Scrubbin’ It

...ll have to seek out at your local restaurant supply store. Sadly, made in China–but what ain’t these days? Now if only I didn’t have to do the dishes! Mrs. Homegrown here:   This is indeed a fine, stout scrubbie, but as at least one commenter says, it may not be the best thing for the cast iron. For indeed, if your cast iron is well seasoned, food should come off a rag, or a couple scrapes with a flat spatula. Unless yo...

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So-So Tomatoes Become Excellent When Dried

...nvolving a pantry moth, its many offspring, and one big jar of dried tomatoes. For this reason I’m storing the dried tomatoes in a series of small jars, to offset the risk. Another good tip for fending off moths is to freeze any food stuff which you suspect might be at risk for 4 days to kill moths and their larvae. How did we dry our tomatoes, you ask? Usually we use our homemade solar dehydrator, but this year we’ve got a friendR...

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Derek Jarman’s Garden

...ade to be had for miles in any direction. In winter, sea storms rage, while biting Siberian winds push through the shingle and up through the floorboards of the fisherman’s cottages strung out along the road to the lighthouse. You can’t take life for granted in Dungeness: every bloom that flowers through the shingle is a miracle, a triumph of nature. Derek knew this more than anyone. Gardens give us food, medicine, solace, and t...

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Seed Mania

...was introduced to it by my friends at Tularosa Farms. It’s difficult to germinate so that plan is to gift the seeds to the TF folks and hope that they give us seedlings (an evil plan, I admit). I also picked up some crimson clover and globe artichoke seeds from the Bountiful Gardens folks. Desert Chia from Native Seed Search. Yes it is that chia, of Chia Pet fame. Chia is an ancient herb used by Native Americans for medicine and food. Cha...

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Loofah Sponges

...if they’re happy, and the fruits form on big yellow flowers. They are so prolific and easy to grow (given the right conditions) that you only need a crop every few years to keep you in sponges. We’ve never tried to eat loofah, mostly because we’ve been too greedy for sponges. But we’re going to chill on that next time around and eat a few.  The only catch with loofah is that they need a long growing season: 4 months f...

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Our favorite way to cook zucchini

...itchen grater. Saute the shreds in an uncovered skillet with lots of olive oil and some chopped up garlic, until there’s no water in the pan, and the volume of the zucchini is reduced by about half. This transforms the zukes into a savory, glossy, succulent mush. Maybe that’s not the most elegant way to phrase it, but it’s the best I can do. Yes, it does have a baby food texture, but it’s really, really good, so you don...

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How to start a chicken retirement community

...could do it if we needed to–but we never really sat down and decided what would happen to our ladies when they stopped laying. We’re very good at procrastinating that way. What happened is sort of surprising, looking back. I’ve not eaten chicken since high school (or other meat, except rarely, fish). My objections have never centered around the morality of killing animals for food, but rather a long-standing objection to how th...

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Free Postmortem Exams for Backyard Flocks in California

...217;s too late for us now, but if I had another two chickens die in close succession, I’d consider rushing the bodies off to one of the California Animal Health and Food Safety’s labs run by the University of California Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine. A Root Simple reader who is a veterinarian tipped us off to this service. You don’t need a veterinarian (though you might need one to help interpret the results) and t...

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Cleaning the Sink with Baking Soda and Lemons

...d from breathing that junk in, getting it on your hands, and adding it to our water supply–not to mention the danger of having it around the house. The lemon bleaching is an extra step, but one I always enjoy. Maybe it’s the scent, or maybe because I like playing with my food. Extra tough situations: If the baking soda isn’t cutting it as a scrubber, try scrubbing with table salt or Borax, or a combo of baking soda and salt o...

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New Year’s Resolutions

...h the 2 million (no exaggeration) annual reservation requests. * A clarifying note frome Mrs. Homegrown: I used the term dog vomit specifically in relation to their signature dishes based on flavor-infused foam. Many of their dishes are strikingly beautiful, art without doubt. But speaking as a dog owner, if you present me with a plate of chunks of food swimming in yellow foam, my mind is going one place and one place only. And when the foam is...

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