Country Traditions

May 8, 2011

Make Your Own Butter: Organic Gardening

Filed under: Churning butter, family, herbs, recipes — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 8:08 am

Homemade, fresh organic butter can be made in minutes—10, to be exact. All that’s needed is organic cream and an electric mixer.

“It is so simple, but so exquisite,” says Monique Jamet Hooker, professional chef and author in DeSoto, Wisconsin. She grew up on a farm in Brittany, France, and as a child took turns with her sisters working the butter churn. But she’s given up the old-fashioned method in favor of the electric mixer.

via Make Your Own Butter: Organic Gardening.

March 15, 2011

Flower power: Herbalist Christopher Robbins gathers together an essential flora medicine chest – Gardening, House & Home – The Independent

Filed under: herbs, home remedies — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 7:29 am
Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica

Image by brewbooks via Flickr

Flower power: Herbalist Christopher Robbins gathers together an essential flora medicine chest – Gardening, House & Home – The Independent.

Dandelion The French name (pis-en-lit) is the best clue to its usefulness in the home-grown medicine chest: the leaves are a strong, safe and very effective diuretic, for anyone suffering from water retention. The bitterness aids digestion and acts also as a liver tonic. In some country areas, the milky sap that oozes out when you pick a leaf is still used to banish warts. The easiest way to use dandelion leaf is raw, in a salad. The common weedy ones are fine to eat, now, while they are young. But if you are in the extraordinary position of having no dandelions pushing up in your flower beds, you can grow the fancy French variety ‘Pissenlit a Coeur plein’ (Suffolk Herbs £1).

Nettle Stinging nettle is packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, and has almost twice as much iron in it as spinach, so it’s not surprising that it makes a brilliant spring tonic. We perhaps are not so keen now on flailing around in nettle beds to ease rheumatism. The sting inflames and warms and that process eases the ache in rheumaticky joints.

The simplest way to prepare nettle is in a soup and now is a great time to make it, before the leaves get dark and tough. The recipe I use is from Cooking Weeds by Vivien Weise. You need 500g potatoes peeled and cubed, 2 chopped onions, some butter, 1 litre good stock, 100g stinging nettle leaves stripped from the stems, 2tsp lemon juice, salt, pepper, 200ml double cream, 50g roasted, flaked almonds, 1 grated carrot. Fry the potatoes and onions until translucent. Add the stock and simmer for 10 mins. Add the nettle leaves and simmer for another 10 mins. Liquidise and add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and stir in half the cream. Serve with the rest of the cream, the almonds and the carrot ready to garnish the soup.

Chickweed This is a very common annual weed, sprouting now on disturbed ground with pale green leaves. The starry white flowers come later. It’s the best of all plants, says Robbins, for treating itchy or inflamed skin. The simplest way to use it is as a poultice. You can pick a bunch of the stuff, wring it slightly to release the sap, then bind the poultice to whatever part of the skin needs it. If you suffer from mild eczema or dermatitis, try it. It won’t be hard to find, as each plant carries about 15,000 seeds and they germinate in almost every month of the year.

 

Spring Tonics Dandelions Greens Nettles

Filed under: gardening, herbs, home remedies — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:34 am
Comparison of the yellow flower and parachute ...

Image via Wikipedia

Dandelions Tonic

Dandelions were so valued that they were cultivated in gardens.

Try using the tender young leaves in salads, either fresh or blanched, as the French and Dutch settlers favored.

Or, use the leaves as one would spinach or make them into soup.�(Those who boiled dandelion greens in water often made a point of drinking the “pot likker” or cooking water, which was, in fact, loaded with water-soluble vitamins.)

Did you know? Dandelions can also be used as a relaxing body rub. See our Natural Remedies for Stress and Anxiety.

Rhubarb Tonic

Rhubarb, or pieplant, was widely regarded as a fine spring tonic to aid the blood and the digestive system.�Cooked and stewed rhubarb was called “spring fruit” in early cookbooks.

Boil rhubarb and enjoy it as a soup (with some sweetener). Rhubarb is also delicious in preserves, puddings, and pies.

via Spring Tonics Dandelions Greens Nettles.

January 25, 2011

Companion Planting – iVillage

Filed under: gardening, herbs — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 5:19 pm

 

 

 

Cucumber + Corn

 

With her tender skin—whether bumpy or smooth, pleated or pale—crispy cucumber prefers to protect her delicate complexion by growing upward rather than lying on the ground. With his tall stature and regal bearing, corn is especially desirable for this purpose. Cucumber is also sensitive to cold; fortunately, Corn is happy to cuddle. Intertwined together in their warm bed, this pair will flourish all season long.

via Companion Planting – iVillage.

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January 16, 2011

Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores

Filed under: canning, family, gardening, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:23 am
Balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar
Image via Wikipedia

Back in November, at�the height of apple season, I decided to try making vinegar as a way to use up all the apple cores and peels that were left over from making dried apples. I thought I’d wait to see how the vinegar turned out before sharing the recipe. It finally appears to be as close to vinegar as it’s going to get, so here’s the story.

The recipe I used was from an old cookbook my mother picked up at a garage sale years and years ago. Unfortunately, I’ve just got some photocopied recipes from it now, so I’m not sure what the title of the original book was. I think it was probably the White House Cookbook, circa the 1890s. We had a copy of that one along with a few others from the same era, and I spent many an hour as a little girl happily reading through recipes for horehound cough drops and walnut catsup, instructions for cleaning lace, and five-course breakfast menus. What a different world – but still one I could somehow imagine myself in. Occasionally, my mother and I would try out a recipe or two. We even found our favorite Christmas cake recipe – a dense mace-scented white cake studded with hazelnuts and raisins – in one of the old books (they really knew how to bake back then).

via Apple Vinegar from Peels and Cores.

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January 9, 2011

Pheasant recipes: A pot full of deliciousness – Telegraph

Filed under: animals, family, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 9:19 am

 

Pheasant recipes: A pot full of deliciousness – Telegraph.

 

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December 11, 2010

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's game recipes The Guardian

Filed under: animals, family, herbs, recipes — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 10:06 am

Bouquet garni: thyme, bay leaves, sage

Image via Wikipedia Bouquet garni

Game soup

After you’ve enjoyed your roast pheasant or partridge, don’t just throw out the carcasses; instead, use them as the base for this tasty soup. It makes a great starter and is just the thing to pour into a Thermos to sustain you through a winter walk. Serves six, though it doubles or triples up very well.

Carcasses of 2-4 game birds
1 bouquet garni (made up of 3 parsley stalks, 2 small thyme sprigs, 1 rosemary sprig, 1 bay leaf)
6 juniper berries, crushed
8 black peppercorns
200g celeriac, cut into 1cm dice (save the peelings for use in the stock base)
2 large carrots, cut into 1cm dice
3 parsnips, cut into 1cm dice
Leftover scraps of meat pulled from the carcasses (optional)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the carcasses in a large pan, pour in enough water to cover by about 4cm, bring to a bare simmer and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. After 15 minutes, add the bouquet garni, juniper berries, peppercorns and a small handful of well-scrubbed celeriac peelings. Cook at a very gentle simmer for three hours, topping up with water if it gets a little low. Strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan. Bring the stock to a vigorous boil and reduce until it has a good depth of flavour. Add the vegetables, any leftover meat, if using, and the thyme, and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with good bread.

The River Cottage Everyday iPhone App, featuring seasonal recipes, tips and videos, is now available to download from iTunes. Go torivercottage.net for details.

December 9, 2010

How to make fragrant, delicious Christmas gifts – Telegraph

Filed under: decorating, farming, gardening, herbs — Tags: — dmacc502 @ 6:44 pm

Colourful potpourri - How to make fragrant, delicious Christmas gifts

Image 1 of 3
Colourful potpourri is sure to delight any friend over Christmas Photo: TONY BUCKINGHAM

As the pantechnicons start to gather in the drive, ready to transport our worldly goods from Suffolk to Whitstable, thoughts of additional ballast in the form of received Christmas presents suggest that my wish list should be composed of edible offerings.

 

Presents from the garden are always welcome. From harvest time onwards, we gardeners are rarely seen without gifts of jars of chutney, bags of apples, bottles of home-brewed plonk or surplus veg.

During the season, beekeeping friends travel with a jar or two of honey and I always sally forth smugly with a box of eggs. With a little thought and flair with packaging, your presents will always be appreciated.

via How to make fragrant, delicious Christmas gifts – Telegraph.

December 7, 2010

Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays

Filed under: herbs, Vinegar — dmacc502 @ 1:32 pm
Italian olive oil, both oil and an oil bottle ...
Image via Wikipedia

Pickles

Confetti Pickles

To make easy, all-purpose sweet and colorful pickles, drain the contents of the following, reserving the juices, which you can combine in one container: 1 small jar each of mixed sweet pickles, kumquats in syrup, red maraschino cherries, and sweet gherkins, and 1 can of pineapple chunks. Mix the solids thoroughly, and spoon into clean decorative jars. Add enough of the mixed juices to cover the contents of each jar, and seal. Although they can safely be left unrefrigerated for several hours or even overnight, attach a colorful label advising that these pickles be stored in the refrigerator.

Vinegar

Vinegar should be made in sterilized glass jars or bottles, with metallic or plastic screw-on lids, caps, or corks. To sterilize empty jars, boil in water for 10 minutes. Also, sterilize lids in a boiling water bath or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Vinegar should be labeled and dated, and stored in a cool, dark place for use within 2 months. Or, store it in the refrigerator and use within 6 to 8 months.

Raspberry Vinegar

In a glass container, combine 1/4 cup of crushed raspberries with 1 quart of white distilled vinegar. Let sit overnight at room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a decorative bottle, and add several perfect whole raspberries. (Packaged frozen raspberries work fine and usually have plenty of whole as well as crushed berries.) Add a colorful tag recommending it to be used alone or combined with olive oil as a salad dressing.

Fiery Pepper Vinegar

Lace brightly colored hot peppers into decorative bottles. (If you have some that are too large to fit, quarter them lengthwise or cut them into strips.) To each bottle, add a few black peppercorns, a peeled garlic clove, and a small slice of fresh ginger root. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Seal the bottles, and store for at least a week in a dark place.

 

via Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays.

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Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays

Filed under: herbs, Vinegar — dmacc502 @ 1:31 pm
Italian olive oil, both oil and an oil bottle ...
Image via Wikipedia

Pickles

Confetti Pickles

To make easy, all-purpose sweet and colorful pickles, drain the contents of the following, reserving the juices, which you can combine in one container: 1 small jar each of mixed sweet pickles, kumquats in syrup, red maraschino cherries, and sweet gherkins, and 1 can of pineapple chunks. Mix the solids thoroughly, and spoon into clean decorative jars. Add enough of the mixed juices to cover the contents of each jar, and seal. Although they can safely be left unrefrigerated for several hours or even overnight, attach a colorful label advising that these pickles be stored in the refrigerator.

Vinegar

Vinegar should be made in sterilized glass jars or bottles, with metallic or plastic screw-on lids, caps, or corks. To sterilize empty jars, boil in water for 10 minutes. Also, sterilize lids in a boiling water bath or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Vinegar should be labeled and dated, and stored in a cool, dark place for use within 2 months. Or, store it in the refrigerator and use within 6 to 8 months.

Raspberry Vinegar

In a glass container, combine 1/4 cup of crushed raspberries with 1 quart of white distilled vinegar. Let sit overnight at room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a decorative bottle, and add several perfect whole raspberries. (Packaged frozen raspberries work fine and usually have plenty of whole as well as crushed berries.) Add a colorful tag recommending it to be used alone or combined with olive oil as a salad dressing.

Fiery Pepper Vinegar

Lace brightly colored hot peppers into decorative bottles. (If you have some that are too large to fit, quarter them lengthwise or cut them into strips.) To each bottle, add a few black peppercorns, a peeled garlic clove, and a small slice of fresh ginger root. Fill to the top with white vinegar. Seal the bottles, and store for at least a week in a dark place.

 

via Recipe: homemade vinegar pickles gifts holidays.

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