Post by Joseph Lofthouse on Oct 13, 2014 13:08:35 GMT -5
A thread devoted to growing and making our own household food products. What plants to grow and how to store and cook them. Recipes are encouraged.
I make catsup, tomato sauce, tomatillos salsa, vinegar, picante sauce, etc... One of the issues I constantly run into is that I can't or haven't grown the spices that the recipes call for. I wonder if there are substitutions that would grow in my climate? Another issue I have is timing. The ingredients don't necessarily all mature at the same time, so some of them need to be preserved for a later date: For example, my tomatillo salsa recipe calls for cilantro. I've always grown cilantro as an early spring crop but the tomatillos are a late fall crop. I've used my own vinegar sometimes in recipes, but since I haven't calibrated the acidity the food ends up way more acidic than I would like. I suppose that titration and dilution of vinegar is easy enough.
My homemade food products are not the same thing as the grocery store offerings that go by those same names. I'm not adding starches, or conditioning chemicals, or colorings. I wonder about how to get fussy family members to eat unfamiliar foods.
It's easy for me to dehydrate garlic and winter squash. How in the heck do I turn a lump of dried garlic or squash into powder? Blender doesn't work. Meat grinder doesn't work. Flour mill doesn't work. Coffee grinder doesn't work.
So how about it? What household food products do you make? Why? What's easy to make? What offers the best return on investment? What's too much bother?
Silt/clay, high-altitude, super-arid, sun-drenched, irrigated-desert garden. Cold radiant-cooled nights. ~100 frost free days. Grow most of my own locally adapted landrace seed. GDD10C ~1300. Author of Mother Earth News: Landrace Gardening Blog.
I never use garlic any way other than fresh! Problem solved; it keeps all year in the laundry room just fine.
We make tomato sauce (with onions, peppers and carrots in it), crushed tomatoes, tomatillo salsa, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, sauerkraut, jams and jellies, chow-chow (green tomato relish), pickled beets, beet and red cabbage relish, chile-garlic sauce, and hot pepper jelly, just about every year. Also applesauce, and canned peaches. We freeze a tonne of vegetables, and also make swiss chard rolls and ratatouille to freeze. Ratatouille freezes surprisingly well; it's a little soupy when thawed but the flavour is fine. Oh, and pesto.
Less often, we make a red tomato salsa (probably my most famous recipe), pickled onions, pickled baby corn, tomato ketchup, fruit chutneys, pickled green tomatoes, and pickled carrots.
When I discovered my father and his partner were practically living on instant soup mixes, I started making them for them - mine actually have some food value!
I don't go so far as to make my own vinegar and I don't really see a reason to do so. As for spices, I save dill seed most years, and it looks like I have celery seed this year... I let a 5'x24' bed of Turkish celeriac go to seed! I dry and grind paprika type peppers, and sometimes hot peppers. We dry bunches of basil, oregano and savory, although I have not been very satisfied with the quality of these compared to what I can buy, especially the oregano and savory. In general, I find working with herbs awfully picky and time consuming for the volume they produce, and I resent spending too much time over them. Life is short! I want to do other things besides process food.
I have to say when it comes to the spices and things that I grind, I love my Vitamix. I do have it instead of a firstborn, though. Never tried it on garlic though. Like I said, fresh is good enough for me.
Post by 12540dumont on Oct 13, 2014 22:04:19 GMT -5
Joseph, the best I can do with garlic , is to run it through the food processor, before I put it in the dehydrator. Your dehydrator has some round plastic trays that go in it. I make the garlic like a paste and spread it thin. This doesn't give powder, but mimi chunks, which are easier to grind into a powder. I make everything that Ferdzy does, but probably not as wonderful. I have found that although cilantro is a spring crop for me, coriander, it's seed, is about ready when I make salsa. Oh, tastes like cilantro in salsa.
Many herbs grow great here. It's that never have winter again climate. I'm STILL harvesting basil! However, I can't grow cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean, peppercorns and many other tropical things that I really need. So instead I buy them in a big bag from places liked "whole spice" when they have their 40% off sale. I then divide them in jars and split them amongst my friends, family, customers.
I have my own bay, oregano, thyme, rosemary, mint, Korean Mint, Shiso, marjoram, and tarragon and well I did have parsley, but the gopher ate it. Have to plant more. I dry some of these, most of them we have fresh year around. (Joseph, I can send you some to dry).
Celeriac also does great IF I can give it enough water. Thank's Ferdzy! I do have to say without your garlic, my pickle would not be great. Also Ferdzy's sauce tomatoes really came through for me this year. It's still 90 here, so I'm still slaving along.
Hamburg turnip rooted parsley, although coarser than Italian Flat leaf is still much used here in the winter.
One of my ginger sprouted on the counter, so Zack's going to pot it up and see if we can get ginger to grow.
I've used my own vinegar sometimes in recipes, but since I haven't calibrated the acidity the food ends up way more acidic than I would like. I suppose that titration and dilution of vinegar is easy enough.
When life gives you honey and apple cider vinegar, make lemonade.
1 tbsp of honey + 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar + 1 glass of water = a very passable lemonade tasting drink. Fiddle with the proportions to get the taste you want. The vinegar should be your own or organic to get a more subtle, less overpowering taste.
Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly - Dalai Lama
We usually do fresh garlic but occasionally we dehydrate some in late winter if they start to sprout. We've had success grinding them in a blender. Some of the pieces remain large but we just sift those out to use in soups. We've also had even better success at getting a fine powder with our cast iron mortar and pestle.
We do make our own vinegar from our cider and use it for pickles. The pickle recipe we use is heavy-handed enough on the vinegar (3 cups to 3/4 cup water) that we don't worry about it. Since some pickle recipes use half water and half vinegar, it's probably acidic enough even if not full strength.
Another issue I have is timing. The ingredients don't necessarily all mature at the same time, so some of them need to be preserved for a later date: For example, my tomatillo salsa recipe calls for cilantro. I've always grown cilantro as an early spring crop but the tomatillos are a late fall crop.
Cilantro and dill can both be harvested, chopped, and stored in a jar of vinegar in the refrig until it's time for salsa or pickles. We've done this for years and it's always been our way to cheat the timing issue.