Growing and Preparing Cardoons (Cynara cardunculus)

...7; off the stringy bits To prepare it you take the blanched, tender inner stems and pull off the stringy bits on the back, being careful to avoid the sharp edges (did I mention that this is a pain in the ass food?). Chop the stems into two inch strips and drop them into acidified water to prevent discoloration. Next boil the crap out of them. You might also be able to bake the crap out of them, but I have not tried this. I boiled them for 25 minu...

Continue reading…

Sundiner

...loss. The solar energy grill works in this simple way: point the mirrors toward the sun for a few minutes until the right temperature is reached (built-in heat indicator dial) and pop a tray of food into the oven. There is no fire or fuel to handle. Sole source of cooking stems from the collected, concentrated rays of the sun. Here is a sample of how long various meats take to cook: Hamburgers, franks, and fish, 15 to 20 minutes. Steaks and fill...

Continue reading…

Tomatoes in December

.... And each year the fruit declines in quality. This summer I transplanted two tomato seedlings that sprouted in the yard on their own. One turned out to be the offspring of the Italian red pear tomato I grow every year and the other a somewhat boring but prolific yellow cherry tomato. It’s Christmas and all of these tomatoes are still growing and producing. I’ve got an unintentional food forest started here. One of these days IR...

Continue reading…

Nettle Harvest

...Homegrown Neighbor here: Stinging nettle- Urtica dioica is a both a beloved and hated plant. Yes, it does sting. The stem and leaf edges are covered in stinging hairs. It can be rather painful. But it has been used as a food and medicine plant dating back at least to ancient Rome. Interestingly, if you sting an inflamed or painful area of the body with nettle, it has been shown to decrease the pain. Mr. Homegrown has also written about nettles o...

Continue reading…

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Grub

...agic” on raising black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) grubs as poultry and fish feed. “If we offer the grubs 100 pounds of food wastes, for example, they will reduce it to 5 pounds of residue usable as a superior soil amendment, in the process generating 10 and possibly up to 20 pounds of live grubs that can be fed to livestock; in addition to liquid effluent (how much depends on the moisture content of the feeding materials) which...

Continue reading…

City of LA Shakes Down Community Gardens

The City of Los Angeles Department of Rec and Parks just announced fee increases for community garden plots. The rental of a 10 by 20 space will go from $25 to $120 a year. In the midst of an economic crisis, when the city should doing everything it can to encourage growing food in the city, we get this. The good news is that, unlike national politics, we can make a difference by getting involved at a local level. I was alerted to this shortsi...

Continue reading…

Return of Bean Friday! Chickpea, Pasta and Tomato Soup

...prep. It does take a while to cook, but very little of your time is spent in the kitchen. I found this recipe in the very useful The Silver Spoon cookbook, where it’s called Pasta e Ceci alla Toscana. The quantity made by the recipe was pretty small, and when I make soup, I make a lot, so I doubled their quantities. This is my interpretation. ———— Allow three hours of cooking time You need: 2 cups dried chickpeas. P...

Continue reading…

Rules for Eating Wheat

...21;.  But with each change in wheat genetics came new, unexpected outcomes. Those changes greatly accelerated in the last one hundred and fifty years. In the 19th century farmers moved away from growing soft wheat varieties and shifted to hard wheat, which performs better in mechanized roller mills.  In the mid 20th century Norman Borlaug launched the green revolution by developing new wheat varieties. And now, Monsanto and Bill Gates are...

Continue reading…

Is Modern Wheat Killing Us?

...fting discussion. Some of the questions Spiller and Roberts raised: Could modern hard wheat varieties, bred for the convenience of industrial agriculture, have the unintended consequence of increasing allergic reactions? Are older varieties healthier for us? What have we lost in terms of flavor when we decreased the diversity of grain varieties? Is sourdough bread a pro-biotic food? Could some of the allergy problems associated with bread...

Continue reading…