Build a Solar Dehydrator

...ral convection (hot air rises). You put the food on screen covered trays in the upper box. With sliced tomatoes it takes about two full days of drying and you have to take the food indoors at night to prevent mold from growing (a minor inconvenience). We built our dehydrator several years ago and have used it each season for tomatoes, figs and for making dried zucchini chips. You can find plans for this “Appalachian Dehydrator”, desi...

Continue reading…

End of Season Tomato Review

...mato award goes to the Pineapple variety pictured above. Not only did this heirloom tomato have the best flavor, it was also the prettiest tomato we’ve ever grown, a brilliant yellow with streaks of red in the middle of the fruit when you slice it. And they’re just about as big as a Cadillac Escalade. We saved some seeds and will definitely be growing these again next year. The most productive, trouble free and productive tomatoes t...

Continue reading…

Get Baking and Share the Loaves

...he refrigerator. This deepens flavor, allows flexibility in your baking schedule and can help a hearth loaf hold its shape in the oven. Are you beginner? Make your bread in a loaf pan. It’s a lot more forgiving than trying to shape a boule. Use a tip sensitive thermometer to determine if your rye bread is done. Baker didn’t discuss the exact temp, but I shoot for 210°F. For wheat loaves let color be your guide–you want just shor...

Continue reading…

From the Archives: Loquat Leather

...recipe. You’ve still got to de-seed the damn things but at least there’s no need to skin them. Plus it makes use of booze. I’ll admit it’s not a thrilling fruit leather but it’s not too bad. Mrs. Homegrown chimes in: My philosophy is simply that if one is going to go through the trouble of making fruit leather, preserves, pies etc., one should use outstanding fruit. The flavor tells in the end. After all, the starv...

Continue reading…

On the Back Porch of America

I rag on Hollywood a lot. But today, for a change, I get to point to something positive. Root Simple pal and LA bike revolutionary, Ben Guzman and his business partner Angela Wood produce videos, through their company Small Medium Large, that readers of this blog will love. Small Medium Large’s series, The Back Porch of America, is like the Foxfire books come to life. You can watch a couple of episodes here. This is what television woul...

Continue reading…

A Year after The Age of Limits: 5 Responses to the End Times

...17;s no big show to look forward to, in other words. If you are waiting for the apocalypse, look around. This is it. The Crappening is not a time for valiant last stands. It’s about making due, being sensible and lending a hand to those in need. If the Crappening has a spirit animal, it would be a little burro with a heavy load on its back. The burro doesn’t think the world is ending because it has to carry a heavy load. It just keeps...

Continue reading…

Kintsugi: Creating Art out of Loss

...re and here). Kintsugi is such a subtle, wise practice. It’s not about fixing something good as new, as if it had never broken, but acknowledging that breakage, and making something new and beautiful out of disaster, via the practice of mindfulness. Perhaps we can learn something from this. Please do check out the video–it’s short and beautiful. In it, a young craftsman explains the rising popularity of this 400 year-old art for...

Continue reading…

How To Make a Sourdough Starter

.... And I take requests–if there’s a topic for a video you’d like to see just leave a comment.  Making a sourdough starter is as simple as mixing flour and water. There’s no need for all the crazy things I’ve heard suggested: adding potatoes, grapes, yogurt and certainly not commercial yeast. And the yeast that makes sourdough happen is on the flour itself in far greater quantities than in the air. After following the...

Continue reading…

C-Realm Podcast on the Age of Limits

KMO interviewed us about the end o’ the world stuff we blogged about last week for his C-Realm podcast. If you’re not familiar with the C-Realm you should be–it’s one of my favorite podcasts and covers a difficult to summarize array of subjects that will interest readers of Root Simple. After our interview, KMO talks to Archdruid John Michael Greer who had a similar reaction to the conference’s m...

Continue reading…

Ten Uses for Palm Fronds

...break down. Our arborist told me that some conventional citrus growers use palm frond mulch specifically because it takes forever to break down. 4. Paint stirrer. I’m proud of this Root Simple innovation. While I was painting the garage recently, I couldn’t find my paint stirrers. Watching the fronds fall as I was up on the ladder (in fear of my life after a neighbor told me that he knows of someone who was killed...

Continue reading…