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On 11/14/2019 at 7:26 PM, lemniscate said:

I'd steam.  

 

That worked!

 

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I got about 1-1/2 quarts of prickly pear juice from that process, and have been enjoying it. I am a bit surprised at the flavor. I expected something quite tart, but this is more like a caramelized honey flavor. It has a slightly bitter note -- burnt caramel? Diluting with ice; adding a touch of lemon juice; mixing with tonic water (we have no sparkling water as @FauxPas suggested) have all been pretty good.

 

The unexpected flavor may have to do with the age of the fruit, as FauxPas suggested, or with my processing method. I attended a session on harvesting and processing Sonoran desert foods, including prickly pears, last weekend. Without going into too much detail here, I'll note that Sarah Lee-Allen, the presenter, said that the fruit must be frozen solid to get juice from it. My freezer probably didn't do enough of a job to break the cell structure of the fruit. The other thing she said was that in taste tests - comparing the freezer method to simply pureeing the fruit and straining it - the pureed and strained fruit had a brighter, fresher taste. I think she wasn't a fan of steaming because it was too likely to cook the fruit and ruin some of the high flavor notes.

 

How would the rest of you describe prickly pear juice? Did I miss out on some tartness, or is it not part of the flavor profile?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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37 minutes ago, Smithy said:

How would the rest of you describe prickly pear juice? Did I miss out on some tartness, or is it not part of the flavor profile?

 

I have never found prickly pear juice to be tart, quite the opposite, it's been flatly barely sweet.  I would say it mostly has a cucumber; zucchini-ish squash flavor with a touch of strawberry sweet, but definitely no tartness.   At least the variety of the fruit around here.   The bitter  note you found, I'm not sure, could be the age, could be the varietal.   There are quite a few different types of prickly pear varietals scattered around the country.

 

The best version of drinkable prickly pear juice for me is a touch of agave syrup with a touch of lime.  Or lemon.

It adds a beautiful color and tones down the tequila edges in a margarita, but you still need the sweet and citrus note there.

Blending it with a touch of pomegranate juice is also quite nice.  Pom juice can be too sweet and tart, the prickly pear tames it.

 

I personally did not find my steam juiced result any better or worse than the fresh pureed  and strained.

 

I also have peeled and sliced the fruit into slivers.  I took a big pan of them to a potluck.  I had a sign saying what they were, it was a local pig pit bbq gathering.  Strictly as a unusual offering, I didn't think anyone would touch them.   The sign got lost somehow and everyone thought they were eating slivered beets because of the color.  The power of suggestion................................................................................

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So far I have learned that I really like what my prickly pear juice does for/to yogurt. My homemade yogurt has an off-flavor that I associate with some American-made "Greek" feta cheeses. The prickly pear juice cancels that flavor out, whether by masking or some interaction I don't know. It looks pretty, too. 

 

20191123_093944.jpg

 

I relayed this all to the above-mentioned Sarah Lee-Allen, and she responded: 

Quote

Have you tried the Asian fusion syrup: PP juice, Mesquite syrup, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, etc etc. I used it with chicken and under grilled prawns.

 

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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What was the original source of the starter for your homemade yogurt? Since they're alive, they can change based on their environment (think like sourdough starters). It might be that your culture has evolved to the point where you might be better off replacing it with a new starter.

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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2 hours ago, MelissaH said:

What was the original source of the starter for your homemade yogurt? Since they're alive, they can change based on their environment (think like sourdough starters). It might be that your culture has evolved to the point where you might be better off replacing it with a new starter.

 

The starter was about 1/2 cup of Old Home Plain Greek-style yogurt. I quit trying to keep a starter around last year because I thought my starter culture must have gone off. Then I tried using starters from different brands of yogurt that I liked, but got the same results. I had quit making yogurt because I liked the commercial results so much more. This yogurt became yogurt only because I ran out of time to try making burrata, and had to do something with that gallon of milk I'd bought for the purpose.

 

Got any other ideas? You have a lot more savvy about this stuff than I do.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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20 hours ago, Smithy said:

Got any other ideas? You have a lot more savvy about this stuff than I do.

Not really, other than possibly purchasing an heirloom yogurt starter online. Or playing with the amount of starter and/or fermentation temperatures. And making sure that you reheat the milk you're using enough to kill off anything lurking, if it's been opened before you make it into yogurt.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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  • 1 year later...

Hopefully everybody’s foraging season has been bountiful. Up here in southern Ontario thanks to the autumn rains we have had an unreal season for mushrooms…


EDBDF648-5680-4FC8-9795-83DCF1E260EF.thumb.jpeg.01303106a38b423c70b36a3e0b07fe54.jpeg

 

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finally found Boletes!  
 

and did you know there were female boletes too?!

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LOL

 

 

 

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It's been a ridiculously bountiful year for mushrooms here in NB as well, the best in 20 years according to local foragers. Sadly, due to family/work issues, I've gotten out exactly once.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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We have thousands of mushrooms on the farm, but the only ones I would feel confident to eat are the morels and the puffballs.  The rest remain unidentified by bone fide experts and thus uneaten.  I don't need an expert for morels or puffballs.

 

I've already told the story of this year's puffball crop.  Eight lovely looking balls...3 given away...5 straight to the bin..well, over the side into a ditch on our land.  

 

But as noted elsewhere, we are having another bumper crop of wild grapes and several friends have been harvesting them.  I'm not making any more jelly...still have some left from three years ago...and one of aforementioned friends has now gifted us with several jars.  However, I did taste the grapes a couple of days ago and was pleasantly surprised at how much sweeter...well, less excruciatingly tart...they had become.  I think we'll gather some and make some grape juice in a couple of weeks.  Maybe even after the first frost. 

 

We do have 2 apple trees in the back yard.  The Northern Spy is dying and gave up only one apple this year, but the Mac produced another bumper crop.  Am giving them away like mad, including to a neighbor who feeds them to her Black Angus cattle.  And still we have at least 19 trees on the property (counted by the previous owner going back at least 26 years) and many of them are producing great quantities of apples...most of them not incredibly tasty.  Here's the bounty on the ground of one tree which sometimes tastes very good...but mostly is fairly bland with a heavy peel.  The dogs munch on them on the way by on our daily walk.  There are still many dozens left on the tree.  

DSC02915.thumb.JPG.4cf2d323a28d027b8cfb0d626e1ba06c.JPG

 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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47 minutes ago, TicTac said:

Hopefully everybody’s foraging season has been bountiful. Up here in southern Ontario thanks to the autumn rains we have had an unreal season for mushrooms…


finally found Boletes!  
 

and did you know there were female boletes too?!

 

LOL

 

 

 

Oooh, those look great.  I have lots of unfamiliar stuff growing on the property but sadly I've been lazy on how/where to identify edibles.   You're inspiring me though! 

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That wasn't chicken

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  • 1 month later...

All around my block there are numerous "feral" apple trees, many of which produce very good apples. I have my few favorite trees that I visit regularly in season.

 

One tree I've generally ignored, because its apples are so tannic as to be inedible. Seriously, it's like chewing on a teabag. I can only assume it's a variety that was used for cider (really tannic apples, colloquially called "spitters" 'cause that's what you'll do if you bite into one, lend some complexity to a cider). Yesterday, noticing that most of the apples were still on the tree despite the lateness of the season, I decided to see whether they'd been altered by surviving a few frosts.

 

To my pleased surprise, they're now a delightful eating apple...crisp and sweet, but still with a hint of tannins underneath. I'm eating one right now as I type this, and will probably go back for another few pounds while they last.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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  • 6 months later...

A couple of years ago (pre-covid) I went foraging for asparagus with my BIL.  Never having done this before, I was surprised by how easy it was.  We would just drive down a few country roads, stop, go down into the ditches and their sides, and pick away.  I was speaking with my sister the other day and they have already been enjoying foraged asparagus.

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57 minutes ago, TicTac said:

Made my morning (and month!). Can check off ‘finding morels in the wild’ off my Bucket list! 
 

1FAF5579-BB20-4769-BB6E-69F5AC1D7831.thumb.jpeg.c9acfdf2e7c05058f244a828ad40607e.jpeg

Everything is late this year on the farm.  I'll start looking for Morels this afternoon.   Some years we have none however.

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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