Sunday, June 28, 2020

Mulberry Jelly and Oat Milk

One of the things we have been trying is oat milk, for various reasons. It's not bad. But it can be expensive. So I thought I'd try to make it myself, which is easy, except for the straining part. Basically, you blend 4 cups of water and 1 cup of oats in a blender and strain it. I'm using my jelly bag. The hard part is that the pulp blocks the fluid from draining through the bag so I'm stirring it every so often to get it out of the way. The disadvantage of doing it at home is that it isn't calcium fortified but we can make more of an effort to get our calcium in other ways, I suppose. I am now thinking of things to do with the leftover pulp, once it has been dried. Maybe granola bars?

Also this morning, I made mulberry jelly with 4 cups of mulberry juice, 3 T. lime juice, 5 cups of sugar and a box of pectin. This made 7.5 cups of jelly. Now the birds can have all the berries on the tree they want!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

So Many Strawberries!

Last night I made strawberry shortcake with a quart of the berries we'd picked the day before. It's always popular and because we eat it so quickly it's hard to get a photo. This time I remembered to take one before we ate. We got another quart of berries from the farm share today which are already mostly gone!

My mulberry tree is really doing well this year and just today I got half of the mulberry juice I need to make a batch of mulberry jelly. I will likely do that over the weekend as I am working tomorrow.

Today I'm making bread. I managed to (finally) find bread flour in the stores again, and so now I'm making plain bread, just bread flour and all purpose flour, my starter, salt, sugar, milk and water. No teff, or spelt, or sprouted wheat flour (although I quite like that last one). Instead of an egg wash, I'm using water sprayed on just before baking. I did forget to get it started last night, which would have allowed it to ferment overnight and for me to be done much earlier. I woke up this morning, remembered that I hadn't made the dough last night, got it started by 8 am, so it's had all day to ferment and then about 3 hours to proof before baking. It's in the oven now. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Sometimes, when I'm berry picking, I can get into a meditative state, with the methodical picking helping me think about other things. Today I didn't have that experience. It seems that the pandemic has created an extra layer of anxiety over all things. Trying to pick berries and stay away from other people, when all of us would like to be oblivious and just focus on picking, is not too hard, but it does take some of the fun out of it.

Hey, at least the berry farm opened. We did not, however, visit the rabbits in their pen.

Once home, I made two batches of strawberry jam without added pectin. The peach jam last year was so much better without the added pectin I decided that maybe this year I should go for quality, not quantity. I'm not sure if the fair is happening this year, we still have time, but I'm going to focus on the things my family wants to eat and not on what makes a good fair entry. They are not always the same.

Anyway, these two batches made 15 half-pint jars of jam. Just strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Mmm.

The family did nix my idea of adding dill to one of the batches. I suppose it's for the best.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Ancient Grains

In my continued effort to make bread while bread flour is hard to find, I decided to play around with other grain flours I have found in the store. A little while ago I picked up some teff, knowing nothing about it. I made a batch of bread today with it; proportionately it was 1/6 of the flour and the rest was bread flour.

One of the things I did not realize about teff is that it is gluten-free. Which explains a lot. The dough was softer, and wetter, and while it baked very nicely I had a harder time getting the loaves out of the loaf pans because the loaves were less firm. The taste of the bread is interesting, though. Teff is used to make injera, Ethiopian flatbread which is fermented and has a sour taste. I'm not sure if the sourness to my bread is from the teff or the starter but it does have a more complex taste than usual. It's quite good.

In terms of texture, I think I like the bread made with spelt better, but likely that is because spelt has gluten in it. I have buckwheat flour, too, so I might play with that as well.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Recap and a Bee Check

The last time I checked on the bees, about 3 weeks ago, they were doing fine and starting to fill up all the frames with comb. I gave them a little extra time before this check, mainly because it's been overcast or rainy most days I had time to go see them. Today was a better day weather-wise and I had time so I went out to inspect them plus I brought the second brood box back out. It's a good thing I did, there was plenty of brood, honey in the frames on the sides of the colony, and it was time to add that second box. I did see Alcibee, and she seemed fine.

On my way back from the side yard I discovered poison ivy growing in my yard! Taking advantage that I was still in my bee suit and gloves, I pulled it out, hopefully getting enough of the vines as well to get rid of it but likely I'll have to keep a close eye on that area in the future. We're all so sensitive to it so I'm glad I saw it before I ended up in it by accident.

Otherwise, I've been baking a little, making bread when we need it, and yesterday I made a batch of flan to celebrate the youngerchild ending school for the year. Nothing too exciting for now, which is probably a good thing.