ursulas_alcove: Robin of the hood woodcut (Rock On!)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
I spent the morning harvesting. I started with the potato onions. They are called potato onions because they grow in clumps like potatoes. Supposedly they are the oldest known breed of cultivated onion, going back several thousand years. The ones I planted in the Kuiper Belt were very small. The soil back there needs work. Probably more water and sun as well. The mulberry tree needs some trimming back to allow more light in.

Austrian Crescent Potatoes and Potato Onions

Then on to the front yard to examine the potato bed. What were thought to be a late season German Butterball potato turned out to be Austrian Crescents, which are an early potato. Yes, they need to be dug up. No the soil isn't loose. These guys ended up turning green from exposure to the sun, rendering them toxic for human consumption. I will use them as seed potatoes for next year. I thought some of the carrots might be ready as well. No. They were wide but only an inch long. I got the back portion of the bed done. The sun got too hot to do more and the honeybees arrived to do their work.

More onions were planted in the next bed. They were laying on top of the soil, begging to come in from the sun. I planted both potato onions as well as yellow rock onions. The yellow rock onions went to seed. I wasn't happy about that. They were supposed to be regular cooking onions. I may have harvested two onions out of the couple pounds I purchased. All the rest were potato onions. Mostly in clumps of three. Usually they are in 5 or 7. The better quality soil and direct sunlight gave me a usable size. Still somewhat small compared to store-bought onions.

Magic Beans

Green beans were from a very old seed packet from Ferry Morse. They were not an heirloom. Called yard long beans, this is my second year growing them. 2002 seed germinated last year giving me a basis to continue. They are hanging out in Middle Earth with the raspberry bushes. There are not many, maybee three plants. They seem to be growing fine. They like the trellis. The Purple Queen beans are growing in the SE mandala with the rhubarb. They are a small bush bean.The rhubarb had fresh, young and tender shoots which I also picked.

Purple Queen and "yard-long" beans

More rhubarb, still looking good

With the potatoes already dug up, I headed to the backyard where I had planted the rest of the Austrian Crescent potatoes. Sad, isn't it?

Martian Death Ray wipes out garden bed

After some digging, I determined the top soil to be dry and hot. An inch down was pure wet clay. The potatoes had been steamed by the water and hot sun. They were very squishy. This was my Martian death ray. It is turning the squash plants yellow. Too much water in the clay. Next round it will get a mixing of sand and compost to loosen it up. Or else I'm just going to dig up the clay and starts working cob.

Ursula Domesticus

14 Jul 2017 07:40 pm
ursulas_alcove: Pink petal hat (Peeking flower faery)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
As part of a community food program, I am given unique food challenges each month. Last month I ended up with four bags of turnips. No one really wanted them. So many people gave me theirs. They didn't have a clue what to do with them. Turnips have always been peasant food, long before potatoes were a thing. Personally, I still think of them as pig food. I don't have a pig nor the space to get one, even a tiny pig.

June was Turnip month

I found a period recipe for turnip wine. That's one way to preserve them. I already did a post on this. It's coming along. I think it'll be good for cooking. Another is to make slaw or pickle them. Since we have an abundant supply of dill, we have now had a month of daily coleslaw. I am really done with eating this but its still good on those hot days when you don't really want to cook. One turnip started growing in the fridge despite all the anti-growth chemicals they spray on supermarket food. Yup. Planted it for seed.

More turnips from June

July's food challenge is Mangoes. Most people have no clue what to do with them. When they found out we knew what to make with them, they gave us more. First, these are not ripe yet. Second, unripe mangoes contain natural turpentine. A bit of poking on youtube gave us some good recipes. Here's one for Kulfi (an ice cream pop) Condensed milk works too. https://youtu.be/VUQ5yG_NFrI
Chutney is another thing to do. We'll probably make both. There are 13 mangoes.

July is Mango month

Then on to granola. 91 batches of granola are made each year for our 3 person household. That's a lot of granola! Here's the basic recipe. Ingredients can be changed up for a different flavor. Substitions are recommended. If you are traveling and want to turn your granola into bars, I've also included a recipe but with 91 batches, very few go the extra bit of work to become bars.

This is for a 9x13" baking dish:

Mix dry ingredients:
3 cups quick oats
1 cup rice crisps (unless you want a very dense granola)
1 cup (ish) chopped nuts
1/4 cup flour
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or other spice

Mix liquid ingredients:
1/2 cup maple syrup and/or honey and/or agave and/or corn syrup
generous 1/3 cup canola oil OR substitute part/all with nut butter
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

Spread dry ingredients evenly in your baking dish and pour the liquid ingredients over all. You will end up having to mush in the liquids to make sure everything is more-or less coated. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour, stirring and turning-over every fifteen minutes.

Adding chopped fruit:
Since the high sugar content and lack of liquid in dried fruit leads to easy burning, I recommend chopping it to size just after putting the granola in the oven, and putting it in the mixing cup used for the liquid ingredients with a little bit more sugar syrup over it. Place that on top of/near the oven to gently heat. Add the sticky chopped fruit for the last fifteen minutes of cook time.

Granola is made 91 times a year

Once complete the baking dish can also now be reused for:

Granola Bars Syrup

1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine
1/3 c honey
5 c. granola
1/2 c whole flour

Stir together granola and flour. In a saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, and honey. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour brown sugar mixture over granola mix. Stir until well-coated. Press into a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Cool; cut into bars.

The cupboard is woefully empty for this time of year

Food pantry needs a lot more work before winter. So far only black raspberry jelly and marmalade. The applesauce came from the food program. I've not read the ingredients yet. I am allergic to cinnamon so we'll see.

Dye Plant List

12 Jul 2017 11:07 pm
ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
Who knew I had so many? I need more wool. I've got:

onion skins
lemon balm
blood root
black raspberry
yellow dock
russian tarragon
carrot tops
tomato vines
and even the forsythia will give a color. India Flint uses rose leaves but I've not tried that yet. Come fall, I may try the neighbor's oak leaves. I'm sure there is more. Many of these plants give a different shade in spring than they do in fall. The joy is in experimenting. Some are more colorfast than others. I wonder about the horseradish . . .

And this link turned up http://pioneerthinking.com/natural-dyes

February 2017

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