Category: Independant Lifestyle (Page 2 of 3)

Easy Squash Soup Recipe

I spent the weeked at a workshop with a group of friends that I meet with a couple of times a year. We bring food for our meals that we share as potlucks, and the meals are often feasts for the senses. One of the dishes I brought was this easy squash soup, the recipe for which I will share here. This soup is a golden yellow orange warm and spicy soup perfect for after a rainy morning spent outdoors on the west coast.

I became aquainted with this easy squash soup from our community lunches, where a hot lunch is served at the community center on the days the food bank food is given out in my community. It started out as an extention of the food bank and quickly became very popular, even supporting the food bank as people other than food bank recipiants went to it and pay for their lunch by making a donation to the foodbank. It aslo removed the standing out in a crowd stigma for people who were getting the food bank to have a large group of all walks of life going to the community center on that particular day. There is often three types of soup to choose from, and this squash soup is my own personal interpretation of what is sometimes the vegan choice. Not that I am vegan, but this soup is good even made in a base of water.

Here is how to make it.

You chop a squash in half, clean out the seeds and stringy guts. Save the seeds for roasting or replanting your squash vines. I used a sweet dumpling, but have also made this soup with sugar pumpkin or acorn squash or even mature 8 ball squash.

Then you steam the squash until soft.

When it cools, scrape out the squash flesh and put in a pot of either water or a mild flavored bone stock, perferably chicken or turkey.  Heat up the water

Add 1/2 teaspoon of  Thai red curry paste, and 1/2 teaspoon tumeric.

Next you add a can of coconut milk

Here I added some sweet potato chopped into cubes because I felt like the squash might not be enough.

Cook until the sweet potato is soft.

Add fresh grated ginger root and a tablespoon of miso at the end.

The miso adds saltiness and is pro biotic, making this soup even more healthy and satifying than it already is.

If you do not use chicken or turkey stock, then the soup is suitable for vegans and vegitarians as well.

You simmer the soup until it is soft, and it is best served the next day after the flavours have melded together.

 

How to make Super Healthy Rye Bread

This is a recipie for how to make sourdough, sprouted grain rye bread and also a recipie for reuban sandwiches

One of my favorite kinds of bread to make is sourdough sprouted rye. One of my favorite dishes to make with this bread is rueban sandwiches.

Now I never really thought of a rueban as a healthy food, but up until fairly recently, I have not been thinking of bread as a particularly healthy food either. I was always looking for meals that eliminated it or minimized it. However, when the bread is made with the following recipie, it is much healthier than most other bread one may encounter. Healthy and delicious. I have read, in medical literature in a docters office, that long fermented sourdough breads do not raise the blood sugar level the way regular breads do, and are thus that much healthier. Isn’t that what Homegrown Cooking is all about. Learning how to make the foods you love in a healtheir way that tastes even better than before.

This is not a spur of the moment baking project. It will take a couple of days until you have your bread, but trust me, it will be worth the wait.

 

First, you sprout some organic, whole grain rye for about 3 days, until the sprout is poking out of the seed about 1 cm or ½ inch. To sprout the seeds, you soak the rye in water overnight and then rinse twice a day until the sprout reaches the desired length. Wash and rinse off any icky looking sliminess that might appear. Your rye sprouts are not rotten if this happens.

 

On the day you bake the bread, or day before, wash the sprouts really well, taste some, then either chop them fine on a cutting board by hand, or whip them in a blender or food processor together with your sourdough starter. (You can read about how to make sourdough starter here.)

It is best to add a little flour at this point and let it ferment for about a day.

 

The next day, you add an equal amount of flour, a teaspoon of yeast, sprinkle on up to a teaspoon each of salt and oil and knead the dough. Then you let it rise in a warm place a few hours, or overnight. This is not exactly a quick recipie. I let mine rise by the woodstove.

 

You may have to add flour again and knead it to a texture that you can shape into a loaf. The sourdough eats away at the flour a bit, it gets bubbly and sticky. We need it to be bread dough, not batter.

 

Shape it into a loaf, in a parchment lined loaf pan and slash the top in a diagnol pattern. Or slash your initals in it if you want. Then let it rise yet again in the loaf pan for up to 1 hour. Brush the top with a mixture of cooking oil and warm water. This helps make a beautiful crispy crust.

Pre heat the oven to 400o F Bake the bread at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for half an hour before you look in to see if its done.

 

Then you test for done ness by poking it with a skewer or toothpick to see if it is doughy inside, or poke a meat thermometer inside and see if it is 180 degrees. Or tap on the loaf to hear a hollow sound. This method is not my favorite, because sometimes the crust is done and the inside is still doughy. The thermometer method is the most reliable. Its great hot out of the oven with butter. Its even better with sharp chedder cheese.

 

Or you could make rubans with it.

To make rubens, you slice the bread, and spread hot mustard on it. Layer on corned beef and saurkraut. (To make home made saurkraut, see recipie here) Top with Swiss cheese and broil in the oven until the cheese is bubbling. Serve with a dill pickle and glass of beer.

 

Make Sauerkraut in a mason jar easily

Here is an easy way to make sauerkraut in a jar

Sauerkraut is basically fermented cabbage. It is used in German foods and the cuisine of Eastern Europe. After centuries of dying from scurvy while they sailed the seas, the British began to eat it as well a couple of hundred years ago. I hated it when I was a kid, I never would have thought I would ever be making it, let alone loving it so much I want to write about how to make it, feeling like this is something I should admit and share with the world.

It features prominently in Ukrainian cuisine and my Great Grandparents made it in crocks in their basement. I think maybe my Grandparents did too. And my parents tried it once or twice, but they did not like living with a stinky crock of fermenting sauerkraut in the basement, and a crock made a lot more sauerkraut than we as a family would ever need. So a lot of it sat there getting stronger and stinkier and we decided not to do it anymore. Until years later, as an adult, I wanted some homemade sauerkraut and figured out a different way of making it.

I make sauerkraut in 1 quart jars, each jar being its own batch. No giant stinking crocks in the basement for me. No all day long of shredding cabbage by hand to fill such a crock making a three year supply at once either.

 

My enthusiasm for making sauerkraut came about when I grew this giant trophy sized cabbage in my plot at the local community garden. It was a spindly little thing in the fall just starting to form a ball on top and I decided to mulch it to see if it would survive the winter. It did, and then quickly grew into this monster cabbage when spring came. It surpassed the size of a basketball and was well on its way to being beach ball sized before I had to stop admiring it and harvest it because slugs were starting to eat it and ruin it.

 

What would I ever use a cabbage that size for? How many stir fries and coleslaw and cabbage rolls could I possibly make? Besides I wanted to savor and enjoy my trophy sized cabbage for longer than it would take me to get sick of eating cabbage everything day after day, and longer than it would take for that monster cabbage to go rotten in the fridge waiting for me to use it up.

 

So I consulted my Ukrainian cookbooks for their many contradicting recipes and called up my Dad for his expert advice. He remembered the stinky crocks in the basements of our elders and the ton of work that it was to shred dozens of pounds of cabbage by hand.

 

The advice from the cookbooks seemed kind of dangerous and contradicting. One advised to seal the jars tightly while it ferments. One recipe advised to close the jars and open once in a while to let the gasses escape. One advised to put paper or cloth over the mouth of the jar and screw it on with the band. Most of the recipes involved making sauerkraut in huge crocks the way I’d seen it done before. What was I to do?

 

I began by putting a tablespoon of pickling salt and of pickling spice in the bottom of each sterilized quart jar, as well as a teaspoon of caraway seeds. You can sterilize the jars with either boiling water, or the ozonator (read about ozonators here)

 

I shredded the cabbage the easy way, with a food processor and a giant mixing bowl, cutting it into chunks and running each chunk through the blades on maximum. I packed the shredded cabbage tightly into my sterilized jars, squishing it down with a sterilized spoon. 1/3 of the way up the jar, I added another tablespoon of pickling salt, pickling spice and caraway seeds. Then I packed the cabbage in again, until 2/3 of the way up the jar. At which point I added more salt and spices, then more cabbage, packed in and squashed down. At the top of the jar, I left some space and finished my layers with a tablespoon of pickling salt and spice.

To squash the cabbage down, I used a sterilized smallest size mason jar, which fit inside the wide mouth quart jar. I began to tighten the lid of the jar, causing the smaller jar to press down on the cabbage and squeeze some brine out of it.

I left it in my porch to ferment, with a little pressure from the band of the jar on the smaller jar, but the lid not tightly screwed down, just held in place with ¼ of a turn on the band. This is important, to allow gasses to escape while the cabbage ferments.

I kept a close eye on it for mold. If there is any, scoop it off the top with a clean spoon that is washed imminently after touching it. If there is mold, the lid and the smaller jar being used as a weight must be washed in boiling or ozonated water before being put back.

The sauerkraut ferments in about 3 weeks. In about the 2nd week of its existence, you want to start tasting it regularly to see if has reached its ideal point of fermentation. Unlike the sauerkraut of my childhood which was allowed to ferment endlessly and get stronger and stronger, there is an ideal point where you will want to either can it or slow the process down by refrigerating it.

I used to get fresh lids at the point where I liked my sauerkraut and can it, in a boiling water bath for 10-20 minutes to seal the jars and kill off the fermentation, but have since learned that it destroys valuable nutritional enzymes to do this. Sauerkraut is better if eaten with some of its fermentation bacteria alive. So now I just refrigerate it.

To my pleasant surprise I find it causes less gas than fresh cabbage, though you wouldn’t think so, being a still living fermented food. There are peppercorns, allspice, mustard, caraway and coriander seeds in it. I don’t mind the spices, but some people take them out. This has been consistently the best sauerkraut I have ever tasted, and my friends and family love it as well. Together with sourdough sprouted rye bread, it makes the best Rubens (read here for recipe).

At beach fires, where you roast sausages and hot dogs on sticks, it helps make the fun cookout food a lot healthier by supplying pro biotic gut bacteria instead of excess acidic vinager and sulfates as its store bought counterpart would. This is my sauerkraut shared with you in hopes that it helps make your life healthy and fun.

 

The Dreaded Cancer Scare, and What to do about it

 

Everyone knows someone who either had cancer or died of it. Most people are related to such a person. If the cancer victim in your life is a parent or grandparent or both, you will also hear afterward a lot of talk about how the origins of the disease may be genetic. It tends to run in families. Your doctor may think you need to get tested more because of family history. To add to the loss of your family member is the dread that you may be next, that the odds are even worse for you than they are for everyone in general.

If you are prone to having anxiety about disease, this may trigger it in a big way, particularly if you are still slowly getting over the loss of your loved one. Especially if you sat by their bedside while they were suffering and felt trace elements of your loved one’s pain in your own body. Especially if you wished somehow that you could help them face their time of trial and felt helpless in doing so. If you spent many nights feeling the presence of your loved one close by, comforting you, only to have it fade into the nightmare of the cancer that killed your loved one also being present, as if it lurks in the night searching for another victim to devour.

Maybe you experience some symptoms and think that they may be psychosomatic because of your recent experience. But your doctor still thinks you should get tested because of family history.

People tell you, “put that thought out of your mind.” Thinking about a disease increases your chances of getting it. Losing sleep lowers your immunity to disease in general. Being stressed out doesn’t help either. But this is easier said than done.

Putting that thought out of your mind may feel like procrastination or denial. It comes creeping back in moments when your guard is let down. It takes energy to keep that thought out of your mind and when the energy is depleted, the thought comes back, along with the anxiety.

The thing to do is to change your fear to empowerment. You do this by taking action. There are some small ways in which you can take charge of your health in this kind of situation, both the potential disease and the dread that you may be more likely to get it than other people.

You think of what you don’t want. Same thing as everyone doesn’t want. You don’t want to get cancer. The thought of it is empowered by your feeling of fear and dread.

Then, think instead of what you do what. You want to feel strong and healthy, feel good inside your own body. Empower that thought with feelings. Good feelings just as strong as the fear that came creeping in there. Do something physical that you enjoy, that makes your body feel good. You can make yourself more healthy, and give yourself more vitality.

You can also detox whatever toxins may be accumulating in your body, either from the stress of losing your loved one and having the scare, or from the world that is always feeding us crap likely to make us sick.

We don’t have to let it make us sick. You can read all the personal accounts online of people who say they cured their own cancer with common natural and household items, such as apple cider vinegar, broccoli juice, baking soda and cannabis oil, (if you live in a place where it is legal and available) A lot of these items, along with their positive story online will not hurt you if you try them, and will ease the dread of disease that comes creeping in with the sadness of losing a loved one to cancer and all the literature and talk about the causes being genetic. I am not a doctor to give medical advice, but a teaspoon of baking soda in water each day probably won’t hurt you… and it may be a small action you can take so “putting that thought out of your head” doesn’t take a constant battle of willpower that you will lose if ever you get tired or emotionally drained. You don’t have to forcefully evict the thought of dread. You face it, and know that you are taking action that may be helpful. There are also articles about the possibility of cancer being linked to body PH. You can test your saliva with an inexpensive water testing strip and know for yourself if you are in the healthy range of acidity/alkaline balance.

 

Because the nature of dread is you don’t know if you have an illness or not, so you don’t know if you need to do something or not. But detoxing the body is good for you anyway, and will empower you to detox the mind while you are at it.

Diatomaceous Earth has been said to remove parasites and toxins when used as a gentle internal cleanser, as well as providing the body with trace minerals. Be sure to use a food grade variety if you try this.

Some people swear by turmeric and honey, some people take their health into their own hands with vegetable juice cleanses. Even if all the evidence is anecdotal, there is evidence in medical literature that placebos work on a lot of people who try them. So choose something that resonates with you, something that rings true, and check into whether it may be harmful before trying it. And empower your self with health in the weeks leading up to your test. Honour the memory of your loved one without experiencing the dread of disease.

Just because you may have a family history that includes tragedy doesn’t mean you can’t do a few things to decrease the odds of your getting it.

 

Growing micro Greens and sprouts indoors

The other day I shrank back in horror and shock as I paid 3.50$ for two little tiny tomatoes here in the lush forest of British Columbia. This inspired me to get serious about growing micro greens and sprouts indoors. The horror and shock I felt about my tomatos is nothing compared to what people in the north have to deal with every day to buy fruits and vegetables. I saw this first hand years ago when I traveled through the Northwest Passage on an ice breaker. Now the story is even more drastic. People are sending food to northern neighbors who lack basic food security due to the extremely short growing season and high cost of transport. Celebrity Singer Susan Aglukark sent 1000 pounds of food to her community for Christmas. With the drought in California making fruit and vegetables ever more expensive and having to be imported from ever further destinations, it makes a person seriously think about growing your own micro greens.

My sources of knowing about the high cost of food prices in the north, along with personal knowledge of family members who resided there and struggled to be able to afford a healthy diet can be seen here HP high price of food in Nunavut. The article is about Nunavut. My family members who have experienced this lived in the Northwest Territories. It cost me 70$ to order a cake last winter to contribute towards a family event that I was unable to attend because of the exorbitant price of getting to the Northwest Territories from where I live.

Think of the cost of transporting a small package of seeds as compared to hauling  rapidly aging produce in a refrigerated compartment from Mexico to Alaska, Nunavut or NWT. Think of the environmental impact as well, and you see where it may be more practical for people there to be growing sprouts and micro greens indoors for a steady supply of vegetables, at least in the north and in any circumstance where the food must be transported by air, such as the job I do at isolated locations along the west coast.

I learned how to do this in preparation for provisioning for ocean voyages I was going to take when I lived on my sailboat. Where it ended up being particularly useful is when I went for months on end with no money, and had no shortage of fresh salad greens thanks to old stores of beans, grains, spices and snack foods that were still intact enough to sprout given the right conditions.

Also when I have to pack a months worth of food supplies, and everything else I may need, into 300 pounds or less, it allows a person to have somewhat greater food security to pack foods that can be eaten either as is, or sprouted into fresh greens for a source of salad after all other salad choices have gone rotten.

I set up a shelf in my living room for growing foods I don’t want to buy imported at great expense anymore. I bought 3 full spectrum florescent grow lights to illuminate the shelves. I put them on a timer to provide artificial sunlight for so many hours a day. I use some seed starting soil and potting soil. Basically I have houseplants that feed me.

And so could you. I read about this first in the book Sailing the Farm. (here’s a link to my review of it.) I have benefited from this knowledge mostly in my isolated work environments and during months of poverty. Even when it is not necessary in those circumstances, I am continuing to do it anyway for the purpose of reducing the environmental impact of my own healthy diet. And also for taste, and for being able to have a variety of micro greens that are not readily available in the grocery stores where I live.

Some of my favorites are Fenugreek, mustard greens, arugula, parsley, cilantro, radish, peas, sunflower seeds, wheat, rye and all varieties of lentil and bean. Most dried beans sold as food supplies will sprout. Most grains will sprout as well. Sunflower seeds will sprout if they are raw, not if they are roasted.

I also grow sweet potatoes indoors in pots. The sweet potato does not need as much light and the greens from it are edible, not poisonous. Bail also grows in pots indoors at my house, and a chili pepper has survived the winter, flowered a second time and produced enough little chilies to make a bottle of fermented hot sauce.

One small ice cream bucket can contain enough seeds to keep a family in fresh salad greens for several months. Also, the nutritional value of grains, nuts and beans increases astronomically when they are sprouted, as well as the volume of food that they produce.

I am not saying this is the answer to the food security issues in the north that people are facing because of high food prices, but suggesting this technique of growing food in jars and old pie plates might be able to help a little bit in that situation.

When I worked on the icebreaker going through the Northwest Passage, part of my job was helping out in the galley. Our provisions for a crew ranging from 20-40 people were stored in coolers and store rooms. Part of my job in the middle of the trip was to separate leaves of fresh lettuce and spinach that was months old, going rotten and slimy from the inner centers of each bunch that was still OK. I couldn’t help but think of how much better it would be if we just brought seeds and dirt and grew baby greens on board the ship in containers to eat fresh. All those store rooms had florecent lights. We were running 110 power constantly for refrigeration. Why not for grow lights?

We were searching for the remains of the Franklin expedition who starved and died in the Arctic because of relying too heavily on imported food which became tainted. During my work of sorting out the increasingly rotten produce from our refrigerated store rooms, I could see a similarity that made me feel kind of uneasy. Seeds and a mesh bag became part of my traveling provision supplies from that point on, for any trip longer than 1 week, and part of my diet at home in any season when the garden is not feeding me a steady supply of its produce. This winter I took it a step further and set up the plant shelf in my living room, to grow both mirco greens and sprouts indoors.

 

Bees Surivivng the winter despite mistakes I have made in their care.

Here’s some news about a learning curve that I am going through this year. The very first post I posted on this site was about getting my first bee hive, something I have always wanted to try doing, and have wanted to do more since I have learned about how important bees are to our food supply and the fate of the world in general. No mason bees for me, if I am going to care for insects, I will have honey bees.

I have been endlessly worried about my bee hive and whether it is surviving the winter or not. This is my first year of bee keeping and I made some amature mistakes that jeapordized the well being of the creatures in my care that I will not make again now that I know better.

I left a screen door on the house instead of a solid door when the storms and cold began. I fixed it a month later, but imagine if someone did that to your house? You might become more suseptible to cold and illness. If you had to live off of stored food, like my bees do, and it was in danger of going moldy because the landlord didn’t supply a door, it would not be good. If the basement flooded a little too because the house was unknowingly placed in an area that becomes swampy over the winter, it might increase your chances of illness and death as well.

I fixed that problem with the uneasy task of suiting up and moving the hive at a time of year when the bees do not want to be disturbed. My helper and I had to carry the hive carefully to avoid causing mass panic within and thus protective aggressive behaviour. It was extremely heavy and the ground was extremely slippery and muddy. But it had to be done, there was too many dead piling up outside the door, giving me the hint that things were not ok inside. I did some clean up, I swept out the entry way, now supplied with a solid wooden door, with pine sticks, and only one or two of the hives inhabitants buzzed around me. I put out fresh dry food, and one came up to eat it. But there were one or two where there were normally hundreds. So I wondered and wondered how many of the worlds most precious bugs had been killed by my previous beginner ignorance?

My helper, who is a more experianced bee keeper came around today and said we needed to open it up and look inside. This is the absolute worst time of year to do that. Today was the best day at the worst time of year to even try. So we opened the lid. We heard nothing. The new food has not been touched. There was dampness around the edges of the feeding box. Our hopes plummeted.

We took out the feeding box. There were a few dead in the deep super that appears to be still full of honey. We did not see or hear any signs of life. My helper took her hive tool and began to loosen the top box from the bottom box, where the bees have glued it shut with propolis.

Suddenly, we heard it. A promising sound. Buzzing. A stir from within.

Then, as we carefully lifted the top box, we could see the cluster of bees. It was a tightly packed cluster, a lot were in there. There was enough bees, my more experianced helper said to me, that the queen could be laying eggs and more brood hatching at the center of the cluster. It was a lot more promising that we had dared to hope for.

“She must be a really strong queen”

I felt ever so proud, ever so thankful to be the keeper of such resiliant creatures who survived and thrived dispite my lack of knowledge and mistakes made in what they need for their well being.

 

 

 

Riches vs Prosperity

You have heard about all those people who win the lottery and are broke within a year or two.

This is more common than you think. It happens because people get sudden wealth without acutally creating prosperity. How much money you have or make has some what to do with the level of prosperity, or genuine fortune you can enjoy, but it is not the main focus. How many times have you heard of rich people going broke? I used to shake my head whenever I heard this. If you were already rich, wouldn’t you be set for life? But no, people keep risking it all trying to get more. This is how people often go from riches to poverty.

I’ve had my share, on a smaller scale of this experience.

Think of it, if you will, years of poverty, barely scraping by with commercial fishing, knowing that you can hit the big fortune, but most likely won’t. But you know that its out there. Then all of a sudden you do, the fish bite. and bite, and bite.  I got hooked into the commercial fishing lifestyle by just such an experiance. There was a rainbow shining through a sunlit shower on the west coast islands, then the rainbow appeared from one side to the other over our fishboat. The fish started biting right then. They were all 20 pound spring salmon. We filled the boat and headed for port, thinking of what wild success we’d had. I walked off the boat a few days later and bought a car, went on a road trip to Alaska, didn’t work again for the rest of the year. I’ll not be one to underestimate the value of that experiance.  Temporary fabulous wealth here and there.

Homegrown Prosperity is something more lasting and permanent

Homegrown Prosperity can include fleeting wealth, but Homegrown Prosperity is something I learned to have in spite of the ups and downs of fishing and getting skunked. Homegrown Propsperity is learning to provide for yourself all of what you need, its having enough, and defining exactly at what point needs turn to wants. Its also calculating the value of your time into the big picture and what else you may want to do with your life. The point at which you become independent.

There’s a moment of revelation

an ephiphany maybe, at which point you realize you have enough. That you don’t have to chase more. Fred Eaglesmith spoke of this moment at one of his concerts I went to. Just before he played the song “Stars” He told a story about when he realized he’d made it as a professional musician. The pride of having made his living on his own terms was what he was speaking of, and singing about in that song.

You too can create homegrown prosperity for yourself

So how about starting on it today? for 1 hour a day. Your job is not going to do it for you. In fact, employers see you being desperate for any work you can get as of being an advantage in their favour and possibly use this as a motivating factor for not really working out workplace problems or giving you the terms of employment that you ask for with them, if you even have the nerve to try, which most people are talked out of before they ever even get a job. So it is not that likely that any job is going to do it, though having a job you enjoy can be part of the plan of your route to Homegrown Prosperity, it really is up to you.

 

Sourdough Starter

Sourdough starter

 

Last week I wrote about making sourdough bread using cooked whole grain dish leftovers. Today I will write about how to make and care for the Sourdough Starter.

 

My first sourdough starter was given to me by a friend, she said it came from the original batch of San Francisco sourdough. I carefully fed it every couple of days until finally, I forgot. It went rotten and moldy. I had heard that I could scrape the moldy surface off and keep using it, but I didn’t want to take that chance. Maybe in the pioneer days when the nearest package of yeast was hundreds of miles away, and if I wasn’t going to see anyone else I could get some sourdough starter from, maybe then I would consider scraping off the moldy surface of my rotten starter and keeping on using it. But such is not the case in my life.

 

I found several recopies on the internet and one in the Lighthouse Cookbook, by Anita Stewart. Its a cookbook that celebrates the unique cuisine that has evolved among the BC coast light keepers, where self sufficiency is more than a niche or an interest, its absolutely necessary for quality of life when one only gets food supplies once a month and everything must be pre ordered. No going to the store if you forget something around there.

 

I actually prefer to use both yeast and sourdough starter if I make bread. This is based on the recipe in the Lighthouse Cookbook, but is my own interpretation, of how I made it when I needed to.

 

 

1 tbsp yeast

2 cups boiled water, cooled to lukewarm

1tsp salt

3tsp sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

 

It can be made with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water as well.

Dissolve the yeast in warm water, add sugar and salt, then mix in flour. Leave out on the counter, loosely covered for 3 days. I store mine in a glass canning jar, with the lid on top but not tightened during this stage.

If you have wine or beer brewing in your house, keep the sourdough starter in a different room to avoid crossing yeasts.

 

 

Stir it each day, add a little bit of flour and water each day.

After 3 days, you need to feed it equal amounts of flour and water, and also give it “air” by mixing it up in an open bowl. Leave in the bowl for an hour or two before using to make sure it is activated.

 

This is a good time to use some or give some away to friends.

 

Return some to the canning jar after, and once every 4 or 5 days, feed it a similar volume to itself of flour and water. This is the basic sourdough starter that gets kept alive between using it, and improves with age. My current one is about a year old and tastes just like the “ hundreds of years old” one I was given that was part of the original batch of San Francisco sourdough. Strange how that happens, Eh?

But that’s because the same wild yeasts live here on the west coast as lived in San Francisco centuries ago according to experts.

Homesteading vs Farming

Does this post belong here ?What is the difference between farming and homesteading? People joke around about what a farmer I’ve become since I moved off of my boat to 10 acres in the backwoods with my husband to grow a garden and keep bees.

I was going to get a pig last year to grow for meat. More specificaly, I was going to get a pig if my deer hunting was unsuccessful and then I got a deer on the last day of the season. In doing my research about getting a pig, I learned that you have to get 2 of them. Because one pig does not do so well on its own. That the economics of having backyard pork is that you can sell one or in our case, probably one and one half, to pay for the cost of doing it, of all the food and care that it would take to raise a pig. My husband works in a restuarant, so I was thinking we would have  a lot of food scraps around to feed it. Our pig could have fine pub grub… I was going to name it Steven Harper, after our dignified Prime Minister of Canada. I was thinking of a polician to name our second pig after as well. My neice said

“what are you going to do, have an election to determine which one you will eat first.”

I was going to post amusing pictures of the life of my pig, and then watch the fiasco around the place when I post on Facebook that I am killing him tommorrow….Maybe not with the new anti terroism laws. Might have some military preventing me from butchering my own livestock

I looked into constructing a trout pond, and still think that ducks would be the best livestock that could thrive in our yard. They would have a natural food source with all the slugs. But still, I don’t think I’m a farmer.

The difference is this…. A farmer intends to make a living with the  produce and livestock itself.

I intend to grow produce and livestock in a way where the surplus pays for doing it, but I make my living online writing about it, like I am doing here, sharing my knowedge of how, and the experiences of the journey to make it happen. I am growing this food to feed my family, and trade locally in my community.

That would make me a homesteader.

I intend for myself, friends and relatives to be able to have honey from the flowers of the islands, the sweetness of our summer’s nectar, not for it to be sold commercially to pay the bills., and we only get whats left. So many people dream of homesteading, and do not quite see how to make this a reality. But it can be done, and this site has the tools to help you too make it happen. Check it out here.

 

Whole Wheat sourdough bread using up leftover Kutia

whole wheat bread made from leftover kutia

whole wheat bread made from leftover kutia

 

Eariler this week, while getting ready to celebrate Ukrainian Christams, I wrote a post about how to make healthier Kutia using sprouted wheat, and eleminate 6 hours of labour intensive preperation for a traditional Ukrainian Christmas food. Today, I will tell you about a method to use your leftover kutia from Christmas to make a beautiful loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread.

This method of bread making can use up any leftover whole grain dish. Kutia is especially good because it gives the flavour of honey, poppyseeds, nuts and fruit to the bread as well. I learned how to make bread this way when I was light keeping on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Bread does not travel very well by helicopter in boxes of other groceries, it ends up stale and squished and not that good within days of getting there. Better to learn how to make your own, a bag or bucket of flour travells well and keeps well.

So you get out your sourdough starter if you have one, and feed it. It gets fed flour and water, an equal amount to what you have of starter. Half of it gets returned to its jar. “Feeding the Pet” we say in our house, because sourdough starter is a living thing that needs to be cared for weekly if you keep it refrigerated and every couple of days if it kept in a warm place. I had a jar of sourdough starter given to me by a friend, who said it was over 100 years old, part of the original batch of San Fransisco sourdough. In my early days of sourdough baking, I forgot about it, it died and went moldy. I had to throw it out. Then I made my own from a recipie in the Lighthouse Cookbook. Funny thing, it tasted just like the 100 year old original batch of San Fransisco sourdough. I heard thats because sourdough starter captures wild yeast spors and the same wild yeasts live on the west coast now as lived in San Fransisco 100 years ago. If you don’t have sourdough starter, don’t worry about it. Just let your bread rise in the refrigerator overnight. It will become slightly sourdough within 24 hours.

In the bowl with your sourdough starter, if you have one, after you have taken some out to keep it going, refilling its home container with the same amount you took out, you mix in the leftover kutia.

You add 2 teaspoons of yeast pellets,and let the mixture sit for 4 minutes. Then you add an equal amount of flour as the mixture of liquids you are stirring together in your mixing bowl. Drizzle a little oil onto it if its getting sticky. Adjust the flour or add water to get a dough that won’t stick to your hands, or the bowl. Then knead it for 5 minutes.

Brush the dough with oil and let rise in a warm place 4 to 6 hours, or 8-12 hours in a cool place.

Once it has risen, the dough will be soft and sticky again. Flour and oil may need to be added as you punch it down and knead it again a little. Form into loafs, or put in parchment paper lined bread pans.

Let it rise again, 1 hour in its shape. Brush the top with a mixture of oil and water

heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the bread in the preheated oven. Bake at 400 10 minutes, then turn it down to 375 and bake for 30 minutes. By this time you can check on the bread. Tap on it to determine if it is done.  A cooked loaf of bread will sound hollow, a doughy loaf will not.

This bread will be a rich reddish brown color, with a nutty flavour. The slices are hearty and rustic, with a crisp crust, and slightly sweet. Best when still warm out of the oven served with butter.

 

 

wholewheat sourdough bread made from leftover kutia

wholewheat sourdough bread made from leftover kutia

 

 

 

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