Monday, November 7, 2011

Harvest Bounty's abundance

welcomed by Cameron, Kathy and Linda
Harvest Bounty was a wonderful afternoon attended by thirty or so of us eager to learn lost food-arts! Here's a few recaps by attendees.

Bonnie Rogers' Using Herbs in Oils, Vinegars and Honey
by Linda Herring

Bonnie shared enticing bits of her vast knowledge of common herbs and their many benefits and uses in our lives.  She discussed the simple techniques of combining herbs with organic olive oil, vinegar (mostly apple cider), or honey to create tasty, often medicinal concoctions. We were treated to tastes of a sage/mint elixir (for digestion), garlic/honey mix (for improved immunity), thyme oil (for bronchial clearing), chive vinegar, “fire cider” - a mix of onion, garlic, mustard, cayenne, horseradish and apple cider vinegar (build immune system) and many others. We made together a lemon balm/honey mix, rosemary/olive oil, and mugwort vinegar.

Nancy and Mark Mazur's  Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Putting Food Up For Winter 
by Kathy Dean

Nancy and Mark Mazur summarized everything you always wanted to know about putting food up for the winter. The couple started preserving food when they had too much produce from their backyard garden. Now they chose between canning, pickling, fermenting, drying and freezing. The seminar focused on fruits and vegetables. However they explained that some of the processes are applicable for meat. When learning to preserve food there are some initial modest costs, but once the basic equipment and material investments are made, food preservation is more about time and labor. Mark and Nancy emphasized that, regardless of the method used, it is most important to use fresh unblemished food prepared properly and that anything that comes in contact the food should be sterilized. The couple showed us various types of food preservation equipment and ended the session by sharing some of the foods they had preserved.

Margaret Van Ver Meeden's Make Your Own Jams and Jellies 
by Sharon Deep

What do we need?  Fruit, sugar, pectin (natural, around the seed of fruit, helps congeal) and little mason bell jars with lids and caps.
How do we do it?  Put fruit, sugar, and pectin in a pot and stir over medium heat until thickened.  When thickened, remover from stove.  Spoon into jars.  Put lids on.  And then screw on caps.  Whallah!  Jelly.
Be creative.  Play with sugar/fruit ratio.  Play with pectin (some of us wanted to try to boil just fruit for the natural pectin and the natural sugar.  Then use the boiled down supply in making a batch of jelly (using just some of what was boiled down as a substitute for using sugar and pectin).


Jody Stokhamer's Using Root Vegetables: For Juicing, Soups, Baking, and in Salad
by Linda Herring

Jody took us through a whirlwind cooking experience themed around root vegetables.  Within an hour and 10 minutes, she demonstrated how to make a delightful and very healthy beet juice drink, a pureed parsnip soup, carrot muffins, and confetti salad, a colorful mix of raw veggies.  Many healthful cooking hints were offered along with the recipes and of course, delicious samples.

Freidel Muller-Landau's Growing Your Own Mushrooms
by M.J. Wilson

 Freidel Muller-Landaus passion for the fruits of the forest floor was evident.  During his session, we learned mushrooms are biologically more like animals than plants, there are A LOT of different species of mushrooms and some mushrooms are VERY prolific.  He stressed it is important to respect this mysterious part of our web of life and ONLY eat mushrooms you are sure are safe. He showed us the materials he uses to grow oyster mushrooms in his backyard: oak log (best acquired in the spring where it has the maximum sap volume) and purchased fungi inoculated wood plugs. Freidel has been so successful in growing mushrooms he often has excess and he showed us various ways he stores them for future use with drying them being his preferred method.  Growing mushrooms is a great way to have your own supply of this highly desirable, commonly expensive to purchase, nutritious delicacy.

Cameron Kelly's Sprouts and Baby Greens: A Year Round Kitchen Garden
by Sharon Deep

What to sprout?  beans, alfalfa, broccoli, buckwheat.
Why to sprout?  So fresh, living; simple; cheap; delicious and nutritious.
How to sprout?  
  1. buy seeds from "Sproutman" on the web.    
  2. put 2 tablespoons of seeds in a quart mason bell jar, filled with water, overnight (just for the first night) 
  3. the next morning, put a piece of cheesecloth on top of jar, secured with a rubber  band, and tip over to drain water      
  4. leave turned over, on a slant, in a dish drainer
  5. from then on, for 2 to 3 times a day, fill jars with water and tip over to drain, leaving them on a slant in dish rack
  6. repeat until sprouted (it takes a few days).


Carol Permutter's  Beginner Canning and Preserving
by Kathy Dean

Carol walked us through the basics of canning jams and jellies.  She showed us the equipment, and then went through the process.  She emphasized cleanliness as a way to avoid bacteria. Her humorous style of teaching made the techniques easy to learn.

Lucia Maestro's Seed Saving: Getting a Jump on Next Year's Garden
by M.J. Wilson

Seeds. The miracle of a new plant in a packet, the ultimate in natures to go packaging. Lucia Maestro shared her vast knowledge of these containment units of life force with us in this workshop. We learned the fundamental biology of seeds - how they come to be and how to care for them.  Lucia talked of the different types of seeds and the specific requirements for harvesting them, processing them and storing them.  For example, tomato seeds are created in a wet environment and require different preparation processing than turnips, which develop in a pod that can dry out on the plant.  We learned there are different plants that are best grown from cuttings instead of seeds (potatoes), some plants need male and female plants in close proximity to produce viable seeds (spinach), some plants are wind pollinated and therefore very prone to genetic mixing (corn). Once dried, storing them in a clean, cool, dry maintains their maximum viability and durability. We were reminded that harvesting and storing seeds is a vital way to maintain the chain of life from season to season in our temperate climate and a way to know who we are by what we eat.




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