Archive for November, 2015

Straw Bale Potato Storage

Thursday, November 19th, 2015
200 Pounds of Potatoes

200 Pounds of Potatoes

We had a huge potato harvest as the result of growing three beds rather than two and using seed potatoes from Wood Prairie Farm that gave us a much greater yield than previous seed sources. We ended up with over 300 pounds of potatoes from a 30 pound planting. I knew that if we didn’t find better storage than the basement, we would lose a lot of crop, so I made a quick cold storage set-up out of straw bales and an old wooden shipping crate.  Using a small stall in our little barn and about 20 small square straw bales, we put around 200 pounds into storage. The five varieties are in the picture above.

Shipping Crate in Straw

Shipping Crate in Straw

The wood box is nested inside straw bales stacked up in a barn stall.

Straw Bale Cold Storage

Straw Bale Cold Storage

The potatoes were harvested by early October and they are looking very good.  We’ve had a mild onset of winter so they haven’t been exposed to a hard freeze yet, but the barn gets pretty cold so I hope the straw does its job.  I’m sure we’ll get them well into next year. I’ve used this set-up for carrots and other root crops, previously, and I’m quite confident it will work well for the potatoes. This isn’t the slickest option for cold storage, but it is definitely very easy.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Medallions with Sage Garnish

Monday, November 16th, 2015
Butternut Squash with Sage

Butternut Squash with Sage

You may have read about our harvest of smaller squash in a previous post by Noel.  The trellised squash yielded about 35 winter squash. We hadn’t even started counting the large varieties which included a 37 pound Boston Marrow, four Hubbards, several Red Kuris, large pumpkins, small pie pumpkins and some unknowns.

So this is the year to get creative with squash. It’s very filling and a little goes a long way. It’s good just roasted and it works in soups, stews, cakes, breads and smoothies, to name a few.

Here’s a recipe I tried last night. I don’t remember where I read about the concept but the oven temperature and timing stuck in my brain so here’s what I did.

1 or 2 Butternut Squash – depending upon how many servings needed

2-3 T. Butter or Olive Oil or oil of your choice – coconut oil? sesame oil?

Fresh sage leaves – one for each medallion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the solid neck only of the butternut into 1/2″ slices and peel. Brush the slices with melted butter and place on a well greased baking pan. I used parchment paper for a liner instead of greasing.  Bake for 15 minutes on one side. Turn the squash over, place one fresh sage leave on top, brush again with butter and bake for another 15 minutes. The squash should pierce easily with a fork. If it’s still firm bake a little longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Yum!

Notes:  Use the remaining bulbous part of the squash for another dish. If you have no fresh sage leaves just use some dried sage mixed with the butter.

 

Fermented Cabbage the Kraut Source Way

Monday, November 2nd, 2015
Sauerkraut Fermenting

Sauerkraut Fermenting

Above is a picture of the purple sauerkraut I started a couple of days ago with cabbage, ginger, dill and hot pepper.

We had about ten  cabbages of four different varieties in this year’s garden.  Since we don’t have a great way to store them fresh for any length of time I went on a fermentation binge.

Three years ago when I made my first successful ferment I wrote about the method used here.

While that’s a perfectly fine method I was introduced to Kraut Source by an e-mail note from my daughter – she knows where my interests lay!  They ‘kraut sourced’ their new ‘gizmo’ and I was intrigued.  It has a spring-action top to keep the veggies submerged below the liquid and a moat ‘water filled’ top with a loose cone-shaped cover so the ferment burps itself.  The only thing you need to do while the fermentation is doing its thing is to keep the moat filled with water which keeps the air out.

Here’s a picture of the three quarts I made a couple of weeks ago – fermented for ten days.  From left to right:  Dilly Kraut with Carrots, Purple Kraut with Apples, Raisins & Cinnamon and Kraut with Onion, Cilantro, Ginger, Cumin Seeds & Hot Pepper

Three Quarts of Finished Kraut

Three Quarts of Finished Kraut

Ferments can be done in as little as 4-5 days depending on how sour you like your kraut.  Salt quantity can vary according to your taste.  I used 2 teaspoons per quart.

The heat process involved in canning sauerkraut destroys the bacteria and probiotics that help digestion.  We just refrigerate it when we deem it done.