Less Noise, More Green: September 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homemade Applesauce

I use applesauce all the time. I use it as a substitute for oil in baking, add it to yogurt, make cereal bars, applesauce cake, baked oatmeal, the list goes on. It is so versatile. Each fall I make a lot of applesauce.  This year I made eighteen pints and we will eat it all. You can freeze applesauce but I like to use the water canning method because I can just open a jar and use it immediately.

My recipe is pretty standard. It is based on an applesauce recipe from Ball, which has trustworthy canning recipes. I reduced the quantities because my canner will only fit seven pints and the Ball recipe makes eight pints. I suggest visiting the Ball website for really good information on how to can safely.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

When I purchase raw milk, one of the dairy products I always make is ricotta cheese. This is such as easy cheese to make, even for someone who is a complete novice, and you don't need any special enzymes or cheese making equipment.The higher the fat content of the milk, the more cheese you will make.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Foraging for Kousa Dogwood berries and muffin recipe

Photo by Kathy Schnabel

Living in a city, or suburb, does not mean there are no opportunities for foraging; you just have to know where to look. Sometimes you don't need to look further than your own backyard.

I recently visited Cluck, an urban homestead supply store in Providence, with my fellow Master Gardener friend, Kathy. We both bought Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos, which is a lovely book about discovering edible plants in your neighborhood. 

After perusing the pages, Kathy called to tell me she has a Kousa Dogwood in her front yard and it’s bursting with berries.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Apple picking and Somerset Apple Cake

Honey Crisp Apples

Last weekend, Computer Man and I went apple picking. Each year we go to the same farm in North Scituate, RI. Barden Family Orchard  grows twenty varieties of apples, plus peaches and raspberries. They also grow corn, pumpkins and a variety of vegetables.Their farm shop shelves are stocked with their own jellies and jams and local cheeses and honey. We always buy a gallon of their own apple cider, which we drink cold and hot, mulled with fall spices.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Road Trip to Baldwin Brook Farm

Last week I went on a road trip with my BFF Roda. Driving the country back roads, sipping coffee and solving the world's problems, we wound our way to Canterbury, CT. Our destination was Baldwin Brook Farm. We've been driving to the farm, just over the Connecticut border, for several years to buy their raw milk. It is illegal to sell raw milk in Rhode Island, hence the road trip.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

“Refocusing Rhode Island economic development on local food”

Recently I attended a lecture at Brown University given by Economist Michael Schuman, author of the book Local Dollars, Local Sense.  The topic was “Refocusing Rhode Island economic development on local food.”

Mr. Schuman began with the idea that the fundamental argument for localization is economic.  He presented data showing the cost of creating local jobs is a fraction of the cost of attracting global companies who promise new jobs, because of the tax breaks those companies want. He argued that every dollar spent in a local store has twice the impact on the local economy than money spent in a chain store. Local ownership creates self-reliance and that successful local businesses start to sell regionally and globally without subsidies.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rose Hip Vitamin C Drinks

Every year around this time, as the seasons change and the kids go back to school, the family gets colds. This year I am going to try something different, be proactive and give us all vitamin C boosts with rose hip drinks.  
The hips I used came from Rosa rugosa, also known as hedge rose or dog rose. It is a deciduous flowering shrub that grows wild in Rhode Island and is common on beaches because of its salt tolerance.  The plant has flowers in varying shades of white, pink and fuchsia and very large hips.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Eating a Local Diet

As with much of modern life, we have managed to surround what should be the joyful act of eating with anxiety and confusion. For those of us who are trying to eat responsibly, in terms of the impact our choices make on the economy, politics and the planet, and at the same time choose foods that are nutritionally sound and chemical free, the options are overwhelming. Local, regional, organic, natural, grass-fed, cage free, or sustainably grown, which is best? Which takes precedence, local or organic, for instance? You can drive yourself crazy thinking about these things.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Garden is Transitioning into Fall

I  don't know about you but I am ready to embrace fall. Crisp blue skies, magnificent foliage, apple picking, soups, stews, hot fruit desserts and baked oatmeal for breakfast, are all just around the corner. Fall can stay forever.

I have a confession to make. I like winter vegetables better than summer. Cold days call for hot food and there is something soul satisfying about a big bowl of chunky soup. Out comes the slow cooker and the roasting pan. The house smells of  different variations of vegetables for several hours a day. On the weekend the kitchen smells of apple crumble.