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Everything posted by sparrowgrass

  1. No matter how artfully you sprinkle it, cornstarch doesn't taste as good as powdered sugar on french toast. My nephew will never let me live that down.
  2. The Ball Blue book is a great resource for the beginning canner. Another source of good info is the University Extension Service, probably located in your county seat. Do follow the directions to the letter, don't take any shortcuts or add extra ingredients. Acidity, sugar content and heat levels are all critical elements, and messing around can hurt ya!! The preceding message was brought to you by University of Missouri Outreach and Extension, the ultimate authority on most every damn thing, including canning. (We also know most everything about gardening, livestock, child rearing, small business development, agricultural engineering, septic tanks, community development . . . . )
  3. Whoo-hoo, I think I know how a gambler feels when those nickels start tumblin' into the tray!! Last spring, I hatched some chicks, and ended up, after owls and dogs, with 6 laying hens. Those girls began laying eggs, and for some reason, I decided if I was going to fool around with having chickens, I should get in deep, so I mail-ordered 25 more chicks, to add to my flock. A mixed batch, those chicks--pale yellow ones, leopard spotted ones, red ones, black ones with cream spots--and they have grown up multicultured, too. I have at least 5 different breeds. Well, I have been feeding the little pigs (I mean chickens) since August, and I have hit the Jackpot. Seventeen eggs this morning. I am fond of eggs, not just to eat, but esthetically. They are a lovely shape, perfect, rounded, comfortable in the hand, especially when that hand has been outside in the cold wind, and that egg is still warm from the hen. And the colors--all the way from milk chocolate to cafe au lait to rich cream--a couple dozen in a blue bowl on the counter, in the morning sun, is a poem. Crack a couple into butter bubbling in the cast iron skillet, toast some homemade bread--what finer way to start the morning? Anyhow, wish I could send you all a dozen.
  4. sparrowgrass

    Pickled eggs

    if you boiled them in 2 pans, you could put some food coloring in with one batch. How bout I mail you some brown ones I just got out of the henhouse this am, and you match them with your old eggs? Suppose I could just put a stamp on each egg?
  5. Suvir, you know my heart is with you. It is so hard to lose someone special, and there are really no words that help.
  6. sparrowgrass

    Pickled eggs

    Nickn, don't hardboil really fresh eggs--you will never get the shells off. Keep fresh eggs in the fridge for at least a week, and even then they will peel better if you leave them out overnight before you boil them. Has to do with air space between the membrane and the shell.
  7. Asparagus, fresh out of my own patch up here on Sparrowgrass Hill. (Sparrowgrass is an old English name for asparagus.) Breakfast, lunch and dinner during the season, then wait and want til spring comes again. Can't eat that stuff from the grocery store. Sweet corn, sweet peas, new potatoes. Tomatoes fresh off the vine, chunked up, mash a clove of garlic to a paste with a spoon of salt, add one glug of olive oil, two glugs of cider vinegar, stir it up, pour it on the maters, and let it sit for an hour. Ten weeks til sparrowgrass starts to pop up.
  8. Here ya go, all the fax, from http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/byname/toxi...like-toxins.htm (Short version--it depends.) Some mushrooms contain coprine (N5-1-hydroxycyclopropyl-L-glutamine), a protoxin without intrinsic toxicity. Coprine is metabolized to 1-aminocyclopropanol, which inhibits the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). ALDH catalyzes conversion of acetaldehyde to acetic acid. Inhibition of ALDH produces a clinical syndrome similar to disulfiram (Antabuse) alcohol reaction. Disulfiram also inhibits ALDH. Ethanol usually is metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenase to acetaldehyde, which is then metabolized by ALDH to acetate and carbon dioxide. After ingestion of coprine-containing mushrooms, ALDH is inhibited and consumption of ethanol results in acetaldehyde accumulation; this inhibition of ALDH takes at least 30 minutes, which is the time required to metabolize inactive coprine to active 1-aminocyclopropanol. Therefore, small volumes of ethanol ingested concomitantly with mushrooms may not cause toxicity. Enzyme inhibition generally persists for approximately 72 hours but may continue for 5 days. Remote use of ethanol may produce acetaldehyde toxicity days after mushroom ingestion.
  9. I have an uncle who grows shitakes on oak logs, here in SE Missouri. You can buy spawn for oysters, too. Many people are afraid of eating the fruits of the wild--'shrooms, berries, nuts, shoots and sprouts. I taught a class on wild edibles when I was a state parks naturalist in Indiana. It is great fun, as long as you are careful and do your homework first. Morel hunting was a rite of spring in Indiana--secret spots, people sneaking on to other people's property, dinners of fried morels. Morels are pretty much unmistakeable, so the only problem you have is the tummy ache from eating too many. Or if you drink alcohol while eating them--that can cause problems with some other types of mushrooms, too. Something in them that destroys the enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the body.
  10. There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are NO old, bold mushroom hunters. No, no, NO, do NOT eat mushrooms that pop up in your lawn. They might be ok , they might kill ya , or they might make you wish you were dead , and the risk is just not worth it. That said, I have several types of mushrooms I have learned to identify over the years, and I eat them regularly, but I am quite cautious. If you are interested in mushroom hunting, take a class or find someone who does it to take you out in the woods for a hunt. Learn about gills and pores and spore prints. Buy some books--I have at least 6. I bring home lots of mushrooms to identify, frequently identify something as being good to eat, but throw it away anyhow, just in case I am wrong. Oyster mushrooms grow on wood--dead or dying trees. They are white to grey color, have gills and smell faintly of licorice. This site has a picture http://www.econetwork.net/~wildmansteve/Mu...der/Oyster.html
  11. Hopleaf, I would go ahead and plant them, if you can still get the shovel in the ground. You already have the bulbs, right? What can you lose? Just a few minutes work. If you don't plant them in the ground, you could force them--plant in pots, put somewhere cold but not freezing (unheated garage, fridge) til the end of February, then bring indoors. Jess, if you like the taste of the garlic/shallots you have, you can plant it. I usually buy a pound or so of grocery store garlic and plant it in October. I didn't get it done this year--I decided to fall off the back steps and tear some ligaments instead. Bad choice. Not recommended.
  12. I make tons of Aunt Rosie's Peanut Brittle--really addictive, and easy, and not only frequently requested--absolutely demanded by some. I also hand out some dilly beans, pickled okra, and salsa, from my garden.
  13. Maggie, can't figure out how to pm you back--so I'll put it here: My bro and s-i-l just moved to Warrenville last year, i believe--they live quite near the high school, but i can't remember the street name. I grew up in Woodridge (we were one of the first families to buy a home in that subdivision in the early 60's) and then moved to Naperville. I am in se mo now, after 25 years of following the Evil One as he moved from job to job in the Forest Service, divorced for 2 years, happy in my new home. We are one of the approximately 27 families in theworld who enjoy our times together, so I shouldn't be too stressed out...but i might send my dad over . Too many kids and dogs running around for him. I have not composted my chicken manure yet--I have a very thick layer of straw in the hen house, which of course gets all poopy, but I scatter some grain around on the floor, and the hens mix it all up. Theoretically, the straw/manure will compost a bit in the house, and help warm it up some. It seems really dry and dusty, so I am not sure that is happening. In the spring, I will shovel it out, probably onto the part of the garden I will plant to corn.
  14. come on down and visit, maggie. Only about 10 hours drive from Chicago. Where I will be this weekend--Thanksgiving at my bro's house in Warrenville.
  15. I just moved into my house a year ago. I have planted 50 asparagus plants, (sparrowgrass is an old english name for asparagus), 3 peach trees, rhubarb, and hundreds of bulbs . Grapes are coming, as well as blueberries, and maybe some of those hardy kiwis. I have lots of wild blackberries that I didn't have time to pick this year, but next year--blackberry wine. (It's medicinal, ya know.) I have two acres, and next year I am going to plant lots of sweet corn, popcorn, more tomatoes and peppers, more beans and more potatoes. I am going to fence the garden, to keep the chickens in or out as needed. I have 27 hens and one happy rooster.
  16. Oh, the pie post was lovely. I would just add that the thing that always made me crazy was picking the crust up and getting it into the pan without tearing it or having it fall to pieces. If you very gently roll it up onto the rolling pin, you can lift it right over the pan and roll it right in.
  17. If you are putting your garden into a lawn area, you can try "solarizing" the space. Instead of using black plastic, use clear plastic, and stake or weight it down at the edges. It may be a too late for it to do much good this winter, but come springish weather, the ground under the plastic will warm, and the grass will be killed, either by heat, or by freezing temps at night. Ditto for weed seeds--they will come up, and then die. I just put a garden into sod, and grass has been a real headache. Raised beds sound great--use a good thick layer of newspapers in the bottom before you put your soil mix in to keep the grass out. I used newspapers to keep the weeds out of my asparagus, and under the mulch in the flower beds. Compost bins--use welded wire, not chicken wire. Chicken wire is light weight, looks like honeycomb shapes. Welded wire is heavier and will last much longer. I run my compostables thru chickens, so I am not a compost expert, but I do think chicken wire is too flimsy. Some way to stake your tomatoes is a must--I use cattle panels, which are either 12 or 16 feet long, heavier than welded wire but still somewhat flexible. 2 panels, set side by side about a foot apart, with the tomatoes planted in-between, will hold them up with little help from you. They can also be bent into an arch shape, and used for pole beans or gourds or cucumbers. They cost under $10 each, at the farm store, and don't forget to buy a couple metal fence posts to fasten each panel to. (Go out past the suburbs, to cow and pig country, to purchase these. And borrow a truck.) Be sure to plant potatoes, early as you can work the soil, and begin to dig them when the plants bloom. Those little new potatoes right out of the dirt taste like heaven--nothing at all like storage potatoes. Go to the University of Illinois Extension Service web site: http://www.extension.uiuc.edu/welcome.html And for gardens in other states, do a search--lots of good Extension info on line these days. Extension folks have the answers to lots of questions, they have agronomists and horticulturists on staff, and you can visit them in person, probably at your county courthouse. (If you lived in Missouri, you could come to the courthouse and visit me!!) And enjoy--nothing better than playing in the dirt in spring, unless it is eating the yummies you grow with your own hands.
  18. sparrowgrass

    herb plants

    Oxymoron. Oh, so right. I lived in Ely, Minnesota. Never could understand ice fishing. Or snowshoeing. Or skiing. And some people even built snow caves and SLEPT OUTDOORS!!! Something seriously wrong there. Missouri is paradise.
  19. Pearl Lite--mid 70's, in Carbondale, Illinois. A quarter a piece at PK's. Yucko, but cheap.
  20. sparrowgrass

    herb plants

    Most varieties of thyme and sage winter over here--90 miles south of St. Louis. Rosemary has to come indoors, where it promptly dies for me. I don't know about marjoram, but oregano is quite hardy. Usually the little plastic markers that come with the potted plants will give you this kind of information--if you didn't save them this time, do it next year. Gardening is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
  21. Fry up some pork chops, and when they are done, heat up your hominy in the pan drippins. MMM I love hominy. Squirrel and dumplins peaches watermelon mushmelon pinkeye purple hulls perlow fried turtle collards turnips and greens boiled together green beans cooked all day with onions and hamhocks sweet taters topped with pecans and brown sugar
  22. sparrowgrass


    I am a newby here, but I will pitch in my $.02 worth. I bottle my homebrew in plastic (I can hear the gasps from here) Pepsi bottles. It tastes just fine to me, and from what I have read, the one limit is that the beer should be drunk within 3 months. I don't know why, but I don't really care, mine never lasts 3 months anyway.
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