Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Homestead Corner: Summer Colds, Wildfires, and Getting Back to Preserving

Normally my preps for winter would be in full force, but a nasty summer virus hit me.  It acted suspiciously like the flu, but it could have been anything, really.

Back to the Farmer's Market

We've had a lot of wildfires in our area.  That, along with the unseasonably hot weather had made being outdoors impossible.  Naturally, it aggravated the cold I picked up. So, I missed going to the Farmer's Market for two weeks.  When I did get there, I managed to get tons of peppers and celery for drying.  I also picked up bok choy and sugar snap peas for stir fry plus salad.  Oh, and one of the vendors offered a sale on corn on the cob as a last hour sale.

Making My Own Extracts

So, I stumbled across recipes for making your own extracts.  I'm low on vanilla extract, took a look at check out what the FDA is advising.  (Tonka beans, incidentally, are illegal in the United States for this exact reason.)
Vanilla beans
the cost of a small bottle of vanilla extract and just about died.  Nearly $20 for pure vanilla extract?  Oh. My. God.  What's worse is that some versions of vanilla extract is made from tonka beans and not vanilla beans. A lot of Mexican vanilla is made from tonka beans, which contains coumarin.  Coumarin is a serious blood thinner, similar to warfarin (the stuff used in rat poison).  You don't have to believe me;

So, I walked into a liquor store (not hard to find one in Montana) which was adjacent to a restaurant I've eaten in the past.  The recipe called for vodka, which when I looked at the very costly (more than $36/bottle) that the author recommended, I chose the cheap corn Vodka at $10/liter.  I had picked up vanilla beans at the local natural foods store and managed to score a decent price on them. (Some $2 and something a bean, which is amazingly cheap.)  Anyway, so I had a liter of rotgut booze and three vanilla beans. When I got home, I also put together mint extract.  I'll be writing about my fun putting those together.

Huckleberries

I thought I was pulling chokecherries out of the freezer.  Instead, I discovered I had huckleberries.  So, I'll be canning those so they will keep.

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