Thinking about the weekend and our little trip to Wishek and I have to chuckle, 'cause the first thing that came to mind was the posts from Facebook about "how you know you're something or other by..." followed by a list of 10 commonalities people of a certain area or sect share. Well, when I have my doubts about who I am and where I come from, I need look no farther than a get-together with some of my relatives.
So, I know I'm from McIntosh County, ND, when -
10a. You meet one more distant relative who drove up to see her twin babies' graves.
10b. You receive multiple hugs and --
10c. You leave with a slight German accent, so there's no doubt about your roots.
As you honor your relatives who have gone before you to await your arrival in heaven, may the peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ.
Do some healthy drinking this summer and make your own thirst quenching drinking vinegars, shrubs and swizzles. It's so much fun to take the fruit of the summer and make your own special concoctions.
Shrubs are usually equal parts fruit, sugar and vinegar.
Here is a recipe for a simmered cherry shrubIngredients:
2. Add the fruit and simmer until fruit is sufficiently softened and can easily be crushed.
3. Crush fruit to release the juices and allow to cool.
4. Pour through a fine sieve or straining funnel and collect the juices. If you want to maintain higher clarity of your shrub, just allow the juices to drip through. At this point, you may choose to save the fruit syrup as is OR you can add your vinegar to complete the shrub.
5. Cap it, label it and store in your refrigerator. I love keeping some of these French Square bottles on hand for things like this…they look so pretty, but are also great space savers and fun for sharing!
Save the fruit and make fruit leather, spoon it over cake or ice cream or put it in your oatmeal. Waste not, want not.
The above recipe and these recipes can be found on https://foodinjars.com.
Then there’s ginger beer. Oh, yes, half the fun is collecting the Grolsch bottles with the ceramic caps to make capping up Ginger Beer simple. Here is just one of many ways to make your own “Thirst Slaking” drinks.
Ginger Syrup Ingredients
See the full HERE: https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/the-old-fashioned-way-homemade-ginger-beer/
For the podcast of Main Street Eats with Root Seller Sue talking with Doug and Ashley about old-fashioned drinks, visit https://news.prairiepublic.org/programs/main-street.
My old neighbor in Mandan was a gardener. He encouraged my gardening habit by leaving melty footprints in the spring snow leading from his back door across the sidewalk, up the front steps to deliver packets of seeds. We raced to the garden each year to see whose radishes would be the first to appear in the spring.
Begin widowed, elderly and living with his working son, Mr. Weber would be up before the crack of dawn crushing aluminum cans or digging in his huge garden.
There was a dedicated row for composting his kitchen scraps. Using a spade, he dug a trench and each day buried his compost. Once the row was filled, he moved over and dug another row. Moving from one end of the garden to the next, he continued to feed it organic matter – never having to purchase fertilizer.
Researching compost teas, which are quicker than compost heaps in becoming garden fertilizer, I found the following information and recipes from several online sites.
10 Natural Fertilizer Recipes | Home Grown Fun. https://www.homegrownfun.com/natural-fertilizers-around-house/
10 Natural Fertilizer Recipes | Sun Oven® | The Original .... https://www.sunoven.com/10-natural-fertilizer-recipes/
Plants like potassium and banana peels have it. Just throw those peels in a bucket and add water in 2-3 days, use that water around the base of your plants.
Starbucks gives them away, and they have nitrogen. However, you do not want to use them until you use them in your coffee maker. Plants such as tomatoes, blueberries, roses, and azaleas may get a jolt out of coffee grounds mixed into the soil. But more likely it’s the nitrogen that helps. Sprinkled on top of the ground before watering or pour a liquid version on top of the soil.
Coffee compost tea can be made by soaking six cups of coffee grounds in a 5-gallon bucket of water. Let it sit for 2-3 days and then saturate the soil around your plants.
Rinse them off, let dry and then crush them for working into the soil near peppers and tomatoes. The calcium helps fend off blossom end rot. Eggshells are 93 percent calcium carbonate, the same ingredient as lime, a tried and true soil amendment! These can also be added to your compost tea bucket.
WEEDS – Ruth Stout had it correct when she said all you need to do to garden the lazy way was pull those weeds and pile them on the soil next to your vegetables.
Nettles, comfrey, yellow dock, burdock, horsetail, and chickweed make excellent homemade fertilizer. There are several ways you can use them to make your own brew or to speed up your compost pile. If your weeds have not gone to flower, you can dry them in the sun and chop them up to use as a mulch. They are high in nitrogen and won’t rob your plants of nutrients.
I LOVE BORAGE, and so do bees. A topic for another episode of Main Street Eats. PS: A listener emailed and said borage is available at Faulkner’s in Mandan, both plants and seeds. However, they are the oldest business on the Strip in Mandan and sell out quickly.
Borage (Starflower) is a beautiful herb with nutritional properties of comfrey. Dried and thrown in your compost bin, it works like comfrey as a kickstarter.
Fermented borage tea can be made by adding water and borage leaves to a five-gallon bucket. Make sure the leaves are under water, wait three to five weeks and dilute the goo 1:10 as a topical fertilizer. Yes, it will stink...
BUCKET TIP: Drill some holes in one side of a tight-fitting cover to your compost tea bucket. Fill the bucket and use that cover to strain the mixture. Throw the waste in your compost bin.
To make it even more convenient, you can use two buckets and make a hole in the bottom of the bucket that contains the plants. The goo will seep through to the lower bucket. It’s always best to apply the liquid fertilizer diluted – it should look like weak tea.
Grass clippings are the best way to add nitrogen back to the soil. HOWEVER – do not spray your land with killer chemicals before using it on the garden. Trust me. Fill a 5-gallon bucket full of grass clippings. You can even add weeds! Weeds soak up nutrients from the soil just as much as grass. Add water to the top of the bucket and let sit for a day or two. Dilute your grass tea by mixing 1 cup of liquid grass into 10 cups of water. Apply to the base of plants using the same amounts as listed in the urine recipe. Add one cup to four cups of the diluted mixture around the base of your plants.
MANURE – With a little effort, you’ll find folks that are giving away composted chicken, horse or cow manure for free. Composted and aged manure is best. Add the composted manure to a small porous bag made from recycled cloth, e.g., a t-shirt or old towel. Let it steep in the shade for a few days and apply it to your soil to condition it before planting. Bury or discard the used bag. Some people use manure tea to soak bare root roses!
HUMAN URINE – Sounds disgusting, but urine is considered sterile if the body it’s coming from is healthy and free of viruses and infection. High in nitrogen, urea contains more phosphorous and potassium than many of the fertilizers we buy at the store! If serving tomatoes that have been fertilized with pee gives you the “willies,” try it in the compost pile. A good ratio of urine to water would be 1:8. You can collect a cup of urine and pour it into 8 cups of water in a plastic bucket used outside for fertilizing plants. Pour 2 cups around the perimeter of each SMALL plant. For MEDIUM plants add 4 cups, and LARGE plants deserve a good 6 cups of your homebrew.
Writing helps me deal with overwhelming emotion. If you know me, I have a teakettle full some days just waiting to boil over.
There have been several paragraphs simmering in my brain for a long time. In the past three years, or maybe it’s only been two, I have lost three very influential people in my life. It’s coming up on Mother’s Day, so this post will only be about one of those three.
My brother asked me to speak at the wake. You know how people remember things about their loved ones. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to share anything about my mom and all of the things we shared over her lifetime.
But its Mother’s Day. And, being a mother myself, I would like my children to know just how much I miss her. There isn’t a day that I don’t think to myself, “I need to call my mom.”
Having only left the state for a short time to learn some life lessons (and yes, one of those was on mother’s day weekend – but I really must save that for my memoirs) once I returned, found a job, got married and settled down a bit, I spent a ton of time with my mom. So did my children.
I could fill a book with the experiences we had, the meals we prepared, and experiments we tried. Yes, I remember many good times. Since she has been gone, I also recall the many heartaches I must have caused her. How I wish I could back and apologize for them.
Some were major; some were seemingly small. Only now do I feel those pains deep in my heart. She was always there for me. When she died, I felt (feel) loneliness I cannot explain. Mom listened to me pour out my heart, swear, vent, shout and cry. In the years before she passed away, I tried to call her every day thanks to my best friend from college days, Karen. She told me once that she called her mom every day on the way to work. What a great idea. Sometimes it was only for a short time; other times it was the total distance.
My only point with this outpouring is if you still have a chance to talk to your mom, do it. I have never missed anything so much in my life. It’s kind of like not having the one person in your life that you knew loved you unconditionally. I hope you feel that from your mother.
So, in line with my Mother’s Day podcast, here is a list of things you can consider for Mother’s Day gifts. Small tokens of appreciation. Although, ultimately, it’s time you spend with her that counts.
Gifts for the Foodie Mom on Mother’s Day
Listen to the May 9 podcast on Main Street at PrairiePublicRadio.org
TIME FOR DANDELIONS
Wow, I cannot believe a year has passed since we began recording Main Street Eats on Prairie Public Radio.
So here we are again, talking about dandelions; of which I have already pulled a few. Last night the temperatures dipped to 27 degrees, and it was a frosty morning on the farm. My gooseberries tiny green leaves were tipped in white sparkling frost.
My garden crocs left a trail of green between the house and the garden as they shooshed the frost off the newly-green grass. I plan to harvest dandelions as soon as I can’t feel the cold rising under my robe in the morning. Ah yes, the joy of living with the deer, pheasants and turkeys rather than people.
Dandelions are native to Eurasia, and a member of the aster family. It used to be people planted and harvested dandelions. Now, considered a weed, be cautious of harvesting this common herb from lawns or ditches that may have been sprayed with herbicide.
But harvest you should, as every part of the plant is nutritious food or powerful medicine. The dandelion is rich in nutrients, including protein, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A and C.
And on the funny side of life, if you took French as Ashley Thornberg did, you can call it by its French nickname—pissenlit, which translates into pee-the-bed. That should be a clue to its diuretic properties from potassium.
Here are just a few recipes for consuming dandelion. As I get my natural dye samples done, I will report on how it works as a dyestuff.
You can add this beverage to coffee or drink it as a coffee substitute.
Scrub roots, drain, and place on a baking sheet.
Roast at 150°F (65°C) until roots are dark and dry (about 4 hours).
Cool and grind roots with a food blender. Store in a covered jar until used.
Add one heaping teaspoon of roasted roots to 1 cup of water. Steep for 3 minutes. Strain and serve. Add cream and/or sugar to taste.
You can add this to your regular cup of coffee. Brew coffee, as usual, adding one teaspoon of roasted roots for every 6 cups of coffee. More or less root powder may be used depending on taste.
1 pound dandelion greens
1 cup cold water
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped basil
1 cup cream
1 egg yolk
Wash dandelion greens in warm water to remove dirt particles. Combine with cold water in soup kettle and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Drain. Press through food mill and return to kettle. Add stock and basil and simmer 10 minutes. In separate bowl combine cream and egg yolk. Spoon ½ cup hot stock into cream mixture, blend with a whisk and return to kettle. Heat but do not boil. Garnish with croutons. (Also good cold.)
Fried Dandelion Blossoms
Cool, lightly salted water
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch pepper
Pick new dandelion blossoms (ones on short stems). Rinse in cool, lightly salted water. Cut off stem ends close to flower heads, leaving just enough to hold petals together. Roll flowers in paper towels to remove excess moisture. Make the batter by combining egg, milk, flour, salt, and pepper. Dip flowers into the mixture. Drop batter-coated blossoms into deep fryer set at 375 F. Fry until lightly browned. Drain on absorbent paper and sprinkle with more salt as taste dictates. Enjoy!
2 cups tightly packed dandelion leaves, well-rinsed and dried
1 dozen large basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 cup lightly toasted hazelnuts (skins removed), or toasted almonds, pine nuts, or walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse together dandelion leaves, basil, garlic, and nuts. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running, add olive oil and process until smooth paste forms. Pulse in cheese if you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
SOURCE: Dandelion Recipes: A Wonderful, Edible Weed | The Old .... https://www.almanac.com/content/dandelion-recipes-wonderful-edible-weed
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.