In the Kitchen …
Thawing out our berry stash from the freezer. Its that time of year to use up what didn't get used over the winter to make room for more of the freshly picked berries. Yay berry season is here!!! These lovely homegrown marionberries, by my father in law, became yummy jam! Marion berries are a rare treat grown here in our county… Marion county! A cross between a blackberry and some other berry I don't remember.
Inspired by this Pinterest find Spinach-Artichoke Dip Pasta Bake our version… not baked and without the fake cheese (really no better than real cheese and equally as expensive) this dish was just as good without!
In the garden …
See that inclination that the horseshoe pit would become a green house was not too unrealistic! Our horseshoe pit is now being plotted out for a green house. We started leveling out the location and hopefully in not too long it will be full of nice green things, even through the winter.
In the dehydrator …
in the kitchen…
In the garden …
Father's day brought the arrive of two hop plants and a second grape vine. All three are growing up the deck posts and hopefully will make a nice covering over the porch. Inspired by our two visits to Bulgaria when visiting our daughter and bringing her home from the orphanage. They have beautiful old grape vines there in the countryside.
This week in the mill….
In the Kitchen …
Fruits of our labor …
In the herbal APOTHECARY…
In the yard …
The "farm" animals
This week in the garden (ours and thiers!)
in the dehydrator
in the bakery (aka kitchen)
Earlier this week we made a trip to Fresh to You, a local CSA farm that has a u-pick Strawberry patch. It was neat to get to see some of their 15 acre farm and spend an hour or so in their strawberry patch, which is much more lively than our poor strawberry box suffering from a spring transplant. Perhaps next year we will get our own box of berries from our yard like the box we brought home from Fresh to You!
sourdough strawberry shortcake tutorial
With so many yummy fresh strawberries they were screaming SHORTCAKE! at me. That and they were so perfectly ripe they needed to be used in quick order, so for dessert we had Sourdough Strawberry Shortcake and the rest of the berries are going to be made into jam. This recipe was adapted from GNOWFGLINS sourdough biscuit recipe from their Sourdough E-Course.
Recipe serves about 6-8 people
3-4 cups strawberries; washed, hulled & sliced
2-4 t/l organic sugar (for sugar free replace with maple syrup, honey or other sweetener of choice)
1 can full fat coconut cream (We used Trader Joe's Coconut Creme)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the shortcake:
6 tbl solid Coconut Oil
2 1/2 c. Freshly Ground Soft White Wheat Flour (or if store bought whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 c. sourdough starter
3/4 c. Organic Soy Milk (water works as well as any other type of milk)
1 1/2 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbl. organic sugar
(for sugar free replace with maple syrup, honey or other sweetener of choice.)
1/4 tsp. sea salt (I used Real Salt in this recipe)
grind those wheat berries!
First mill your soft white wheat berries so that you have your 2 1/2 cups of white whole wheat flour. On average when milling wheat berries your flour will be double of the amount of berries that you put in the mill. So if you need 2 1/2 cups of flour 1 1/4 cups of wheat berries should get you that amount. I believe I milled 4 cups here that gave me about twice what I actually needed. With extra just pop it in the freezer and it will stay fresh for a week or more. Grinding your own wheat provides you with lots of vitamins and minerals and makes this dessert even more healthy than it already is. Before you move on pop your can of coconut creme into the fridge or even the night before would be best.
Mix in sugar and salt
After your wheat is ground, or perhaps you have measured out your store bough whole wheat pastry flour mix it with the 2 tbl. sugar and the 1/4 tsp of sea salt. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the flour and then mix in thoroughly with a fork, pastry fork, measuring spoon… what ever is handy!
Add in the coconut oil…
Measure out the 6 tbl. of coconut oil. I measure most things by eye, which gets me into trouble some times, at any rate I used a regular tablespoon (one used to eat with) and scooped out what looked like 6 tablespoons. If your coconut oil is not solid before making this recipe pop it in the refrigerator or the freezer for a few minutes before using.
Once your oil is measured out cut it in with a pastry knife or two butter knives… if all else fails fingers work too. Cut it in until it resembles coarse crumbs.
now for the fermentation…
Its time to ferment our shortcake and give it optimal nutrition by breaking down the phytic acid in the wheat, along with the gluten making this tasty treat more digestible. Measure out your 1/2 cup of sourdough starter. Mine this time around was very thick, a little dark on top and very hungry. It was a warm day and looked like it could have used an extra meal. Normally the consistency of my sourdough starter is more watery than this but this worked just fine by adding a little bit more liquid… say 1/8 of a cup or so. Adjust your sourdough starter accordingly. Make sure to feed your starter with equal parts of flour and water after you take from it what you need for this recipe.
Add the liquid
Once you have measured out your sour dough starter now its time to add your liquid. Using a 2 cup measuring cup makes it easy to add the liquid to your starter and mix it well before adding it to your other dough ingredients. Add your choice of 3/4 c. liquid. Here we used organic soy milk and added about 1/8 c. more to accommodate our dry starter.
Mix the liquid with your starter throughly so that it is well incorporated. For sourdough to work the starter must be spread through out the entire mass of dough to get a good even rise and fermentation.
add liquid to dough
In your flour and coconut oil crumbles, make a well in the center and add your liquid mix of sourdough starter and milk. Gently fold in making sure not to mix/stir in the liquid or you will end up with runny soupy dough. Stop when the sourdough mixture is JUST mixed in and form a rugged ball with your dough.
When your dough has been mixed as above, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let your dough ferment for 4-8 hours depending on how quickly your sour dough is working and the tempature of your house. If its warm as it was at our house the other day it only took 2-3 hours. It had a little more motivation sitting outside. Just make sure if you put it out in the sun that you keep an eye on an critters looking to take a bite. Such as say a really hungry cat, or some of the two legged kind over anxious for their dessert. Really uncooked sourdough is not very tasty…
Slice up those strawberries!
While this time around I had my trusty kitchen helper, anxious to learn how to cook, slice up our berries… now would be a good time to get those berries sliced. Add your 2-4 tbl. of organic sugar and let them juice a bit. If you want mash them up a little with your pastry knife to speed up the juicing process. For those of you going sugar free either substitute sugar with your dry sweetener or mash up the berries and add a bit of maple syrup or raw honey. Or if you have really good sweet berries perhaps no sweeter at all!
fermented and ready to bake
Its been 4-8 hours (in our hot sunny day case… 2-3 hours) and our sour dough is fermented and ready to go. How does one know its ready? It will have doubled in size or close to. Your dough will have gone from wet almost too wet, to just moist and looking a little puffy. It will have more of a smooth texture and perhaps a slight sour smell to it though ours was not to that point yet so it could have gone longer if need be.
If at this point something comes up you can stick the dough in the refrigerator to slow down the fermenting process. It will continue to ferment but at a much slower rate so make sure to use it as soon as you are able. If disaster strikes and there is no way to finish your shortcake then wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. Just make sure to bring to room temperature before using.
The next step is to spring on the 1 1/2 tsp. of non-aluminum baking powder and the 1/2 tsp. of baking soda. Gently fold in the dry ingredients but do not mix. It will turn into kind of a wet ball and then you can place it in your pie plate for baking. (Or cut for single cakes, like biscuits, place in muffin pans for shortcake cupcakes, even stick in a mini loaf pan for slicing…) Make sure to grease and flour the pan that you are using.
With your fingers, and if really sticky maybe some wax paper, pat down the dough evenly into a greased and floured pie plate. Here we are using a stone ware pie place which I love, they cook so evenly! If you want sprinkle some organic sugar over the top. Pop your shortcake into a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. When done it will be golden brown and puffed and when a toothpick is inserted it will come out clean.
whip the cream and put it together
I apologize as I forgot the pictures while whipping the coconut cream. The best way to whip coconut cream is to make sure first that it is full fat because the fat is what whips and the less there is the harder it is to whip. The second most important thing is to make sure it is cold. Putting the can in the refrigerator (not the freezer, tried that once and it did not work out at all) over night so that the fat can separate from the liquid and make it easy to remove only the fat for your coconut whip.
Now if you are like me and don't plan that far ahead sometimes the Trader Joe's coconut creme (in the brown can) will whip fine with the liquid in it, sometimes it is already separated at the bottom of the can but it just depends on the can purchased. This time around we had some left over in the refrigerator so it was nice and cold.
Separate the liquid from your creme by scooping the cream out and the liquid should be at the bottom of the can. Once your cream is out whip as you would cows milk whipping cream until the peaks are slightly stiff. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla about half way through and if you want a little powdered sugar, we didn't use the sugar this time around.
Once your shortcake has cooled slice (if in cake form) and then cut in half. Place your sliced berries in-between and top with some of your coconut creme. Now its time to enjoy!
While there are other components of bread that make it even healthier (fermentation, how it is harvested and when) milling is a simple way to improve the health of the bread we consume. Today we are sharing an article out of our favorite 'homesteading' book called Rural Roads to Security, written by Joseph Husslein S.J. Ph. D. with an imprimatur from 1940.
MILLING AT HOME - A HOMESTEAD RESEARCH STUDY
… Our ancestors, the pioneers who subdued the virgin forests and conquered the frontier, subsisted on the hardy diet of whole grains. They could scarcely have survived the hardships to which they were subjected if they had consistently eaten what the American public eats today, chiefly breadstuffs made from denatured and debased wheat and corn, totally different products from the pioneers' whole grain breadstuffs.
The factory-begotten products, white flour, bleached middlings, starchy corn meal, parched corn flakes and bran, are undesirable forms of very desirable foodstuffs. The public is not eating a superior foodstuff because factories have taken over the milling of wheat and corn. On the contrary, in developing the many different industries which use wheat, corn, and other cereals to produce foods of various kinds, the millers have succeeded in eliminating from them most of the tissue-building vitamins, mineral salts and colloids, including the salts of iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, silicon, calcium, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, and sulphur. These are sifted out, leaving behind the white starch cells and refined gluten of the interior part of the kernel.
Whole wheat is now a negligible part of the milling industry, yet it contains far more nutriment than the anemic but universally popular white flour. Whole wheat contains 10.6 per cent water, 12.2 percent protein, 1.7 percent fat, 73.7 percent carbohydrates, 1.8 percent mineral matter; white flour contains 23.0 percent water, 11.4 percent protein, 1.0 percent fat, 75.1 percent carbohydrates, and .5 percent mineral matter. While the difference in protein (.7 percent) is of great importance, the difference in the mineral matter 72.2 percent) which contains most vital elements because enormous when you consider the fact that bread is still suppose to be the staff of life, eaten three times a day, every day of the year.
White bread not the staff of life
White bread is no longer entitled to be called the staff of life. It is rich in heat units (starch) but lacking in tissue-building and energy-giving material. Nutritionists who recommend white bread (and doctors who have a kindly word for it) usually add the highly important reservation that vegetables or other rich sources of minerals must be added to the diet to offset the deficiency in bread.
Careful scientific experiments have proved beyond doubt that white bread is not suitable for human or animal consumption. When monkeys, chickens, guinea pigs, or mice have been fed on an exclusive diet of white bread, they have lost weight, become diseased, and died. Numerous instances are recorded of human beings literally starving to death on white bread - the most conspicuous example being the loss of 4,000 men forced to live on white-flour diet while constructing 222 miles of track connecting Boliva and Brazil.
nor is factory-made corn meal
What is true of white flour and other bold and sifted wheat products is true of factory-made corn meal, whose fibrous outer coats, oily germ, and flinty starchy parts have been mainly eliminated. The nutritive differences between the commercial product which comes out of the modern high-speed mill and the whole grain which can be ground at home are enormous. The whole kernel contains 10 percent protein; refined corn meal, a fifth less - 8 percent; the whole kernel has 4 3/4 percent fat (a substance containing the "fat soluble A" which children require for growth and adults must have for good health), the refined kernel only about one fourth as much. Finally, the whole grain contains vitalizing mineral salts in the ration of 15 parts to 1000; in the factory product this has been reduced to 4 parts in 1000.
"The near-corn for which man tries with little success to develop an appetite," said Alfred McCann, "will kill poultry, hogs, and cows. Chickens feed on it will die in less than iffy days. Children fed on it to the exclusion of other offsetting foods will speedily develop pellagra. Children ed on it with insufficient of milk and fruit so lose vitality and resistance to disease that they become lazy victims of any infection that passes along."
consumption of white bread and refined grains has high correlation with many ailments
White bread is not a normal foodstuff; it is an artificial food developed to fit the needs of the milling industry. Until recent times, the diet of bread-eating peoples consisted entirely of dark breads, and in many parts of the world white bread is still unknown.
In spite of the claims made by the milling industry for white flour, the fact remains that the introduction of large amounts of white bread and white-flour products into the dietary of civilized peoples has had a deleterious effect on their health. Many authorities believe that the alarming growth of constipation, cancer, and nervous disorders might be correlated with the widespread consumption of foods made from ultra refined cereals. Far from providing adequate nutrition, white flour and breakfast foods are injurious to health and in two particular ways: First, they are so meager in cellulose, mineral sales, colloids, and vitamins that they lower resistance to disease. Secondly, they are not entirely digestible, hence cause constipation; and constipation, medical science recognizes, usual prepares the stage for the appearance of more malignant and degenerative diseases.
Doctors John H. Musser and George Morris Piersol, of the University of Pennsylvania, are specific in connecting the most common American ailment, constipation, with the irrational taste for white bread which the baking and milling industry has created in the public. "Dietetic errors," they say, "are among the most frequent general causes of constipation. These consist in food which is deficient in residue )bran) by reason of which the bowel is deprived of the mechanical and chemical stimuli necessary to promote proper intestinal activity." Their advice is to eat "whole wheat bread, whole rye bread, or pumpernickel - in preference to white bread." As far back as 1915, Docor Horace Packard, of bosom University, listed the consumption of refined cereals among the suspected causes of cancer. Speaking before the Surgical and Gynecological Society of the American Institute of Homeopathy, he said:
The human family is underfed in mineral salts. A momentous fact is that the flour mills of the civilized world are sending out food material rich in heat units but pitifully meager in energizing and immunizing matieral. Since a critical examination not the habits of life of civilized cancer-plauged people in comparison with the habits of primitive cancer-free people shows that the main difference between them is a dietary poor in mineral salts among the cancer-free people, the most logical and rational course is to adopt this as a keynote to cancer treatment.
Research at the Liverpool School of tropical Medicine proved that people who lived chiefly on bread made from wheat whose outer coats had been removed were subject to a form of peripheral neuritis. Dr. Benjamin Moore, Chief of the biochemical Department of the same institution, definitely associated the popularity of white bread with the growth of nervous diseases.
Our nerves as a nation are much less stable than in the days prior to the white bread diet. All our work suggests that the growing tendency of the age to neurasthenia, "nerves," etc., is not unlikely due to removing from our diet those very elements of feral food which nature has hidden in the husk of the grain, and which mann in his ignorance, discards.
why bleach flour?
Not content with turning out flour robbed of most of its health-giving qualities, the millers have further cheapened their product by bleaching it by an electrochemical process. Flour as it comes from the mill is not white but slightly yellow, owing to the presence of a valuable yellow food substance, carotene. Flour turns white by the natural oxidizing process of the air if allowed to stand for several weeks or months. Millers, however, cannot afford to store flour for so long a time and hence an artificial mode of bleaching was invent.d "What storage could not accomplish in 120 days, these bleaching processes miraculously do in one day!"
Bleaching not only destroys the carotene, a valuable source of Vitamin A (absence of which leads to retarded growth, poor appetite, and digestion) but leaves toxic deposits of nitrites in the flour.
The amount of carotene in the flour is so minute that, offhand,its destruction by bleaching might be regarded as unimportant But, as Dr., Monier Williams, of the British Ministry of Health points out, "bread forms a large part of the diet and the absolute amount of carotene which it can contribute is by no means negligible… If the consumer takes the trouble to think about it at all, he will, I think, prefer that all flour shall retain its natural color and not be treated with a highly active oxidizing agent such as chlorine, which may have unknown effects on some unsuspected, but possibly important constituent of flour."
Not only is bleaching undesirable because of injury to health, but it permits inferior, spoiled, and discolored flour to be blended with small amounts of superior flour, and the resulting mediocre though uniform product may be sold off as grade A patent flour. This stratagem rewards the miller with from fifty cents to a dollar extra per barrel.
Switzerland, France, and Denmark have forbidden the bleaching of flour. In the Inited States bleaching is permitted, although the practice was attacked as long ago as 1906. Several states passed laws barring it, and so much controversy arose that the United States Public health SErvice undertook an extensive study of the effects of bleaching. The gist of its findings, published in 1910, was that an amount of nitrates able the tolerance for safety was deposited in the flour, that this lessened the digestibility of the gluten in the flour, and that their ingestion should be decreed as much as possible.
Armed with this conclusive evidence, the Federal Government attempted to halt bleaching and actually won a victory over the milling industry in the Supreme Court. But, oddly enough, the Food and Drug Administration "read into the opinion of the Supreme Court an entirely antagonistic statement respecting injury to health … (and) the very law which the Supreme Court has said was enacted chiefly to protect the public has been turned not a measure to threaten public health and to defraud the purchasers of flour." Since the federal authorities were negligent, millers who at first refused to bleach were forced by competition to do so. The farthest the government would go in protecting the consumer was to require bleached flora to be so labeled if shipped in interstate commerce …
what american people could gain by milling at home
Milling equipment such as the School of Living recommends can be purchased for $37 (our note: obviously we have inflation since 1940, but modern home grain mills range from a couple hundred dollars onwards). The mill can be used to make all your flour and breakfast foods, as well as to grind course feeds for cattle and poultry. This mill utilizes self-aligning burrs for the actual grinding, instead of the great, clumsy millstones which were used before the modern roller mill took over the production of flour and cereals.
With one of these mills, you become independent of the flour and breakfast food factory. If every American family baked and milled at home, the American people would save $599,687,886 annually. (Our note: Vast even without inflation!)This vast sum could be diverted to the purchase of commodities which they cannot now afford.
The average family in the United States now consumes around 4.23 barrels of flour every year. Each mill put into operation in an American home would reduce the demand for factory-made flour and cereals by4.23 barrels. About 30 million of these domestic mills would destroy the milling industry and the 27.805 persons now employed in flour and feral mills would be reeled for other and more useful work.
If every family milled at home, it would do away with the incredible folly of concentrating huge armies of workers, salaried employees, and executives in the great cities where these large mills are now located; of shipping both the grain and its products back and forth across the continent; and of trying to support all these nonessential mills with superfluous million-dollar averting campaigns to persuade you to eat more flora and cereals.
If every family milled at home, it would improve the status of the farmer, who then would produce for a local or regional market, with prices fixed by local consumption. Sacks of wheat and corn would be sold in all grocery stores instead of sacks of flora and cartons of cereals. The farmer would be in closer touch with the consumer, and a large number of nonessential middlemen would be eliminated. The net result would be higher and more equitable prices for the farmer without increasing the price to the consumer.
In addition, if the demand for devitalized white flour, ultra refined corn meal, parched corn flakes, woody bran and the like ended, not only would the nonessential mills disappear, but many of our patent-medicine factors would have to close. For a large part of the stock remedies in modern drugstores consist of patent and purgatives in liquid, powdered, and pill form. These products which are absolutely essential in this age of white flour and refined grains, become more or less nonessential if some of the principal dietetic causes of constipation are eliminated.
This post is part of the weekly Homestead Barn Hop and Heritage Homesteaders Hop, click to view more homesteading posts from other bloggers.
My name is CeAnne, wife to my Farmer and mama to 4 adopted kiddos. I help farm lov'n mama's (and grandmas) turn common herbs into powerful medicines without being overwhelmed. Here you will find all sorts of nourishing goodness on natural medicine, herb gardening and wholesome real foods. Read more about our farm HERE.