All four ducks are laying eggs now. We finally installed a light in the duck “house” and the light, set on a timer, helps fool them into laying eggs. The light goes on at about 6 am and they, thinking it’s spring, get to work laying eggs. Perhaps it’s a bit cruel waking them up with a bright light early in the morning- but we only have to do it for a couple of days and then they’ll lay eggs without supplementary lighting for a while. We must have a bit too much time on our hands right now because we even went to the trouble of dumpster diving for our four feathered friends- we found them strawberry tops, red cabbage, and pineapple behind metro. So far they’ve been more interested in the bugs under the leaves in our tree nursery.
Meanwhile in the living room our honey is dripping through a sceen into a bucket, kept warm beside the woodstove. We are “extracting honey” from this year’s successful round 1 of beekeeping. Because we raise our bees differently than most (in a smaller hive called a “warre” hive), it is more challenging to extract the honey from the honey comb. Instead of putting it in a centrifuge-type extractor, where the frames of honey comb are spun at high speeds to release the honey, we use patience, warmth from a fire, and gravity to extract ours. The level in the bucket has been slowly rising over the last 2 days.
In the kitchen apples are simmering away for a fresh batch of applesauce- the last of this week’s apple adventures. Friends of ours loaded our car up with organic apples after we visited them last weekend and we have been trying all week to perfect the “dried apple” using our dehydrator.
While we may be struggling to figure out life as farmers, we seem to have unlocked some sort of key to abundance. We have fallen in love with our kitchens, the flavours of the seasons, and the diverse lessons we need to know in order to nourish both soil and stomach.
Food Experiments of the Week:
Duck Egg Mayonnaise (using both yolk and egg white)
Most homemade mayo recipes call for only egg yolks, so I was thrilled to find a recipe that used the entire egg. I sort-or followed this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/whole-egg-mayonnaise/. Only I added garlic, and used olive oil since I don’t eat other oils. We enjoyed this mayo on wraps with sauerkraut and chicken sausage from our friends Tracy and Jesse at their farm in Coburg (see website), we also used it in salad dressings all week! I’m hooked on homemade mayo!
Reduced Beet Apple Cider Vinegar
This year we made a big batch of canned beets. We splurged for all the good ingredients: organic apple cider vinegar, organic fair trade sugar, etc. We only used 1/8 of the sugar they called for as I generally don’t eat sugar, and I found them plenty sweet. So what do you do when all the beets are eaten and you have the juice left? Well, you could save it for next year’s canning, dump it, or make a delicious reduced purple vinegar! I strained out any remaining onions and let the juice simmer in a pot until thick. I am now using the liquid in salad dressings, and I hope to try it out with pork. It is delicious!
Marinated Kale Salad
Well I should probably call this a food experiment of the season seeing as we’ve been eating this almost every week since our kale began producing. Two Thursdays ago we harvested a big bag of kale from our garden at Green Being Farm. It has kept in our garage for almost 2 weeks now, and still looks perfectly fresh. Our favourite way to eat kale is as a marinated salad. Make your favourite salad dressing (ours: grainy mustard, red wine vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil) and coat the kale leaves with dressing at least 4 hours before you eat it. Then add minced garlic, grated carrots, and any other dried fruit and nuts you like and there you have a delicious salad!
Core your apples and throw them in a saucepan with about a 2 tbsp (aka. a splash) of water in the bottom. Turn on med-high with the lid on. Once the water starts coming out of the apples, press them down, and remove the lid for liquid to evaporate. Once all apples are soft you can mash ’em and reduce it to your desired sauce consistency. If you don’t like peels in your sauce peel them first, or get one of these. If you like it sweet add some sugar. And cinnamon is good too! Next time I want to try this.