Starting a garden is as easy as A, B, Seed!

It’s February and, depending on where you live, winter may be loosening it’s grip or (like here in Michigan) it may be still going strong.

If you’re like me, you might just be getting a little bit antsy to get your fingers back in the dirt and get things growing.

Good news…

It’s Not Too Early To Start!

The biggest mistake most gardeners make is thinking everything goes into the ground at one time, about the time the weather gets nice. But that technique will leave you disappointed.

Both vegetables and flowers have cool season growers and warm season growers. A plant that thrives in the cool temps of spring will wither or bolt during a hot summer. Reverse that for a warm season plant: put it in the cold ground of spring and you will be watching nothing grow.

So now is the perfect time to start thinking about your cool spring garden and while the ground outside may not be workable there are flowers and veggies that will thrive if you plant them now, indoors as seeds.

5 Flowers To Start Indoors From Seed Now:

  • Snapdragons

  • Delphinium

  • Sweet Peas

  • Pansy

  • Black-eyed Susan

Untitled design.png

6 Vegetables To Start Indoors From Seed Now:

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Tomatoes

  • Peppers

  • Peas

  • Eggplant

Untitled design (1).png

Supplies Needed:

  • Seeds

  • Small pots: I like to use plastic cells and plastic starter pots. I reuse them as much as possible. Make sure they are dirt free and sterilized with a water/bleach solution before using. (One gallon water to 1 or 2 Tbsp. bleach.)

  • Trays: Hold water to allow the plants to suck it up from the bottom.

  • Lids (optional): Help hold heat and humidity in.

  • Seed starting mix: From your local garden center.

  • Large plastic container: to hold wet seed starting soil mix.

  • Small gardening shovel

  • Garden gloves (optional)

  • Plant markers: Craft popsicle sticks work well as do old plastic blinds.

  • Sharpie: To label your plant markers

  • Spray bottle: Make sure it can spray with a fine mist..

  • Water: Non-chlorinated, non-salted. When in doubt purchase distilled water from the grocery store.

  • Grow lights (really helpful)

  • Heat mats (optional)

Techniques:

I’m clearly no Joanna Gaines or Ree Drummond on camera but watch the video demonstration below for a short tutorial. We shot this in one take so I’d like to clarify that when I said most plants have to start when we have snow still on the ground, I meant cool season plants and plants with long growing times. Don’t start pumpkins now! LOL!

To help you know more about start dates I have put together a handy guide for both indoor seed starting and outdoor seed starting. Just scroll to the footer on this page and fill out the sign up form to recieve your free guide.

To see our seed starting setup with grow lights, and other information watch this video.

Other Tips and Tricks:

Plants that have been started in the comfort of your cozy house will need to be “hardened off” before you move them to their outside home. This means exposing them to the great outdoors, a little bit at a time, gradually lengthing their exposure so they can build up hardiness to the outdoors.

To know when your plants should go in the ground, make sure you sign up at the bottom of the page to get your free growing calendar and seed starting guide.

Reference & Sources:

  • Seeds: Territorial Seed Company, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

  • Supplies: Family Farm and Home, Lowes, Ace Hardware

  • Books: Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler, Better Homes and Gardens Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardening, Floret Flowers- Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein

Happy Growing:

Are you convinced to give seed starting a try this year? I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You can drop me a comment here on the blog, on facebook, on instagram or shoot me an email at cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com

And don’t forget to get your free guide and calendar to seed starting. Sign up below, in the footer section.

Bloom and grow!

Cyndi

Whip Up These Bath Bombs For Great Last Minute Gifts

Bath Bombs- a compacted mix of fizz and fragrance that dissolves in your bath water- aren’t new. (I made my first ones around 20 years ago.)

They are, however, extremely popular right now.

They’re in all the stores and people are going crazy for them this holiday season.

But did you know Bath Bombs are easy to make at home?

You probably already have some of the ingredients sitting in your kitchen right now and by making them at home you can:

  • Avoid any nasty ingredients that sneak their way into the mass produced “bombs”.

  • Save some money.

  • Enjoy learning a new skill.

It’s so easy your kids can do it. (And they will want to when they see you doing it!)

LOST IN STOCKHOLM.png

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baking soda

  • 1/2 cup corn starch

  • 1/2 cup citric acid

  • 1/4 cup epsom salts

  • Water or witch hazel

  • Essential oil(s) of choice

  • Food coloring if desired

Tools:

  • Large Bowl

  • Small Bowl

  • Molds

  • Mini spray bottle

  • Measuring cups

  • Spoons

Directions:

  • Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl.

  • Spoon a 1/2 cup of dry mixture into a smaller bowl.

  • A few drops at a time, mix in color and fragrance as desired. Do not let the mix sit and fizz but rather work in the liquids quickly and thoroughly into the dry mix.

  • Fill spray bottle with water and/or witch hazel and lightly spritz dry mixture a few times and then stir. Repeat until the mixture clumps when squeezed in your hand.

  • There is a learning curve when spritzing your salts: To much liquid and the mix will fizz, “bloom” and not keep it’s shape. To little liquid and the “bomb” will not hold together or crack apart after curing.

  • Fill desired mold with damp mixture and pack firmly.

  • Carefully turn out molded mix onto a firm surface and let cure overnight. (If it breaks apart when unmolding you can crumble it up, return it to the bowl, respritz it and try again.

To use Your Bath Bomb simply fill a tub with water, drop in the “bomb” and enjoy!

Tip: Almost anything will do as a mold. Avoid anything too large or detailed.

My favorite thing to use is a piece of 2” wide, plastic, pvc pipe along with a “tapper” of wood to pack the “bomb” firmly. This makes a flat tablet that I call a “seltzer”!

LOST IN STOCKHOLM (1).png

Tip: You can incorporate a skin loving oil like: coconut, olive or any other liquid oil, with your water/witch hazel mix but the oil can clog the sprayer.

A better choice might be to add it by drops with your essential oils and colors. I do find, though, that the oil stays behind in the bath tub and leaves it greasy.

Tip: If you want to incorporate herbs into your creations, I recommend powdered versions that won’t be scratchy or be left behind for you to clean up out of the tub.

Another way to use herbs would be to infuse them into your oil of choice and then into the mix as the oil.

I love creating all sorts of herbal bath and body care products so if you have any questions or need an ingredient source please don’t hesitate to ask.

You can contact me by leaving a comment below or via my email cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com or find me on social media: facebook and instagram @foxandglovefarmstead.

Also don’t forget to get your copy of Kick The Ick: Your Guide To Teas & Tonics To Stay Healthy All Winter. Sign up at the bottom of this web page. It’s FREE!

I hope you have a Merry Christmas. Until next time:

Bloom & Grow

Cyndi

LOST IN STOCKHOLM (2).png

You're Gonna Love My New, Favorite Holiday Desserts!

A few days ago, on Instagram, I put up some pics of the raspberry-maple bars and Keto pumpkin cheesecake I whipped up for Thanksgiving.

Of course you all asked for recipes, and I am happy to oblige!

During the spring and summer I find my joy being out with my herbs and flowers but when the weather turns, I’m all about the baking.

Baking equals love to me.

The aromatic smells that fill the kitchen make me happy and the resulting treats make my family happy…

Even my cheesecake loving, Keto-eating husband.

I’ve been having a tough time finding good tasting Keto desserts.

But with the discovery of monkfruit as a sweetener (no funky aftertaste) and a pecan crust instead of almond and coconut flours,

This pumpkin cheesecake is a winner.

Pecan Crusted Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake

Special Note:

  • You will need a 9” springform (cheesecake) pan for this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. softened cream cheese

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

  • 3 eggs, room temperature (Try Fox & Glove Farmstead eggs for the richest taste)

  • 1 egg white

  • 1 cup Classic monkfruit sweetener (sourced on the internet)

  • 2 Tbsp. Golden monkfruit sweetener (sourced on the internet)

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. ginger

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 Tbsp. Classic monkfruit sweetener

Instructions:

  • Set out cream cheese and eggs to warm. About 1 hour for the cream cheese and 30 minutes for the eggs.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • In a small bowl mix cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

  • Finely chop pecans or use a food processor.

  • Whisk the egg white in a medium bowl until frothy.

  • Add pecans to the egg white and mix together.

  • Season the egg white/pecan mix with 1 tsp. of your spice mix and 2 Tbsp. of Golden monkfruit sweetener.

  • Press this mix into the bottom of your springform pan, spreading evenly.

  • Bake at ten minutes at 350 degrees and cool on counter.

  • In a large bowl blend together cream cheese, pumpkin puree, eggs, Classic monkfruit sweetener and 2 tsp. spice mix.

  • Grease the sides of your springform pan.

  • Pour batter into pan.

  • Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

  • Remove from oven when cheesecake appears set (doesn’t jiggle).

  • Let cool on the counter for at least 20 minutes.

  • Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. (Do not wrap cheesecake in foil or plastic wrap until after four hours so that condensation doesn’t occur. Beware of odorous food items -fish, onion, etc.- that may seep into your cake.)

  • Before serving cheesecake, pour heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and classic monkfruit sweetener into a blender (or bowl if using a mixer.)

  • Whip the cream until thick and firm.

  • Spoon cream into a piping bag with desired tip and pipe onto cheesecake or spoon cream directly onto cheesecake in an even layer.

  • Sprinkle top with remaining spices and serve.

Tip: This makes a rather “short” cheesecake. My husband suggested I try doubling the filling recipe to make it taller. I haven’t tried it yet. But if you do, allow for more baking time in the oven.

IMG_20181124_115658_711.jpg

Raspberry-Maple Bars

I’m always on the lookout for ways to use our fresh Fox & Glove Maple Syrup, so when I stumbled across a recipe that uses both syrup and my favorite fruit I knew I had to try it.

This dessert is rich and decadent. This is great for feeding a large group because you can cut the servings small. A little goes a long way!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2/3 cup of butter

  • 1/2 cup Fox & Glove maple syrup

  • 2 Fox & Glove eggs

  • 2 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1/4 cup Fox & Glove maple syrup

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • 2 Tbsp. milk

  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Line a 13x9 pan with foil and grease.

  • In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, mix: brown sugar, 2/3 cup butter, 1/2 cup maple syrup until butter is melted.

  • Cool syrup mix and in eggs and vanilla.

  • Stir in flour, baking powder and baking soda.

  • Add raspberries.

  • Spread batter into pan and bake for 30 minutes.

  • In a medium bowl mix powdered sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 Tbsp. butter and milk.

  • Smooth frosting over cooled bars in pan and then spoon jam, in small mounds on top of frosting.

  • Use a thin utensil to swirl jam into a marble.

  • Use foil to lift bars out of pan, cut and serve.

20181119_135130.jpg

I love hearing how you put these recipes to use in your own homes. Let me know what you liked or didn’t like, changes you made and if these desserts were winners or not. Leave a comment below!

Bloom & Grow,

Cyndi



You Can Make These "To Die For" Creme Pies!

I have a confession!

I don’t really love pumpkin pie.

I know, I know… it is the traditional Thanksgiving pie, and I don’t hate it…

But there are so many scrumptious pies to be made and eaten that I can’t waste a perfectly good feast day with just pumpkin pie.

Now, normally I follow a ketogenic diet.

But for feast days like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter I play loose with the diet and eat pie.

I hinted to my two faves over on my instagram account and I was inundated with requests for the recipes so I decided to share them here.

These will make great additions to your dessert table right beside the pumpkin pie.

Farmstead Coconut Creme Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 14 oz coconut milk

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

  • 2/3 cup of sugar

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 5 egg yolks from Fox & Glove Farmstead Eggs

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 2 Tbsp. butter

  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 Tbsp. sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Crust Ingredients:

  • 8 graham crackers (entire length)

  • 5 Tbsp. butter

  • 3 Tbsp. sugar

Crust Directions:

  • Pre heat oven to 325 degrees.

  • Crush graham crackers into fine even crumbs.

  • Melt butter and mix with crackers and sugar.

  • Press mix into a 9” pie pan.

  • Bake 15 minutes and cool.

Filling Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring to simmer; coconut milk, heavy cream, shredded coconut, 1/3 cup of sugar and salt on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

  • In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/3 cup sugar together.

  • Whisk 1 cup of simmering mixture into yolk mixture to temper. Pour slowly so as not to cook/curdle the yolks.

  • Slowly whisk tempered mix into simmering saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and whisk until mixture thickens.

  • Take pan off heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap pressed firm against filling.

  • Chill for 4 hours.

Topping Directions:

  • Toast coconut on broil in oven. Watch carefully and do not walk away! It doesn’t take long.

  • Mix cream, sugar and vanilla in blender until stiff.

  • Spoon or pipe whipped cream onto pie filling (don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap.)

  • Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve.

coconut creme pie.png

Farmstead Chocolate Creme Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 6 egg yolks from Fox & Glove Farmstead eggs

  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch

  • 6 Tbsp. butter

  • 6 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate

  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped chocolate

Crust Ingredients:

  • 16 chocolate sandwich cookies (do not use double stuffed)

  • 4 Tbsp. butter

Crust Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Crush cookies and filling into fine even crumbs.

  • Melt butter and mix with cookies.

  • Press into 9” pie pan.

  • Bake 15 minutes and cool.

Filling Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan, bring to simmer: heavy whipping cream, 3 Tbsp. of the sugar and salt on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

  • In separate bowl whisk together: egg yolks, remaining sugar, and cornstarch.

  • Whisk 1 cup simmering mixture into yolk mixture to temper. Pour slowly so as to not cook/curdle the yolks.

  • Slowly whisk tempered mix into simmering saucepan. Reduce heat to medium. Cook and whisk until mixture thickens.

  • Take pan off heat. Stir in butter, vanilla and chocolate. Cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Pour filling into prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap pressed firmly against the filling.

  • Chill for 4 hours.

Topping Directions:

  • In a blender mix heavy whipping cream, vanilla and sugar until stiff.

  • Pipe or spoon onto pie, making sure to remove plastic wrap from filling.

  • Sprinkle with chopped chocolate and serve.

There you go!

Scrumptious creme pies for your feast!

Drop me a note in the comment section below if you have questions or want to tell me how it goes.

And if you are looking for a keto dessert for your holiday feast drop me an email at cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com and I’ll send you a crustless pots de creme recipe that mimics a cream pie.

Bloom & Grow

Cyndi

Are You Ready To Kick Anxiety To The Curb?

Just this week a friend of the family was brutally honest on her blog. She shared about her battle with anxiety.

Just a few days earlier, another friend was on social media asking for suggestions on how to deal with this very same issue.

I think if we’re all honest it is a pretty big problem for women these days.

So I’m gonna take the first step, stop pretending everything in my life is social media perfect, and come along side both my friends and so many others with a hearty, “Me Too!”

I have struggled with severe, crippling anxiety attacks. So much so that I have been on prescription medications for years.

But I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to be ashamed of anxiety, nor do you just have to muddle through. There is hope!

First let me say… if you are in a crippling place, go to a doctor and get help.

Don’t be too proud. Medication won’t solve the problem but it will get you to a place of relief where you can start to address the issue with more natural and longterm solutions.

The best news is you have many natural options to help you in the fight!

There are herbs and foods that will help support and strengthen your body and mind and give your adrenal glands the rest and replenishment they need.

Plus add in some simple lifestyle changes and you can kick anxiety to the curb!

Eat Good Food:

  • Stop eating processed food- this is not an easy thing to do, but it is the best way to give your body the nutrition it needs to heal itself.

  • Reduce sugar drastically- sugar is inflammatory to the entire body, including the brain.

  • Expand your mushroom horizons past white buttons or portebellos and choose: Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, Oyster, Porcini, Maitake, Shimeji, or Chanterelle just to name a few.

  • Get lots of nutrients- melatonin in tart cherries, tryptophan in turkey, anti-oxidants in fruits and veggies, magnesium in almonds and cashews, Vitamin D in farm fresh eggs. (Shameless plug… Fox & Glove Farmstead sells awesome eggs!)

  • Eat Healthy Fats- butter, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, oily fish.

  • Learn to like and eat fermented foods: Kombucha, sourdough, kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut. Neurotransmitters are made in your gut so ferments support your nervous system by strengthening gut health.

basket-blur-cholesterol-6420.jpg

Minimize Stress

  • Prayer and Meditation- Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

  • Practice deep breathing techniques- this is my go-to favorite! Breathe in through your nose as deeply as possible. Hold this breath for a count of 7 and then exhale as slow as possible through your nose. Repeat.

  • Make small lifestyle changes- a set regular bedtime and rise time, get regular moderate exercise, introduce tech free times (especially close to bedtime), go outside, take tiny breaks throughout the day to regroup your thoughts. Set a day of rest once a week.

Use Herbs:

  • Lemon Balm and skullcap (as a cup of tea) with a drop of wood betony extract added- 3x daily.

  • Adaptagen/tonic herbs: Ginseng, eleuthero, ashwagandha, and rhodiola all strengthen and tone, feed and nourish your body systems. Take a tonic with these herbs in them daily.

  • Holy Basil (also called Tulsi)- eat fresh daily or use as a tea.

  • Other nervines to quiet the mind: Chamomile, Hawthorn, passionflower, oats

  • *Start with one or two herbs in small doses and build from there with a less is more philosophy.

filipendula-ulmaria-meadowsweet-achillea-millefolium-yarrow-161503.jpeg

Make Use of Essential Oils:

  • Frankincense in a diffuser- it can calm the mind and enhance breathing.

  • Lemon balm in a massage oil- can reduce panic symptoms.

  • Mandarin in the bath- can relax and calm.

Nutritional Supplements:

I am not a big supplement fan. I would rather get what I need from food and herbs but if you’re not opposed, then the following options are a good call.

  • Probiotics with up to 10 billion live organisms per dose.

  • Vitamin C to help produce norepinephrine.

  • Vitamin B5 to help with serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine production.

  • A multimineral combo (calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc) to help control stress hormones (cortisol).

Take Baby Steps

Don’t think that you have to do all of these things all at once. Pick one or two things from above and start small. The idea is to reduce anxiety not create more.

Maybe switch out the Parkay for actual butter or find a blend of kombucha that you like and drink that instead of soda.

Take a stroll on the weekend, practice your breathing while laying in bed and drink a cup of your chosen herbal tea blend at bedtime, eventually working your way up to three cups a day.

Diffuse essential oils instead of chemical fragrances. Take a daily supplement.

Little habits make way for bigger and better things, one baby step at a time.

I would love to hear your stories about anxiety. How do you handle it? Do you have encouragement for other women? Leave a comment or question below. Let’s support each other and help kick anxiety to the curb!

Need A Little Help Sourcing Healthy Food?

You’ve just read a great article, watched an inspiring video or listened to an amazing pod cast about real, healthy food and you are excited to incorporate this new found knowledge into your life.

Awesome!

Well, yes… and… no.

Now you have to go through the work of actually procuring the ingredient or food and just jaunting down to the local grocery probably isn’t gonna do it for you.

You wouldn’t think this should be so difficult. It’s good, healthy, food. Shouldn’t it be everywhere?

You would think so, but the reality is, even if you live next door to Whole Foods Market, you are still going to have to channel your inner Nancy Drew and do some sleuthing.

20180713_212758.jpg

CLOSE TO HOME

The closer you can get to the source of your food the better. Make it a fun hobby to search out and stop at roadside stands, farms, and farmer’s markets of all sizes. A simple drive down a country lane may lead to a great undiscovered treasure. These farmers and artisans are your people! Talk with them. Learn what they have to offer. Form relationships. Ask questions.

Is this grown organically or made with organic ingredients?

We live in an age of governmental oversight. Certified organic growers have gone to a lot of trouble to be able to make this claim about their product but many other farmers grow this way too, they just can’t advertise it because they can’t or don’t wish to jump through hoops and deal with red tape. Never assume an unlabeled product is or isn’t organic. Ask.

Did you grow or make this yourself?

Seems like a silly question, right? You would be surprised at the amount of food at farmer’s markets that was shipped in from elsewhere. It helps to be familiar with what grows, and when, in your area. Watermelons in May in Michigan? It’s not the end of the world if they didn’t grow it themselves, but do they, the seller, know the grower and are they both trustworthy? You want to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting.

Do you know where I can find…?

A good farmer wants to help you. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, chances are they know someone who does or, at least, will be able to give you a directional lead. Networking can lead to a goldmine of information. I have a ton of farmer friends and if I don’t have what you’re looking for, I love to give shout outs to my friends who do.

Would you ever consider growing or making…?

Farmers and artisans can’t do it all but it never hurts to ask. If there is enough demand there is a great chance your farmer will consider adding it to his or her offerings. A lot of customers asked for green beans this year. We’re going to look into this for next season.

I also get a lot of questions on fermentation. Under Michigan Cottage Food Laws, I am not allowed to sell fermented food unless I use a commercial kitchen, but I am studying and perfecting techniques so I can teach others how to do it for themselves.

A LITTLE FURTHER AWAY

After trying your local growers, it may be time to check your local brick and mortar establishments.

  • Costco: The top organic food retailer with substantially lower prices then competitors. They sell a great tart cherry kombucha.

  • Trader Joes: Their private label products supposedly contain no antibiotics, preservatives or synthetic colors. They claim not to sell GMO foods.

  • Whole Foods: Organic products, bulk foods, GMO labeling program, large selection. Alas, one does not exsist in West Michigan.

  • Local healthfood stores: Smaller versions of the big guys, generally with better customer service. I love our local, West Michigan chain, Harvest Health Foods.

  • Standard grocery chains: With organics trending, even your most standard grocery will have at least a small selection of organics and health/wellness products. Meijer stores have really upped their game in wellness supplements and probiotics.

  • Local specialty/Gourmet shops: For hard to find or imported cheeses, breads, meats, herbs, oils, etc.; The Cheese Lady in downtown Grand Rapids, Kismet Bakery in Allegan County, and Peter’s Gourmet Market in Grandville’s River Town area.

GO SURFING

  • Thrive Market: A membership-based internet retailer offering natural and organic food products. Their mission is “to make healthy living easy and affordable.” That being said we’ve been able to shop around and find better prices on most products.

  • Amazon: If it exists (legally) then you can probably find it here.

  • Etsy: I have found this “craft” selling sight to be a great place for sourdough and scoby starters as well as wildcrafted herbs. Spend some time searching on this site. You may be surprised by what you find, but keep on task, lots of creative rabbit holes to go down. (Linen bread bags anyone… I was drooling.)

  • Ebay: More utilitarian than Etsy but still full of options

  • Google: This is the best way to find small growers, herbalists and artisans both local and around the globe. What did we do before the internet?

Still coming up empty?

DIY

If you’ve done the research and you still can’t find what you want, at a price you want, then it might be time to Do It Yourself. Maybe you need to be the one to grow it, bake it, ferment it or wild craft it. It can be very empowering to add a little DIY to your day! And who knows, maybe you’ll create a profitable side hustle.

Here are some great ideas for DIY:

  • Kombucha from a kit

  • Yogurt in an instapot

  • Sourdough from a wild yeast starter

  • Cheese kits

  • Mushroom logs/kits

With a great local class or the internet by your side there isn’t too much you can’t do! You may not want to do these things on a regular basis, but it is powerful to know you can and it’s really fun to learn new things.

alcohol-alcoholic-beverage-amber-1267356.jpg

Do you have something you’re longing to learn or obtain? Let me know and I’ll see if I can’t make it happen! Even if we have to learn together!

Bloom and Grow,

Cyndi

Natural Ways To Fight Fall Inflammation & Feel Fantastic! Sew

I was planning on continuing to talk about Real Food this week…

But a very timely topic landed on my radar.

My friend and fellow flower farmer, Lori Jo Hernandez, from Three Acre Farm, contacted me because her knees have been bothering her.

She is about to embark on fall garden cleanup (like a lot of us are) and dahlia tuber digging season (for all us flower farmers) so she’ll be spending alot of time on her hands and knees.

Lori is not keen on popping pills to keep the inflammation down and wanted to know if I knew of something that would work as a natural anti-inflammatory?

Well, it just so happens I do and I’m so glad she asked.

While I am thankful for modern medicines and there is a place and time for them. We as a society tend to pop a pill and call everything good.

But most modern medicines don’t offer cures (even if we think they do). They mostly just treat symptoms.

Modern pain killers are strong and powerful but there are also risks and side effects that we often don’t take into account.

Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are not benign. Ibuprofen can increase risks of heart disease and Acetaminophen can cause liver failure. They both can cause leaky gut syndrome.

Studies have shown that even a single dose of a popular over-the-counter pain medicine can change brain chemistry.

Many experts in the health field speculate that if the major OTC pain relievers we rely on today were to be brought to market now (and before the FDA) they wouldn’t pass.

But guess what!?

You can be a master of your own health with medicinal foods and herbs. They are gentler, safer and have less side effects than their chemical cousins.

Most herbs (and medicinal foods) are a journey. They work in your body over time to tone and strengthen body systems. They work to alleviate the source of the problem rather then just treat a symptom.

So now, rather than later, is the time to start on the road to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.

Inflammation is a natural reaction in your body. It is a form of self-correction and a strategy of the body to heal itself. The body is trying to tell you that you need rest.

IMG_20180907_085810_490.jpg

Rest and Stress Reduction:

I know what you’re all thinking. I have to get this (whatever it is) done! I have a deadline.

I am right there with you but your adrenal system needs time to replenish or your body will break to the point where you are forced to rest.

Coincidently, as I was writing this, I found out that a friend seeing a naturopathic doctor, was just told to reduce her work week to 20 hours/week, to give her body time to rest and reduce the extrordinarily high levels of inflammation occuring in her.

God gives us an example of rest at the very beginning of the Bible. He created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Not because he was tired and needed it, but to model rest for us.

This is such an important concept to Him that He put it in the Ten Commandments, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work…” You can find the verses in Exodus 20: 8-11.

I am not telling you that a specific day has to be your rest day, but if it was important enough for God to tell us to do it, we should do it.

Also helpful for rest is ditching tech for a time and allow your natural “old time” rythms to return. Don’t stay up all night watching screens. Sleep!

Make sure to build downtime into daytime as well. Your body shouldn’t be in fight or flight all day. Short periods of calm (I call them sit downs) through out the day give your body a chance to chill and calm itself. It’s a chance to regain energy and focus for your next task.

Along with rest there are herbal options to help you strengthen your body systems, build endurance, and reduce stress.

  • Ashwagandha is an endurance herb. Instead of giving you a boost, like caffeine does, it preserves your energy. A cup of daily tea from it’s root will build your body up over time.

  • Tulsi (Holy Basil) has been found to protect the body from chemical and physical stresses and can have positive effects on memory and cognitive function. Tulsi leaves can be consumed fresh daily or as a tea. Another option is to diffuse the essential oil into the air.

  • Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi and Chaga help your body deal with the effects of depleted energy, inflammation and stress. Put mushrooms in your bone broth and soups or drink it as a tea in place of morning coffee.

  • Nervine herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, hawthorn, kava, skullcap, Californian poppy, passion flower, blue vervain, hops and valerian are all calming and slightly sedative. These all work great in teas as well. Drink a cup before bed time. (Can you tell I am a huge proponent of tea drinking! Just the act itself forces us to slow down. Tea is not gulped it is sipped.)

Food Intolerances/Leaky Gut

Because of the poor state of our food system and how we eat, many people have “leaky gut syndrome” and don’t even realize it. Food intolerances are magnified when you have leaky gut and leaky gut can cause food intolerances.

Ridding your diet of gluten, dairy, and refined carbohydrates can truly help alleviate inflammation.

Of course each person is different. I am not bothered by dairy but have found that my minor inflammational issues have cleared up on the Ketogenic diet (low carb/sugar/wheat).

Make sure you are eating plenty of healthy fats and purchase a good anti-inflammatory cookbook to help you find out what your triggers are.

Also invest in Dr. Josh Axe’s book, Eat Dirt. This book will get you on the path to healing your gut and/or improving your gut biome.

Spices

Turmeric is all the rage now. You’ve probably heard it is awesome for inflammation but there are other spices that work great as well.

Poppy seeds, red pepper, cayenne, and ginger all have warming effects on the body as well as Turmeric.

Mix these in a topical salve for some immediate, targeted pain relief or use them daily in your cooking to build up the benefits of these medicinal foods in your body.

Willow Bark

You probably all know that aspirin is derived from willow bark. But modern aspirin can chew up your stomach. Making a tea from willow bark (or it’s young leaves, or the whole plant if it is small) as well as from poplar or aspen bark is excellent for alleviating pain and inflammation. Mix some meadowsweet (a demulcent) into the tea as well and your stomach will not get irritated.

Willow bark does thin the blood so do not take internally if you are on other blood thinning medications. However, bathing in it will relieve aches and pains as well.

Acupuncture

I know very little about this form of inflammation relief but it is very popular in Chinese medicine and has been proven to reduce pain from inflammation. If you have severe or chronic inflammation I would suggest that you research this subject a bit more and give it a try.

Sources

You can find everything I’ve talked about at a good, local, health food store, herb farm/herbalist (I am working on a line of Fox & Glove herbs and products now.) or online. Many times you can get a premade product but a cost effective method is to get the basic herbs and spices and prepare them yourself.

filipendula-ulmaria-meadowsweet-achillea-millefolium-yarrow-161503.jpeg

How To Make A Simple Tea:

  • Use one ounce of dried herb or two ounces of fresh herb material.

  • Bring 1 quart of water to just under boiling and pour it over the herb.

  • Let it steep for 20 minutes.

  • Makes about 3 cups of tea which can be consumed throughout the day.

How To Make Spice Salve:

  • 1 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles

  • 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper

  • 1 Tbsp. ginger

  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric

Mix spices with oil and let sit in a warm place overnight. Strain through cheesecloth. In a double boiler, combine infused oil and beeswax until beeswax is melted. Pour mixture into a small tin or jar. It will harden as it cools. Store in a cool, dark place.

Honey Turmeric Chicken:

  • 4 chicken thighs

  • 2 cloves of minced garlic

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. local raw honey (You can also use maple syrup.)

  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

  • 3/4 tsp. turmeric

  • A pinch of cayenne pepper

  • A pinch of sea salt

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Mix garlic, honey, soy sauce, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Coat chicken with mixture. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add coconut oil to skillet to melt. Add chicken to skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown.

*This is not a keto recipe! You can try it without the honey if you want it Keto, but I think the honey helps the spices adhere to the chicken better.

There is one more anti-inflammatory herb you can use in your natural tool kit but I saved it for last because it is not ingestible like everything else. This one is purely topical.

Arnica:

An important medicinal herb in Europe, it is considered unsafe for internal use in America by the conventional medical establishment.

It was used by Native Americans, though, to treat muscular injury and back pain.

The flowers of the herb are dried and used in topical herbal preparations. You can add 1 Tbsp. of dried arnica flowers to the salve recipe above.


I hope you find these suggestions helpful in your fight with inflammation. I am a firm believer in letting food (and herbs) be our medicine.

I would love to hear your experiences so please share your herbal stories and healing experiences in the comment section down below.

I would like to remind everyone that I am not a doctor or nutritionist.

I make no claims to treat or cure any conditions. I highly recommend you do your own research on each herb or treatment.

If you are on other medications, herbal supplements, are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, have a compromised immune system or are thinking of giving anything to children or the elderly please consult with a doctor first.

Until Next Time,

Bloom & Grow!

Cyndi

INSPIRING FOUNDATIONS TO HELP YOU WIN WITH REAL FOOD

So You Want To Eat Real Food!

I sat down and wrote this post three or four times (and scrapped each copy) which is why it has taken so long to get this post up and out.

I mean, you just want to eat healthy, right?

It shouldn’t be hard. But it can be frustratingly hard!

The state of our food system is bad.

Food is no longer always food.

But if you’re up for some work, learning new skills and, of course, some change and think you want to give real food a try, I have some simple tips to lay your foundation and help you decide what to eat (What is real.) and what not to eat. (What is junk.)

In this post I am not targeting any specific style of real food eating (keto, vegetarianism, paleo, etc.) but focusing on all types of real foods.

Government Doesn’t Always Know Best

Throw out the food pyramid, plate or whatever the USDA is telling you these days. Instead eat (in moderation) from the four food kingdoms.

  • Plant: fruits, veggies, grains, herbs, etc.

  • Animal: land and sea

  • Fungi: mushrooms and their relatives (Gathered or grown by someone knowledgable.)

  • Bacteria: probiotics and fermented foods

It’s Not About Social Status

Go Organic! It isn’t just some trendy fad for millenials. It’s not even because these foods often have higher nutrient content than their conventional cousins.

These foods really are exposed to far less toxins and other things. (Genetic modification, drugs, poisons etc.) This means you will ingest far fewer toxic chemicals, “frankenfood”, antibiotics and hormones.

Did you know that it is common conventional practice to spray wheat with glyphosate (cancer causing, weed killing, poison) a few weeks before the wheat is harvested, to kill the crop and speed up drying? Think about the grains you consume (Unless you are keto or paleo it is a lot!) How much poison are you potentially ingesting?

Another example…

Did you realize that workers in potato storage facilities are known to wear hazmat suits because the pesticide (methamidophos) they spray the potates with, in the fields, is so toxic that it takes six weeks to “gas off”. Yum!

I know that organics cost more, but think of it as a trade off; spending your money on your health now, rather then on healthcare later.

Buy the most organic items that you can fit into your budget and support small farms where you know where your money is going. Wouldn’t you rather fund a farm kid’s new bicycle over a corporate big wig’s BMW?

Use Your Kitchen

Buy the most minimally processed food you can.

I know not everyone wants to have a field of wheat in their backyard, but if you enjoy baking bread and have the time, then do it.

If that isn’t reasonable, then find someone ( a local baker or bakery) and purchase from them.

Last resort go to the store and buy a commercial loaf of organic bread, but know the farther you get from the original ingredients, the less real your food gets.

Educate Yourself

Read and understand food labels.

If there isn’t a label, the chances are good that it is a real food. If it has a label, do you recognize the ingredients?

Words like modified, enriched, hydrogenated, hydrolyzed and artificial, as well as any word followed by numbers are telltale signs that what you are looking at isn’t real food.

In the case of produce, learn the codes:

  • If the number starts with a 9 the item is organic. 9 is fine!

  • If the number is a 3 or 4 then it is conventionally grown. 3’s and 4’s are bores.

  • If the number is an 8 it means the item is genetically modified. 8 is not great!

Less Is More

Is the item packaged? Real food requires little or no packaging. If you have to peel a cylinder and press it with a spoon to pop it open… probably not real food.

What Would Great-Grandma Do?

Can you make it at home, recognize it in nature or in history?

If you’re wondering how the heck a food was made (spray cheese), can’t find it in nature (blue raspberry), or great-grandma wouldn’t recognize it (cheese puffs) then it more than likely is fake.

Think of butter. It comes from milk. Pretty simple stuff. Now what about margarine? Think about what you would need to replicate it at home? A lot more than milk.

Alteration

Has the food been altered form its original state to make it more healthy?

Pasturized milk, skim milk, low-fat dairy, egg substitutes, anything fortified, enriched or diet. (Yep, I don’t care if it has zero calories! The only zero calorie item you should be ingesting is water… maybe tea/coffee.)

Don’t think you are doing yourself a favor eating/drinking these types of foods. They do more harm than good.

Preservation

How long does the item last before it goes bad?

Compare a store bought cream filled sponge cake with one made at home, from scratch. One is going to last through a nuclear war and one is going to spoil quickly. Which one is real? (Real doesn’t always mean healthy too! We will be dealing with sugar, shortly.)

Now let’s think of an item that lasts longer naturally than when purchased at the store. Eggs! My unwashed farm eggs last longer on the counter compared to washed store eggs in the refrigerator.

It is important to note that food preservation has been around for thousands of years even before the method of canning was discovered in the early 1800’s. Preservation in itself isn’t bad as long as the food is not radically changed.

Pass On The Sweets

Sugar! Uh huh. I told you it was coming.

Unless you use raw honey, true maple syrup, unrefined stevia leaves, or maybe grind up an organic, un-genetically modified sugar cane stalk, added sugar isn’t real.

The refining process, the genetic modifications, the poisons used on the crops, lead to a substance that, while tasty, holds no nutritional value for us. It is addictive and inflammatory!

Historically, sugars were hard to obtain and rare. They were expensive and only used on special occasions.

Fruits and other naturally sweet foods were eaten in season or preserved but not available all the time and not in the quantities we have them in today.

Sugar, even organic sugar or natural sugars, should be used sparingly!

Here is where reading those nutritional labels will come in handy.

Sugar is added into most foods these days and comes under the guise of many different names: Fructose, high fructose, syrup, glucose, dextrose, sucrose, artificial sweetners, natural sweeteners, and on it goes. There are like 150 different names for sugar now.

You can find sugar in mouthwash, toothpaste, fitness “water”, vitamins, processed meats, yogurt, bread and so many other places it shouldn’t or doesn’t need to be.

The Wrap Up

So yeah, our conventional food system is way messed up, and figuring out what real food is, let alone actually finding it, preparing it and eating it is complicated.

But don’t give up hope. Just like any new activity there is a learning curve. Real food eating is a skill. You’ll need to practice to get it down. But it is so worth it.

The difference in how you will feel is amazing: your energy and stamina, your brain capacity, your emotions, they are all linked to the food you fuel your body with.

You can do this! I know because I did it and am doing it. I’m not perfect (cookies and french fries are my weaknesses) and you won’t be either but isn’t it worth a try?

Here is a recipe to get you going!

Fox & Glove Homemade Applesauce

apples-blur-close-up-326005.jpg
  • 6 organic apples ( I like to mix Cortlands and Granny Smiths)

  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup (available at our farm store)

  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

  • A dash of salt

Peel, core, and chop apples into small chunks. Place apple chunks and the rest of the ingredients into a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Cook and occasionally stir about twelve minutes until the mixture is soft. If you like a smoother texture you can blend the sauce in a blender.

*Makes three cups of sauce. Keep refrigerated for up to one week. If you are Keto just skip the added syrup.

Next blog post we’ll tackle how to actually maneuver into real food eating: Baby steps, walking, running and then the long haul marathon. So keep checking back and if you have questions or comments make sure to leave them below in the comment section.

Until then…

Bloom and Grow,

Cyndi

Is the ease of processed food killing you?

Let's face it ladies, our lives are very, very full.

I'm all for life-hacks and short cuts and things that make life easier.  But not at the expense of my health and my family's health. That is why I advocate for real food.

In Dirty, Awesome Natural! A Guide To Real Health (Sign up to get it here, FREE) my #1 tip to improving your health and that of your loved one's is EAT REAL FOOD! Stop eating processed food.

Processed food is so deceptive. It's cheap. It's quick and easy to get on the table and, usually, it's tasty.

I love that my kids can go to the pantry, pull out a box of cereal and get breakfast themselves. But what are they really eating?

A big bowl of pretty poison:

  • Grains sprayed with weed killer- glyphosate.
  • Refined sugar that offers no nutrition.
  • Toxic chemical food-dyes
  • Food so dead they have to add vitamins and mineral into it. (That's what fortified means.) 
20180821_092426.jpg

Processed foods started showing up around the industrial revolution as mechanization and technology allowed mass production to develop, dropping prices on foods that had previously only been reachable by the wealthy.

Everyone one wanted to eat like the wealthy. Sugar and white flour!

This privilege of the wealthy exisited even in Biblical times.

Proverbs 23:1-3 "When you sit down to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive."

There is nothing new under the sun and nothing has changed.

Today's processed foods look and taste like food but actually deprive the body of essential nutrients and aggravate nutritional loss. They increase the need for higher amounts of food to reach the needed daily intake of nutrients to remain healthy.

Today's commercial food system also seeks profit over health.

4/5ths of foods that American's eat are genetically modified, grown in nutrient depleted soil, and sprayed with pesticides to keep profit margins up.

Foods are also filled with extra additives (such as gluten - used as a filler and binding agent- and sugar) or contain hormones and antibiotics (because that is what was injected into farm animals) all to keep food  plentiful and cheap.

Studies have found that up to 20 chemicals (anything given to the cow) can be found in pasturized and homogenized milk yet the beneficial bacteria that our gut biome needs are killed off.

No wonder our guts are leaking and allergies and auto-immune diseases are running rampant. Our food is no longer food.

So what is the next step? Should we all just stop eating? (Actually fasting is very beneficial- but that comes later.)

The next step is learning to recognize what real food is and reclaiming the kitchen as the true heart of the home.

basket-board-calcium-416656.jpg

In my next post I'm going to give you some tips and tricks on how to identify if a food is real! But first I'm going to leave you with a great option to replace that breakfast cereal sitting in your cupboard.

Toasted Coconut & Walnut Cereal (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground walnuts
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Powdered Stevia

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • Spread out coconut and walnuts on sheet, evenly
  • Toast in oven about 5 minutes until lightly brown
  • Transfer to bowl and mix with vanilla
  • Add cinnamon and stevia and toss until evenly coated
  • Serving size is 1/2 cup; Add your favorite "milk".
  • Store unused cereal at room temperature in an airtight container.

I hope you enjoy it! We're going to tackle this eating thing together. One step at a time. Got a question, comment, tip or recommendation? Share it in the comment section below so we can all learn together!

Until next time,

Bloom and Grow!

Cyndi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Does Your Food Come From?

Where do you get your food?

Chances are pretty good you hit up the local supermarket at least once or twice a week and load up your grocery cart (Trolley, if you're British.) with what you need.

Yup, I do it too. It's easy. But is it best?

In the great scope of history, this type of shopping experience is just a blip on the screen of time.

The first "supermarket" type experience was in 1916 when Piggly Wiggly opened in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Before this remarkable, NEW, way of shopping, customers would bring a list to a clerk at the store who would gather their items, sometimes having to weigh them out into separate packaging from bulk supplies.

You also made trips to many different retailers. The local butcher for meat, the bakery for bread and you had perishable items like milk delivered to your doorstep.

Something else that most people had and utilized in their home was a LARDER: A room or area in their basement or cellar where they kept their stores of food. Food they had preserved themselves.

If a storm was coming, or some other problem arose, you didn't need to rush down to the store and hope that the shelves weren't bare. You already had what you needed, for the most part, at home.

Contrast that to today: Modern day statistics say that an average town has approximately three day's supply of food. That doesn't sound comfortable does it?

Even if you shop weekly at farmer's markets, the chances are the quantities you purchase are minimal.

Farmer Joel Salatin predicts, in his book, Folks, This Ain't Normal, that "if people went to farmer's markets to buy serious food, they'd wipe out the whole place in about twenty minutes."

You see food used to be stored up. You bought food in bulk when it was in season and preserved it in many different ways.

I was blessed to grow up in a home that did this. We caught boat loads of perch and crappie and, as a family, would filet and freeze the bounty. We shucked, blanched and froze freezers full of corn. We canned beans and fruit. We made applesauce, fruit leather and jams.

One of my most treasured memories is standing in the kitchen of my Michigan home, as an adult, canning cherries with my mom. She looked over to me and said, "I never thought I'd be standing here doing this with you. It's such a blessing."

She knew the importance of perserving food and was so happy that I had come to realize the same thing. (Let's just say as a teen I was less than domestic.)

Have you ever given food preservation a go? Would you like to try?

Now is the perfect time to test the waters. Gardens and fields are at the height of production giving one last push of abundance before fall sets in.

Tomatoes are a great option to "put by" or can.

20180825_133443.jpg

Preservation Method 1: Water Bath Canning Tomatoes

Supplies Needed:

  • 20 lbs. of tomatoes
  • Lemon Juice
  • Water bath canner (huge pot)
  • Canning jars, lids and rings
  • Jar Grabber (to lift jars out of boiling water)
  • Lid lifter (magnet to pull lids from boiling water)
  • Funnel (Keeps mess down when filling jars)
  • Plastic or wooden spoon (for removing trapped air in jars)

Process:

  • Sanitize jars, lids and rings- jars can be run through the dishwasher, I boil my rings and lids in a small pot of water for a few minutes on the stove top.
  • Fill your canner 1/2 full of water, place a lid on and start heating. Also have a smaller pot of boiling water started for filling jars.
  • Rinse and dry all tomatoes.
  • Fill sanitized jars with whole or cut tomatoes. I do not remove skins or seeds because both contain many vital nutrients. Leave about 1/4 inch of room at the top of the jar.
  • Add lemon juice to each jar- 2 Tbsp./quart, 1 Tbsp./pint
  • Finish filling jars to 1/2 inch of the top with boiling water.
  • Use the handle of a plastic or wooden spoon to free air bubbles by sliding it up and down around the inside edge of the jar.
  • Make sure the lips of the jars are clean of any tomato splatter. Use a rag, wash cloth or wet paper towel to wipe the lips and then place lids and rings on jars, making sure to tighten snugly but not too tight.
  • Place jars in the boiling water in the bath canner, making sure that there is at least an inch of water covering the tops of the jars. Keep the water boiling and process the jars of tomatoes for 40 minutes (pints) and 45 minutes (quarts). If you are at a higher altitude you will need to adjust the times and boil longer. (Google will be your friend to find out your altitude and how much time to add.)
  • Lift jars out of the water and let them cool overnight. Check to make sure each is sealed correctly by pressing the lid of the jar in the center. If it pops up and down it isn't sealed. Put the jar in the refrigerator and use right away.
  • Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place. Plan to use them within a year for soups, sauces and casseroles.

Preservation Method 2: Oven Drying Tomatoes

Supplies:

  • 2 lbs paste tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Chef's knife
  • Large bowl
  • Wire cooling racks
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cookie Sheet
  • 2 pint size canning jars, lids, rings

Process:

  • Rinse and dry tomatoes
  • Slice and core tomatoes- slice in half length-wise, cut a shallow "V" on each side of core to remove it.
  • Remove seeds and pulp- since we are drying the fruit it is necessary to remove as much moisture as possible before hand.
  • Season tomatoes with salt, tossing until coated thoroughly.
  • Remove all oven racks but one and move it to the lowest level in the oven.
  • Heat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.
  • Make a dozen or so, golf ball, sized aluminum foil balls and flatten slightly.
  • Lay out tomatoes on the wire cooling racks, don't let them touch, and stack racks on the cookie sheet using the foil balls as spacers in the corners between racks.
  • Put the cookie sheet in the oven and dry tomatoes until the edges shrivel but the fruit is still plump. (4 to 6 hours)
  • Cool tomatoes to room temp. and transfer them to pint jars. Cover with olive oil (leaving 1/2 inch of headspace) and refrigerate for up to two months or freeze for up to six months.
  • Use them on top of eggs, pasta and toast!
20180821_225231.jpg

Bonus How To: Saving Heirloom Tomato Seed

Supplies:

  • Heirloom or open pollinated tomatoes (Hybrid tomatoes will not work.)
  • Plastic cups
  • Labels (scrap paper and tape will work)
  • Strainer
  • Plate
  • Glass jar for each type of seed
  • Q-tip for each jar

Process:

  • Wash tomatoes, dry, cut in half across the middle horizontally (not stem to base).
  • Gently squeeze the tomato seeds and juice into a platic cup, labeled with tomato variety. Fill cups about half full and move them somewhere out of direct sunlght.
  • Allow cups to sit 3 to 5 days until covered with white mold. (You may need to add a little water to keep the seeds floating.)
  • Scrape off mold with a spoon but don't remove seeds.
  • Fill cup with water and stir. The viable seeds will sink to the bottom.
  • Pour off water and discard floating seeds. Repeat until seeds are thoroughly clean.
  • Pour remaining seeds into a strainer and rinse again.
  • Place seeds on a labeled plate and dry for 1 to 3 days, keeping the out of direct sun. Make sure they dry and don't stick together- stir at least twice a day.
  • Store seeds in labeled glass jars with a q-tip taped to the lid (to absorb extra moisture) until planting time.

Whaddya think?

Are you willing to try any of these preservation methods?

Are you willing to start a home larder?

It is so much fun to go grocery shopping in the comfort of your own home and proudly satisfying to see abundance stocked, not at the store, but in your own dwelling place where you can access it 24/7.

Don't let your food supply rest in someone else's warehouse. Become your own store!

Got questions? Leave me a comment below. Want to come to a canning class? I'd love to organize one. Let me know if you are interested. You can comment below or email me at cyndi@foxandglovefarmstead.com.

Until next time,

Bloom and grow

Cyndi