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Showing posts from August, 2015

Preserving Wild Plums

Wild American plums stretch from Minnesota to Texas and everywhere in between. They are a true gift to the people and wildlife of this continent. They are edible, useful, and beautiful.

How do you find them? Wild plum is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring. They provide pollen and nectar to pollinators. What is the definition of pollinators and why does that matter? Well, we require pollinators (bees, butterflies, bats) to pollinate the flowers of all our fruiting plants. Without pollinators, we don't get fruits and vegetables.

Because they bloom so early (usually a bright white blossom but sometimes pink) they are easy to spot among the other brown and dormant vegetation. They can be found in almost any undisturbed area - usually growing in thickets. In the midwest, I often find them growing along trail edges in heavy soil but find them near the rivers and streams in light sandy soil.

They vary in their size, taste, and bounty. Since they bloom so early, they may not a…

State Fair Apples Make the pinkest applesauce!

This year, I tried State Fair apples for the first time. An older couple was selling their apples on craigslist, and I decided to check them out. They sold me a bushel of apples for $20. They gave me a free tour of their apricot and plum orchard and sent me home with a bag of cucumbers.
They promised to call in the fall when their plums are ripe. I'm going to ask for a few apricot pits....

Anyway, State Fair apples ripen in the middle of August - which is early for apples. They are red with really white flesh. They are crisp, sweet, and sort of tart. They make the pinkest applesauce of all time.  Check it out.
I made quite a few pints of applesauce and I cut up many quarts of apples and froze them for apple crisps and other desserts.

We kept a few big bowls of apples for fresh eating. Summer is all about the food...it's my favorite time of year.


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Eating Aronia Berries and Making Aronia Jelly

Have you ever eaten Aronia berries? According to Dr. Google - they are one of the healthiest berries - with the highest ORAC value of all known berries.

I have been growing Aronia ornamentally for 8 years. I tried the berries twice over that time and found them to be quite unpleasant. But reading more about the berries, I decided to give it another try.
Here's a look at our Aronia bushes. We grow the Viking aronia shrubs. They grow in a very shady spot on the north side of our house. We have 3 bushes stuffed together. They do not get watered or fertilized. I trim them down every fall - which may or may not limit their berry production.

They are shaded by the house and a very large River Birch tree.

I went out to sample the berries in the middle of August and they seemed ripe. They were juicy and full size. The juice tastes sort of pleasant, with a very dry red wine mouth feel. The berry pulp is mealy and the skin is tough.

On August 20th, I went out to gather the berries from our …

Rumiano Organic Grass Fed Cheese Review #spon

People are starting to wake up to the fact that not all food is created equal. I've been exploring this topic for years, and have come to the conclusion that it just makes sense to seek out the most nutrient rich food possible. The costs work out in the end. 

When it comes to animal products, grass fed and pastured animals provide the most nutritious and most humanely raised products. I have been buying grass fed beef for years, but made the leap into grass fed butter for the first time this year. And just tried my first grass fed cheese! I was lucky enough to receive free samples of Rumiano grass fed cheese. In my area, it's sold at Whole Foods.

My one and only complaint about this cheese was the fact that my Whole Foods only carried one variety (monterey jack). I wanted to sample a few different types of cheeses to get an accurate sense of the quality. But they only had one type, so that's the type I tried. And let me tell you.... it was delicious. Super delicious! 
I'm…