Friday, June 24, 2011

Seasonal eating and something weird going on with my blog

First of all I just want to say I'm having problems responding to my comments. It keeps directing me to the page to log in, which I do, then to the page to comment, then back to the log in. So I haven't been able to respond to my comments as of lately, but please keep them coming, as I love to hear from you all.

Seasonal eating is something I think pretty foreign to most people, but those of you that follow my blog probably get the jest of it pretty well. Living in the South does have a fairly long growing season and that makes it easier. I think that seasonality is something important to really learn for ourselves as well as to teach our children. My 5 year old can already tell you that if you are eating a fresh strawberry in December it is not from our state!
Eating in season is important for many reasons:
1) Quality of food
When you are eating something in season, it has grown to it's desired ripeness, under the conditions it was mean to grow under. Buying a local fresh peach in June provides , picked at it's ripeness provides better quality nutrients as well as taste. Most nutrients aren't even fully activated until the food is ripe. Thus when you pick a tomato 3 weeks before it is ripe, transport it 1500 miles to the supermarket, the consumer really isn't getting all the "promised" nutrients. Even vine ripened tomatoes from your garden start to lose some of it's nutrient value the moment that it is picked. That's why it makes my heart happy to see my girls picking tomatoes right from the vine and popping them in their mouth right their in the garden.
2)Environmental concerns
Going back to the tomato that was picked in Mexico, ( unless you live in a border town which we do not) it has to be transported. In a truck. Using lots of gas. Emitting lots of fumes.
There is something that strikes me very unnatural about our current food system and most of it stems from the transporting step. Even if a farm 1500 miles away can grow, pick and sell in bulk they still have lots of extra steps that you are in fact paying for. Someone has to pick that fruit or veggie for you. ( I won't go into labor concerns in this post, but that is a whole other consideration). They have to pack it, even if it's just in cardboard boxes, then they have to load it on a truck, then they have to drive it. Then someone has to load it into a warehouse, then load it back onto a truck to be distributed to the grocery store, ( again being driven) then it has to be unloaded at the store,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bread anyone?

We love our carbs around here. This morning we went to the garden and picked some fresh herbs ( rosemary, basil, dill, thyme) and also some peppers. There is not too much better than fresh bread with fresh herbs in it. I made this 2 lb loaf in my bread maker with plenty of herbs and a couple of diced pepper. So yummy! This will be great for sandwhiches, or just to eat with our meal. Sometimes I make one that has a ton of garlic, chives and grated parmasan also. It is very good and hearty, especially with soups.
I know that most people think of breads in the winter time, and we eat a ton of bread then, but I think bread is also great in the summer time also. I love using my oven all winter long, but with the heat of summer, the breadmaker is a nice fill in.

Friday, June 17, 2011

And it begins

Our summer garden always is our largest. It's a tad bit more difficult on me this year being 7 months pregnant and having heat in the 100s daily, but we are getting in all kinds of goodies.
We are getting squash, several varieties of peppers, a couple kinds of cucumbers and tons of herbs daily now. Also about every 3 days I have a nice mess of green beans to cook. My daughter couldn't resist the fresh corn , so we picked a few years for supper. They were great, but will be just perfect in about one more week.
We are still getting a few blueberries, but I'm afraid those will be finished in about another week. Last year we went to a local blueberry farm and picked several gallons and I hope to do that again this year. They plant successionally so they should still have blueberries for several more weeks. Best thing about blueberries? BLUEBERRY COBBLER!

Happy Homesteading everyone!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cabbage Casserole- Local too I might add!

I had to share this recipe, because as I started making it I realized it is all from local produce. It's a great meal, which I make a lot, I always make a huge pan and we eat it for several days. I just call it Cabbage Casserole, not sure what it is called for real, but I just kind of make it up as I go.

A huge head of cabbage from our garden is cut up into small peices. I layer about 3 cups in the bottom of a casserole dish.

While that is happening I brown up a pound of ground deer meat ( which we processed ourselves, from a deer taken about 3 miles away), and add 2 green onions chopped from our garden.
Once everything is brown, I add a jar of tomatoes that I canned from our garden last year.
I then add 1.5 cups of long grain organic brown rice. Our state grows a TON of rice. Not only are there huge farms that grow rice that exports all over the world, but we have several smaller farmers that grow rice on a smaller scale and grow it organically. I bought this rice at the farmers market in bulk, from a farm about 25 miles from our house.

Then you stir it all together. You put half of the mixture onto your cabbage, then put another layer of the cabbage and finish up by spreading the other half of the mixture on top.

Then you put it in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes ( I'm not sure on the time, so just check it). I then add shredded cheese to the top and put it back in the oven for about 10 minutes to let it melt. The cheese is from a local dairy farm that I buy in 1 pound blocks, then use a grater to shred. I've been buying cheese from them for as long as I can remember. We bought cheese from them when I was a girl. They are about 30 miles down the road, and I buy it from the farmers market.
The finished product looks like this...

Delicious, cheap and will last several meals. My husband and I normally put hot sauce on ours, and sometimes I put fresh jalepenos on about half ( the girls don't like the jalepenos) but this pregnancy isn't liking hot sauce tonight, so my husband had to enjoy the spiciness solo, but I do recommend a little hot sauce on it.
Pretty local too I might say......

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gardening Update

Summer is here, our thermometer read 102 on Friday, with a very high humidity. Being almost 6 months pregnant now, I'm feeling it more than normal. The key it to get out very early in the morning, when the heat is standable, and then very late in the evening, when the sun is going down. But anyways, here are a few updates from around our house.
You may not can tell too well, but here are a few stacks of wood that my husband and brother cut recently. The storms blew down a ton of large trees around our place, but the good news is that now we have enough wood for the winter.

Here is a picture of our well. There is a pulley system from the top, and the bucket can be raised from there. There is a lock on it, with a key hidden , just for safety precaution since we do have young children. Let me tell you , it has the coldest water I have ever tasted. So delicious.It has been here for about 90 years, and even though I'm no where near that old, I've been told that it's only been dry twice.
Our corn is growing nicely. We should certainly have some coming off by the fourth of July. I can almost taste how yummy it will be.
Our lovely grape vine. This produces some very sweet, seedless grapes. Our yield from this has been slowly increasing the last several years, and I'm hoping for the trend to continue.
This though is my pride and joy. I'm kind of taking the picture funny, at the end of the arbor, kind of underneath, but these are my muscadines. This is a grape like variety that grows well in the south. They do have a seed in them, but the girls never seem to care, they just pop them in their mouths, then spit out the seed. It makes delicious jelly and juice. I save some of the juice to freeze for smoothies, as well as just to drink like you would drink grape juice. These have just produced so, so well. Plus I think they are pretty beautiful.
Yes those are green beans that you spy! It won't be long until I can pick a nice mess for supper. It seems that no matter how many I plant, I never have many left over for canning. We eat these things as fast as they can get into the kitchen. I normally have enough for maybe a few pints, then the rest I put in our vegetable soup, the rest is just pure goodness we eat the same day they are picked.
Maybe I'll do a part 2 later this week to show you my tomatoes, peppers, herbs, squash, etc. This post is getting fairly long, and I don't want anyone to go to sleep here on me. Summer is here, it's hot, but the garden is growing great and we are getting to sample the goodies that lay ahead. Happy Homesteading all....