for Dogs.  It is a sad fact that dogs don’t live as long as humans, in fact they live for a fraction of our lifetimes.  While the oldest dog ever (Maggie) was over 30 years old, average dog lifespan is about 10-13 years depending on breed.

This means by 7-8 years your pup is on the door step of being an old man or old woman.  Say in the 50-60 year old range for humans, but unlike humans who have 20 years before they hit 80 once they hit 60, dogs will be in those “golden years” in 2-4.  And everything that comes with us getting older happens to them at an accelerated rate.  This includes arthritis and sore joints.

Now when it comes to sore joints one of the supplement combinations proven to work is glucosamine combined with chondroitin.  Many of us who have used this personally or on our aging dogs need no confirmation that it is effective, but this study which was the largest of its kind so far, concluded with, “The present study provided evidence for the symptomatic efficacy of glucosamine plus chondroitin in the treatment of knee OA.”  (OA being osteoarthritis)

I can tell you that this stuff has made my German Sheppard’s life better.  Max is huge which adds to the issue and his breed is known for hip problems.  We put him on more than the specified dose for a month, then dropped to 2 twice a day.  This is still a bit more than by the label but he is 150 pounds and the label ends with 60lbs and above.

For Charlie our Pit-Pointer mix we have him on two a day for preventative maintenance.  Lucy our Pit-Huskey mix who is still young and spry gets one a day also as a preventative measure.  Honestly had I known how great this stuff was I would have put Max on it for maintenance years before he needed it.  They way gluosamine and chondroitin are thought to work is by improving cartilage health.  This makes sense as they are two primary components in cartilage.

Additionally this product contains MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) which has a great reputation for join health and inflammation reduction as well.  Less studies have been done on MSM but again those of us who have used it know it seems to help us.  I actually take a “human version” of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM myself along with Turmeric with Bioprene.  However Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus is what I rely on for the pups.

I find it a good value though with three big dogs it can be a bit expensive but my pups are like family.  In my years I have in various ways done a number on my joints from back, to shoulder, to knee and some of you have heard my ankles crack.  So I understand pain sucks and do what I can for our pack that gives so much back to us.

The big thing is they actually eat them, including the big baby Max who is a pain in the ass to get to eat anything “unusual” to him.  It took a while but now he eats them with out much fuss.  Charlie would eat my finger if I accidentally cut it off so getting him to eat them was no challenge.  Lucy took some work but she eats them now.  So no wrapping them in cheese just to get them down.

So if you have a dog that is getting older and having joint issues give these a try, or consider them as a maintenance supplement for long term joint health.  I checked into a lot of options and Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus with MSM is the best value to quality ratio I have found.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – Vitamin C is also awesome for dogs as to joint pain.  It is an old hunter’s trick to keep older bird dogs happily hunting a few more years.  Here is some info on that.  Note that I don’t think it works as good as glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM at correcting the long term problem, but rather reduces pain vs. effecting the underlying issue.

While there are “dog specific” vitamin c products they cost more for no good reason.  I just use cheap Natures Made Chewables for myself and the dogs when a C boost is needed.  For dogs either do the “throat rub” or crush them up in their food.  When it comes to vitamin C I stick to chewables because they are highly absorbable, and frankly don’t taste bad.

P.S.S. – I am not a doctor, I am not a vet, I don’t even play either on T.V.  None of this is medical advice or a prescription you should follow.  Check with your vet about any questions you have about your specific needs.  I am just telling you what I use, why I use it and my results.

The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green – Item of the Day


Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the book, The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, A Home Manual by James Green.  If I had to rely on only one book on medicinal herbs and their use it would be this book.

This book is hard to describe in a way as it is almost a dichotomy in itself.  On one hand it is extremely easy to read and highly approachable.  The author starts out with a true project/lesson.  Making a dandelion tincture.  The author does this for a variety of reasons.  First, almost anyone can find dandelion to harvest locally.  Second, the herb is inherently safe to use.  Third, the herb is easy to identify and no dangerous plant even looks remotely like a dandelion.  Fourth, by getting you started with a project out of the gate you gain confidence as you proceed with the book.

This book is written by a guy that uses both humor and humility and never tries to sound smart, he just ends up sounding really smart, because well, he is.  This is not a guy that decided one day that “oh I should gather up some information and write a book about herbs”, rather a man that lives this way who decided to canonize his knowledge into an incredible book.  Yet it is kept incredibly simple with the majority of it based on a core of 30 common herbs.

Then there is the other side.  While easy to read and approachable, this is really like a full course text book on herbal medicines.  Want to know how to make your own simple still from what you likely already have in your home to make a hydrosol?  Well first would you like to know what a hydrosol is and how to use it?  You will learn both in this book.  How about making and using glycerite and 20 herbs that work well in that form?  Yep you will learn that too.  Take the time and work though this book, all 384 pages of it, make at least 2-3 products of every form given and it is like taking a self directed course in herbalism.

One thing to be aware of for some.  The author sort of crosses into the world of shamanism/paganism at times, sayig things like,

“Now that you have properly identified and graciously harvested this plant, offer gratitude one again for its life.  Consider leaving an offering, like a strand of your hair, a prayer, a song, a story, whatever; plant spirits are known to be deeply touched by simple gestures of appreciation.”

While this may be a bit off putting for some, I’d like to point out two things here.  First that showing gratitude is good for our spirits, no matter how you define spirit.  Whether a religious prayer before a meal or simply a thought of I am grateful for this food from a secular perspective, either one builds good character and self reflection.

Second I remember a documentary on Amazon peoples where the tribe decided they needed a new canoe.  A tree was selected and one man selected to fell the tree.  The man said a prayer and spoke to the tree, he apologized for needing to take its life.  He explained that his people would honor the tree’s sacrifice, that the canoe and other parts would serve his people for several generations.  That they would plant a tree from this trees own seed in its place and make sure it was protected so it could grow into a strong tree.

That had to be 25 years ago and I have yet to forget that moment and the words that man said to a tree.  Call such a man a primitive if you want but how much more forest would exist if all trees cut for our needs were cut with such reverence.  Also think about this, that man was about to spend a full day of manual labor to cut that huge tree down.  No chain saws in his tribe and yet he met the task with humility.

So yea there is some woo woo in this book but nothing over the top in my view.  What you get is quality instruction, a true course in home herbal medicine making and concise information to make this practice safe and effective.  Again, if I could only have one book on herbal medicine it would be The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, by James Green.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Amazon Elements Multi Vitamins – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Item of the day is Amazon Elements Multi Vitamins available in Men’s, Women’s and Women’s 40+ formulas.  Recently I was asked about the supplements I personally take on an episode and listed them all.  There has been some interest in more on them so I am going to go through them over a few weeks and figured I would start with my core.

Frankly in looking for a simple multi vitamin I almost said the hell with it after a while.  I really have to say while I see value in supplements, I really don’t like the industry at all.  It’s like watching hundreds of jackals snapping at a few suspended hunks of meat the way they market against one another.

So here is what I want in a multivitamin.  Simply I want a good profile of the most essential vitamins to make sure on days I am low on one thing or the other, it is made up for.  That’s it, nothing more.  Let me tell you when you start taking heroic doses of most vitamins you are actually buying expensive urine and not much more.

Worse many vitamins are simply not absorbed well by the body.  When I found Amazon Elements I was at first skeptical but after seeing how abundantly transparent they are with all their results, ingredient etc. I gave them a try.

Simply put they are a top quality supplement and a good general purpose multivitamin.  I won’t go on with line by line marketing and do what all the companies do.  Simply put, I think everyone should take a multivitamin daily.  I also think you should spend the money to get a good quality version.  Sure you can pay half the price and get crap, but then you are just throwing money away.

After researching dozens and trying quite a few I settled on these.  At about 21 dollars a bottle they come out to 31 cents a day.  They also have a botanical blend that I find to be a great selection of herbs, these provide both the benefits of the herbs and some of the minerals and vitamins as well.  You will also notice a slight difference in this blend for the men’s and women’s versions.

Bluntly I am not a natropath or nutritional specialist, I am not going to go line by line though the individual vitamins and minerals as to how the men’s formula and women’s are different.  I’ll just say if I were a woman, I would order the women’s formula.  Basically a personal endorsement of “this is what I use personally” is about as high a recommendation I can give for anything.

The one exception here that I do want to point out is the none of them provide supplemental iron.  Some women I know do supplement iron, specifically when young due to blood loss due to menstruation.  If you want to supplement iron, make sure if you choose this brand you do that separately.  Also they have a regular women’s formula and an over 40 woman’s formula.  I have provided links to all three options below.

Again I don’t prescribe any specific supplements, I am just telling you what I use and why I personally do so.  If you have specific requirements I recommend simply reading the label and assessing these for your needs.  There are some specific things that I supplement at a higher level.  Again I use these as my base and build from it.

Lastly not only is it best to take a multivitamin with meals for absorption it is also a good idea to help avoid stomach issues, etc. that can come with taking vitamins on an empty stomach.  I know most take multis in the AM with breakfast.  I take mine with dinner (my largest meal), in fact I take it about 15 minutes after dinner on a full stomach.  I personally consider this a best practice, but again I am just telling you what I do.  Anyway if you want a top quality multivitamin I do recommend these because they are what I personally use.

Again you can get them in…..

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

Easehold Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Easehold Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser.  I got a lot of questions about a diffuser for essential oils after one of my podcasts on getting started with herbalism.  Essential oils are one of my favorite way to use herbs, to understand why let me explain what a REAL essential oil is.

You know when you walk but a hedge of roses when the sun is hitting them and you get that amazing smell, when that happens you are experiencing essential oils in nature.  An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.

Essential oils are made by distillation and it takes a lot of an herb to produce a small amount of oil. For instance to make a pound of lavender essential oil you will need about 200 pounds of lavender flowers to do so.  And lavender is pretty heavy as many herbs go, for instance if you want a pound of rose oil it will take 2000-5000 pound of roses to do the job depending on the rose type.

Want a pound of oregano essential oil, well you’ll need about 1,000 pounds of oregano to get the job done.  Bringing it down a bit smaller, if you want say one ounce of peppermint oil you will need only about 5 lbs of peppermint.  Or if you want just an ounce of that oregano oil you will still need about 60-65 pounds of fresh oregano.

This is why essential oils can seem expensive, and this is why when you see an essential oil and it is cheap, it likely isn’t pure essential oil and you should not buy it.

So why a diffuser, what does that do for you?  Sure it makes the house smell nice but are there any other real benefits.  Okay before I continue, to protect myself from the almighty dot gov, I have to say, I am not a doctor, nothing that follows is intended to cure, prevent or treat disease, it is only my opinion.  Ya gotta love our freedom in this nation don’t ya?

So here it goes, I feel that one of the first things a diffuser can do is promote more restful sleep.  This is critical to health in my opinion for obvious reasons.  Diffusers have also been shown to improve respiratory health and when used with some herbs boot natural immune responses.    I personally find they improve my mental focus and clarity especially when I am distracted.

Additionally many essential oils are antivirals, antibiotics, antiseptics, etc.  so they help kill germs and bacteria.  Finally they are just beneficial to your overall emotional health in my opinion.  In fact I think a lot of people on dangerous medications would be better off using essential oils and a bit of daily relaxing and meditation, or at least give that a try before committing to a life time of using a drug with more side effects than benefits according to the people that make it.

Now why the Easehold Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser .  I mean there are literally thousands of models why this one.  First check the reviews, frankly I am getting depressed with how many effing fake ass reviews are on Amazon, especially with any electronic product, but not this one.  5500 reviews, 4.5 stars over all and an A Grade on Fakespot.com.

Next looks, I mean this thing just looks nice.  It doesn’t look like some weird space age thing or some funky medical device, it is well suited to be in any home and match any rooms look and feel.  The lights are nice and make it look cool as well, but that doesn’t personally do much for me.  I do love that it has a built in timer and that it is very easy to set, in fact all the controls are very intuitive.

Lastly it just works, again as always I am out for a solid value to price ratio.  This one has it.  So check out the Easehold Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser today, it really will make you feel better in my view and guys, damn cool gift if I do say so myself.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – I know there will be a ton of “what oils should I get”.  I really tend to buy a specific oil for a specific reason.  I use oregano because it is such a great anti viral, I use peppermint because it makes you mentally clear and frankly I just like it, etc.  But there is no harm in experimenting.  So as you learn about an herb, just get some good oil of it and try it out.  However as a great starter set this one is really good, It comes with 16 Essential Oils.

You will get 18 oils to try including, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, lemongrass, sweet orange, eucalyptus, pine, tangerine, rosemary, frankincense, lime, lemon, bergamot, patchouli, grapefruit and cinnamon.  The cost on this set is only 36 bucks and added to the diffuser it really does make an awesome gift I think anyone would appreciate. 



Frontier Whole Chamomile Flower Tea – Item of the Day


Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Frontier Whole Chamomile Flower which is sold by the pound.  This stuff is awesome, I use it in many of my teas and in my infamous “Three Flowers Blend” for mead.

There is a lot to like about this item.  First and this is important to me, these are whole flowers as you can see in the photo above.  I have purchased many different brands of chamomile and many times I have gotten what looked more like dust and chaff than whole flowers.

Next this is an Organic product.  I would love to buy organic or local all the time, but we all have financial limits.  With herbs though, especially in bulk you can generally justify the very small cost increase.  This product is actually less per pound than some competing non organic options.

Lastly is taste, and face it if you don’t get good flavor what is the point.  Any medicinal or nutritional value is going to be depleted if flavor is depleted.  This stuff has a wonderful sweet flavor and a characterist I can only describe as “buttery”.

Here are some of my favorite recipes for using this stuff.

Jacks Morning Blend – Nine Mile Farms Tea

Spearmint Orange Winter Warmer Tea

Both of these are best made with a quality tea infuser or a French Press.  When I make them with a french press I use four tablespoons for my first batch and then just add 1 additional tablespoon for each additional batch that day.

Three Flowers Blend (3FB)

Three Flowers Blend started as a tea, frankly I didn’t really like it as a hot or even a cold tea.  The heather imparts a bitterness that isn’t really pleasant in a sipping tea.  But it intrigued me so I tried making a mead with it and man was it amazing.  People love it.

Per gallon of mead, use 3/4th of a cup of 3FB, 3 pounds of honey and 1 Tablespoon of Fermax.  Ferment for 30 days with a pack each of Cuvee and Pasteur Blanc yeast.  Rack and ferment at least 15 more days until completely clear.  Then bottle.

Finally I want to point out that Frontier Whole Chamomile Flower tea is damn good all by itself.  Just about 2 tablespoons to the large cup or 1 tablespoon to a standard tea cup and it is wonderful tea.  It is also a great ingredient in herbal salves and in soap making.

Additionally chamomile is wonderful for bees, just make a concentrated tea with your French Press, dump that into your sugar syrup when you are making it up and feed as normal.  DO NOT put loose leaf tea directly into your syrup, it will make a mess you can’t imagine.   I don’t know this from experience, I know it from common sense, trust me on it.

Also did you know Chamomile tea suppresses mold?  I have learned this growing micro greens.  I just make up a strong tea and put it in a spray bottle and spray young micro greens with it to suppress mold from messing them up and it works great.  I also toss a pinch in my sunflower soaking bucket for my sunflower spouts for the birds and no mold.

Lastly, chamomile also makes wonderful herbal cough drops you can make yourself, here is an article on doing that with any herbs of your choice.  It is super easy and much better than what you buy in the store.

So with all that going for it consider adding Frontier Whole Chamomile Flower to your pantry and preps today.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – You will note that all the links above are for one pound bags. I buy in bulk because it is cheaper, they store forever if you put them in sealed ball jars and I use a lot.

You will also note that all of the linked items are Davidson’s, Frontier or Starwest Botanicals.  I have never been unhappy with any of these companies.  So I usually shop all three for any bulk herb and pick the best price because to me they are all beyond stellar.  The one exception is heather flowers, because they do not carry them.  If you want to make some 3FB just know 4 ounces of heather flower is a LOT of heather and unlike many other herbs you likely won’t use it for many other things.


Fermented Vegetables by Christopher and Kristen Shockey – Item of the Day


Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the book Fermented Vegetables, Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes by Christopher and Kristen Shockey.  Wow long sub title right, heck longer that my tag line!

I decided to build on my post yesterday about the German Style Fermentation Crock with a book on how to make a lot of fermented items.  This one is indeed my favorite.  I don’t just love the recipes and the how to in this book either, I love the creativity that the authors used to start a business.

The book opens with that story, of how they started building a customer base and reaching out to local growers.  Then calls come in like “we have a ton of garlic scapes, can you do something with those”, and with some creativity the answer became yes more often than no.

In fact in one year they made 52 different recipes and their customers were treated weekly to something new.   While this book doesn’t teach you how to start such a business, it may inspire you to do so.

There are a ton of recipes too, here are some of my favorite in this book,

  • Garlic Scape Paste
  • Fermented Horseradish (you’ll not touch that white cream crap again)
  • Basil Paste
  • Cherry Bombs (made with cherry tomatoes)
  • Celery Mint Salad
  • Fresh Fennel Kraut
  • Tomatillo Salsa

This is a great book for your own use or as a gift to any fermentation enthusiast.  It gets very high marks with 4.5 stars with over 300 reviews at the time of this writing and many of the 4-5 star reviews are verified purchases.

The hard copy of the book is about 16 bucks and kindle users can get the electronic version for only $2.51.  I personally opted for the kindle version but if you are the type that likes “cook books” you will want to go hard copy all the way.

I have to say a huge part of recovering my health has been fermented vegetables and yogurt cheeses.    This stuff is simple to make and the variations are endless, so whether you get this book or not, seriously consider getting started making your own foods.  Sure there are great crocks like the one I discussed yesterday, and great books like this one on Fermented Vegetables, but there is plenty of info online and you can get started with a few ball jars and some air locks and small stoppers.

But for those of you that want to really enjoy the experience whether beginner or old pro I can’t recommend Fermented Vegetables, Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes by Christopher and Kristen Shockey highly enough.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. – One of the really great things about this book is how it teaches you how to avoid problems and failed fermentations.  If you have ever had a failure or something just come out “not right”, this book is worth the price for that alone.




German Style Fermentation Crock – Item of the Day

crockEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is my favorite German Style Fermentation Crock made by TSM Products.  I first found this item about 5 years ago and have used it many times since buying it.  It comes in four sizes, 5L (1.3 Gallons), 10L (2.6 Gallons), 15L (3.9 Gallons) and 20L (5.2 Gallons).

I personally have the 10 liter model and to me it is plenty large enough.  Frankly the 5L model will make quite a bit per batch.  And while fermented foods keep quite well in the cellar or fridge but I prefer them quite fresh while they are still nice and crisp.  Additionally making them is so simple it is no big deal to just keep running batches of what ever you want as needed.

My main focus with fermented foods is taste and health not storage, so I personally think I would have been just fine with the 5L model.  The main use I would see for something like the 20 liter model would be for someone who is making product for a group or large family.  Please consider all this before deciding you need a huge crock.  Two whole cabbages fit in my 10L model with room to spare, that is a LOT of kraut.

Many people ferment in jars, this works, but it never comes out as consistently good for me as when I use my crock.  There are a few reasons for this in my view.  First and foremost is uniform temps, the thick ceramic construction holds a steady temp with minimal fluctuation.  Next is the total darkness of the environment.  Then you get a dead simple airlock with the water holding rim at the top.  Finally the stone weights hold everything nicely under the brine so you don’t get any funny stuff going on with exposed veggies.

I do make my share of sauerkraut with this thing.  My favorite variation is adding about 1/3rd by volume of cabbage shredded carrots and and equal amount of shredded apple, and a good helping of caraway seeds.  Man is that stuff fantastic on brats!  The key is never cook it, just gently warm it when serving it with things like your meats.  This way all the beneficial bacteria stays alive.

What about slow cooking pork in kraut you say?  Okay well then just do it, and at the end add a few tbs of fresh uncooked kraut to each plate.

My absolute favorite thing to make is my own signature brand escabache  though.  There are many varieties of escabache, some fermented and some done with vinegar.  The one that inspired mine is generally in a small bowl on every table in any good “hole in the wall” Mexican restaurant in Texas.  You know the kind of place where a margarita contains only tequila, lime juice and orange liquor, vs koolaid mixer and comes in a high ball glass vs. a fish bowl?

This brand of escabache consists of simply carrots, onions, jalapenos in a pickle brine.  Though every place will tell you theirs is “special”.  The best versions are always fermented and seen as a digestion aid.  To make mine I broke with the standard to make it bit milder and get by product of amazing pickled garlic.    Here is my recipe.

Equal amounts of the following vegetables cut to the shape of your liking, I like thin long strips….

  • Sweet Peppers (several colors make for a great eye appeal, use red, orange, yellow to contrast with the green jalapenos)
  • Carrots (again I cut them into thin sticks)
  • Jalapenos (seed half to go a bit more mild, seed all and you get almost no heat.  Tune in to today’s show for a major short cut on this)
  • White Onions (cut again in long strips)
  • Garlic (go to Albertsons Grocery, they sell whole pealed cloves in clam shells in the produce area for about 3 bucks, this is a great deal and saves a lot of time.  Don’t slice the garlic leave the cloves whole.)
  • Salt water (enough to cover, I use 2 TBS per quart, the standard is 1-3 per quart.  Use sea or kosher or pickling salt)
  • One hand full of black peppercorns

It could not be more easy, just stick everything in the crock, cover with salt water, put your stones on and wait about 7-10 days.  I usually cover the top of my veggies with grape leaves (muscadine or wild fox grape leaves are fine for this).  It keeps the little pieces from escaping and the tanning keeps things crisp.  Some use oak leaves but I have never tried this.

If you want to kick start fermentation, put about one tablespoon of whey from some yogurt into the brine.  While not necessary it is very helpful.

When done to your taste, put in ball jars and store in the fridge, it will be very good for 30 days and quite good for about 60.  After that to me anyway it gets too fermented even in the fridge which is why I make about 2-3 quarts per run.

Well, then there is the garlic, that stuff keeps for months.  So when I make a batch I usually buy 2-3 of the clam shells of garlic.  I jar up about half with the escabache and half by itself for cooking or snacking, man is spicy garlic great stuff.

Another plan this year is to make up some fermented Jerusalem artichokes.  Haven’t tried those yet but heard they are very good and it avoids the um, well side effects that make some call them fartachokes!

So if you have been thinking of adding fermented vegetables to your diet (and you really should) check out the German Style Fermentation Crock today.  At only 59 dollars for the 5 liter model it will pay for itself in a batch or two and give you better quality pickled veggies then you could ever buy in a store.  And unlike a ball jar, it will look awesome on your counter whether you have a batch running or not.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com




Healing Solutions Peppermint Essential Oil – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Healing Solutions Peppermint Essential Oil.  I am a huge fan of essential oils for many uses and I personally consider peppermint the most versatile of them all.

I want to point out that I am not making any medical claims or saying that this stuff cures or treats any disease.  Happy now you G-men?  I just will tell you what I tend to use it for myself and what my results have been.

The two main things I use it for are occasional head aches, specifically stress related ones and sinus issues.  For instance right now I have some sort of a head cold and can barely breathe though my nose.  I just sniff the bottle and soon get some relief from the congestion.  I also take my finger and put it on the top and just moisten it with the oil,  quick wipe under my nose on each side and I get continued relief.

Often with head aches, especially when one is just starting if I take a few sniffs or this stuff it mitigates it or simply shuts it down before it even gets started.  Again peppermint is likely the most versatile essential oil there is, in fact here is an article with 25 great uses for peppermint essential oil you can check out.

If you are new to essential oils you may want to consider trying them out with an infuser, this is my favorite one of those, it is also an Amazon best seller.  I will be doing a full show on essential oils later this year but for now consider adding Healing Solutions Peppermint Essential Oil to your preps.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com

P.S. –  While this product brand is GREAT so are most true essential oils.  What is a true essential oil, it is undiluted pure oil from the source plant.  In general just by reading the ingredients you can verify that it is a pure oil.    I chose this brand because I had run out and this cold set in, and it was on free one day delivery,  after using it I can say it is as good as ny other quality oil I have used.

The Protein Power Life Plan – Item of the Day

pplpEvery day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the book, The Protein Power Life Plan.  I was a huge fan of the original “Protein Power Plan” that came out in 1996, so much so that I never read this one when it was released.  I just bought a copy and have learned so much new information it is hard to believe this book was published in 2001, 15 years ago.

Unfortunately they did not make a kindle version of it, dang it.  But it is one of those types of books with a lot of diagrams and charts that seems to be better in print anyway.  I see the genesis of a lot of Paleo authors in this work, and it is so deep and yet readable I recommend you get a copy just for educational purposes even if you do not feel you need to loose weight.

In fact that is the point, this high protein, moderate fat (the right fats) and carbohydrate restrictive approach is  solution to many lifestyle diseases like High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and Type Two Diabetes even for many who are not over weight.

This is not a “fad diet” it is the result of decades of work by two medical doctors who have helped thousands of direct patients in their practice.  It is very scientifically based and well worth the read.

FWIW you can get the original book, “The Protein Power Plan” for kindle but the more updated Protein Power Life Plan is really the way to go.  Unlike many authors Mary and Michael Eades are very quick to say, hey we said this before, then we learned something new and have updated our recommendations.

One example, in the first book they recommended fish oil capsules to help with Omega 3 acids for those that don’t want to eat sardines, which is the current best affordable and highly available source.  Then they read a study that 50% of off the shelf fish oils are rancid and updated new ways to address this.  They also explain why Flax is a fine thing but not the Omega 3 silver bullet many think it is.

So I really recommend that you add The Protein Power Life Plan to your library.  It will change what you think you know about nutrition, diet and especially modern medicine.  Again for the skeptical on the low carb approach, I challenge you to invest in this book the science is locked down, every I dotted and every T crossed.

Remember you can always find all of our reviews at TspAz.com