Sunday, June 28, 2009

Independance Day Update

1. Plant something – nothing

2. Harvest something – Lettuce for my sandwiches.

3. Preserve something – Drying green bell peppers from the farm market. I'll keep doing this, and dry a few quart bottles worth for the winter. Also dried yellow sweet bells from the supermarket, as there was a really good sale and I like these in my chili recipe.

4. Reduce waste – Regular saved fabric scraps & recycled.

5. Preparation and Storage – Bought a nice oil lamp for the kitchen table, to use as needed for non-electric light. Still learning how to use it.

6. Build Community Food Systems – Visited newest farmers market, bought flowers, meat, & veggies.

7. Eat the Food – Roasted fresh beets, lettuce, and we're trying a new recipe for Monday's dinner - slow-cooker cabbage rolls. ETA: the cabbage rolls are delicious, and are added to my recipe box.

8. Crafting – Sewed lunch bag, used cotton fabric & batting. Did a bit of work on the shorts I'm making, as well.

Dried foods

I've dried a few things for our pantry, for winter's use. Celery, carrots, mushrooms, and green pepper.

I dice the veggies, then dry them long enough to snap when bent (about 24 hours for me), and often toss them in soups that spend the day simmering in the slow-cooker for dinner. So much more can be done, but I'm still learning. This is the first year I've done much with it, and I'm enjoying it!
  • Shredded Carrots: 3 cups fresh = 1 cup dried (33%)
  • Diced Carrots: 2 cups fresh = 1/4 cup dried (25%)
  • Celery: 6 cups fresh = 1 cup dried (15%)
  • Green Pepper: 6 cups fresh = 1 cup dried (15%)
  • Mushrooms: 2 cups fresh, diced = 1/4 cup dried (25%)

Related links:

National Center for Home Food Preservation: Drying

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Agriculture: Drying Food

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Independence Day Challenge

This is my first post on this, as I hadn't heard about it until a couple of weeks ago. I'll try to keep up with it :)

Original Post: Casaubon's Book: Independence Days Challenge

Note: I added crafting to my list. For myself, it's part of my independence, that I can make some of the non-food items we need as well.

1. Plant something – Nothing. All the pots are full, except the one where I planted garlic and lettuce, and then nothing sprouted (think it’s too low to get enough sun)

2. Harvest something – Fresh salad greens for my daily sandwiches.

3. Preserve something – Nothing. I’ve been sewing. I do have items in the freezer to make into broth and can as soon as I have enough time.

4. Reduce waste – Saved sewing scraps to use for other projects. Regular recycling. Using fabric napkins – finally got entire family doing this (need to make more!). Scavenged a nice ‘iron’ corner shelf someone else tossed.

5. Preparation and Storage – Nothing this week.

6. Build Community Food Systems – Found just-opened farmer's market next door, talked with the organizer. Plan on asking about volunteering, as well as shopping there. Posted reviews on the 3 other local markets on LocalHarvest.

7. Eat the Food – Salad greens. Doing better in general about eating fresh veggies at dinner, which is something I’ve been working on for a while.

8. Crafting – Restarted fuzzy scarf. Cut fabric for shorts, purchased and washed cotton fabric for lunch bag & such. Purchased & washed muslin to use to create patterns from purchased favorite shirts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ideas: Eating Local

I'm trying to get as much local food as I can this year. To help, I've created my own list of local farms and farmers markets, within a 30-mile driving radius. That makes about a 2-hour drive, round trip - about the most I really want to do. The hundred-mile radius put me into 'full day trip' ranges - especially when I allowed for traffic!

The nearest farmers markets - there are 3 - are all about the same distance away, in different directions. I went to one the weekend of May 30th and another this past weekend. There was a wide variety there - jewelry, goat milk soap, herb plants, breads & canned goods, hand-blown glass, paintings and hand-painted items, fresh seafood, and pastured meats, in addition to the expected veggies. One is also next to a wonderful yarn shop, and I came home with food plus wool rovings to spin (Icelandic, Swalesdale, and Superfine Merino)and a bone crochet hook for my mother. I'll visit the last one this weekend.

If you'd like to do something like this for your area, here are some sites I found helpful:

100 Mile Diet: Local Eating for Global Change

Local Harvest: Farmers Markets, CSAs, Family Farms. Ordering online is available (fleeces, yarns, soap, baskets, honey, more!)

Pick Your Where to find Pick-Your-Own Fruit & Veggie Farms

Slow Food USA: Supporting Good, Clean, and Fair Food. Also supports heritage foods and livestock breeds.

Also, try searching on your state or town's name (or the names of towns near you) with "farmer market" and see what you find. I used Google maps to estimate travel times and distances to the markets.