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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jerusalem Artichokes

I think it was two or three years ago that we planted just three Jerusalem Artichoke roots in a a bed in the yard.  Three small roots at that, didn't know if any of them would grow at all.  This was after a friend and I split a crate of Jerusalem Artichokes and I really enjoyed the flavor.  So Jackson and I decided to try planting our own.  I mean the worst thing that could happen is they didn't grow right?!

Well they have taken off.  We have left them alone for all this time so the bed can establish, now we have approximately a 6 foot by 10 foot bed. 

These are beautiful in summer with bright yellow blossoms, looks like a bed of small sunflowers.  But with all my garden vegetables now coming out of the freezer, I was craving something fresh from the garden, and eager to get my hands in the soil.  Our mild winters are perfect for that.  So Jackson and I headed out to the Jerusalem Artichoke bed and dug some up.  Here is a picture of them fresh out of the garden.

The skins on these goodies are so thin that I just washed them off and sliced them up.  Added them to an oven safe dish with a little plain soy milk, about 6 ounces of goat cheese crumbled, a little salt and pepper.  Mixed it all up and put it in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until tender. 

They have the texture of potatoes, but a sweeter flavor (although I have read that these are sweeter in the winter so they might be less so in summer...more like a potato), and much thinner skin.  It was delicious. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Green

Winter seems like a time when everything green from my garden is coming out of my freezer.  We do have some collard greens in the garden and they lasted well into December.  But now everything is frozen and snow covered.  So this is when I get out my sprouts.  I enjoy sprouts in salads, in stir fries, and I want to try bread for the boys using some sprouts.  It is a treat, so I save my sprouting for winter.  Here is a picture of some of my mung bean sprouts.  I love mung bean sprouts as they are crisp, and sprout in only a couple of days.
You can see the lid I use on the canning jar, it has mesh in the top, I picked it up some place for like $1.  But I recently saw a picture where someone used some of the plastic canvas you can get at walmart in the craft section, it was cut to size to fit into the round canning jar lid (minus the lid insert).  You could get many jars for $1 that way, so I am eager to try that out and sprout a few things at the same time. 

They are just so nice and green, and crispy and I even have a few left sitting in my fridge.  In the jar right now are some alfalfa seeds, sprouting, those take a bit longer. 

To sprout I just add a couple of tablespoons of seeds to the jar, add the special lid, and soak overnight.  Then rinse the next morning and shake out all the water.  That is the benefit of the mesh lid, you just fill the jar, shake it around a little bit and drain.  Every time I walk by my sink I rinse and drain the seeds.  In a couple of days you have mung bean sprouts. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seems Like Forever

...since I have blogged on here.  My energy dwindles once harvesting is over.  It is work work work toward the end, cooking, freezing, harvesting, cooking, freezing.....you get the picture.  Then it is done and I am tired.  We did get all the leaves from fall up into the garden, they are decomposing nicely as we speak, and in a month of two we will start hauling composted manure from a friends horse barn up into the garden, till everything in and start all over again.  :-)  By then I will be itching to get my hands and bare feet into the soil.

What I wanted to share today was my kombucha scoby.  It is just too beautiful.  I have been fermenting kombucha for myself for maybe a year now, love it, and love experimenting with different teas to see what flavors I come up with. 

I did have a couple of 1 gallon jugs that I was using and one of them was my scoby reserve.  That is what I called it anyway, it was FULL of scoby, solid.  So a month ago I decided to break that up and see what I can do with it.  I bought a nice 2 gallon jug and put about 6 inches of scoby in that one with some nice green tea and a bit of a fruit/green tea mixture.  I left a few inches of scoby in one of my gallon jars.  I flushed a couple of inches into the septic system, and the rest I put into my other gallon jar with some tea to save for friends.  I have had a couple of friends want to try fermenting kombucha.

So this past weekend I "harvested", is that what you call it?,  the tea (and it is so yummy!).  The scoby that was growing on the top of my 2 gallon jug was just so pretty, so I took a picture.  In the picture you can see the scoby that are underneath, they sort of turned sideways.  Those are from the gallon jug so you can see just how much is in there, and believe it or not that was only part of that giant colony.  And the new scoby is on the top and "fits" the 2 gallon container.  Isn't it so nice and white and pretty.  

So today is scoby sharing day.  I am bringing the gallon jar that has about 8 inches of scoby in it with me to our Homeschool Art Day, and anyone that wants some can have it.  I can share how I ferment kombucha and just how easy it is.  Any that is left I will bring home and that will give me two gallon jars plus my big 2 gallon jar.  It just grows so fast and I feel bad about "throwing" scoby away, so it either goes in our septic system or the compost bin, either way it is "used".