I hope this works….

If you don't experiment, you don't learn.

Gardening and Food

on May 16, 2013

Today was a busy day.  The squirrels have decided to leave me alone, which meant I actually got some gardening done!  I only have a few things left to transplant, but the big news is that my DH is helping me (read: cut the wood) to make a strawberry bed!!!!!  It will get done this weekend.  Yay!!!!!

I was at the local nursery this afternoon to pick up some chives, thyme and some bagged dirt as I have run out of readily available compost, when I saw the strawberry plants.  Sweet memories of childhood surfaced…..eating strawberries til I got sick of them….. My summer job one year was picking strawberries.  I was around 12.  I didn’t make very much money as I kept eating them. I have not liked strawberries very much since then, but home-grown ones always taste better anyway….and I can’t eat 5 quarts in one go.

This year the new things I am trying are: Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries and my new fave, the afore-mentioned in an earlier post, the Italian Snap Pole Bean. I am also thinking ahead (gasp) and want to do a straw bale cold frame for growing things in the winter.  It should only take about 8 bales and a bit of heavy plastic for the cover. It is a cheap and easy way to make a cold frame and I got the idea from this book, Year Round Vegetable Gardener.

And now on a completely different subject:

I make my own yogurt and cereal.  They taste yummy together. Especially with fresh fruit on it. Usually I like variety in my breakfasts, but I have been eating this for almost three weeks straight now.  It is Very Good.

The cereal is comprised of raw rolled oats/nuts and seeds/dried fruit/flavorings.   I don’t like Quaker oats as they taste stale, so I buy the bulk oats at the health-food store – only 99 cents a pound! I fill a mason quart jar about half full of oats, then add in different things.  The one I have now has sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chopped cashew nuts, dried cherries (from my parent’s orchard) cinnamon, raw sugar and shaved coconut. I put between a tablespoon and a quarter cup of each thing (depending on my mood).  Then I shake it up.  It keeps a long time, but I eat it pretty fast.  It is good on ice cream and in fruit salads. You could also add cocoa powder or chocolate chips for something different.

Yogurt is easy-peasy to make.  I use a cooler to incubate the yogurt culture for 10-12 hours.  I put a half gallon jar of hot water in the center of the cooler and then place my yogurt jars around it (not touching) and then throw a blanket on top and shut the cooler.  It works great!  You don’t need a commercial incubator, I’ve seen ppl use a crock pot, a cardboard box, the oven with only the light on, an old electric skillet, and on top of the refrigerator….basically anyplace that keeps your culture between 110 and 105 degrees f.  I usually add about a third cup of instant milk and honey to it.  The instant milk adds protein and thickens it up a bit.  There are a lot of yogurt-making websites and Youtube vids out there, so I’m sure you will find one you like.  The only time I had my yogurt fail was when I didn’t scald my milk and when I added too much of the starter.  I’m afraid I was guilty of the “more is better” style of cooking and you really only need a tablespoon or two of the starter per half gallon of milk to make yogurt….it likes lots of elbow room to grow.

I picture a little yogurt dude in a cowboy hat standing on the open range singing,  “Giiiiiiiive me Roooooooooom!”



One response to “Gardening and Food

  1. ekgo says:

    Isn’t that just the most awesome book ever? The cilantro in my straw bale hoophouse garden is going crazy because it grew in the winter and now is just big and bushy and edible. The stuff I had in the ground is just now coming up.


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