Return of Bean Friday: Bean Broth or “Tuscan Crazy Water”

Yep, Bean Friday rears its head again–or is it Frugal Friday? Whatever it is, I’ve got this thrifty idea for you. I read about in The Italian Country Table , by Lynn Rossetto Casper. We’ve had this book for years and years, and it has some really good recipes in it that have become standards in our house, along just with a couple of duds. I’d not paid attention to her entry on “Crazy Water” before, but by her...

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Rain Barrels

Constructing a cistern large enough to supply potable indoor water is an ambitious project involving pumps, filters, UV purifiers, and very large and expensive tanks. We don’t want to discourage anyone from making an attempt at it, but for most urban homesteaders it won’t be economical or practical given the space requirements and weight of thousands of gallons of stored water. Thankfully, there are simpler strategies for harvesting...

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Beans 101 (Return of Bean Friday!)

.... Now on to the how-to. How to Make Yourself a Big Pot of Beans Beans after an overnight soak It’s easy to make a pot of beans, and while it takes time to make beans, it doesn’t take effort, or even brains. Prep time probably totals around 5 minutes, and add to that whatever time it takes to keep half an eye on the pot. What it does require is a small amount of pre-planning. You need to remember to soak beans. That&...

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Gourmet Foraging and Advanced Acorn Processing

...ypes of leaching: hot and cold, and which one you choose depends on how you plan to use the acorns. You use cold water leaching to make acorn meal suitable for baking. The cold water preserves the starchiness of the acorn meal, which makes it work well in breads and pancakes and muffins and such. Hot water leaching removes the starch, but seems to bring out the nutty flavor more, which makes it better for using the acorns in savory foods, like ac...

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Making Tofu From Scratch at the Institute of Domestic Technology

...ute of Domestic Technology, founded by our friend Joseph Shuldiner. The IDT is not your usual cooking school and its offerings are difficult to define succinctly. If I had to take a stab at explaining what the IDT does it would be that it teaches things worth doing from scratch that most people haven’t attempted since the pre-Betty Crocker era: cheesemaking, home coffee roasting, bacon curing, bread baking, jam and exotic projects like maki...

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Make a Sourdough Starter

...ht. 3. Every day, pour off one cup of your starter and add a half cup of white flour and a half cup of lukewarm water. 4. Your starter should begin to get bubbly in a few days. A layer of liquid, known in sourdough fetish circles as “hooch” will form. Don’t be concerned, this is natural and simply stir it in every morning when you add the additional flour and water. 5. After one to two weeks, you should have an active culture o...

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Rain- The Best Gift of All

...ossible. Once the soil has dried out, usually just a couple of days later, I attach a hose to the barrel and let it drain. I will set it in the garden and move it around to a few different spots. I have five 55 gallon barrels set up so far. Rainwater really helps flush out salts that can build up in the soil (an issue here in the West) and unlike tap water there is no chlorine. The plants just love the rain water. I also planted beet, carrot and...

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New Project: Making Bitters

...made bitters to add interesting flavor notes to drinks created with fruit juices, homemade syrups, teas and soda water. My first set, a few of which are in the photo above, are currently steeping. In future posts I’ll share the recipes I develop as I follow this path. In the meanwhile, making your own bitters is really easy. You may be able to throw a few experiments together just using things you find in your spice cabinet. Since these are...

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Saturday Linkages: Making Things and Herding Ducks

...:// dirttime.com/?p=2687 via Practical Parsimony Build-It-Solar Blog: Comparing the Performance of Two DIY Solar Water Heaters http://www. builditsolarblog.com/2012/07/compar ing-performance-of-two-diy-solar.html?spref=tw  … Build-It-Solar Blog: Using Your Lawn Sprinkling Water to Cool the House… http://www. builditsolarblog.com/2012/08/using- your-lawn-sprinkling-water-to.html?spref=tw  … New video series from MAKE: “DiResta”:...

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Remember to Label Those Jars!

...ult of some late night canning frenzy two years ago. At the time I probably thought to myself, “I’ll label them in the morning.” Not only should the jars be labeled, but it would also have been nice to have some notes on the recipe I used and where the fruit was sourced from. To this end I’ve started a preservation diary in a useful program called Evernote. Perhaps I should get a tattoo on my forearm that says, “Lab...

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