Archive for March, 2010

Homemade Seedling Pots, Local Veg. Oils, & Other Homestead Updates

I just made twenty small plant pots out of old copies of the Park Slope Food Coop newsletter. They’re for the Victory Garden class I’m teaching tomorrow at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but I’m making a few for myself, too. You can watch a short video about how to make them heredill. Here are some dill seedlings in one of the pots.

Another reused/recycled pot comes from the tomato can that came to me as a container for Meg’s backyard eggs (she nestled them in straw inside the can). I punched out some drainage holes on the bottom, and now it’s holding cilantro.

cilantro

These are some tomato seedlings growing in an old local milk carton. I cut off one side and made drainage holes on the opposite side. The rubber bands keep the center from bowing away from the potting mix.

maters

Besides starting seeds and potting up seedlings, today I went to a tasting of oils made from locally grown squash seeds. In my new book, I bemoan the lack of local vegetable oils. If I’d known about these by Stony Brook Oils I would have mentioned them for sure. They had two oils at the tasting, one made from butternut squash seeds, and the other from delicata squash seeds. Both are absolutely delicious! Not primarily cooking oils (I’m keeping my olive oil exemption), but finishing oils with a buttery taste a little like a mild toasted sesame or walnut oil.

local-oils

Last but not least, I am out of local garlic and well into the stash of lacto-fermented garlic that I put up last summer during the garlic harvest. To make it, peel and slice garlic cloves in half. Cover them with a brine of 2 teaspoons salt per pint of water and leave at room temperature for 2-3 days. Store in the refrigerator until you run out of the local garlic from last year’s harvest.

lf-garlic

There’s also plenty of field garlic around, but although I’ve been using the leaves like chives, the tiny bulbs are a pain to peel. I’ll stick with my lacto-fermented garlic until the first green garlic shows up at the farmers’ markets next month.

Some food-related classes I’m teaching in April that you might be interested in:

April 17th Urban Foraging

April 25th Edible Weeds

April 25th The Thrifty Urban Locavore

Get Signed Copies of Leda’s Books! (credit cards okay via Paypal):

The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget

and

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes

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Beginning of Spring, or a Locavore’s Darkest Weeks?

crocusesThe crocuses are blooming in my garden. The neighborhood restaurants have pulled out their outdoor seating. I saw someone in flip-flops today. Yay! We made it through the winter! Right? Not so fast.

At the farmers’ markets and in the garden we’re still weeks away from the first spring crops. I am SO ready for asparagus and strawberries! But what’s available for sale is still storage and cold frame stuff: apples, root vegetables, and Brassicaceae like kale, collards, and cabbage.

collards

Fortunately, the foraging season is underway. It fills in the gaps in the agricultural calendar perfectly. A couple of nights ago I had a field garlic and daylily shoot stir-fry to go with dinner. The garlic mustard, violet leaves, and chickweed are up, so there’s fresh salad aplenty.

Okay, here comes the shameless plug for my upcoming classes. If you’re intrigued by the wild edibles, join me for Edible Weeds at BBG or Foraging with Green Edge NYC. If you’re prepping your veg and herb garden, you might want to join me for Victory Gardens.

copyright

My new book is here! Yeah, The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget is available on Amazon, but better for both of us if you order an author-signed copy directly from me. Email me if you’re interested.

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith Ditto: email me if you’d like an author-signed copy.

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Food-Swapping Tweet-Up

swapToday I went to a food swap tea party in Brooklyn, hosted by Kate and Meg. It was tremendous fun, not least because I’d only met many of the people there  on Twitter.

That’s how I originally met Kate. She tweeted a food preservation question, I answered, and eventually we got together at my place for some homemade treats. Here’s Kate with Iso at today’s party:

kateiso

Put a couple dozen food-obsessed folks together, ask them to bring food, and you’re guaranteed a good time. Add the excitement of a food swap and it gets even better.

The way the gals set up the swap was that we each filled out tags with the name of what we had brought plus our name. Then several other people each wrote one of their items on the bottom of our tag, offering it in exchange for our item. Each of us got to decide which of the items offered we wanted to accept in trade. Kind of like a silent auction for edibles.

Meanwhile we sipped from an assortment of teas and munched on great food. I especially loved Liza’s spicy chili.

The swap items ranged from pickles to sourdough starter to cookies and more. I only know a couple of people who share my food preservation “hobby,” so I was fascinated to see what kinds of pickles and preserves others had made.

swap2

I brought bread, elderberry-peach chutney, wild ginger-cranberry sauce, spicebush pear butter, and strawberry-currant preserves.

My take home loot included two kinds of pickles, soup, and Kate’s millet-oatmeal bread (I wouldn’t have guessed gluten-free bread could be this delicious).

The item I am most delighted by is half a dozen eggs from Meg’s backyard chickens. Here’s Ella checking them out after I got home.

Ella investigates Meg's eggs

Ella investigates Meg's eggs

Many thanks to Kate & Meg for coming up with the idea and hosting, and to the makers of the treats I brought home (yes, that includes the chickens)!

copyright

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith

Follow Leda Meredith on Facebook and Twitter

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