Category Archives: Preserving the harvest

Dehydrating veggies

DRYING ZUCCHINI

Yellow zucchini ready for dehydrating.

Yellow zucchini ready for dehydrating.

A summer challenge for most gardeners is what to do with all that zucchini when it “comes on”; it’s like watching a marathon where most of the runners finish together, rather than spaced out in an orderly fashion that one can deal with.

sliced zucsIMGP3037

My solution is to pick the vegetable small (up to 8 inches) and often (once a day, ideally, especially if it rains). Then it’s matter of slicing—

Then laying them out on your drying rack (the photo shows undried zucchini slices on the left, and dried on the right):

Zucchinis, before and after dehydrating.

Zucchinis, before and after dehydrating.

I use an Excalibur dehydrator in my garage, but even though it has a capacious 9 shelves, I often need more, so I have two other older models (5 tray) as well.

My Excalibur dehydrating machine set to go to work!

My Excalibur dehydrating machine set to go to work!

I set the timer to 4 hours usually, but often check earlier than that. It’s tempting to stop the process when the vegetable is pliable and ‘chewy’ but I’ve learnt, from having to abandon some mouldy packets, that crisp is best, and safest.

I usually fill ziplock bags with the dried product, press out extra air as I seal them, and keep them in a tote, in the dark.

However, some of them I am so proud of, and so enjoy looking at the varied shapes and colours, that I keep them in jars on my kitchen bench. You really shouldn’t, since sunlight advances oxidation, but don’t they look great?

I like having my dried veggies on hand in the kitchen; they're part of my Fast, Slow Food pantry.

I like having my dried veggies on hand in the kitchen; they're part of my Fast, Slow Food pantry.

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Filed under Food preservation, Preserving the harvest, Uncategorized

Special features

Conversation with the writer/director of ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’

My ‘David Suzuki Digs My Garden’ audition video is–hallelujah–in the can. I would like to thank my cast and crew who worked tirelessly to get this done: David, Nick, Pavarotti, Elvis, Tui, Gordon, Malcolm, Fatty-Fat, Shiraz, Sundown, Coco, The Girls, and Martha. If I have missed anyone just tell me at next feeding time and I’ll add you to the list. Most of all I’d like to thank my ‘Best Boy’, Ahmed, who ransacked Vancouver in order that my production values were top notch, and my ‘Sound Engineer’, Buddy Thatcher. Thankfully, I saved on money by doing the location scouting, casting, catering, writing and directing myself, and the fact that the actors were willing to work for not quite peanuts–but close–helped keep us within budget. It was a very happy set except whenever I mentioned the word pesticide.

Although this was my first feature film, I found the whole experience so creatively stimulating, that I’m thinking of expanding into more short films to document my life and work here. I have spent this past year writing words and am now intrigued to write scripts and story-boards for this visual medium.

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Filed under Animal issues, Educational, Ethical farming, Goats, Horses, Just for fun, Preserving the harvest, Sustainable Farming, Vegetable gardening

Fresh mozzarella cheese

Origins of Mozzarella

According to the historian Monsignor Alicandri, Mozzarella cheese was first made in the 12th century by the monks of San Lorenzo di Capua in Italy. Originally, it was made with sheeps milk, but in the 16th century water buffaloes were introduced to Italy and the cheese makers soon discovered that the animals’ milk was rich enough to make cheese with. Henceforth the making the mozzarella from water buffalo milk was the norm and the tradition began.

Making young cheese

NOTE: When making ‘young’ cheeses, it is recommended to use pasteurized milk. If you have access to raw milk, then step one should be to pasteurize it.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice

1 gallon pasteurized milk

1/8 tsp liquid rennet, diluted in 1/4 cup of cool, unchlorinated water

1 tbsp cheese salt (salt without iodine, I use canning salt)

Directions:

1. Add the lemon juice to the milk and mix thoroughly.

2. Heat the milk over a low flame on the stove-top until it reaches 88 F. (The milk should start to curdle. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon of lemon juice.)

3. Stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion. Continue heating the milk until it reaches 105 F. Turn off the heat and let the curd set until you get a clean break. This will only take about 6-5 minutes. At this stage, the curds will look like thick yogurt.

The clabbered mozzarella will hold the spoon up; it is thick like yogurt.

The clabbered mozzarella will hold the spoon up; it is thick like yogurt.

4. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and place into a microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently and pour off as much when as possible being careful to save the whey (then make bread using the whey as the liquid, or feed to the chickens–they love whey!).

5. Microwave the curds in HIGH for 1 minute. Drain the whey and quickly work the cheese like bread dough. You can wear rubber gloves if you wish as the cheese will be quite hot to touch.

6. Microwave the cheese twice more for 35 seconds each. Again work the cheese into a ball draining the excess whey each time.

8. Knew quickly like bread dough until it is smooth, sprinkling with salt as you work. When the cheese is smooth it is ready to eat.

My first ever mozzarella cheese.

My first ever mozzarella cheese.

At this stage it is bocconcini and quite unlike the mass produced mozzarella of the grocery store. Hence, I use it right away. It is traditionally use on pizza Napoletana, though I found it doesn’t melt the way mass produced mozza does (this of course could be something I’m not doing quit correctly and you may have a different experience as so much about cheese making is precision related). However, instead of using it on pizza, my favourite thing to do with it is slice it thinly and layer it between slices of tomato. Then drizzle pesto sauce over top, sprinkle some toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread or plain crackers. YUM. If you have pesto on hand, it is a quick and easy–yet elegant–appetizer.

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Filed under cheese making, Educational, How to..., Preserving the harvest, Recipes

Ricotta cheese

There is simply nothing like home made Ricotta cheese. There are so many things you can do with it: eat it from a spoon, put it in lasagna, stuff cannelloni, piggies in blankets, make bread with it, and so on.  I have even found a flavourful ricotta doughnut recipe. The list is long and distinguished and every  growing thanks to inventive minds. It is easy-peasy to make and provides and almost instant treat when complete. My favourite thing to do with it is eat it like the Greeks do: with strong espresso coffee and a drizzle of honey–it is simply divine!

Here’s how:

Two gallons of milk heating on stove.

Two gallons of milk heating on stove.

Put a gallon of milk (fresh from the cow if you have access, but store-bought will work) in a large pot.

Heat until the milk reaches 200 degrees F, do not let it boil (it will be very close to boiling as it approaches this temperature).

Having added the lemon juice, the curds begin to form immediately.

Having added the lemon juice, the curds begin to form immediately.

Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar (apple cider or white, both work fine) and stir gently for two minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for 10 minutes while the milk curdles into cheese (what will be in the pot is actually Little Miss Muffet’s curds and whey).

Gently remove curds from pot and place in strainer or jelly bag.
Gently remove curds from pot and place in strainer or jelly bag.

Strain through a jelly bag or cheese cloth catching all the curds. Save the whey and make bread, muffins, or pancakes with it. I always use it to make Italian Whey bread–it is fantastic bread!

Ricotta curds hanging in jelly bag draining out the whey.
Ricotta curds hanging in jelly bag draining out the whey.

Let it strain until it stops dripping, about a half an hour. I tie an elastic band around the jelly bag and hook it over a cupboard handle. While not high-tech, it works! Viola, you have ‘cottage industry’ or ‘artisan made’ ricotta cheese.

Whenever I make ricotta, I reward myself with the special Greek treat: Spoon some in to a bowl immediately and pour a couple of tablespoons of strong espresso coffee over it, drizzle over some honey and sprinkle cinnamon and enjoy!

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Pressure canning meat and poultry

This post is at special request of Jo at Little Ffarm Dairy.

Chicken canned and ready for storage and winter use in soups, stews, and my favourite, curries!

Chicken canned and ready for storage and winter use in soups, stews, and my favourite, curries!

This past week and weekend, I completed a marathon butchering fest. In total, I butchered 27 chickens, 2 ducks and 4 turkeys which may not sound like much, but when you are doing it solo and without the aid of any modern day technology, it is a feat, to say the least.

In the midst of it all I also canned 8 chickens, all the stewing beef from our butchered cow, and am presently in the process of cooking two more turkeys and will can them later today. Having taken in the half a cow, I now have no room left in my freezer, so can I must! Food preservation is a juggling act at all times here, as we do not have much room in our wee house and we don’t have any form of cold storage… yet.

The following information includes recipes and methods for SAFE canning of meat, game and poultry which I have collected over the past few years:

Pressure canning is the ONLY SAFE METHOD for canning meat and poultry

Home food preservation must be done with care, to protect the quality and safety of the food. Jars or cans containing low-acid foods–such as vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood–must always be processed under pressure, to prevent spoilage or food poisoning. The bacteria which cause botulism, a severe and potentially fatal from of food poisoning, are not killed by using the hot water bath canning process.

PRESSURE CANNING MEAT (Beef)

All meat should be handled carefully, should be correctly slaughtered, and canned promptly or kept under refrigeration until processed. Keep meat as cool as possible during preparation for canning, handle rapidly, and process meat as soon as it is packed. Most meats need only be wiped with a damp cloth, though I make a habit of rinsing it in cold water (but that is just personal preference).

Use lean meat for canning: remove most of the fat, cut off gristle and remove large bones, and cut into pieces in a convenient size for canning. Pack hot meat loosely, leaving 1-inch head-space in Mason jars.

Prepare broth for filling jars: place bony pieces in saucepan, cover with cold water, and simmer until meat is tender. Cool liquid and discard the layer of fat that hardens on the surface. Bring liquid to a boil and use it to pack into jars packed with precooked meat (and poultry).

NOTE: Meat should not be browned with flour nor should flour be used in the broth to make gravy for pouring over the packed meat as the starch in the flour makes the sterilization process very difficult, and so this is not recommended for home canners. (Best leave this to Chef Boyardee and Heinz.)

Meats may be processed with or without salt. If salt is desired, use only pure canning or pickling salt (table salt contains a filler which may cause cloudiness in bottom of jar). I use 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint, 1 teaspoon to each quart. More or less salt may be added to suit individual taste.

Follow step-by-step directions for your pressure canner. Process meats according to the following recipes.

When canning food in regions less than 2,000 feet altitude (dial gauge canner) or 1,000 feet altitude (weighted gauge canner), process according to specific recipe. When canning food in regions above 2,000 feet altitude (dial gauge canner) or 1,000 feet altitude (weighted gauge canner), process according to the following chart.

ALTITUDE CHART FOR CANNING MEAT AND POULTRY

ALTITUDE DIAL GAUGE CANNER
Pints and Quarts
WEIGHTED GAUGE CANNER
Pints and Quarts
1,001 – 2,000 ft. 11 lbs. 15 lbs.
2,001 – 4,000 ft. 12 lbs. 15 lbs.
4,001 – 6,000 ft. 13 lbs. 15 lbs.
6,001 – 8,000 ft. 14 lbs. 15 lbs.

Processing time is the same at all altitudes.

PRESSURE CANNING GAME MEAT

Pressure canning is the ONLY SAFE METHOD for canning meat.

Follow step-by-step directions for your pressure canner. Process your game meat according to the following recipes.

CUT-UP MEAT (strips, cubes, or chunks) Bear, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal, and Venison
Remove excess fat. Soak strong-flavored wild meats for 1 hour in brine water containing 1 tablespoon of salt per quart of water. Rinse. Remove large bones and cut into desired pieces.

Raw Pack—Fill jars with raw meat pieces, leaving 1-inch head-space. DO NOT ADD LIQUID. Adjust jar lids.

Hot Pack—Precook meat until rare by broiling, boiling, or frying. Pack hot meat loosely in clean, hot Mason jars, leaving 1-inch head-space. Cover meat with boiling broth, water, or tomato juice (especially with wild game), leaving 1-inch head-space. Adjust jar lids.

Dial Gauge Canner—Process at 11 pounds pressure – Pints 75 minutes and Quarts 90 minutes. For processing above 2,000 feet altitude, see chart for recommended pounds of pressure.

Weighted Gauge Canner—Process at 10 pounds pressure – Pints 75 minutes and Quarts 90 minutes. For processing above 1,000 feet altitude, see chart  for recommended pounds of pressure.

PRESSURE CANNING POULTRY

Pressure canning is the ONLY SAFE METHOD for canning poultry.

Follow step-by-step directions for your pressure canner. Process poultry according to the following recipes.

CUT-UP POULTRY

Boil, steam, or bake poultry slowly to medium done. I tend to boil it and make the broth at the same time. If you have broth on hand you can precook in the concentrated broth for more flavor. Poultry is medium done when the pink color in the center is almost gone.

Cut poultry into serving size pieces and if desired, remove bones. I always debone the meat as it is my personal preference. I find it easier to use in recipes if it is done this way. Pack hot poultry loosely in clean, hot Mason jars, leaving 1 1/4-inch head-space.

Make broth from bones and bony pieces, neck, back, and wing tips and the gizzard, heart and liver if you have them. Pack hot meat in clean, hot Mason jars, leaving 1-inch head-space. Do not pack food tightly. Cover poultry with boiling broth or water, leaving 1 1/4-inch head-space. Adjust jar lids.

Poultry may be processed with or without salt. If salt is desired, use only pure canning or pickling salt. Table salt contains a filler which may cause cloudiness in bottom of jar. I use 1/2 teaspoon salt to each pint, 1 teaspoon to each quart.

Dial Gauge Canner—Process at 11 pounds pressure.
With Bone – Pints 65 minutes and Quarts 75 minutes.
Without Bone – Pints 75 minutes and Quarts 90 minutes.
For processing above 2,000 feet altitude, see above chart  for recommended pounds of pressure.

Weighted Gauge Canner—Process at 10 pounds pressure.
With Bone – Pints 65 minutes and Quarts for 75 minutes.
Without Bone – Pints 75 minutes and Quarts for 90 minutes.
For processing above 1,000 feet altitude, see above chart for recommended pounds of pressure.

RABBIT

Pressure canning is the ONLY SAFE METHOD for canning rabbit.

Follow step-by-step directions for your pressure canner. Process rabbit according to the following recipes.

Soak dressed rabbits 1 hour in water containing 1 tablespoon of salt per quart. Rinse and remove excess fat. Cut into serving size pieces. Boil, steam, or bake to medium done. Rabbit is medium done when pink color in center is almost gone. Pack hot rabbit loosely in clean, hot Mason jars, leaving 1 1/4-inch head-space. Cover rabbit with boiling broth or water leaving 1 1/4-inch head-space and adjust jar lids.

Dial Gauge Canner—Process at 11 pounds pressure.
With Bone – Pints 65 minutes and Quarts for 75 minutes.
Without Bone – Pints 75 minutes and Quarts for 90 minutes.
For processing above 2,000 feet altitude, see chart for recommended pounds of pressure.

Weighted Gauge Canner—Process at 10 pounds pressure.
With Bone – Pints 65 minutes and Quarts for 75 minutes.
Without Bone – Pints 75 minutes and Quarts for 90 minutes.
For processing above 1,000 feet altitude, see chart for recommended pounds of pressure.

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Filed under Chickens, Ducks, Food preservation, Goats, How to..., personal food sovereignty, Preserving the harvest, Turkeys

Butchering days are upon us

I’m back from the hunting, but now engrossed in my ‘down-sizing’. Going to butcher a few ducks, some of the turkeys and all of the roosters over the next few days. Will get back to more regular postings next week. Gotta go light the fire!

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Filed under Preserving the harvest, Turkeys

Howling Duck Ranch’s own peas, pea soup

Dried Alaska peas for seed and soup.

Dried Alaska peas for seed and soup.

This year, in the attempt to achieve ‘Personal Food Sovereignty’, I decided to experiment with some legumes. I grew (or rather, attempted to grow) the main legumes we like to eat in general, and generally eat often.

Thus, I attempted to grow the following with varying degrees of success: lentils, cannelli beans, black turtle beans, garbanzo beans, broad beans, pinto beans, soya beans, and adzuki beans.

Attempting to become sovereign in legumes turned out to be an extremely educational experience: an utter failure on the one hand and a completely enlightening experience on the other. Not only were most crops a definite failure, (several varieties  barely made their presence known in the garden thanks to their penchant for warmer climes), but also of those that tried to participate in the project–through sheer will and determination–didn’t go the distance. They simply didn’t make it to the dry shell out stage of maturation before the rotting rains of our fall pounded them into a pulpy mess.

Despite the miserable failures, there were several key learning points along the way: I learned the growth pattern of lentils and, thus, why I won’t attempt to grow them again–too small, too difficult to hand thresh,  too little food value return for the work involved. I also learned which ones I will try  again next year, for example, black beans, but not for its dried shell out possibilities but rather to eat at the green stage–they are extraordinarily yummy as a green bean.

Peas laid out on my kitchen table drying.

Peas laid out on my kitchen table drying.

I did  have great success with was my Alaska pea crop. Upon realizing that most of the legumes I was experimenting with were simply not going to amount to much, I summoned the peas and insisted they rise to the occasion. I was planning to let some go to seed anyway, and already had enlisted a few exceptional plants–marking them for seed saving purposes for next year’s crop.

I had not been able to find any information on the subject of letting the regular garden peas going to the dried stage for soup and dahl making purposes, but throwing caution to the wind I decided, ‘why not?’

Another reason I decided to let some of the regular fresh pea crop go to the dry shell out stage was that the food value relationship versus time must be better at the dry shell out stage. It occurred to me one day while harvesting the fresh Alaska peas for dinner, I was conscious of just how long it was taking to get enough for two for dinner–a long time! So, I rationalized, considering it takes just as much time to shell out fresh as it does the dried, but as a dry bean, the protein and carbohydrate value has increased significantly, why not  let these peas turn into legumes? They may not be the right pea for habitant pea soup, but in terms of local eating, food security, self-provisioning, etc., they would have to do!

Here is the recipe I developed for my own pea soup peas!

Howling Duck Ranch’s Own Peas, Pea Soup

3 tbsp Olive oil (but any oil will do, and if I had access to beef or pork tallow/lard, I would use that).

1 large onion

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced zucchini

3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

salt, to taste

fresh ground pepper, to taste

Herbs to taste: thyme, savory, sage, parsley, oregano

Spices to taste: allspice (if using, cut back on pepper)

3 cups dried peas (soaked in 6-8 cups of water for several hours)

More water as needed for cooking soup

Soup stock: ideally use boiled salt pork or a ham hock.

If you don’t have access to salt pork then substitute with one of the following: ham flavoured stock, or bouillon cube, or home made stock from pork bones (in a pinch, I have even cooked bacon and used the drippings as the stock base), you can also make it vegetarian if you wish.

Directions:

Caramelize the the veggies, cooking the onion first in oil, then carrot, garlic and zucchini. Add salt and pepper, and cook until veggies are soft. Add the soaked but drained peas, pour in enough water and stock to cover by an inch. bring to a boil. After bringing the peas to a steady boil, turn the heat off and cover for 10 minutes.

At this point, you can transfer the whole pot to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Alternatively, keep boiling the soup until the peas turn to mush. Add desired herbs and spices, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

This soup demands to be dipped and dredged, so serve it with good, hearty, home made bread.

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Notice: More details added to turkey butchering post.

I’ve added some more photos and more detailed description about certain parts of the procedure that I thought were missing from yesterday’s post on butchering turkeys. These additions should be helpful to those ‘not in the know’.

Butchering Turkeys, a photo documentary

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Filed under Animal issues, Chickens, Food Security, How to..., Preserving the harvest, Turkeys

Yeast wrangling 101

Several years ago, while still living in New Zealand, I wanted to learn more about bread. I went to the library and took out virtually every book they had on bread making and bread baking. There of course were several beautifully done books, and one that stands out in my mind to this day was called The Bread Builders. As I recall, it was exquisitely illustrated providing tantalizing glimpses of far away places, evoking succulent smells of baking breads and heady aromas of wood fired ovens.

The book that taught me the basics of yeast wrangling!

The book that taught me the basics of yeast wrangling!

While that book got my mouth watering, my eyes dancing and my imagination traveling, the book that intrigued me the most was called Classic Sourdoughs: A home bakers handbook, by Ed Wood. In this book, he skillfully describes the art of developing a true sourdough culture, how to feed it, ways of preserving it, and how to use it artfully. There are also a host of wonderful recipes to work your way through on your journey of becoming a bread builder.

Once you have caught your true sourdough, Wood explains, you need never go to the store to buy yeast again. Now that kind of knowledge is a cornerstone in the foundation of true independence–I had to try it.

Of course, while reading the chapter on how to acquire the yeast spores, my imagination got away from me. Instead of the benign creatures Wood described, I pictured something different. After all, the yeast spores I was to catch were not at all like the garden variety you picked up at any grocery store. No, these spores were wild, untamed, unruly.

The microscopic, but voracious, yeast spores my mind conjured up were riding tiny Mustang horses, sporting yellow sombreros a la Speedy Gonzalez, decked out in full gaucho gear, replete with chaps, hand-guns, and cross-their-hearts-ammo belts, galloped through the air, and indiscriminately shot  their guns off. Obviously, this sort of yeast wrangling was going to be a challenge. What I had to do  was figure out how to catch and tame them: lasso, tie down, corral, file steadily into a small bowl, and finally, break and train them to a level of finesse required to enter the culinary equivalent of Grand Prix Dressage.

The process is, sadly, much more sedate. No horse needed. In fact, it is shockingly simple: mix water and flour together in bowl, cover with gauze to protect from flies, set near open window, keep warm, feed often. Voila, a couple of weeks into this mild mannered process, you will have yourself a viable sourdough culture.

I tried it. Within days, I had a bubbling concoction that smelled exactly as you would expect a yeasty brew to smell: like yeast, with light undertones curiously reminiscent of a beer burp. The next step, of course, was to see if it actually raised bread. Wood warns the reader that it may take a few weeks, sometimes several months, of keeping the culture alive before it will make a good bread. In the meantime, he advises, use the part of the product that you pour off, when feeding the culture, to make pancakes and muffins. So I did. If you like sourdough pancakes, but have never caught a true sourdough culture, then you have never truly had sourdough pancakes–and thus you are missing out. The pancakes made from this culture were fantastic, possibly the tastiest I’d ever made.

It wasn’t long before I was brave enough to try making my first loaf of bread with my own sourdough culture. I started with a focaccia so that, I reasoned, in case it didn’t really rise well no one might notice! I needn’t have worried; it worked beautifully. The focaccia was gorgeous, the air pockets well formed and uneven, just like the  better bread from bakeries. I was immediately hooked and never looked back. Today, I scoff at the ‘regular’, store-bought yeast for bread making. Instead, I make everything with my own: a wide variety of breads both sweet and savoury, muffins, pancakes, even chocolate cakes!

This process is the only way to obtain a true sourdough culture, pure and simple. Unlike the more popular version of so called sourdough of present day, the kind that begins with store-bought yeast and adding sugar and vinegar or some such other phony brew, the true sourdough culture dates back through antiquity to ancient Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians were the first peoples to discover this technology, of how to leaven bread. Having studied this, and being a passionate collector of sourdoughs from around the world, Ed Wood founded Sourdoughs International, a company that collect, maintains and sells sourdough cultures from around the world.

He also wrote the above mentioned book, in which he chronicles many of his worldly travels, all in the name of true sourdough collecting. In 1993, Wood collaborated with Egyptologist, Dr. Mark Lehner, to determine how man made his first leavened bread in Egypt, a project supported by the National Geographic Society (National Geographic Magazine, January 1995).

After about a year of continual use of my own culture, I decided to contact Ed Wood from my home in Rotorua, New Zealand, and let him know how much I appreciated his book and how wonderful my culture was. He was intrigued enough to ask me to send him a sample, which he subsequently put through his testing kitchen. He was very happy with the results and said he was surprised at how well it performed; so he offered to buy it from me in exchange for the ability to sell it. ‘You’re not going to get rich off this,’ he laughed, and offered me a some-time-in-the-future commission ‘once some sales have been made’.

Several years later, I returned to Canada and was really glad to have made that ‘deposit’ with Ed at Sourdough International, because not only could I not bring my yeast back home to Canada, but also the yeast that I caught in Bella Coola was lazy. My New Zealand yeast was caught in the volcanic centre of the North Island, which was possibly a factor in its vigour–like Old Faithful, you could count on it to rise! However, with this Northern hemisphere variety I could not raise a decent loaf of bread to save my life. After about a year of unsuccessful Bella Coola yeast wrangling and frustrated bread making, I gave in and contacted Ed Wood again. He kindly sent me a package of my own yeast starter. It was amazing to have this resource–like having my own ‘ark’ or vault from which I could access my own heritage food!

To obtain the Rotorua Sourdough culture, see the following link

Rotorua Sourdough

To learn more about sourdough culture raising

Sourdough International

Classic Sourdough: A home bakers handbook

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Filed under Fermented foods, Food preservation, Food Security, Funny stories, How to..., personal food sovereignty, Preserving the harvest

High-tech yogurt

I am lucky enough to have access to local milk, but if you don’t, store-bought will work just fine for this recipe.

Ingredients:

One gallon of milk

1/2 cup live yogurt culture

1 cup skim milk powder (optional)

‘High-tech’ equipment needs:

Stainless steel pot (large enough to hold 1 gallon of milk)

Thermometer

4 clean quart jars for storage

Electric heating pad

2 bath towels

Directions:

Pasteurized milk ready for yogurt making.

Pasteurized milk ready for yogurt making.

Place cold milk in pot and, if using, stir in dry milk powder. Carefully heat milk to 195-200 F degrees. Do not boil! Stir gently and hold at temperature for 10 minutes.

Milk cooling in ice water bath.

Milk cooling in ice water bath.

Place the pot in cold water to cool milk rapidly. Once it is at 116 F degrees, remove pot from cold water.

Have four clean quart jars ready. Equally distribute the yogurt starter among the four jars. Gently pour about 1/2 cup of warm milk into each jar, stir well to blend the starter with the new milk. Pour remaining milk into the quart jars, leave 1/4 inch head space (the yogurt will not grow in volume).

Quart jars on towel on top of heating pad.

Quart jars on towel on top of heating pad.

Place the four jars on top of a heating pad set on low.

Prepared milk in quart jars wrapped in towel and set on low on heating pad.

Prepared milk in quart jars wrapped in towel and set on low on heating pad.

Wrap the jars well with two towels and forget about them until the morning.

The finished product!

The finished product!

In the morning, unwrap the jars from the towel and place yogurt in refridgerator. If the yogurt is not thick enough for your liking, decant the yogurt into a jelly bag or tightly woven sieve. Place it over a container that will catch the whey, and refridgerate. Let it drain for a half an hour up to several hours until desired thickness is achieved. If using the skim milk powder, you will automatically attain a thicker product.

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