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Archive for August, 2016

How to Braid Onions for Medium Term Storage

How to Braid Onions for Medium Term Storage

Braiding onions is a fantastic way to keep them fresh for longer periods of time when compared to letting them rest in their sacks.  This method helps to promote air flow through the onions and prevent the accumulation of moisture that can lead to rotting as well as sprouting.  Let’s take a look at the process, and see how easy it is to take advantage of this method in order to extend the shelf-life of your onions.

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Preparing the Onions

The first step is to allow fresh onions to dry for a week or so before processing them.  You also want to use fresh onions that are still connected by their stems as opposed to the trimmed ones we find in supermarkets.  You need the stems intact for this method to work effectively.

One the onions have dried, cut off the stems at about 6 inches above the top of each of the onions.  You need this much room to anchor them in place on the braiding string, and the extra space will also help to promote good air flow through the bunches while the onions are in storage.  The cordage you use also needs to be able to hold the weight of the onion bushels that you are going to make, which can easily exceed 50lbs. 

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Braiding

Take a long piece of cordage and fold it in half so there is a loop at the bottom, and tie it off at the top.   Make sure that you are using enough cordage to accommodate the number of onions that you want to hang in a single bushel.  Take the stem of the first onion and feed it through the loop and pull it down.  Then, pull it around the right side of the string and feed the stem through the hole again.  Then, wrap it over the left side of the string and through the loop you created with the stem on the opposite side.  Give it a good tug, and the onion should be anchored in place.

Repeat the same process with the second onion, but make sure that it being attached directly opposite the first one.  You want the stems of each onion to face inward so the bulbs are anchored from left to right.  Keep repeating the process, alternating from left to right as the onions get stacked one atop the other.  You can make the bushel as long or as short as you like depending on your particular needs and space requirements. 

All you need to do now is hang the bushels by attaching the tied-end of the loop to a hook, nail or other anchor.  You want to make sure that the bushels are hanging without touching the ground or resting against anything.  Allowing them to hang freely will maximize air flow and contribute to an even level of drying throughout the bushels.

Let the bushels hang outside in a sunny and breezy location that is sheltered from rain.  Transfer the bushels into a root cellar or cool and dark storage area once temperatures start to drop in the fall and winter.  If braided properly and kept in the right environment, you can expect the onions to remain fresh for anywhere from 6 months to a year. 

However, it’s important to frequently check the quality and conditions of each of the onions.  If you come across one that is rotting or developing soft spots, remove it from the bushel as quickly as possible.  Leaving it attached can cause other onions to develop similar defects and taint the entire bushel over the course of time.  It’s also important to avoid peeling the onions as the skin protects them during storage.

When you’re ready to take some onions, simply cut them off of the braid and remove the stems.  Try this out for yourself, and discover how this simple technique can help you to preserve onions for longer periods of time when compared to leaving them in sacks on a shelf. 

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How to Build an Emergency Eye Wash Attachment

How to Build an Emergency Eye Wash  Attachment

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There are a million and one reasons why you may need to flush and rinse out eyes after coming into contact with a hazardous object or substance.  However, using your hands to cup water and bring it to the eyes does not always produce enough force to thoroughly clean them.  Using a bottle to spray water into the eyes is also not the best solution because this would require that the victim place their head back instead of leaning forward so the material can be washed away.  Let’s take a look at a simple way to make an effective attachment that can be used on almost any faucet in an emergency.

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Required Material

3 segments of ½” diameter PVC pipe that are around 3” long each

1 T connector

1 elbow joint

2 rounded end caps

¼” drill bit

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Getting Started

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The first step is to decide on the size of the eyewash accessory.  It’s recommended that each segment be around 2-3” long in order to make the unit easier to hold.  However, it’s also important that you choose the length so that the holes that you make later will align with the eyes.  Keep in mind that you can improvise this project to fit different sizes as well.  Once you’ve decided on the size of the unit, cut the PVC pipe into three corresponding segments. 

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Assembling the Unit

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The next step is to attach each segment to the T connector.  Keep in mind that you need one segment for the left and right side of the T respectively.  This will create a space between the ends of the pipes for water to pass through before exiting the holes that you will drill in the following steps.  However, you can use a single piece of PVC for the T if you want to bore a hole in the center that aligns with the stem assembly so that water can pass through. 

Next, attach the end caps to the left and right ends of the segments that extend from the T.  The end caps will prevent water from squirting out from the sides instead of through the holes.  Attach the third segment to the stem of the T connector before attaching the elbow joint to the end.  Make sure that the opening of the elbow joint is facing up so that it can be pressed against the faucet when ready for use.  Again, use epoxy or sealant to secure the fittings together if the connections are not snug and secure.  Otherwise, water will leak, and this can reduce the amount of pressure that contributes to the strength of the washing jets later.

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The next step is to drill holes through the top portion of each segment on either side of the T.  You can either drill the holes through the end caps and PVC segments or through the segments at a point on the inside of the caps.  However, it’s important to avoid drilling the holes through the bottom of the PVC sections. 

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You also want to make sure that the holes are aligned properly so that the water jets will be oriented to strike the eyes once the unit is pressed against the faucet.  You can make minor adjustments by turning the segments as necessary.

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Aligning and Using the Unit

All you need to do now is place the elbow joint against the faucet, and hold it in place as you turn on the water.  Apply pressure to make the seal as tight as possible in order to minimize leaking and maximize the amount of water that is ejected through the jets.  Once you have everything aligned properly, you can either use epoxy or sealant to secure the jet segments in position or keep them loose so you can adjust them as needed.

While this project may be far from perfect, it does work, and it may be just what you need in an emergency.  It only takes a few minutes to put together, and there’s plenty of room to improvise and improve on this basic design.  Try it for yourself and see how a few pieces of PVC pipe can be fashioned into an effective eye washing station that can help to minimize damage caused by foreign objects or chemicals.

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