greg mosser wrote:i suspect higher salt concentration in your brine will help fermented pickles stay good longer. some recipes for real old-school ‘full sours’ go all the way up to 10%salt, and you need to soak them in water for a bit to make them tolerable. do you know the concentration you usually go for?
I have a Ball blue book (put out by the jar company) from the 1970s which has these instructions on salt-curing and de-salting cucumbers. You can see that these were considered the first steps before adding spices or vinegar mixtures.
Tereza Okava wrote:i will pop corn in any kind of grease or oil, the "dirtier" the better (some left over from frying chicken, for example......). That usually affects how I will season it.
I do really like sweet and salty, though, and will often pop in schmaltz or bacon grease but add a bit of sugar with the salt to make a kettle corn.
If I don't want sweet, one of my favorites is popping in sesame oil and just use salt, it makes a great savory flavor.
I also love popping in sesame oil! It gives the best flavor.
Regarding the lid/no lid question, I suspect that results might depend on the equipment and the fat being used.
My wok has high curves edges and a very high domed lid, so with the lid on I have a relatively high volume of hot, trapped air to corn. Also, the corn will not ever reach high enough to touch the lid. So I've never encountered any problems with steam affecting the corn, and I keep the lid on to maintain very high heat environment.
However, if you are using a shallower pan with a flatter lid, I can see how steam might build up in this smaller space and condensation on the lid might affect the popped corn.
Also, butter has water content that would create more steam than oil.
A wok works really well for popcorn too. Get the oil and the pan hot, add popcorn, cover with lid and shake occasionally. When you stop hearing pops, crack the lid a bit and a few more kernels will pop. I use 1 tablespoon of oil to 4 tablespoons popcorn.
Are only animal- like creatures considered “aliens?” What if Earth was invaded by an alien plankton or fungal colony which took over vast regions of our soil or ocean? What if it has already happened and we just didn’t notice? Or what if the first alien invaders are something like an interstellar ant raft?
If we limit our conception of “alien” to something similar to humans in its interactions with the world, then such aliens are probably omnivores, like we are.
Any groundcover plant that will take root under the trees would improve the erosion/compaction problem immensely. Given the small and isolated spot of dirt, maybe just try something tough and dependable like vinca or lilyturf (liriope).
Are you looking for rope or twine? Jute and hemp twine are pretty common. Where I live, jute will hold up for a year if left outdoors, rarely two. If you take it down and store it for the winter it can last several years though.
Here you can see examples of people making twine from many different plants :PEP make twine.
For rope, I just learned how to make rag ropes by hand (bedsheets work well). Here is YouTube video showing technique:
More squash vine borer woes! The adults are still at it, and my plants are too big and rambling to check thoroughly. So, inevitably some vines got bored. ☹️. Some larger critter (a robin, maybe?) came to eat the borer-maggots and ripped up and severed half my squash vines😣. I reburied the vines, and some have rerooted but others are a loss.
Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
Having a car (and driving) is not a solution for people who become 'disabled' or too old to ride a bicycle. When you're not able to ride a bicycle anymore, in many cases driving a car also isn't possible. In such a case you become dependent from the help of others. And then it's good to have helpful 'others' around you ...
I believe this is a factor that much of the U.S. is overdue to reckon with. In many ways we lead the world in accessible building and infrastructure thanks to work of disability advocates, and yet a half century of car-centered town planning means that that too many people can’t get from their modern, accessible housing to the modern, accessible stores without a private car.
I know an older couple, for example, who moved to be nearer their adult children here in Chicago. The elders were concerned that they would not be able to handle climbing stairs as they aged, so opted for a new-construction place in the suburbs rather than a “walk-up” the city. But living there means driving.
Hopefully, more communities will invest in more inclusive transportation options, and small town life will be a better options for those who can’t or would prefer not to drive.
Blue corn masa or chips are pretty common in grocery stores here, though I do not have any on hand now. When I have bought blue corn masa, I was very pleased with it. It’s soft and not as gritty as white or yellow, and sticks together perfectly for easy tortilla making.
I’ve seen the folks from Great Lakes Staple Seeds grind red flint corn for polenta, but haven’t tried it myself.
Perhaps phrasing as an observation rather than a prescription? Like instead of “you should start cabbages indoors under grow lights,” you could say “some gardeners have success with cabbages in my climate by starting them indoors under grow lights” or even personalize if it’s based on your own experience: “the only way I ever had success with cabbages in my climate was to start them indoors under grow lights.”
I have one of my annual vegetable beds at the drip line one eastern edge of a large mulberry tree, but the tree is pruned high to cast less shade. Some fruit and leaves fall into the bed and add nutrients and moisture. The fallen fruit attracts worms, insects of all sorts, birds, and the odd rat, so it is quite a diverse ecosystem. I also use branch trimmings and fall leaves as mulch. Downside is needing to hoe/pull the prolific mulberry seedlings the come up in the bed. They are not so hard to deal with in a small home garden, though.
I think it is very site-specific. Geoff Lawton, for example, is working in Australia. So maybe his vegetables need a bit of shade to even survive the summer. If you’re in a climate that’s not quite so hot, or a latitude with less direct sun, maybe instead you need full sun in summer to even get your veggies ripe.
You also may need shade for keeping houses/animals cool even if you don’t need to shade you garden bed.
At various points in my life I have lived without a car in cities, suburbs and small towns, though my family does have a car now. If you’re used to getting around the city by foot and by bike, you may find it easy enough to get around smaller towns the same way, even if most people drive. Spend a good amount of time in a place before committing, though. Cities do not have the market cornered on theft, drugs, and poop!
Is there a meat locker in your area? They used to be rather common in small towns; like a frozen storage locker to keep your venison or side of beef. Usually would process the meat for you for a fee also.
A roommate of mine used to make mushroom pate, it was basically button mushrooms (champignons), onion, walnuts seasoned with parsley, salt, and pepper. Run fresh ingredients through food processor, then sautéed until vegetables give up their moisture and it smells cooked.
Good tip, May! I don’t have squash bugs, but do have squash vine borer.
Today as luck would have it I actually saw the moth laying eggs when I was out in the garden at lunch. I swatted her, and then checked my plants. I’ve never managed to get the eggs before they hatch, because I did not really know *when* to look for them. Today I scraped dozens of eggs off my maxima (Navaho Green) and Pepo (striped maycock). Borer ignored or didn’t find my mixta squash (Illinois cushaw) or moschata (Myaamia tan).
I noted this in the garden calendar I am keeping this year, so next year I can be reminded to look for the eggs at end of June when currants are ripe.
I wanted to try both the while berries and powder, so I made two half servings, with 2 Tbsp berries in each. Below are pics of before and after cooking.
I like the mulberry oatmeal, I would eat this again and even happily serve it to other people. Still, it has a fruity taste but not really a sweet taste. A person who usually puts sugar or honey on their oatmeal would still do so.
Personally, I preferred the whole berries. By leaving the berries whole you get the occasional sweet hit of a whole berry. With powdered mulberry, there was a more uniform fruity taste; kind of like if you cooked the oatmeal in diluted grape juice. Some if the powder settled to the bottom and was a bit gritty.
For this particular batch of berries, I have to conclude that they are a nice addition to some foods, but not really a sweetener. However, some individual berries are sweeter than others, and it maybe that I need to try more select fully ripe berries.
It seems most of the “super nutrient” vegetables and fruits are just extra high in some select nutrient— either beta carotene or anthocyanins in the case of the purple or “black” vegetables on market.
I do wonder how these crops compare yield-wise to standard varieties, i.e. does it work out that you get more total nutrition over the lifecycle of the plant, or just a smaller number of fruits that are super high in a particular nutrient.
Last week a huge branch broke off my mulberry tree so I had a surfeit of mulberries shriveling in the sun at easy picking height. I decided to try drying them. I've been impressed before by the sweetness of dried white mulberries from asia that are sometimes on store shelves here. Particularly in baked goods the berries seem to disappear and just leave a sweet taste.
My mulberries are dark purple, but I've learned that they are probably the same species as those white mulberries (morus alba), just a different color due to growing conditions. I want to see whether they will work to sweeten foods as a sustainable, local natural sweetener. Part of my inspiration was a question by Blake Lenoir last year about a local substitute for dates, which many people who adhere to vegan, raw, or paleo diets use to sweeten food.
I picked 300 g and dried them on a cloth on my cedar picnic table. This took the better part of 2 days in a heat wave.
When fully dry, they are brittle and crunchy and very lightweight. They taste sweet, but it's not a sweetness that hits you right away, and some have a bit of fruity tartness also. Opening a bag of them, they have a sweet raisin-y scent.
For my first experiment, I wanted something simple and scalable so I can play around with proportions and not end up with a big batch of something blech. I have a tub of damp hazlenut paste leftover from another project. I have used this mixed with date puree for tasty no-bake treats before, so i will try the same with the mulberries. Because of the texture, I decide to pulverize them:
At first I feel like this is not going to work. Grinding in the mortar and pestle separates out the seeds, and the remaining parts of the fruit settle on top with a texture that I can only compare to pocket lint. However, I persevere and try really pounding rather that grinding, and after not too long the seeds and fruit are basically pulverized. The texture is similar to ground sumac.
As with the whole berries, the sweetness does not hit you immediately when tasting a pinch, but it is there. This would probably be good sprinkled on oatmeal.
I try mixing the powder with my hazelnut paste about 2 parts hazelnut to one part mulberry (by volume, not weight). I form this into balls and let sit an hour or so before tasting.
They are not great; slightly fruity tasting, but not what I would call sweet. Definitely not something to bring to a cookie exchange if you want to be invited back. I retool them by kneading in more mulberry and also rolling the balls in mulberry powder. Even at around 50% mulberry by volume, they're still not really sweet though. Nothing like the ones made with dates. I think this recipe is not a good fit, because the mulberries need more moisture to let out the sweetness.
Sorry to hear about your weather woes, Jeff. It’s hard losing a crop you put a lot of work into. I have had my share of failures in my small space too. Twice I specially prepared asparagus beds following instructions in gardening book, only to have the plants die over winter, even though they are hardy enough for my zone. This year I got no cherries due to temperature extremes in the spring. My plums might as well just be ornamental. Between vine borers, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew I can’t harvest a single zucchini so stopped trying.
But…if you try a little something each year you may start to find some crops that do work for you. Or you may find some volunteer/wild plants that like your yard and those make a garden too. Or you may figure out that you just need to tweak you garden set-up a bit. Resiliency can be discovering through trial and error what will grow for you in your specific space, and taking finding a way to work with that.
It may take several seasons to work this out. You’ll have some failures, but also successes.