The Ecology Center of San Juan Capistrano

Kelly and I had the privilege of doing a short talk this weekend at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. If you’re interested in Southern California food forestry, greywater, chickens, you name it, this is the place to visit. They have an amazing garden, classes and a well curated gift store. When people ask us how to design garden and house systems in SoCal, we’re going to send them to the Ecology Center....

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Reseeding Vegetables for the Warm Season

...ouse in Southern California? After dumping a load of compost along our side yard, mother nature is doing her own food forestry experiment. This month the following things popped up out of that load of compost: stinging nettle cardoon tomatoes nasturtium fennel sunflowers Elsewhere in the yard, New Zealand spinach has popped up on its own. I doubt the stinging nettle or nasturtium will hang on for long (it’s out of season for those plants...

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A Lacto Fermentation Kit Made With a Canning Jar

Chef Ernest Miller gave all of us in the Master Food Preserver class a very clever lacto-fermentation kit he designed and sells at the Farmer’s Kitchen in Hollywood. As a class, we’re all making a batch of sauerkraut. Made out of a Le Parfait canning jar with a hole drilled in the lid to fit a fermentation lock, I already know this handy device will replace the large ceramic crock we have used in the past for pickle and kraut makin...

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How to Store Canned Goods: Take the Screw Band Off!

Right in the center, wrong on the left. Bungee cord ’cause we’re in earthquake country. Another quick tip from the Los Angeles Master Food Preservers: you should store your canned goods with the screw bands off. Why? So you can clean underneath the band to prevent spoilage and bugs. The screw band can create a false seal. Leaving the screw bands on can cause corrosion.  The only time to have the screw bands on is if you...

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Saturday Linkages: Mules, Turfgrass, Foraging and the End of Backyard Citrus

Emily Ho, a fellow Master Food Preserver trainee, foraged a Silver Lake salad. (Photo by Emily Ho) A Silver Lake Salad http://sustainablefoodworks.com/2012/04/09/a-silver-lake-salad/ via @ misschiffonade   Mule-based bookmobiles for remote Venezuelan communities: http://boingboing.net/2012/04/20/mule-based-bookmobiles-for-rem.html   Dismiss Cyclists At Your Own Peril: The Jackson Huang Lesson – Eagle Rock, CA Patch http://eagleroc...

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How to Roast Your Own Coffee in a Stovetop Popcorn Maker

...th more detailed Whirley-Pop instructions as well as a review of other home roasting methods. Our instructor at the Institute class, Ian Riley, suggested storing the beans at room temperature in a reusable valve bag (freshly roasted coffee beans out-gas CO2). Unlike many home “artisinal” food methods (we probably need to retire the “a” word), home coffee roasting saves money and you get a much better product than store bo...

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Tree Tobacco as a Stinging Nettle Cure

...– but I have some contradicting information regarding Native American usage. I took a herbology class with the late Cecilia Garcia, who was a Chumash medicine woman, and she told us that Indians used this plant as an appetite suppressant during hard times. The adults would drink tea made of its leaves so they could give what food they had to the children. This sad story always gives me chills when I think of it. That said, I would never dri...

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Front Yard Vegetable Garden Update

One advantage of living in a slightly rough-around-the-edges Los Angeles neighborhood is that nobody gets bent out of shape about front yard vegetable gardens. Indeed, they are  a tradition in immigrant neighborhoods. The picture above is an update of one of the front yard gardens Kelly blogged about back in May. It looked like this when she first blogged about it. Not sure exactly what’s growing here. It looks like beans from a distanc...

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All Haste Is of the Devil: Carl Jung as Homesteader

...ung, who comes to us via the special astral internet plan we get from AT&T. As it turns out, Jung was quite the off-grid homesteader when it came to building and living in his special retreat tower in Bollingen, on the shore of Lake Zürich. I have done without electricity, and tend the fireplace and stove myself. Evenings, I light the old lamps. There is no running water, and I pump the water from the well. I chop the wood and cook the f...

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Picture Sundays: Good News and Dog Carts

First off, Governor Brown signed the California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, into law this past week. So Californians will soon be able to make and sell “non-hazardous” foods in a home kitchen and sell them. But how will those goods get delivered? Above, a bakery in Holland using that long lost mode of transport, the dog cart. Picture via Terrierman’s Daily Dose....

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