Monday, December 12, 2011

Persimmon Apple Chutney

My neighbor has shared her glut of persimmons with me.  I love eating them fresh, they are a variety called fuyu, but I have been given more than I can/want to eat before they get too mushy for me, I prefer crunchy ones.  Most persimmons are very sour/tart/astringent when crunchy/firm but Fuyu's are as sweet as candy.  I decided to make an Persimmon Apple Chutney. The recipe is below.  I like this chutney with curries, meat, fish, and some soups.  Enjoy

Persimmon Apple Chutney

12 firm fuyu persimmons
5 tart apples
2 quarts apple cider vinegar
2 14 oz can diced tomato (or fresh if available)
1 cup diced celery 
3 onions diced
3 large bell peppers
2 oz crystallized ginger
3cups sugar
2 tbsp salt

Core apples then dice everything fresh. Mince the ginger. Combine everything in a large pot and cook at a low boil for 1 hour. Fill sterilized hot jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal and let cool. Makes 12-15 pints.

Serve with roast, fish, lamb, or curry

Best dill pickle Recipe

This recipe turned out the best and crunchiest homemade dill pickles I have ever eaten, yes better than my grandma's. It worked the best for me with whole pickles and spears.  The sliced pickles have a good taste, but not the crunch of the others.  If you like dill pickles, dill beans, or dill cabbage then give this a try.

Dill Pickles/cabbage/beans
* 8 pounds of cucumbers (3- to 5-inch pickling cucumbers, may be sliced, spears or whole) [For dill cabbage use 4 small heads or 1-1 ½ large heads (6-8 pounds)]
* 1/2 cup salt
* 1 and 1/2 quarts vinegar
* 2 quarts water 
* fresh dill and/or dill seed (as needed) 
* 1 Tbsp garlic Powder
* 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
* 2 tbsp peppercorns
* 1 garlic clove per jar
* 1-3 grape leaves per jar (may be omitted but the pickles will be much crunchier with them)
Optional – 1 hot pepper per jar

1. Wash cucumbers. If using whole cucumbers, leave 1/4-inch of stem attached. (For dill cabbage remove the outer leaves and trim the stalk close to the head. Then cut the cabbage in eights leaving a little of the stem/core attached to each wedge)
2. Combine vinegar, 1/2 cup salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, onion powder, 2 quarts water, and 1 large head of dill seed. Heat to boiling.
3. Fill jars with cucumbers or cabbage.
4. Add 1 garlic clove, 1-3 grape or muscadine leaves, and 1-2 head/sprig fresh dill (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed or dill weed) per pint jar.
7. Cover with boiling pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Remove air bubbles by thrusting a plastic or wooden utensil up and down along inside wall of jars. Wipe jar rims. Apply lids hand tight.
8. Process in a boiling water bath (10 minutes for pints; 15 minutes for quarts). For cabbage process quarts in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
(makes 7-9 quarts)

Be sure to sterilize all jars prior to using, 10 minutes in boiling water will do the trick.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

No Right to Produce or Eat Food
This is a link to a blog I follow.  This is a scary court ruling from Wisconsin. Pleas follow the link for more than I have posted.

In scary legal news a Wisconsin judge had gone completely loopy declaring that citizens have no right to eat the foods of their own choice. Not only that but you don’t even have the right to produce your own food! Scared yet?
In response to a request from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the judge issued a clarification of his decision last week regarding his assessment of the constitutionality of food rights. The judge expanded on his original statement that such constitutional issues are “wholly without merit.”
He explained that the FTCLDF arguments were “extremely underdeveloped.” As an example, he said the plaintiffs’ use of the Roe v Wade abortion rights case as a precedent does “not explain why a woman’s right to have an abortion translates to a right to consume unpasteurized milk…This court is unwilling to declare that there is a fundamental right to consume the food of one’s choice without first being presented with significantly more developed arguments on both sides of the issue.” Gee, I thought they both had to do with the right to decide what to do with your own body.
As if to show how pissed he was at being questioned, he said his decision translates further that “no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;
“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;”
And in a kind of exclamation point, he added this to his list of no-nos: “no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice…”
You have to wonder if maybe even the regulators are getting a tad uncomfortable with the rulings coming from the nation’s judiciary on food rights. Many of these individuals, biased as they are against raw milk, dabble in farming to some extent, or grew up on farms. This judge has gone way beyond what many of them have come to assume–that everyone has the right to own a cow and consume its milk Even in places that ban raw milk sales, there’s nearly always a provision in state law that anyone who owns a cow has the right to consume its milk.
It seems Judge Fiedler is saying it’s not a “fundamental right,” but rather a right granted us by the state.-The Complete Patient
The original judgement can be seen here. To quote from the main points:
1) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;
2) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;
3) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer;
4) no, the Zinniker Plaintiffs’ private contract does not fall outside the scope of the State’s police power;
5) no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume foods of their choice;
In other words: Put down that carrot and backup slowly. Anything you eat or grow can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have now entered the police state of 1984. Shut up.

Pomegranate Limeade

Pomegranate Limeade

1 Pomegranate
4 tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup sugar

Cut the Pomegranate in half and remove the seeds.  If you turn the skin inside out most of the seeds will fall out.  Put the seeds into the blender with a little water and run it on low for a few seconds, till most of the juice is released.  Put a fine strainer over a 1/2 gallon pitcher and pour the seeds and pulp into the strainer.  Press the seeds into the strainer with a spatula or the back of a spoon till the juice is extracted.  Add the sugar and lime juice, and then fill the pitcher with water.  Chill and enjoy.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Prickly Pear Limeade

Thursday we went to a farmers market in Atlanta and bought a bunch of veggies.  The prices were right so I bought several to experiment with. One of the things I bought was Prickly Pears.  It is the fruit of the Nopale cactus which also has edible leaves too.  I bought one green (unripe) and one red/purple (ripe) pear.  Once I googled how to peal them and gave them a sample taste I had to decide how to prepare them.  The red pear was sweet and the green one reminded me of sweet peppers.  Taking a bite of the center revealed a lot of hard seeds (which are edible), so I pureed both together to use the juice.  Once pureed the juice was red and reminiscent of kiwi in flavor.  So after trying to come up with the best way to use this juice I decided on lemonade, and then changed my mind to limeade since we were having a slight mexican theme to dinner.  I put the Prickly Pear juice into a 1/2 gallon pitcher, then to sweeten I used some light syrup leftover from canning pears.  I used 4-5 cups of the syrup, which is 3 parts water and 1 part sugar.  Then I added the juice of 3 limes.  After deciding the flavor was good I added enough water to fill the jug.  We drank it with dinner and it was excellent, but I forgot to take a picture.  After dinner I mixed the Prickly Pear Limeade with some tequila to make an excellent mixed drink that I served over ice.  I haven't come up with a name for the mixed drink yet, but if you have any suggestions let me know.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Visiting Granny

For those of you who wonder what happened to me, after having a baby we have had lots of guest so blogging was one of the first things to loose priority.  Right now we are visiting my wife's granny and when we get home I'll try to do a garden update.  I have been taking pictures even though I have not posted them.  I'll also have more pictures of Ruth.

I have been reading Perennial Vegetables and Edible Forest Gardens Volume I, both great reads. Perennial Vegetables is a great resource for any gardener/permaculture practitioner any where in north america, including Hawaii and Alaska, or any similar temperate climate.  Edible Forest Gardens Volume I, is a great read/text book/resource on who, what, when, where, why, and how of forest ecosystems and how to apply the knowledge to your personal forest garden.  Volume I is mainly dealing with the science and theory, and Volume II is how to use this to information it to your food forest.  I'll do a full review of both of these books when I get home.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Garden Bounty

Here are some pictures of what I picked today, the pumpkin and one of the acorn squash were from last week.  The tiles are 4"x4" for scale.  The things that look like small tomatillos in the last picture are ground cherries.  The melon in front of the pumpkin is a charentais.  There are golden wax beans, Asparagus beans, green beans, and black eye peas starting at the top left and going counter clockwise.

Garden Update 7-1-11 ** Vines everywhere

It has been about a month since my last garden update. Now all 5 varieties of beans are producing, I have been harvesting corn for a week, I'm getting about 5-10 pounds of tomatoes per week, My cucumbers are producing 8-10 pounds per week, not counting the Armenian Snake melons that taste like cucumbers.  I have also harvested a couple of Charentais melons.

My melon bed has doubled in size because of the vigor of the vines.  The squash vines are still producing, My tomato vines range from 4' tall for the short one to 8'  tall for the tall one.  My cucumber vines are maxed out on their trellis and still trying to climb. My grape vines are finally starting to catch up and grow vigorously.