So our dinner was at the farm last night, as it often is this time of year. It was cooked on an open fire. The farm does not have a house, nor does it have electricity. It does have a very nice fire pit though. We had Italian sausage on Italian bread (instead of bun). We also had freshly dug potatoes, sliced and cooked in olive oil with garlic (chesnok red). They were cooked in a cast iron skillet. Have you ever had fresh potatoes? They are probably my favorite fresh vegetable. I don’t think I really knew how good a potato could taste until we started growing our own. Chesnok red garlic is one of 5 varieties that we grow. Did you know that there are somewhere in the are of 600 different varieties of garlic? This variety retains much of the garlic flavor when it is cooked.
We also had grilled zucchini which was picked from our garden yesterday. This was simply cut into quarters, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Lastly we had fresh picked green beans, lightly steamed in a cast iron pan and topped with garlic butter. Like potatoes, green beans are another vegetable that nothing compares to the flavor of fresh.
For dessert we had brownies, that my husband baked earlier in the day. He added walnuts, raisins, and marshmallows to the mix and baked them with lots of love. Yum!
As the summer progresses, and the gardens continue to produce, and we enjoy eating and preserving our crops, we will continue to Thank God for or blessings.
Now it’s time to dig (3600 or so) garlic bulbs. We are praying that this goes well and I will post about it soon.
Yesterday morning I made a batch of soap. I split the batch in half because I wanted to try something new. The first half (16 bars) became coconut soap, which has been a popular soap with some customers. The second half I added dried clover blossoms to. My husband and I picked the mixture of red and white clover blossoms several weeks ago from our field, where the clover is abundant this year. I have used some of the blossoms to make an infused oil and I simply dried the rest. I really don’t know what clover blossoms might add to the soap, but after reading this article on WebMD it didn’t seem like it could be a bad thing.
If I like the results, and decide to make more, I will first make a clover tea to use as the liquid for making the soap.
These soaps will be tested and ready for purchase in about 6 weeks.
Oh, and did I tell you how much I like the “Spruce Me Up” soap? The creaminess and lather are superb and the ground pine needles add a little bit of roughness. I don’t really have a favorite soap but this one has to be near the top. 🙂
A few years ago we planted several currant bushes. Currants are small and very tart berries. They come in several varieties. We planted white currants, red currants and black currants. They are all healthy little fruits, with each variety offering a little something different. Check out the following links http://healthmunsta.hubpages.com/hub/Red-Currant-Health-Benefits
Since white currants are a cultivar of red currants they appear to offer the same nutritional value with a bit sweeter flavor.
After reading many articles about currants I have determined that they are another super food (along with blueberries) that can be grown right in my, and possibly your, own yard. Our currant bushes have been very easy to grow in our Michigan climate. Some have even been replanted once or twice because we decided they were in the wrong location, yet they continue to thrive. This spring my husband took a branch that had come off one of the bushes (it was still alive) and just stuck it in the soil near the other bushes, and it has continued to grow all summer long. Our currant bushes have produced more and more berries each year, with this year being a fantastic crop. The threats that we have had to protect against have mostly been damage to the bushes by deer, and although it didn’t happen this year, a few years ago the birds got the berries before I did. My sister also told me that her chickens ate all the currants off of her bushes last year.
So this spring I began using currants by making jam. One thing I found out is that currants contain a lot of pectin, so the only things you need to make this jam are currants and sugar. Currants make a jam with a flavor that will rival homemade strawberry jam (my families previous favorite). But not all of the currants got made into jam.
Check out my future posts to see what else I have been doing with currants.
Summer is so much fun and life is busy right now. There are many things going on that I want to blog about but will have to be written in the future. Things like getting ready to harvest about 3600 bulbs of garlic and our trial run with the old (possibly 1930 John Deere) potato digger that we hope to use to dig garlic with. Also our attempt at sun drying currants and making currant wine. I have several herbs that I have infused in oil or alcohol for adding to balms or making medicinal tinctures. I have also found mullein leaf and root beneficial when made into tea. We have harvested more honey and bees wax, and one of our hens hatched two chicks last week. (I’m not on twitter but I have two peeps) The good news is that I have purchased a camera and will be taking as many pictures as I can and add photos my posts whenever possible. So I will continue to post as often as I can, and I hope you will continue stopping buy from time to time to see what I’ve added. I will continue to check my email and comments daily so if you would like information about any of my products feel free to may contact me. I hope your summer is as fun as mine is.
Here is a quick story for those of you who haven’t heard how my soap got the name Don’t Eat It!
One day while I was in my kitchen cutting a slab of soap into bars, my youngest daughter, who was then in her mid teens, walks in. She glanced at what I was doing and immediately exclaimed “OH, Fudge?” Her excitement was extinguished when I quickly replied “No, soap. Don’t eat it!” Well not long after this I sent some soap home with my dad in a bag of groceries. I told him what it was, but he called me not long after he got home. “What is that stuff in the plastic baggie?” he asked. “Soap” I replied. “Oh I thought maybe it was fudge or cheese,” he said. “No,” I said, “Don’t Eat It!” So first it became a joke, but I eventually decided to name my soap “Don’t Eat It”
The story doesn’t really end there because one day, I was making labels for a batch of soap, and as I typed, “Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Almond Milk, Honey, Cinnamon,” I realized that those were all the ingredients that my breakfast bowl of oatmeal contained. (Yes I have put olive oil on oatmeal.) So other than the sodium hydroxide (lye) that is the necessary ingredient in making soap, this and many of my other soaps (coconut, pumpkin spice, peanut butter, cocoa) are completely edible. The ingredients generally come from either my kitchen or my garden. You may have heard the saying “If you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin,” and with a couple of exceptions ( zinc oxide, sodium hydroxide) I have begun to subscribe to this philosophy in making my products. So when you read my product label, and you think “yum” that sound s good, just remember “Don’t Eat It”.