Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

This is how I want my yogurt. Dadiah, traditional West Sumatran water buffalo yogurt, fermented in bamboo segments. Courtesy of Wikimedia. Photo by Meutia Chaeran. Mrs. Homegrown here: One reason I make a lot of my own stuff is because I’m trying to avoid plastic packaging. And as I’m sure you know, that’s pretty much impossible these days–but I do what I can. Lately I’ve realized that one consistent source of...

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Are Pallets Safe to Reuse?

Now you know. Pallet parts have names. As a fan and proponent of reusing pallets in building projects, such as chicken coops and compost containers, I’m often asked if I think they are safe to use given that shippers and manufacturers fumigate them with pesticides. In the United States quarantine regulations require that pallets be treated with methyl bromide, a pesticide being phased out due to its adverse effects on the ozone la...

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New Health Food Trends at the Natural Products Food Expo West

This weekend I attended, for or the second year in a row, the Natural Products Expo West. At this massive convention, health food, natural supplement and cosmetic concerns pitch their products to retailers. And, again this year, I did a lot of intemperate sampling. For the sake of you, our dear readers, I ate every known power bar, sports beverage and processed soy/hemp/chia meat substitute so you won’t have to. It was the human equivalen...

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How to make a Calendula oil infusion

Love that golden orange color. It’s prettier in real life. So finally I get around to finishing off this mini series on Calendula (pot marigold). This post will be on infusing oil, and next week we’ll have the one on salves. We’ve already covered the growing and drying Calendula: Why not plant some Calendula Harvesting and drying Calendula Oil infusion is as simple as can be.  Oil infusion is soaking. Think of...

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Teflon Coated Light Bulbs Deadly to Chickens

Something I never would have thought of: Teflon coated light bulbs are toxic to chickens. In the letters section of this month’s issue of Backyard Poultry Magazine is the story of a woman who lost a flock of nineteen chickens after they succumbed to fumes put off by a GE Rough Service Worklight that was in the coop. When the bulbs heat up they release fumes that are deadly to chickens and other birds. According to the McMurray Hatchery we...

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Bar Codes on Veggies

Via the trade journal Wireless Watch Japan comes a story on Japanese cell phone users with built in QR bar code readers using their phones to check food safety, “Forget any assumptions about Hicksville. Japanese farmers have little fear of technology. Rural Ibaraki Prefecture has turbo charged their QR coding for agricultural products tagging a wide variety of vegetables grown in that prefecture. Ibaraki Prefectural authorities and the JA...

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Non-GMO Versions of Grape Nuts and Cheerios Less Nutritious Than GMO Versions

Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health professor Marion Nestle noted on her blog this week that the non-GMO versions of Cheerios and Grape Nuts are less nutritious than the GMO versions. Why? Nestle says, It’s hard to find non-GMO vitamins (who knew?).  Vitamins, it seems are often produced from genetically engineered microorganisms, or from microbes growing in fermentation tanks that are fed a nutrient mix that contains ingredients from GM...

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Don’t store your cucumbers in the fridge

...sed soon as they are removed from the refrigerator. Seems that cucumbers are susceptible to cold injury if held more than 3 days at temperatures lower than 50F/10C. Signs of cold injury are wateriness, pitting on the outside and accelerated decay Another factoid: Cucumbers are sensitive to ethylene gas, which is put off by some ripening fruits and vegetables. So for longest storage, don’t keep your cukes near melons, tomatoes or bananas. T...

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The Food and Flowers Freedom Act

rdinance was written to allow the growing of vegetables in a residential (R1) zone for sale off-site. What this means, however, is that it is prohibited for city dwellers in R1 zones to grow fruits, nuts, flowers or seedlings and sell them off-site – at local farmers’ markets for example. Furthermore, no one at City Hall can agree on what Truck Gardening is. We think it’s time for the City of Los Angeles to come into the 21st century and am...

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Loquat season is here!

photo courtesy of wikimedia Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) season is upon us here in our neighborhood of HaFoSaFo (that is, one special corner of Los Angeles). This post will not have much relevance to those of you who do not live in a subtropical or mild climate, but for those of you who do, I highly encourage you to get to know the humble yet mysterious loquat. Loquat trees abound in our neighborhood, and I don’t know if this is a purely l...

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