Sunday, November 6, 2016

Drying Blueberries

I had a pound and a half of blueberries given to me the other day that were just begining to go bad. After removing a few bad ones, I still had almost the entire pound and a half. So now, what to do with them? I won't eat them fast enough right now to have them gone before they all go bad, I have enough things in the freezer and I don't have time right now to bake.

After a few minutes of thought, problem solved. I got one of my dehydrators out and dried them. They are so good this way, like candy. But I think that I may use them for baking later.

BTW.....this is what a pound and a half of blueberries condenses down to when dried.... sort of looks like a jar of allspice, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wanting Summer

While still stuck in NY, I thought I'd post this picture that I took over the summer. But I can't wait to get back home to Florida. I've had enough here for the year.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Still Picking!

Out walking around the yard at 1840s Farm today picking wild berries and currants.

At the end of last season, I found a huge patch of currants in the hedgerow. This year I did the first harvest and with this first round, I probably got 3 or 4 pounds. (And I didn't even pick all of them, as I always leave some for the "critters".)

Also picked some berries. Not as much as usual, but I've already done 3 picks and looks like many more to come. And, it looks like this year's crop of wild rosehips will be pretty big.

Berries have gone into the freezer. Currants will be going into the dehydrators. With the next pick, I may put some juice in the freezer to make jelly later when I have more time, but I haven't decided yet.

If you are into wild foods or emergency preparedness, learn about what there is to eat right in your own yard. But always make sure you know what you are picking and when in any doubt, even the slightest, find someone who knows!

Later today, I will be harvesting more wild grape leaves to preserve for stuffing later.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bumble Bees

The bumble bees are loving the hollyhocks. About 5 of them were flying in and out of the blossoms last night. You can see how one is just full of pollen. It was all over him!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gathering Dandelion Seed

I took this picture just before I started cleaning the seeds fron the dandelion heads. Yes, they do grow wild in the yard, but I also want to have a controlled patch as well.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Papaya Forest

In the Florida garden, we decided that we wanted a papaya tree, and as they are pretty fast growing, decided to begun from seed.

Now, knowing what the seed success ratio can be, we decided to just throw all of the seed that we pulled out of the fruit, into a small raised bed. We figured we'd get a handful to successfully start. What we got, was a forest of baby papaya.

So, now we are selecting, thining and giving away. It is amazing as to how many of those seeds took. I stopped counting!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Simple Dessert

I had a picnic to go to today, and wanted to take something simple. I still had wild berries in the freezer from last year's harvest that needed to be used, a friend had a package of instant pudding mix, so I decided to make mini tarts.

The filling was a cheesecake instant pudding (I needed something quick) and I made the crust using an old fashioned lard pie crust recipe that I have. Making the small crust shells was easy......I used my Babycakes mini cupcake maker. Works great and gave me nice, lightly browned little shells.

The nice thing was, I had no leftovers to take back. They were all gone by the end of the day. (I had made about 30 or so....)

I will definitly whip some of these up again!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Berries Are on the Way

The wild berries are coming in. There are a lot of these bushes around the 1840's Farm, the family farm in the Finger Lakes region. My favorites are the whites, as they seem so much sweeter than the red/black berries. My favorite way to eat these is to just stand at the bushes and chow down. But I do throw some in the freezer and leave some for the birds and whoever else.

I also have a few cultivated raspberries growing as well, compliments of some little critter who was spreading some seeds!  However, they are much smaller at this point.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cukes Blossoming

The first blossom on the Japanese cucumber plant (as it isn't a "vine" yet). Except for some of the various wild berries, this is the first garden blossom for the year!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Onion Chives

The onion chive blossoms are out and as usual, not disappointing in taste. Tried on this morning and it tasted just like a piece of fresh onion! I look forward to these every year.

Justice For Harambe

This situation made me sick. Parents can't bother to watch their kid and the Harambe, the only victim here, pays the price. Poor judgement on ALL sides! 

 I hope these parents are charged with whatever they can be hit with, including the death of this animal. 

Just a few weeks ago 2 lions were killed in another zoo (non US I believe) because some idiot wanted to commit suicide in the lion enclosure. And maybe it is time for the zoos to come up with a faster working tranquilizer to protect their animals from the idiots who go to visit. 

When will animals stop paying for human stupidity? What a waste.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dandelion Head Harvest

Harvesting dandelion heads today for seed. I want to have a controlled patch, so I thought I would go out and gather heads that have gone to seed. Because there is no dew this morning (meaning it will probably rain today), it was a good time to get the dry heads before the seeds scattered.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Garden "Re Use"

I like to recycle/reuse when possible. Sometimes creativity and other times the new use is staring me right in the face, as with this crappy old clothes rack that I found in the barn. It should be the perfect trellis support for my Japanese cucumber. It isn't pretty, but it should be getting covered in the very near future anyway!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Violet Time!

The wild violets that I leave in the garden at the 1840s Farm are coming in nicely. Unlike the violets you buy for the house, these flowers are edible. They can be candied, sugared, used in salads and as a garnish.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Freezing Dandelion Greens

I decided to go out and pick dandelion greens to bag and freeze. Not sure how this will work out, but I decided not to blanch them first before freezing, to try to keep them a bit sturdier when they thaw. I'm thinking the will be very much on the limp side, but as i would only put them in the garlic and oil where they will wilt some during cooking anyway (and they don't have to be pretty in the pasta dish itself), I'm thinking it will work out fine.

A little later I am going to try to make dandelion pesto from some freshly picked greens too!

I also picked some of the tight flower buds to maybe deep fry later on today if I have the time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Drying Dandelion Greens

Although I am not a big fan of dandelion greens, I actually do like them in angel hair with garlic, oil and chile, with a little peccorino romano.

However, the older the greens get, the more bitter they get. And it seems like as the season progresses, they get more bitter as well. So, I decided to try and dry some of the early, young, greens, just to see what happens. If it works out, I'll have to go out into the yard and harvest more!

If you want to see a picture of the dish, check out the "Throwback Kitchen" blog.

Interview with Business Innovators Magazine

An interview that I did with Business Innovators Magazine just came out yesterday. Check it out at:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Onion Tops are Done

The first batch of young wild onion tops are dried and packaged. I left this bunch whole, but the next will probably be chopped afterwards and stored in a spice jar. I use them just like chives and store out of the light so they don't lose their color.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Time to Start Drying

Had to mow today up at the 1840s farm (I'm up here in the Finger Lakes for a bit working on my latest book). Now, anyone who really knows me, knows I absolutely HATE mowing lawn, and I put it off for as long as I possibly can.

Well, today the grass was long enough that I had to grit my teeth and get the lawn tractor out. But before I did that. I went around the lawn and trimmed off the young wild onion tops so that I could dry them. I already have a big patch by the house and those straying into the lawn would be lost anyway. So, I cut off the tops and use them like chives. Sometimes fresh, sometimes dried.

Now,  I'm filling one of my dehydrators with wild onion tops. I have 4 machines, and fortunatly brought on with me. One is a very basic, bare bones, 1 has a fan, and 2 have adjustable temperature controls with fans. And depending how much I have to do, there are times when I have had all 4 going at one time! My favorite thing to make? Jerky, of course! But this year I plan on making some tomato powder and garlic powder as well.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

EPCOT Flower and Garden Show

Upon entering the Flower and Garden Show at EPCOT, we were greeted by no other than farmers Mickey and Minnie!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Good News

I am working on 2 new show concepts that I hope we will begin work on within the month. I'm quite excited about this and I think viewers will enjoy!

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Salt and Vinegar Crispy Smashed Potatoes

I love these things and I find they taste even better using red potatoes, although any will do.

Basically, just take potatoes that are about salt potato size, or a bit larger. Leaving skin on but removing any eyes, cook up about 2/3 of the way. This may be done stove top, microwave or in oven. When I'm in a hurry, I use the microwave.

When cooked, cut in half, then smash down each half. (A sealed can of tuna or cat food  works well for this..). Place on cookie sheet, sprinkle with sea salt and vinegar. I prefer cider or malt, but you can also use white.

Place back in oven at 350, until cooked through and crispy on top. Add additional salt and vinegar to taste before serving, then serve immediately.

NOTE: If potatoes are done but still not crisp, you can put under the broiler, but watch carefully! The potatoes may also be finished in a toaster oven, which will allow for a little more crispness.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pine Nuts pt.2

Now that the pine cones have throughly dried and are begining to open, I  transferring them to a grocery bag. You can use plastic or paper, but as the seeds fall down into the bag, you'll be able to see them better at the bottom of a white or brightly colored bag rather than brown paper.

By allowing the seeds to drop to the bottom of a bag, rather than keeping the cones on a cookie sheet or other flat surface, you lower the risk of accidentally spilling it all to the floor, dropping seeds when picking up the cones, etc.

Old Containers?

Yep, you're seeing correctly. A couple of containers that I "swiped" from someone's recycle bin. "Why?", you may ask? It's simple!

These containers make great coating bins when doing smaller things such as wings, rings, chicken or pork nuggets......and so on. Just put the seasoned flour in the container, add whatever you want to coat, cover and shake!

Easier to use than a brown or plastic bag, not as messy, and the lid is a bit easier to get on and off than some of the better plastic wear,  which you are grateful for the first time you get a flour bath when trying to remove a tight fitting lid.

I've been using the yellow container for almost 5 years now. And it still works like a charm.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pine Nuts

Yeah....I know the size of the seeds in these cones probably won't be worth the effort, but I'm letting these open up so that I can try to harvest pine nuts. I'll have to put in a better pine for that, but just using what I had access to right now.

But, it wouldn't be the first time I put tons of work into something that was easier to buy, just because I wanted the experience.

Last year I got a bovine stomach when a friend sent a steer in, and prepared it into fresh tripe. It took quite a while, between the scraping and soaking and heating. Days actually.... But my dad, who is the tripe guy, said it was the best he'd had. But again, it was fresh...fresh...fresh.... LOTS of work, but at least I know how to do it now.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Drying Starter

As you can see, I have been drying alot of sourdough starter for future use/back-up/giveaway. Right now I am storing it as chips, but when I have time, I will powder.

I tried using a mini food chopper but that didn't work. I'll be using my spice grinder, although I might also give the blender a try. Once powedered, I'll only need one of the orange containers for storage. Then, I'll start drying more of my discarded starter. I hate to waste it!

If you're interested in drying starter, one of my earlier blog posts provides necessary directions. It's so easy, and doesn't take alot of your time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Don't Forget.....

to check out NCH's brand new sister blog:
"Throwback Kitchen"!

ASAP Garlic Relish

If you love sweet pickle relish and you love garlic, but have no time on your hands to make it fresh, here is a great shortcut that is sure to please.

Simply purchase your favorite commercial sweet relish, or pull a jar of your homemade off the pantry shelf, and add 3 to 4 peeled, FRESH, average sized cloves of garlic! Mix the whole cloves right into the relish, cover and let sit. (Clove numbers may vary to your taste and jar size. This is based on a 12.5 oz size.)
Within a few days.....sometimes within 24 hours, the fresh garlic will begin to permiate the relish, giving you a wonderful garlic flavor to your relish!

Leave the garlic cloves in till you have the desired flavor, or as I usually do,  leave the garlic in the jar until it is almost empty, then finely chop the garlic for use in tuna salad or any other culinary use you may find, as the sweet relish will have permiated the garlic as well!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Egg Storage

So you have your own chickens and are totally over run with eggs, or the grocery store had a sale that you just couldn't pass, and you stocked up! Now the question is.....what to do with them all????

If you eat alot of eggs or bake a lot, this won't really be an issue. If not, then you want to make sure that these eggs will keep. And it isn't as difficult as you may think! And at the 1840's Farm, the mud room acts as my storage area in the winter for eggs, vegetables and anything else that needs to stay cold. But the temperatures are rising and there are still many eggs, so what to do?

If you have your own chickens, as long as you haven't scrubbed the shell and removed the bloom (eggs natural protective coating), they should keep well, as is. However, store bought eggs will have the bloom scrubbed off, so you need to preserve them for the long storage.

To do this, simply use a little warm mineral oil and using your fingers (many people like to wear gloves), cover the entire egg with a layer of oil. Then, place point down back into the carton. Make sure that the entire egg is covered and sealed with the oil. The eggs may now be stored in the fridge, root cellar (and some even leave on the shelf), for up to a year! Note that the eggs should be turned at least once a month. This is done by simply turning the entire carton over.

When ready to use your eggs, if you want to make sure that they are good, simply place the egg in a glass of water. If it sinks, it's good. If it floats....out to the compost it goes.

Preserved eggs can be used in the same manner that fresh are, however be aware that the older the egg, the less  likely it is that you will be able to use the whites for meringue, as older whites won't whip up well. A small price to pay, however, for the ability to save your eggs long term.

So next sale, go ahead and stock up! You can store the extra eggs now.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

It's Here!!!!

The sister blog of NCH, Throwback Kitchen is now online. It is just in the beginning stages, so please be patient as it grows. I hope that you have fun with it and will find both The New Century Homesteader and Throwback Kitchen both useful and enjoyable.

Friday, March 4, 2016

New Blog

Watch for my new blog, "Throwback Kitchen", begining soon. From the title, you probably have at least an idea as to what this blog will feature, so stay tuned. I think you will find it both unusual and enjoyable, as well as surprisingly useful!

And the Windstar Fight Continues

Anyone who is looking for a used vehicle, not walk....away from the Ford Windstar. A vehicle plagued with problems since day one, Ford, it seems has had to be pushed into doing some life or death took them what.....12 + years to do the axle recall?

Now I am in a fight with them, if I can even get them to be honest. My Windstar should have been bought back a few years ago, with the first axle problem. But, it wasn't and a "band aid" Ford style, was applied. Now, it seems their "band aid" didn't work and they want to put yet another "band aid" on this axle that can break in half! My question to them is why wasn't it bought back when the others were, especially when the frame was rotting on it...yet another Windstar problem that had recalls...except for mine. For some reason, they didn't want to bother.

I have contacted the CEO and he hasn't even had the courtesy, much less the courage I guess, to respond. I have posted photographs of these problems on Ford's Twitter but they still do not seem to be bothered. Guess I need to get badly hurt in this vehicle first.

The next kick in this Windstar story, is the side bottom of this vehicle rotting out (I have never...ever...had a vehicle rot like this), and I see what looks to be a small plastic garbage bag of something, falling out. Again, I contact and ask Ford why there is a plastic bag falling out of this vehicle's body and post a picture. Again I'm ignored.

This time, I am contacting Mr. Ford himself, hoping that he has the courage to respond. We shall see. However, this has told me alot about Ford, and has soured me to the brand, especially when they continue to make excuses for such a dangerous vehicle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Latest Book

Here is the latest book in the Backyard Farming series. One of my most favorite animals from the farm.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Watch for New Link

I will soon be posting a new link for an agricultural and culinary history website that I am developing. Here's a little hint.....
This area is rapidly losing this part of it's history. It is my goal to see that this doesn't happen!

Stay Tuned!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Garden Post Update

I just wanted to present an update on one of our advertiser's products: My Garden Post.

About a week ago, we ended up with tornado warnings one night and very high winds. Because the warnings came later at night, we were able to grab some smaller pots (that could possibly blow away) and pull them in, as well as a few of the younger, more delecate plants that could face severe damage, but we did not have time to tie the Garden Post to the large jasmine bush by the time the heavy rains began.

Next morning we went out, expecting the worst, however, the My Garden Post came through with flying colors! Yes, it did tip over as we expected and the pots did come off of the post. However, that said, neither the post nor the pots were in any way damaged. We just stood the post up, put the pots back on, returned the bit of dirt that came out of the pots, to the pots and all was right with the world! Even the plants survived pretty much unscathed despite their traumatic experience.

So, not only is the My Garden Post great for small spaces and fun to use, it is a well made product that can take a beating in unexpected, damaging weather conditions, then go right back to work.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


I received a great packet from the Honey Board. Honey related beverages/cocktails/drinks.

The Honey Board is a great place to go for honey related information, recipes and questions that you may have about honey.