Maple Candied Walnuts, Plus How to Process Walnuts for Long Term Storage

Maple Candied Walnuts, Plus How to Process Walnuts for Long Term Storage - Curing Walnuts, The Best Nutcracker, Soaking Nuts for Easier Digestion, Storage

While the main focus if this post is how to process walnuts, this recipe for Maple Candied Walnuts from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is lovely and couldn’t be easier.  They make a tasty and unique gift. [Read more…]

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The Nourished Kitchen Cookbook- Review and Giveaway

The Nourished Kitchen Cookbook - Recipes focus on seasonal cooking of locally available foods, and are based on the Weston A. Price traditional foods diet.

When we were running the family catering business, we often repeated the phrase, “The eyes eat first” – meaning that our food had to look good as well as taste good.  “The Nourished Kitchen:  Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle” is a feast for the eyes as well as an inspiration to savor traditional recipes with a modern twist.  I have the pleasure of receiving a review copy and being able to offer one to a lucky reader as we head into the perfect time to experiment with these farm to table options.

The Nourished Kitchen:  Farm-to-Table recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle

The Nourished Kitchen cookbook is written by Jennifer McGruther of www.nourishedkitchen.com, an award winning traditional foods website.  Her years of managing a farmers market and teaching traditional food preparation shine through in this beautiful new book.

What’s in the book? [Read more…]

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Strawberry Picking

kraynik strawberries on plant

Last week I started posting strawberry recipes, but I didn’t say a whole lot about where we got our strawberries.  I figured this week I’d do a couple more strawberry posts, first sharing a bit about our strawberry picking adventures, and then wrapping up with another “how-to” post on preserving berries.

Strawberry season ran late in our area due to an awfully cold spring.  The boys and I first went picking on July 8th, weeks later than the season would normally start.  Our first stop for berries was Kraynik’s Berry Farm, just north of Hwy 29 and less than ten minutes from our home.  If you’re heading east on 29 between Green Bay and Kewaunee, just look for the big red berries. [Read more…]

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Preserving Asparagus Three Ways – Freezing, Drying and Lacto-Fermenting

Preserving Asparagus Three Ways - Freezing, Drying and Lacto-Fermenting

I had the opportunity to babysit my neighbors asparagus patch for two weeks earlier this season, and I was blessed with a bounty of asparagus like I have never seen.  The photo above was just one picking – and it kept coming!  For those who are not asparagus savvy, you need to keep the spears harvested during the production season, otherwise they will get tall and produce seed, and you will have no more asparagus to harvest.  Thus, I was over picking every two to three days to keep the plants producing.  The neighbors have a lovely 100+ year old farmhouse, and four different asparagus patches around the yard.  As I was picking, the fresh spears looked so good that I decided to try one raw for the first time.  It was really good!  It tasted very much like fresh picked green peas, without much of the stronger “asparagus” taste that puts many people off.  I ate several more.  :-)  Since there was such a bounty, I used several methods of preserving asparagus. [Read more…]

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Early Greens from the Garden

Early Greens from the Garden

Alas, my ground outside is still very much covered with snow and ice, and here I am ogling greens seeds old and new.  I love the variety you can find by shopping through seed catalogs.

This years planned greens include:

  • Lettuce – Rocky Top Mix
  • Lettuce – Red Romaine
  • Amaranth – Joseph’s Coat
  • Lettuce – Really Red Deer Tongue
  • Lettuce – Blushed Butter Cos
  • Lettuce – Summerlong Gourmet Mix
  • Mache – Verte de Cambre
  • Spinach – Bloomsdale Long Standing
  • Spinach – Bordeaux
  • Minutina – Erba de Stella
  • Strawberry Spinach (saved seed)
  • Spinach (saved seed)
  • Kale – Dinosaur (Lacinato)
  • Swiss Chard – Five Color Silverbeet
  • Kale – Nero de Tuscana
  • Kale – Red Russian
  • New Zealand Spinach
  • Bok Choy – Ching Chang
  • Chinese Cabbage – Michili

To get a jump on the season, I’ve got an indoor planting bench and a small greenhouse attached to the house.  This year, I decided to try something different and pre-sprouted and grew out some pea seeds just for use as greens.  The tender tops and little tendrils make a nice salad addition.

To sprout my peas, I placed them in a wide mouth mason jar, covered them with water and the sprouting strainer lid, and let them soak overnight.  In the morning, drain and rinse and leave them on the counter for a few days, rinsing once or twice a day.  By the end of they week, you’ve got something like this:

pea sprouts

As you can see, the peas have developed mice little root systems.  Some of them haven’t sprouted, so those get tossed.

sprouted beans

I put some potting soil in old organic salad mix trays, snuggled the little seedlings in and tucked them under the grow lights.  At the same time, I started some Rocky Top lettuce mix, some butter Cos, some spinach, some Alyssum and some Painted Tongue.

planted pea sprouts

Two days later, and the peas were coming along nicely.

growing pea sprouts

A week later, and the first  pea tops were ready to harvest.  The salad greens and flowers were poking up out of the soil.  As I said, it’s been really cold and dreary here, so I’m setting no records for rampant growth.  I moved all of these trays out to the greenhouse shortly after this photo, and they’ve really been creeping along.

Early Greens from the Garden

Here’s my first bowl of pea tops.

pea tops

I added them to a nice mixed salad with some organic store bought greens (a month later, and the lettuce and spinach are almost ready to harvest as micro greens – trying to be patient).  Here we’ve got some leftover shell peas from supper the previous night, greens, pea tops, crispy walnuts, raw milk bleu cheese from Nala’s, soaked sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, balsamic vinegar and flaxseed oil.  I regularly enjoy having a big mess o’ salad like this for lunch.  Sometimes I’ll add sardines or pickled fish, or fresh sourdough bread slathered with plenty of butter.

homemade mixed salad

Temps are finally warming up this week, so I’ll be starting more seeds inside and hopefully be able to plant outside within the next few weeks.  I decided I’m going to use my sprouting jar to pre-sprout my early peas before plating them out in the garden (these really early ones will remain inside for greens) , since I regularly have germination issues with peas when the ground is cold and wet.  I’ve got some worm castings from Whitetail Organics to top dress the soil, which adds a nice little nitrogen boost that leafy veggies love (I also add it to my potting mix).  The worm castings don’t have the potential disease issues of improperly finished compost or pathogen potential of  other manures, which is another reason I like to use vermicompost if I have it.  Most greens do well in (or prefer) cooler weather, so they are great season extenders.

What are your favorite greens?  Do you have any tips for growing them that you’d like to share?

UPDATE:  The snow has finally cleared from the garden, and I can see the semi-permanent greens bed that had just started leafing out last fall coming to life.  I’ve been letting this corner of my garden self-seed with mache and strawberry spinach.  Last fall it was getting quite overgrown with inedible weeds (the dandelions went in the salad bowl, too), so I cleaned it and added spinach.  The little plants are about an inch tall.  Yeah!

 
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