Stocking the Pantry: Canned Peaches

Today’s surprise trip to the Farmer’s Market resulted in some gorgeous peaches, and since I have been dying to can some this year, I decided to dedicate these to this purpose.

Right off the bat, I want to say that this is possible because I have finally embraced the notion of “No such thing as too small a batch” to bother with. I know women who won’t even heat a kettle of water unless they are working with 20 pounds or more of produce, but if I waited to can until I had 20 pounds of something I would have a pretty sparsely populated pantry. I am employing some water-saving tactics here, though, and I will include these instructions as I go.

Start, of course, with ripe, unblemished fresh fruit. A bump or 2 is ok, but watch for overripe fruit with lots of soft spots. The flavor just isn’t there, and the will go to mush in the canner, even with a cold pack.

fresh peaches

fresh peaches

Before you begin, make a sugar syrup (approximately 2 cups of sugar in 4 or so cups of water). Boil the syrup for at least 10 minutes. Longer if you like a heavy syrup (the water cooks away and leaves a thicker, more concentrated, sugary syrup. I like mine a bit lighter).

Put all the jars you may need to contain the fruit in a canning kettle and boil them off to sterilize. Once the water is boiling, this same kettle can be used to blanch the peaches to make them easier to peel. Always peel your peaches (or tomatoes) before canning. The skin just gets weird and rather undesirable.

see that peach in there?

see that peach in there?

Drop the peaches into the boiling water and let them bob around (or sink) for about 3-5 minutes. Fish one out and test for peelablility. The skin should come away easily as the immediate flesh begins to cook from being in the boiling water and allows the skin to release. Now, some varieties of peaches peel more readily than others, and I am not going to lie; some are an absolute pain in the arse. Those just have to be peeled more like a raw potato, removing a bit of the flesh at the same time. I pray you find the easiest peeling varieties at a Farmer’s Market near you. I had some of each to work with, today. Always ask when you buy them to avoid varieties whose skin clings.

skin coming away easily after blanching

skin coming away easily after blanching

Once blanched, peel them. Then, either halve or slice the fruit for packing. Wide mouth jars work the best for peaches, but if they are slices, regular mouth ones will work,too.

quartered peaches

quartered peaches

Then cold pack the fruit into the sterilized jars. You can allow them to settle down, but don’t “cram” as much in as will fit. You will need to leave plenty of head space at the top of the jars to allow for expansion.

cold pack

cold pack

Pour syrup over fruit, leaving the appropriate head space, and wipe the edges of the jars. Firmly tighten lids and rings and place in the still boiling water. For this mission, we have used only 1 kettle of water for sterilizing jars, blanching fruit and water bath canning the jars. From a rolling boil, begin timing for 20 minutes.

back into the same kettle

back into the same kettle

When your timer goes off, remove the jars from the water bath and place them on a towel on the counter, where they can rest overnight or until cool.

done!

done!

You will want to think about how you will use them, later, to determine what size jars to use. If you have a small family, you may want to use pints, rather than quarts. This batch, I did one quart, to use for peach cobbler, and 2 pints to use for crepes with peaches (which is my husband’s favorite), during the winter. If you have a large family, you may want to strictly can quarts.

These beautiful jars of late-Summery goodness will be waiting for you in Winter, when it feels like Summer may never come again. There are no preservatives or chemicals and yet they are perfectly safe to use within one year of canning them.

There is no better way to stick it to Monsanto than choosing healthy organic produce in season and canning it for later. Take that BigFood!

Now that’s Awesome America at work!!!

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HomeGrown Food Just Got Real: Baby chicks

At some point in a quest to create a more healthy, wholesome lifestyle one realizes that in order to eat fresh food, you have to grow it yourself. And while veggies and fruit lend themselves to a rather easy fix, meat and other protein-rich foods are a bit more complicated.

My flock is strictly for eggs, rather than meat, but I go in to this process with my eyes open. All of these birds will one day end up as “and dumplings”. But for these little peeps, that day is many years from now.

If you have ever considered keeping hens, this tutorial may be helpful to you.

This is the diary of 9 laying hens from their 2nd day of life, on. Each of these chicks was hatched yesterday, has been shipped overnight to the feed store and then picked up by me and driven the 45 miles to my house. A feed store is a great place to buy chicks, as you get to have a look at them before you buy them, thus ensuring a healthy flock from the beginning. When you buy them via the internet, straight from the hatchery, you don’t get that option.

peep!

peep!

Before you even order chicks there are many things you need to have in place. A brooder- the containment field they will live in for their first few to several weeks of life. It needs to have sufficient room for the number of chicks you will be buying.  I use an old reptile aquarium.

aquarium brooder with light housing

aquarium brooder with light housing

Also, you will need an overhead heat source. Many people recommend a 250 watt bulb, which is expensive both to buy (around $11) and to run, round the clock for aprox. 6 weeks. I use a soft white 150 watt bulb in a housing to direct the heat downward. It cost $4.19. Each week the chicks will need less heat, so having a clamp-on light housing is a great option for moving it higher as they get bigger and need less heat. There should also be a warm side and a less warm side, so they can escape from the heat if they get too warm. I keep my feed and water on the opposite side of the brooder from the heat source so there is a wide variety of temperature options.

the warm side

the warm side

You will need feed and a feeder. I have the screw-on type that goes with a mason jar. I use a medicated feed when buying hatchery chicks and brooding them, myself in a box. Their immune systems have absolutely nothing to draw from and they will be vulnerable to everything in these first weeks of life. (when I am using a broody hen to hatch chicks, I let them eat the same All Purpose Poultry feed I feed to the rest of the flock… but broodies are a whole different experience, and I am assuming you don’t have a broody hen handy)

chick feeder

chick feeder

baby food

baby food

They will also need a waterer. I buy the plastic screw-on bottoms that can be used with any regular-mouth glass mason jar. This one was about $3.

waterer

waterer

There will also need to be some sort of litter in the brooder. Chicks can’t be left to walk on a smooth surface or it can damage their legs due to slipping around. I use pine shavings (NOT CEDAR! Cedar bedding is toxic to chicks). I also keep that bedding in a huge garbage bag, in the room I am brooding the chicks. Keeping everything handy to where you are using it is easiest and best.

brooder fluff

brooder fluff

I also keep a bucket in the brooder room so I can easily clean out soiled or wet litter quickly. I later dump that soiled litter on my raspberry canes for overwintering.

Once the brooder is set up, you will need some chicks!

chicks, man

chicks, man

Place the box into the brooder and then take the chicks out. They will likely congregate under the lamp until they warm up, but then will begin to move about inside the open space of the brooder. Be sure they each know where food and water is, taking the time to dip each one’s beak into the water so they will know where to find it. It only takes a second and you only have to do it once. Tap on the food with your finger and this will call them to it. It is how hens teach the chicks what to eat, and where the food is.

Then, cover your brooder, entirely with a screen, and some sort of weight (I use a piece of plywood and a couple of big fat books). The screen should allow the heat to escape but the chicks won’t be able to launch themselves out. It should also provide protection from other animals in the household, such as curious cats.

old window screen

old window screen

Sit back and watch the little peeps explore their new environment. If they pile up together under the light, they may be too cold. If they lay stretched out and panting, they are too hot. You will be able to tell a lot about how they are feeling by their behavior, so spend some time just watching them every day.

If you don’t enjoy cleaning pine shavings out of the water 100 times per day, place the waterer up on an overturned plant saucer or up on a short piece of 2×4 wood. Just an inch above the shavings will help keep a LOT of it out. But, do know you will probably have to fish out shavings pretty often, anyway.

The babies will need to be moved to their permanent coop within a month to 6 weeks, so don’t wait until you have them installed in your spare bedroom to start thinking about your coop. The wise farmer has that sorted out well in advance of bringing home the day old chicks. If your coop is entirely secure of predators you can actually brood them out in the coop, just hang the light low enough that it can provide the warmth they need, and gradually raise it as they feather out. Once they are fully feathered (around 4-6 weeks) they won’t need a heat source at all. As day-olds they need temperatures around 95 degrees and each week that number can be lowered by about 5 degrees or so. No need to have a thermometer, unless you just want to. You will be able to tell be their behavior if they are comfortable or not.

The brooder room will be dusty, so keep that in mind. Many people use a garage or basement for their brooding, and this is prudent if you don’t want chick dust and pine shavings all over the spare bedroom carpet (like I have 🙂 ).

There is a TON of helpful advice on Backyard Chickens and forums where you can ask a question or 2 and get answers from real chicken people. Keep in mind that every single person who has ever seen a chicken has a differing opinion on absolutely every aspect, and that will be evident the instant people begin chiming in with answers. The best thing to do is educate yourself and then choose your own strategy. Get to know some people who are raising chickens and speak to them about their strategies.

The most important thing is, make sure you have enough space for the number of birds you intend to keep, and have fun with it! Watching Chicken TV is the most entertaining activity you can imagine. Very theraputic, and absolutely hilarious!

Plus, a few months after these puff-balls come in to your life, they start giving back in the form of the freshest, healthiest eggs on the planet. The ones YOUR hens laid.

Now that is how you create a return to Awesome America and give Monsanto and BigFood a big black eye!!!

Miss Poppy

Miss Poppy

Dandelion Coconut Muscle Relief Oil

This year, I have put no energy, whatever, into ridding my space of dandelions. In fact, I have put them to work for me!

This kitchen magic: Dandelion Coconut Muscle Rub

Wonderful for undoing, when you have overdone it.

It requires:

  • A glass canning jar including lid and ring, larger than total volume of finished product
  • liquified coconut oil
  • a large handful of flowering dandelion tops
  • A sunny afternoon window sill, daily for 2 weeks

That’s it.

Place the dandelion flowers in the bottom of the sterile, entirely dry jar.

flowers! not weeds.

flowers! not weeds.

 

Pour the oil over the flowers to entirely cover.

shake daily, while a liquid.

shake daily, while a liquid.

Place lid and ring on jar and firmly tighten.

Place jar in the sunny window.

solid coconut oil and dandelions

solid coconut oil and dandelions

 

The oil with solidify when it isn’t 76 degrees, so it needs to reach that temperature every day, and be shaken gently. This is completely easy if it can “live” in a western or southern window in the Summer, because the sun does the warming. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the jar can be placed in a shallow pan of water and gently warmed, but this is definitely more work and dedication.

Shake daily for 2 weeks and strain.

wamr, strained oil

warm, strained oil

finished product

finished product

The finished product is a wonderful oil rub for sore muscles as is, and would make an ideal additive to beeswax for a heavier salve.

 

We Be Jamman’!

‘Tis the Season for beautiful, jewel-shade, berry jellies, jams and preserves of all kinds.

jam supplies

jam supplies

I’ve been making cooked jam since I was a teenager, and it has always the same method, the same tools, the same ingredients. I like the fact I can spend a few uncomfortably hot Summer days cooking, and be rewarded with a year-supply of sweet, delicious condiment for my toast, peanut butter sandwiches and yogurt.

But this year, all that has changed.

I have made the most glorious change, and it has resulted in a jam with less sugar (and by less I mean 3/4 of a cup of sugar vs. 8 cups of sugar per 4-5 cups crushed fruit) that is a sure set, no need for lemon juice (in the basic berry recipe), a recipe that can be doubled or tripled (or more, if you have a large enough kettle) with no loss of gelling, and that results in perfect fruit distribution through the whole jar. That change was Pomona’s Universal Pectin.

best pectin EVAH!

best pectin EVAH!

The instructions I am going to give are for my experience with a triple batch~ which begins with 12 cups of topped, squashed strawberries. These instructions are taken directly from the information leaflet included in the Pomona’s Universal Pectin packet. One 1 oz packet will complete 1 flat of fresh berries.

for best product, always buy organic berries

for best product, always buy organic berries

washed, topped berries

washed, topped berries

Before beginning the process, I boiled all the jars needed for the batch I was making, for sterilization. The lids and rings were also placed in a separate pan and brought to a boil at this time. While this was happening, I topped berries and made up a jar of the Calcium water (monocalcium phosphate, which activates the pectin, included in the packet) as directed by the instructions ~ 1/2 tsp calcium powder per 1/2 cup water, shaken well to mix. There will be a lot of this left over after your recipe, and it can be kept for several months in the fridge, for future batches).

calcium water

calcium water

The squashed berries and 6 tsp of the calcium water go in the cooking pot, to be brought to a boil.

bring berries to boil

bring berries to boil

The sugar is measured separately (can be also be made with honey, using this recipe) and placed into a bowl. The pectin powder is added to the sugar or honey and blended. (I was making this recipe for family, and they are accustomed to a very sweet jam, so I used 2 cups of sugar per batch- in this instance, 6 cups total. The recipe calls for between 3/4 a cup to 2 cups per batch).

As soon as the fruit comes to a boil, the sugar or honey/pectin mixture is added to the pot, stirred thoroughly to incorporate and dissolve sugar and pectin, and brought back to a boil for 4 minutes.

Then, the finished jam is placed into the sterile, still-hot  jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace in each. The rims need to be wiped to remove any jam which would compromise the seals. Then lids added and rings tightened.

filled jam jars

filled jam jars

All the filled jars go back into the boiling pot to be water-bathed for 15 minutes past boiling. This is to kill any remaining germs, to allow it to remain fresh for many months on the shelf.

All the jars are removed from the pot, and placed on a towel on the counter to seal and cool. Once the tops “pop” which indicates a complete seal, I flip them over and over as they cool (every 15-20 minutes) so the fruit distributes evenly throughout the jar. The bigger the jar, the longer this takes. Fruit floats in the jam jar, so if this step is skipped, there will be a fruit layer on top and a syrup/jelly layer on bottom. This is a natural occurrence, as sugar is heavier than fruit.

In roughly an hour (for smaller jars, or 2 for quarts- I know, crazy large for a jam jar, but my Dad eats jam at every meal, every day. His open jars never go bad before he empties them!) the jam is finished, the gel process complete and the fruit completely and evenly distributed throughout the jars.

finished jam, fruit well-distributed through jar

finished jam, fruit well-distributed through jar

This recipe is simple, a ton of time is saved by the ability to double and triple the recipe, so much cheaper and healthier because there is between 3- and 16-times less sugar in the jam as conventional pectin recipes, and the result is positively foolproof! You may never buy jam again. Take that BigFood!

Jars of jam make amazingly welcome gifts for all occasions, and are appreciated by everyone who receives them!

No treat so decadent as a mouthful of sweet Summer when the frost is on the pumpkin, or the snowdrifts pile up against the house.

Enjoy!!!!

Waters, Waters, Everywhere!

…and every drop is delicious to drink!!!

We all already know we need to make sure we drink plenty of water, but also that it can be a bit boring. We’ve been having the conversation over on the facebook page  and have come up with some pretty great ideas for some flavored waters.

The idea, or “recipe” if you will, for all the Flavored Waters is the same. Place a handful of the flavor (could be anything! depends on what you want it to taste like) into a pitcher or mason jar and cover it with pure water. Place in the fridge overnight. Strain, and drink.

The first one I made is nothing but spearmint and filtered water.

spearmint flavored water

spearmint flavored water

I also grow peppermint and orange bergamot mint, and look forward to using them all in flavored waters. But there are a million mind-blowingly awesome ideas!

orange bergamot mint

orange bergamot mint

peppermint

peppermint

Growing your own herbs and veggies and fruit to add lets you know the items are fresh and entirely wholesome. Take that, BigFood!

My friend Babs contributed her favorites: lemon balm and cucumber, strawberries, watermelon and oranges. Imagination+minty herb+ fruit/veggies= yummy flavored waters!”

Friend Tara, of Hello Granola offers: It’s so fun! Berries, oranges, lemons, basil, cucumber…on and on…”

Friend Teena says,we do this daily! I love it! Lemons, mint and cucumbers are my favorite. I also love strawberries with oranges and basil. It also helps me drink more water!”

Each item and combination offers its own health benefits. Not only are we staying hydrated, we can also stave off headaches, fatigues, icky tummies and stress with our creative possibilities.

So let’s harvest some awesomeness and cover it in water.

Bottom’s up!!!

Tillamook Creamery responds to questions about GMOs

I have become ever-mindful about the foods I am eating, and increasingly more so in recent months.

When I learned that Land O’ Lakes butter was made with GMO-grain fed cow’s milk, I decided to pose the question to our own Oregon Coast neighbor, the Tillamook Creamery.

Tillamook Creamery

Tillamook Creamery

Here is how that exchange went.

My email to them:

message: I recently became aware that Land O’Lakes uses GMO materials in the manufacture of their butter. I am assuming this is related to the diet of their herd, but who can say?
My question is, does Tillamook use GMO- affected products in the manufacture of your butter, milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, etc.
A lot of us who buy these products have chosen Tillamook because of the proximity of Tillamook, to where we live (also on the Oregon Coast. It allows us to fancy ourselves loca-vores (despite so many of the products being made elsewhere, in reality).
But all of us are careful to try to avoid GMO products and processes which use a GMO-affected product. We need some straight answers about how Tillamook utilizes GMO affected products and grains.

 

… after a week or so, this was their response:

Hi Rachel,

Thank you for reaching out to us directly. We know the GMO topic is a sensitive and important one to some consumers, and we want to be as accurate as possible in responding to questions and concerns about it.  First and foremost, the core ingredients in all our products are milk and cream of the highest quality produced in the most natural way possible, and neither of these ingredients have exposure to GMOs.  In regards to some of the additive ingredients – particularly to our ice cream and yogurt – the answers are a bit more complex.  At this time, and in the absence of any clear standards or definitions around genetically modified substances, it is hard to categorize which ingredients are – with certainty – GMO-free.  We do use some ingredients like natural flavoring (e.g. sugar or corn syrup for sweetening), natural coloring (e.g. beet juice), and stabilizers (e.g. corn starch and soy lecithin) that have the possibility of being derived from GMO sources because of the pervasiveness of GMOs in agricultural crops in the United States.

Our farmers know that healthy cows make the best quality milk and part of this is a healthy diet.  The farmer-owners and all the dairymen who supply milk for Tillamook dairy products use a variety of forages and grains for feed. While the mixture varies dairy to dairy, it’s likely to include a mix of grass, alfalfa, some corn silage, and grains such as barley or soy. All of this is balanced by a nutritionist who also adds a vitamin/mineral supplement to ensure the healthiest cows possible, and thus the highest quality milk.  The feed used by our farmers and suppliers is both home grown on our farmer’s fields and purchased.

At this time, and in the absence of any clear standards or definitions around genetically modified substances, it is hard to know if the feed purchased for every cow contributing to our milk supply is GMO-free. In today’s market, it is extremely difficult to source feed for cattle that is 100 percent verified as GMO-free, given how pervasive GMOs are in the grain supply chain.  Even organic feed for organic farms is extremely difficult to verify as GMO-free because of cross-pollination. 

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Thanks,

Callie O’Sullivan
Consumer Loyalty Team
Toll-free: 1-855-Loaf-Love (562-3568)
Tillamook.com | Tillamook Twitter | Tillamook Facebook

________________________________________________________________
My hat’s off to Tillamook for responding to my inquiry in an intelligent and sensitive manner.

I appreciate them not treating my question as trivial and also for giving me the most thorough explanation possible, under the circumstances.

I really wanted the answer to be a very simple and straight-forward “No”. But that isn’t the world we live in.

I will continue to use their butter and cheese (even though they refuse to remove corn syrup from their ice cream 😦 )

Just thought others might want to know how this company responded to a direct question about GMO-affected products.

2 Months of Handcrafting…

Making America Awesome, again, through self-sufficiency!

Since I began my journey down the Handcrafted Road, I have learned so much, tried so many new things, and gained confidence from both epic successes and epic failures.

When I started this journey, I already made all my own bread and brownies. Since then, I have added quite a few things and began handcrafting them, rather than buying them. The list is pretty impressive, if I say so myself.

I have tried:

the reveal

the reveal

cottage cheese curd

cottage cheese curd

laundry ingredients

laundry ingredients

I like all of these products very well, and will probably make them again.

Here is a list of products I have mastered, love and use every day. I will never have to buy these items again:

green onions after over a week

green onions after over a week

ready to use, or store

ready to use, or store

cherry cashew vanilla granola

cherry cashew vanilla granola

boom. quart of liquid coconut-castile soap for $1.89

boom. quart of liquid coconut-castile soap for $1.89

Boom!  Body Wash.

Boom!
Body Wash.

soup!

soup!

I am also using a marvelous toothpaste made of coconut oil and baking soda. But I haven’t done a blog post about that yet!

My dream of providing healthy, effective alternatives to store-bought, chemical-laden products is coming along at lighting pace. Yes, it takes longer. Yes it is more work. Yes, it would be easier to buy them. But it is also cheaper, safe and gives me a chance to stick it to the Corporate Machine a bunch of times, every day.

All toll, I think it has been a successful 2 months! I can’t wait to see what I handcraft next!

Handcrafted Hand and Body Lotion

Last night, I began a coconut oil lotion experiment that I wasn’t altogether satisfied with the result of.

I began the experiment with the basic recipe found here: wellness mamma’s lotion. It consisted of:

  • 1/2 cup olive or sweet almond oil (I had olive)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax

The product was sort of more like a balm (think chapstick) and it wasn’t what I was looking for in a lotion. But, I knew that by varying the recipe a bit, and whipping, I could change the whole consistency of it. So, I melted it all down again (in the pyrex and pan double-boiler), and added at least another 1/4 cup of coconut oil. The best way to gauge its finished consistency is to drip a little on a cool counter or plate and then test it when it cools completely. Too oily, add a little beeswax. Too stiff, add more oil.

When I had it the way I wanted it, I removed it from the heat. It looked like this:

melted, blended lotion ingredients

melted, blended lotion ingredients

As it began to cool, I whipped it. As I whipped it, air was forced into the mixture, and it helped to cool it faster.

still very hot liquid

still very hot liquid

When it was the consistency of hummus, I poured/scooped it, with a spatula, into the tubs and allowed them to cool before sealing the tops.

starting to cool and whip

starting to cool and whip

pots of finished lotion, cooling fully

pots of finished lotion, cooling fully

The lotion is wonderful!!! I had every intention of scenting it with lavender oil, but, again, didn’t, because the scent of the coconut oil mingled with the beeswax was so delightful, I left it.

It is a little bit messy to make, but a clean-up tip~ emulsify the lotion with soap BEFORE adding the hot water. It will suds up a bit and then rinse right off. Easy peasy.

Handcrafted Deodorant Stick

Recently I have started reading all the labels on all the products I bring in to the house. Not just the food.

The scariest-sounding one was my deodorant! WTH is some of that stuff I am daily smearing on my armpits?

I made up my mind not to buy any more commercial deodorant, right then and there. So, when I went out to find a natural solution, I realized that the available products are ridiculously expensive.

I began to do some research, and found a number of recipes for all-natural, non-toxic deodorants that could be made in the kitchen.  I began my experiment using the one at this website: organic deodorant

I had every intention of scenting the finished product with lavender (my personal favorite scent) and adding tea tree oil for antibacterial properties. The product smelled so coconutty and good, I left them both out!

deodorant ingredients

deodorant ingredients

I started with

  • just under 1/2 a cup of coconut oil, in its solid state at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup corn starch

 

I placed all the ingredients in a smallish bowl and used a fork to blend them to solid form. The product was not solid enough to suit me, I added probably another scant 1/8 of a cup of corn starch to stabilize the mixture. It was solid, but the coconut oil becomes softer when worked. I also found that kneading it together like a dough was very effective for mixing, but go easy, hands are warm.

I used an empty, clean deodorant container. I wound the base all the way up and out to clean, then twisted it all the way back down to the very bottom again to fill.

empty container, ready for filling

empty container, ready for filling

wind base back down to bottom for filling

wind base back down to bottom for filling

When the mixture was most of the way solid, I smooshed it into the container, and pressed all the air out.

There was a bit left over, so I jarred and labeled it.

always label!

always label!

When I was finished, I found the mixture to still be a bit loose. So, I popped it in the fridge and let it chill for an hour.  When tested, it went on smoothly and was almost invisible. It went on sort of like regular deodorant, but finished up velvety powdery. Very cool.

goes on nicely when chilled.

goes on nicely when chilled.

I am so excited to be using coconut oil for such useful things, and more so for having found it for a price I can afford. My local whole food grocer carries it in a warmer, so I can buy it bulk, and keep a fresh supply all the time. It came to me as a liquid, but once I jarred it and set it aside at room temperature, it solidified.

This deodorant is more effective than a clinical strength product, and is entirely natural, and non-toxic.

ready to use, or store

ready to use, or store

I am going to store mine in the fridge. It is most stable chilled, and walking to the fridge to use my deodorant is not “too much trouble” for me. Heck, when it takes 5 weeks to make cheese, I can learn to be patient enough and willing enough to walk a few more steps to finish my morning ablutions!

Stick-It-To-Monsanto Monday Food For Thought

This past week I was at a dinner with the fancy people. I wore my handmade sweater, and there was much oohing and ahhhing. People don’t see handmade garments very often. Especially people with the means to pay $100 or more to own one without having to hook a stitch.

But this basic idea also translates into the BigFood conundrum. “Isn’t it easier just to buy it?”.

Quick answer, yes. Absolutely. In fact, Monsanto and BigFood are counting on America having this attitude about all things food. And, apparently, we are obliging them.

The woman I quoted is person I respect and wouldn’t refer to as “one of the Plastic People”. She was asking me about handcrafted yogurt, and what went in to making it. When I was finished explaining it, she just looked completely perplexed and asked me, “But, isn’t it easier just to buy it?”.

She is a busy person. Someone who works a lot and volunteers a lot and barely has time to eat, much less make yogurt from scratch. She represents a lot of people, who would like to be conscientious, but don’t feel they have the time to be involved in their connection between what they eat and where it comes from.

But I wonder…since eating fast, processed, plastic food is going to result in health problems, how long is a major illness going to take to cope with? Doctor visits, prescription medication regimens, feeling ill, and, ultimately, a directive to eat better, coming from the doctor.

There are also folks who feel healthy whole food is very expensive. But, isn’t major medical care expensive? Diabetes, cancer, various sugar-related disorders…all kind of expensive to cope with. Not to mention painful, destructive and productivity-crushing.

Pay the grocer or pay the doctor. Make the food, or buy the medicine. These are choices we all share in our daily quest to nourish and fuel our bodies. What I am saying has been well documented for decades, so I am not going to spend time here outlining all the evidence of it. Feel free to google all that and see if you find that health comes from whole foods. I’m not a preacher, or even an evangelist. I am merely documenting my own experience, and the experiences I observe among folks I know.

When you make your food choices, today, here is a healthy portion of Food For Thought, on the side. The goal of Big Food and Big Medicine is to keep you sick. Their goal is profit. What is your goal?

Happy Handcrafting, my delicious blueberries!