We are using paper egg cartons to hold the dirt and we set these on trays to protect the shelf or table surface.
In addition to sprouting peas, we are sprouting other seeds, including beets/Swiss chard and beans. Peas are still our preferred sprout, but the others give a variety of flavors.
We have a multishelf in a sunny window.
After our first harvest, we let the sprouts grow a 2nd time. Some resprout. Others weren’t harvested the first time and are the 2nd time. After the 2nd harvest, the whole container is composted.
The Farmer plans his summer pea bed for at least 2 fifty-foot rows. One row will be for us to eat as a raw or cooked veggie. The other will go to seed. He will save some of the seed to plant the next summer and will save most of it for us to sprout in the winter. Gray Dwarf is the current variety we are sprouting.
3-4poundbeef chuck roast or arm roast - whatever will fit in the crockpot
2tbspoil, butter or available fat
3largeonions, peeled and sliced into half moons
Or other veggies to equal about 3 cups - could include onions, mushrooms, celery, garlic
2cupschicken broth or available broth
1tbspmustard - whichever variety is available
1tbspvinegar - whichever variety is available
Salt and/or pepper, opt.
Set a large Dutch oven or heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Sear both sides of roast until golden-brown, about 10 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to a 6-quart crockpot.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and/or other vegetables and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Pour in a few tablespoons of chicken broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the onions and pan juices into the bowl of the slow cooker.
In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining chicken broth, mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour the liquid mixture over the roast. Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the meat falls apart and is meltingly tender, about 8 hours. If you only have 6 hours, you can do this 3 hours on high and 3 hours on low and it will still turn out fine. If you only have 2 hours, see Dutch oven directions below.
Transfer the roast to a serving bowl or platter and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut the roast into chunks or shred the meat and add back to the liquid. Serve over rice, potatoes, or bread.
Bacon - Before searing the meat, replace the fat with 4-5 slices of diced bacon. Cook it until some fat starts rendering and it begins to turn golden-brown. Push the bacon to the sides and add the beef and sear it.
Gravy - Pour the cooking liquid into large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the gravy is reduced to desired thickness. OR Once the sauce boils add flour dissolved in water (1/2 cup water with 1/4 flour dissolved in it) and stir until it is thickened. Return gravy to crockpot and add chopped meat.
Dutch oven - (Not tested yet, but I like the idea!) Prepare the meat for the pot roast in the bottom of a Dutch oven, then place all the ingredients on top of the seared roast. Cover and bring to boil. Then either simmer over very low heat OR cook in a 325°F oven until the pot roast is tender. Cooking time will be reduced, so begin checking the roast after about 2 hours.
3-4lb.chicken, or one that will fit in the closed pot.
Olive oil, butter or other fat
½a stick of cinnamon
1tbspdried sage or a good handful of fresh sage
10clovesof garlic, unpeeled
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Fry the chicken in a snug-fitting pot with a little oil, butter, or fat until golden, turning the chicken as best you can to get an even color all over.
Remove from the heat and put the chicken on a plate. You'll be left with fryings at the bottom of the pan which may give you a lovely caramel flavor later on.
Put the milk in the pan and mix with the fryings on the bottom of the pan. Add the cinnamon stick, sage leaves, lemon juice, unpeeled garlic cloves and stir. Put your chicken breast-side down back in the pot.
Cover and cook in the hot oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until cooked through. The lemon juice will sort of curdle the milk, making a tasty sauce.
Take the chicken out of the pan and put on a plate. Let it rest.
To thicken the sauce in the pan, put the pan on the stove top and bring the sauce to a boil. Meanwhile, take 1/2 cup water and add 1/4 cup flour. Stir until it is mostly smooth. Once the sauce is (close to) boiling, add the flour and water mixture, stirring all the time. When it thickens, turn off the heat.
Divide the chicken as you normally would. Put it on the plates. Spoon the white gravy over the meat. Serve with rice or potatoes and put the gravy over them as well.
Last time we talked about bone broth. Specifically, we talked about using marrow bones to get a nice beefy broth good to drink or to use in smoothies or soups. But there are more bones out there than just marrow bones. Chicken, venison, pork, and goat are some of the ones available. All of these can be cooked together or by species in the crockpot for 36-48 hours and will produce a nice broth.
I tend to make my broths on the stove top and I do it for a shorter time period. Earlier this week we had chicken in milk. After we ate the chicken, I took all the bones, the carcass, the meat that was still on the bones and any skin and put it in a 4 quart pot. I filled it up with water to within 1 1/2 in. from the top. (If I can’t cover my bones with water, then I will use the 8 qt. stockpan.)
Then I put the lid on and brought it to a boil. Once it started to boil I turned it down to low and let it simmer for 3-4 hours. (I cook over gas and tend to have a hot stove top. If low doesn’t let you simmer the broth, then you need to turn the heat up a little so that it simmers.)
Then I turned it off to cool, so that I could handle it. And this time since I didn’t have time to handle it, I put it in the refrigerator so that it wouldn’t spoil.
When I pulled it out several days later, the broth had become soupy solid, a gelatin. As I wanted to use it and it is easier to get out of the container when it is a liquid, I heated it up again until it was not longer a solid. Then I added it to the soup pot, thinned it with some water and set my soup to boiling. I picked the bones over to get the rest of the meat off and set the meat aside for another meal for another day.
This method is a touch faster than the crockpot method. However, it doesn’t pull as many nutrients out as it could. But if the broth gets to the gelatinous stage, I consider it adequate. And the only way to tell if it is a gelatin is to cool it. In my experience 3 hours tends to be sufficient. Even if it doesn’t get gelatinous, I will still use it and won’t try to cook it down longer.
Once I make a broth I like to use it or freeze it. All broths can be used for all things. Chicken broth has the mildest flavor and is the most versatile. Beef broth or venison broth is good for vegetable soups. Pork broth or goat broth is good for bean soups. Smoked ham broth is good for bean soup or for split pea soup. All broths can be used for soups or as the liquid to cook rice or as liquid with veggies that you would put over rice.
If you purchase meat, look at it as being several meals, especially if it has bones. The meat proper is one meal, leftovers are for a second (or more) meal, and the broth is part of a third meal.
Last Spring, The Farmer used an incubator to turn some of the farm eggs into chickens. They were The Farmer’s little pet project throughout the year.
December found The Farmer enjoying fresh eggs while the hens were adjusting to their winter quarters.
One night late in December, when The Farmer went out to gather eggs, a hen was still in a nest box. She made it known by the cock of her head and the low screeches that she did not want to be disturbed. She had gone broody.
The next morning, though, she was out with the other hens, so The Farmer just took note…but, the hen acted the same way a couple days later.Continue reading “Winter Chicks”
Bone broth is mentioned a lot on health and natural food websites. What is it used for and how does one make it? I recently interviewed Griffin, a SU Ph.D student who loves to rock climb. He shared with me that he takes bone broth on his hikes to give him an energy boost. He finds that it can quickly heal collagen tears and can help maintain the tendons. If used regularly apart from hiking, it helps with gut health and helps the skin and hair with the nutrition that they need.
Cooking the bones with a splash of vinegar helps to get the collagen and marrow out of them. If you want minerals and vitamins, then you need to include some veggies and/or herbs in your broth as this is where the minerals and vitamins come from. 1
1splashvinegar, whatever variety you haveSplash is about 2-4 Tbsp.
1cupveggies - onions, celery, carrots, whatever you have available
1/2bunchherbs - whatever you have available and what you like
1shakesalt;1 tsp is good amount to start with
Pepper to taste
Water to cover, leave 1 inch head room
Put bones in 6 quart crockpot. Add veggies, herbs, salt, pepper and vinegar. Add water to cover leaving 1 inch head room.
Turn on low for 36 hours. You can start it on high for an hour or two to get it warmed up and then turn it down to low for the remainder of the time.
After 36 hours, if the water has steamed off, then add more water. Check flavor and add seasonings as desired. Continue cooking for 8 more hours.
Turn off and allow to cool some.
Take bones out of broth. If there is any meat on them or marrow in them, remove it, cut it up, and add it back to the broth.
Pour the broth into containers. Glass containers will store in the refrigerator, plastic in the freezer. Let the broth cool in the refrigerator. Once it has gelled, take the fat off the top and use it to cook food in or to add to dishes for flavor.
Label and freeze.
Make sure you leave 1 inch of head space when you add the water. If you don’t, you will end up with a layer of fat on the counter.
I like the glass containers in principle. However, a plastic container is easier to get the fat out of. If you let the broth cool until the fat is solid, then you can gently squeeze the container which lets the fat pull away from the sides. You can then lift this up and out and put it in another container to use on bread or as the fat for sauteing veggies.
The broth can be the base for soups, can be added to stir-fries, or can be part of a daily drink. Because it is concentrated, you will want to dilute it. In soups or stir-fries you could use it for up to 1/2 of the liquid. For a drink it could be up to 1/8 or 1/4 of the liquid. It will have a slightly salty, meaty taste, although depending on the other ingredients, that could be masked.
This broth is tasty. It is easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of attention. It will take up the space and use of the crockpot, so you need to plan around that. But this works well.
This would be the point where I should say – Do you want to try this? Contact me to get your bones today! – but unfortunately, my marrow bones are sold out for this year. Next time I will share my personal bone broth method. It doesn’t extract as much collagen as this recipe would, but it works well enough for me. Stay tuned.
Congratulations to Sara L. on winning our 2018 Local Food Challenge. During the winter and spring she and others regularly commented on the food challenge for that month. Yesterday, her name was drawn and she won a $50 gift certificate to the farm. Congratulations, Sara!
It is time to send the pigs to the butcher. We purchased these pigs from another small family farm and have raised these pigs out of doors and fed them non-GMO grain, milk and cultured milk from our cow and day-old produce from a local grocery store and from our garden. They have been allowed to root and act like pigs. The plan is to use the location where they were as the start of a garden bed. They have done the tilling and fertilizing, we will do the planting and growing.
We have several sides available as halves or quarters. 1/4 side would take up about half the freezer over a refrigerator. We sell pork in bulk for $200 / quarter + processing costs (last time it was about $80/quarter). The total would be around $280, depending how much smoked meat and sausage you get. Assuming you leave most of the bones in, it would be about 35-40 lb. of meat. If you contact me by Monday, January 7, you can choose how you would like to have your pork cut up and what (if anything) you would like to have smoked or put into sausage. Payment can be made in late January when you pick up the meat.
In February we will again have pork available by the cut – $6 / lb. for unsmoked meat, $7 / lb for smoked meat and sausage. If you have cuts that you would like me to request from the butcher, please email me about that.
In early January we make our main plan for what we will grow in the coming summer. We tweak this until finally we plant things. Part of January’s plan is placing the seed order. We primarily use Fedco Seeds, because we like their small farm sympathies and because we get a significant discount with the group that we are part of.
Here is how YOU can help us: What have we grown that you have enjoyed? What would you like us to grow? Think about greens, root veggies, pumpkins, squash, herbs, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and flowers; in short, any vegetable, herb, or flower that might grow in this region. We make no promises that we will be able to grow it, but we will seriously consider it. Email to let me know.
Here is how WE can help you: You can place your own order with our group for seeds, potatoes and exotics, and growers supplies. Seeds tend to have 15% discount, potatoes and supplies 5-10% discount. Shipping is free for seeds, but will be spread out over the group for the potatoes and supplies. Email me your interest, so that I can let you know how to be part of the group.