Since our little farm is in the very beginning stage in terms of growing plants most of the medicinal herbs we use come from Mountian Rose Herbs or Amazon.
I was in need of some dried ginger for a tea blend and the price to purchase it already dried was rather high so off to the store I went and picked up some fresh ginger for a couple of dollars.
There are several ways to peel ginger, or rather several tools that can be used. Such as a pairing knife, a spoon and a potato peeler. I found that the pairing knife worked best but that the spoon was handy for getting around all the knobby parts of the ginger.
Once the ginger is peeled next take a sharpe slicing knife and cut the ginger into 1/4 inch slices and then into match sticks and from there into 1/8 in squares or so and place them on your dehydrator tray.
Make sure to spread the ginger evenly, or somewhat evenly, over the tray so that the air can circulate around it and it will all dry in about the same amount time. Dehydrate the ginger at 115 degrees for about 2-4 hours. It really did not take as long as I imagined that it would so check often and see how your ginger is doing.
The ginger is dry when it has shrunk about half its size, its brittle and very light weight with no stickiness to it. When you ginger has dried all the way place your dehydrator tray at a slant over a cloth dish towel and scoop/scrape off the dried ginger on to the towel. This towel keeps the mess mostly contained and then allows you to shake the ginger off the towel into a container. Or if there are left overs on the towel that are too small to save it is easily shaken outside and thrown into the wash for simple clean up. Place your dried ginger in a dry sealed container such as a class canning jar and seal with a lid. Store in a cool dry place such as a pantry or cupboard. Should last quite some time so long as moisture is kept from the jar.
This ginger may be used as is in a tea or decoction for things such as colds, flu, coughs and sinus infection. We plan to mix it with several other herbs in a tea blend. It can also be used in soups, stews, stir fries and any other recipe that has enough liquid to rehydrate the ginger. Or grind up these dried bits into powder for homemade ginger root spice for things like pumpkin pie or curry. There are so many different medicinal uses for ginger that a search online will turn up a whole host of things such as arthritis or assisting with burns and more.
I have been wanting to make our own mayo for some time because the recipes always look super easy and the ingredients are usually at hand. Its been too easy to grab it off the shelf and just be done with it though. So last week I made a conscious decision to NOT buy mayo… except for today I forgot I did that. When lunch time came and the tuna was out there wasn't any mayo to be found, and that is when I remembered my decision to not buy any! I figured if we didn't have any I would be forced into making some from scratch and the plan worked. I'm just glad that it didn't happen on a day when hubby was home and I was running errands!
Five Minute Homemade Mayonaise
1 whole organic egg
1 organic egg yoke
1 cup of light Olive Oil (Pure Olive Oil from Costco was used here)
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
2-3 drops of lemon flavoring (lemon juice would do too!)
1/4 tsp sea salt (Real Salt is a good brand full of minerals)
In a small bowl, or a canning jar (works great because of the height and keeps splatter down), add the whole egg and egg yoke, along with the garlic powder, salt and lemon flavoring. Using a stick blender mix it up well. Slowly add the olive oil while blending and the mayo will get nice and thick. Blend until all the oil is added and the mayo is the desired thickness.
I believe a high end blender like a Blendtec or Vita mix would do the same, though I've read that it may be necessary to let the ingredients come to room tempature to get it to work. The eggs came straight out of the refrigerator and it blended up wonderfully. I won't be buying mayo again! It is much cheaper this way, very quick and easy, and we used mostly organic ingredients though we were low on organic olive oil … and it has a stronger taste too.
Our family started using a sour dough starter about 2 years ago. I forget now how we stumbled upon it but my sister in law and I traded tips on sourdough back and forth for some time. I took a sour dough course online and since then we have been making several things with our starter.
When we started I tried to make my own starter from scratch and after many failed attempts and brick loafs I bought a boxed starter from Cultures for Health. From there on out things went much better. Once a week or more we have sour dough pancakes which are super easy to make and very tasty. We noticed with those right away that we didn't 'feel like a pancake' after eating them like we usually did with the white flour non-sourdough pancakes we had eaten for years . These freshly ground whole wheat sour dough not only tasted better but was easier to digest. We have also had sourdough cake, sourdough pie crust, sourdough muffins, and of course sourdough bread which I'm still trying to master. Today I wanted to share our sourdough English muffins as a favor to a friend that requested it, who would like to make them as well.
Ingredients: (Recipe makes appox. 8-12 muffins)
- 1 cup Active Sour Dough Starter (we are using a whole wheat one in this recipe, though any should do)
- 4-5 cups of freshly ground hard red winter wheat
- 2 cups of milk (here we are using Organic soy but any non-dairy milk or water will work)
- 2 TBL raw honey
- 2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp sea salt (We love using Real Salt)
A quick note about the flour used in this recipe. If you have a starter that uses a flour other than whole wheat you are welcome to use that type of flour to make your english muffins as sour dough starters prefer the flour they are use to being fed when making baked goods out of it. The starter may act differently if a different type of flour is used. We have always fed ours with hard red winter wheat as when we tried to feed it hard red spring wheat the starter did not grow as well or act as we needed it to. Store bought wheat will work as well but again it may act differently than you see here.
Freshly milled flour is the best way to utilize all the lovely nutrients that God placed in the wheat berry. Store bought flour, even whole wheat, has the bran and other parts removed to help keep it shelf stable otherwise it would go rancid quickly. The more that the flour you use is in its natural form the more health benefits you will get from it. We have been blessed with a Nutrimill for grinding wheat but have also previously used a Wondermill Jr. which is not electric. I'm afraid our wheat grinders got worn out and that is when we welcomed the electric mill. I highly recommend the Nutrimill, it has done a wonderful and consistent job. Our wheat berries are ordered from Azure Standard and sometimes we get them in the bulk section at Winco who usually carries Wheat Montana brand but our starter has been finicky with that on occasion so we stick with Azure for the most part.
The first step to making Sourdough English Muffins….
The night before or early in the morning mix your 1 cup of active sourdough starter (it does not have to be in its bubbly risen state as with bread but it should have been feed in the last 12 hours or so) with your 2 cups of milk. Once mixed well you will have sort of a thick looking milk with specs from your flour.
Add your flour, starting with 3-4 cups. Mix that well and see how sticky or dry your dough is. It will change depending on the freshness of your flour, which flour you are using and how wet your starter was. You want to add enough flour that the dough comes off the mixer bowl but make sure it is still sticky to the touch. Whole wheat flour is going to suck up some of the moisture but later on you will be adding honey that will make it sticky too so it will take some practice. Always err on the side of too wet, you can add it later even though it won't ferment but you can't take it out and will have dry muffins. The dough show here below the pictures is still just a little bit sticky, so I'll add just a little more flour, maybe 1 tablespoon or so.
Mix it up some more…
While sourdough English muffins don't need to be kneaded, a part I love, I do knead them a little in the mixer. Now that we added our flour I let the mixer knead the dough for a couple of minutes until it all comes off the edge of the bowl and starts to form a nice ball of dough. A quick tip! Make sure that you either wash the mixer/spoon right away or put it in water to soak. Sourdough starter is like glue and is very hard to get off if left to dry. Now its time to take a break!
Let the dough ferment…
Sourdough is not like commercial yeast in that it will take one hour to rise and then be ready. Sour dough works on its own time fermenting the dough as it rests. I find that my starter takes about 4 hours, some others say theirs will go 12 hours or something in-between. I have found though that if I let mine go past 4-6 hours that it usually starts to deflate so it will depend on the temperature of the room that the dough is in and how active your sourdough is.
If its a cold day I like to part it on a little chair in front of the wood stove, or on top of the dehydrater and turn it on low to warm it up or on the back of the stove if I'm baking and heat is coming out of the vent there. The top of the refrigerator is also a warm spot, or even out on the porch if its a sunny day (with plastic wrap over the top or a towel to keep out bugs, and kids fingers! )
Time to get cook'n!
Now that it has been 4 hours or so the sourdough has risen to about double its size. Warm up your griddle and/or frying pan to about 375 degrees. We have an electric griddle that takes care of this size recipe pretty easily with only a couple left for a second round.
Its now time to add the 2 tablespoons of raw honey, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Sprinkle that over the top of your dough and put the mixing attachment back on and mix until all the new items are evenly mixed in. (If you placed your dough in a different bowl its just fine to move it back to the mixing bowl)
Once those are all mixed together, dump your dough out onto a rolling service that is well floured (according to how sticky your dough is). If you want you can use a rolling pin and roll your dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. Usually I just pat out our dough because the amount is rather small and its less to clean that way! Using a biscuit cutter or as we use, a wide mouth canning lid, cut out your muffins. Place your muffins on the griddle or frying pan and cook on a med. low heat until they are nice and brown on one side. About 10-15 minutes or so depending on the consistency of your dough. Then turn the muffins over and do the same to the other side making sure the middles of the muffins on the outside are not squishy before taking them off the griddle.
Let cool and then slice and toast! They make great mini sandwiches, toast, mini pizzas and more. We mostly use this recipe for the bread in our house because they are simple and easy to make with just a little bit of planning ahead. Enjoy!
With spring here and some lovely weather from our Creator we are getting a little more exploring done on our newly purchased two acres. On one of these walks it was discovered that we have some comfrey growing wild n our yard (along with lots of other things). So today we harvested comfrey and hung it out to dry.
Comfrey is one of the main herbs used in two of our salves (soon to be in our store) the Diaper Salve and the Gardening Salve. According to our medicinal plant encyclopedia Comfrey is commonly used for promoting the healing of broken bones and most commonly called the 'wound herb'. It is a demulcent, astringent, anti-inflammatory and promotes the healing of wounds and bones. It is used in our Diaper Salve and Gardening Salve mostly for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to relieve skin problems.
It can be used in its raw form for a poultice, the leaves are used to infuse oil such as in our salves and can also be made into an ointment. Under the self help section in our book it lists its uses as being for acne, boils, fractures, fungal skiing infections, healing wounds, inflamed skin rashes and stiff and aching joints.
To harvest we took our kitchen scissors out and cut down at the base of the stalk and placed the stalks (including flowers and leaves) in a 5 gallon bucket. Some gloves also come in handy as they have little stickers on the stalk that can get stuck in the skin. Once harvested I gathered some of the stocks and tied a twine around the base of the stalk tight and then tied the twine on the posts located on our front south facing porch.
This amount of herb was too much for the dehydrator and with a nice sunny day as today, we have some free energy to dry them out with. It should only take a couple days I imagine and they will be ready to chop and store away until its time to make another round of salves.
Comfrey comes back once cut down and can be reharvested several times. This can be the cause for it being named amongst the 'weeds' in the yard because it can be troublesome to part with. Tilling up the roots only spreads the plant more and can easily create a whole field of comfrey. Which if one is making a lot of comfrey oil could actually be a good thing ;) But perhaps not in a green lawn.
Welcome to St. Fiacre's!
We are a small family farm specializing in herbal creations and sharing our little 'want to be' homestead with you all. Our site was named after the Patron of Gardener's who turned up his land with his staff and was famous for curing many ailments by way of miracles. We thought he was a fitting patron for our herbal creations where we use many of God's wonderful plants to promote healing and good health.
The story of St. Fiacre …..
Fiacre, Saint, Abbot, b. in Ireland about the end of the sixth entry; d. 18 August, 670. Having been ordained priest, he retired to a hermitage on the banks of the Nore of which the town land Kilfiachra, or Kilciples flocked to him, but, desirous of greater solitude, he left his native land and arrived, in 628, at Meaux, where St. Faro then held episcopal sway. He was generously received by Faro, whose kindly feelings were engaged to the Irish monkn for blessings which he and his father's house had received from the Irish missionary Columbanus. Faro granted him out of his own patrimony a site at Brogillum (Breuil) surrounded by forests. Here Fiacre built an oratory in hour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a hospice in which he received strangers, and a cell in which he himself lived apart. He lived a life of great mortification, in prayer, fast, vigil, and the maul labour of the garden. Disciples gathered around him and soon formed a monastery. There is a legend that St. Faro allowed him as much land as he might surround in one day with a furrow; that Fiacre turned up the earth with the point of his crosier, and that an officious woman hastened to tell Faro that he was being beguiled; that Faro coming to the wood recognized that the wonder work was a man of God and ought his blessing, and that Fiacre henceforth excluded women, on pain of sever bodily infirmity, from the precincts of his monastery. In reality, the exclusion of women was a common rule in the Irish foundations. His fame for miracles was widespread. He cured all manner of diseases by laying his hands; blindness, polypus, fevers are mentioned, and especially a tumor or fistula called 'le vic de S. Fiacre".
His remains were interred in his church at Breuil, where his sanctity was soon attested by the numerous cures wroth at his tomb. Many churches and oratories have den dedicated to him throughout France. His shrine at Breuil is still a resort for pilgrims with bodily ailments. In 1234 his remains were placed in a shrine by Pierre, Bishop of Meaux, his arm being encased in a separate reliquary. In 1479 the relics of Sts. Fiacre and Kilian were placed in a silver shrine, which was removed in 1568 to the cathedral church at Meaux for safety from the destructive fanaticism of the Calvinists. In 1617 the Bishop of Meaux gave part of the saint's body to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and in 1637 the shrine was again opened and part of the vertebrae given to Cardinal Richelieu. A mystery play of the fifteenth entry celebrates St. Fiacre's life and miracles. St. John of Matha, Lous XIII, and Anne of Austria were among his most famous clients. He is the patron of gardeners. The French cab derives its name from him. The Hotel de St-Fiacre, in Rue St-Martin, Paris, in the middle of the seventeenth century first let these coaches on hire. The sign of the inn was an image of the saint, and the coaches in time came to be called by his name. His feast is kept on the 30th of August. Taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia ; Robert Appleton Company + Imprimatur 1909
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.