Home Farm Herbery

  (Munfordville, Kentucky)
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The USDA’s The New Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods to Eat Organic©

The USDA’s The New Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods to Eat Organic©

 

Recently I read a report or rather several reports that identified 12 foods you should eat provided they are organic because the 12 foods the USDA 2011 list highlighted were loaded with pesticides.

 

Here is the list.

 

1. At the top of the 2011 dirty dozen list are Apples. (Apples ranked No. 2 in 2009 and No. 4 in 2010.) More than 40 different pesticides have been detected on apples, because fungus and insect threats prompt farmers to spray various chemicals on their orchards. Not surprisingly, pesticide residue is also found in apple juice and apple sauce, making all apple products smart foods to buy organic.

I know you think that peeling apples will reduce exposure to pesticide residue, but be aware that you're peeling away many of the fruit's most beneficial nutrients when you do so!

When you can't find organic apples then try the safer alternatives which include watermelon, bananas and tangerines.


2. Celery again made it onto the dirty dozen list. It's a good one to commit to memory, since it doesn't fit the three main categories of foods with the highest pesticide residue (tree fruits, berries and leafy greens). USDA tests have found more than 60 different pesticides on celery. If you cannot find organic celery try safer alternatives such as broccoli, radishes and onions.

 

3. Strawberries (my favorite) are always on the list of dirty dozen foods, in part because fungus prompts farmers to spray, and pesticide residue remains on berries sold at market. Nearly 60 different pesticides have been found on strawberries, though fewer are found on frozen strawberries. When you cannot find organic strawberries try safer alternatives such as kiwi and pineapples.

 

4. Peaches, though we hate to see it on the dirty dozen list it is always there. More than 60 pesticides have been found on peaches and nearly as many in single-serving packs, but surprisingly far fewer in canned peaches. Try eating some safer alternatives which include watermelon, tangerines, oranges and grapefruit.

 

5. Popeye would be appalled to find Spinach on the list since it is loaded with nearly 50 different pesticides. While frozen spinach has nearly as many, canned has had fewer detected pesticides.

 

6. For those of us who love Nectarines, they too are on the deadly dozen list, at least imported ones, are among the most highly contaminated tree fruits. Domestic nectarines don't test with as much pesticide residue, but overall 33 pesticides have been detected on nectarines. So if you are having a hard time finding organic nectarines try pineapple, papaya or mango.

7. Grapes, especially imported grapes keep appearing on the dirty dozen list. Imported grapes can have more than 30 pesticides. Raisins, not surprisingly, also have high pesticide residue tests. So how does that affect the wine we drink since I have not discovered, to date, any watch groups checking on pesticides in wine. However, there are some wineries making organic wine.

 

8. It was with a sad heart to discover that Sweet Bell Peppers makes the dirty dozen list again because it tends to have high pesticide residue in all of its colorful varieties. Nearly 50 different pesticides have been detected on sweet bell peppers.

 

9. Alas, America's favorite vegetable is the potato; unfortunately, more than 35 pesticides have been detected on potatoes in USDA testing. Sweet potatoes offer a delicious alternative with less chance of pesticide residue.

 

10. The USDA did not exclude blueberries as it usually makes the dirty dozen list, since more than 50 pesticides have been detected as residue on them. Frozen blueberries have proved somewhat less contaminated. If you are wondering about cherries and cranberries as obvious alternatives they are often contaminated themselves. For breakfast cereal, if you can't find organic blueberries, consider topping your cereal with bananas.

 

11. Lettuce joins in the leafy greens category. Lettuce makes the list of dirty dozen foods with the most pesticides. More than 50 pesticides have been identified on lettuce. If you can't find organic lettuce a healthy alternative is asparagus.

 

12. Kale is a superfood and since kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, the USDA has found Kale to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested in each of the past two years. Try to find organic Kale and if you have no luck consider safer alternatives such as organic cabbage, asparagus and broccoli. Dandelion greens also make a nutritious alternative. Put on par with kale for the 2011 dirty dozen list, collard greens tests have revealed more than 45 pesticides. It may be hard to find organic collard greens so look for organic Brussels sprouts, dandelion greens and cabbage.

 

At this point one needs to be seriously thinking about what one puts into one’s mouth if one is trying to eat healthy and while I am at it lets take a look at milk. One report I read stated, “Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk, so it should come as no surprise that they have been found in dairy products, too. Twelve different pesticides have been identified in milk, and milk is of special concern because it is a staple of a child's diets.” Years ago my family owned dairy farms and when a cow had mastitis we injected them with penicillin which does not break down in the milk processing so I wonder if that may be the reason so many kids or even grownups are allergic to penicillin.

 

I did find a list of vegetables and fruits called “The clean 15 green” and they include 1. Onions
2. Sweet Corn, 3. Pineapple, 4. Avocado , 5. Asparagus, 6. Sweet peas, 7. Mango
8. Eggplant, 9. Cantaloupe (domestic), 10. Kiwi, 11. Cabbage, 12. Watermelon,

13. Sweet Potatoes, 14. Grapefruit, 15. Mushrooms

 

Apparently these fruits and vegetables are so clean one does not have to buy organic.

Don’t think that you can load up on meat because one must remember that just because there are generally no pesticides found in beef muscle there are lots of them found in the fat. Fewer than a dozen pesticides have been detected in beef fat, but among them are long-lived chemicals that accumulate in human fats just as they do in beef cattle. The same pattern holds for other meats, with pork fat and chicken thighs tallying the most pesticide residue, while lean meat comes up clean. I guess Jack Sprat might have called it right!

 

For those of us who garden and use heirloom, organic seeds and practice organic gardening we are fairly safe as long as we do not indulge ourselves with a lot of packaged foods that contain mystery additives that change our own and our children’s moods and reproduction ability. The vast majority of consumers will just have to pay attention or risk cancer and other things that have come along on the ride with pesticides.

Tread the Earth Lightly,

Arlene Wright-Correll

Home Farm Herbery

 

 
 

Cooking with Garam Marsala©

Cooking with Garam Marsala©

 

First let’s talk about Garam Marsala as the composition of garam masala differs regionally, with wide variety across India. Varying combinations of these and other spices are used in different garam masala recipes in accordance to region and personal taste, and none is considered more authentic than another. The components of the mix are toasted, and then ground together. Masala means a spicy mixture.

A typical Indian version of garam masala is: black & white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, black & white cumin seeds, black, brown & green cardamom pods and that is exactly what we use in our Home Farm Herbery Garam Marsala Blend except we grind up everything and we add a little nutmeg. (Home Farm Herbery Garam Marsala Blend ingredients cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, & nutmeg.)  Our  flavors are carefully blended to achieve a balanced effect t o release its flavors and aromas. 

Used mostly in Indian cooking the North American cook is missing out on an occasional treat by not keeping a small package of Garam Marsala in his or her herb pantry.

Garam Marsala has a lot of nutritional value since it contains several micronutrients. One ounce has about 215 milligrams of calcium, 9 milligrams of iron, 400 milligrams of potassium, and 1 milligram of zinc.

I want to share two wonderful and inexpensive to make recipes with you that are not only tasty, delicious and good for you, but healthy!

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup

 

When you want a soup that has a pleasant depth and is slightly sweet from the addition of those pretty orange potatoes and roasted cauliflower then this is the soup for your. The sweetness is delicately enhanced with a light sprinkle of garam masala. At Home Farm Herbery we think the chunky veggies and thick and creamy broth make it good choice for lunch or a light dinner.

 

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup

 

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 large head cauliflower (the one I used was at least 7? in diameter

Olive oil for drizzling

Few dashes Home Farm Herbery’s garam masala http://www.localharvest.org/garam-marsala-blend-C23847

 3 medium to large sized peeled sweet potatoes cut into 1? pieces

1 sweet onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

7 cups water

 

First, preheat your oven to 400 °F and cut up your cauliflower into bite sized pieces.

 

Sprinkle cauliflower lightly with Home Farm Herbery garam masala. Place cauliflower onto ungreased cookie sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven and let roast until golden brown on the tops and tender, but not mushy, about 20-30 minutes. There’s no need to turn the cauliflower. Just remove from oven and let cool while you cook the rest of the soup.

 

In large stockpot, bring sweet potato, onion, garlic and water to a boil. Salt (about 3/4 tsp) and stir. Reduce heat and allow it to remain at a constant simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Add in cooked cauliflower and divide soup into 2 parts.

 

Let soup cool and then blend one part soup in blender until very smooth. Combine with second part soup and stir. Salt to taste and warm up over stovetop if needed.

 

Also why not try this wonderful Vegetable masala which is a mixture of potatoes, carrots, peas and beans cooked with onions & tomatoes adding Home Farm Herbery Garam Masala Blend, ginger and garlic powder.

Ingredients:

2 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 carrot, chopped

10 French-style green beans, chopped

1 quart cold water

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

(You can opt for a frozen veggie mix that has baby carrots and corn in it)

1 tsp kosher or sea salt is preferred as opposed to regular salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon Home Farm Herbery mustard seed http://www.localharvest.org/mustard-seed-C24074

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes - blanched, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon Home Farm Herbery garam masala http://www.localharvest.org/garam-marsala-blend-C23847

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Home Farm Herbery chili powder http://www.localharvest.org/chili-powder-C23758

1 sprig cilantro leaves, for garnish

 

Directions:

Place potatoes, carrots and green beans in the cold water. Allow to soak while you prepare the rest of the vegetables; drain.

In a microwave safe dish place the potatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, salt and turmeric. Cook for 8 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook mustard seeds and cumin; when seeds start to sputter and pop, add the onion and sauté until transparent. Stir in the tomatoes, garam masala, ginger, garlic and chili powder; sauté 3 minutes. Add the cooked vegetables to the tomato mixture and sauté 1 minute. Garnish with cilantro

 

P.S. If you want to stay healthy then watch this great documentary on Netflix or get the DVD It is called FOODMATTERS

May the Creative Force be with you.

Arlene Wright-Correll

 

 
 

P.S. About Coriander and Cilantro

My research shows that Coriander has so many benefits that a book can be written on them. It has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin-C), minerals and vitamins, each having a number of beneficial properties.  

 Cineole, one of the 11 components of the essential oils, and linoleic acid, present in coriander, possess anti rheumatic and anti arthritic properties, which are very beneficial for swelling caused due to these two reasons. For others, such as swelling due to malfunctioning of kidney or anemia, it is seen to be effective to some extent, as some of the components help excretion of extra water from the body while.

Coriander has lots of anti oxidants, vitamin-A, vitamin-C and minerals like phosphorus in the essential oils in it which prevents aging of eye, macular degeneration and soothes eyes against stress.  Coriander is good in iron content which directly helps curing anemia and the list goes on and on.

So add Coriander and Cilantro to your culinary efforts and plant some also.

You can get Home Farm Herbery Coriander seeds at

http://www.localharvest.org/coriander-seed-C23730

or ground coriander at

http://www.localharvest.org/coriander-crushed-powder-C23809

Or Cilantro slow bolt seeds at

http://www.localharvest.org/cilantro-coriander-slow-bolt-seeds-C24593

Buy today!

Tags:

A Little History of Coriander ©

A Little History of Coriander ©

 

Every year at Home Farm Herbery we plant a new annual crop of Cilantro in order to get our coriander seeds from which we either sell the seeds whole or grind them into coriander powder.  

The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavors are very different and cannot be substituted for each other.  Coriander is the dried, ripe fruit of the herb Coriandum sativum. The tannish-brown seeds have a sweetly aromatic flavor which is slightly lemony. A zesty combination of sage and citrus, coriander is actually thought to increase the appetite.

 

Not a lot of people in the USA cook with coriander and Cilantro is used in many Mexican dishes especially salsa.  Coriander is used in lentils, beans, onions, potatoes, hotdogs, chili, sausages, stews and pastries.

 

According to Wikipedia Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the umbel longer (5–6 mm) than those pointing towards it (only 1–3 mm long). The fruit is a globular, dry schizocarp 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in) in diameter.

 

Most coriander is produced in Morocco, Romania and Egypt, but China and India also offer limited supplies. Moroccan coriander has the boldest appearance, followed by the Egyptian and Indian varieties. Romanian and Chinese coriander is typically darker in appearance than other types.

 

Many people do not know that all parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking. Coriander is common in South Asian, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, Tex-Mex, Latin American, Portuguese, Chinese, African, and Scandinavian cuisine as well as in spice blends including curry powders, chili powders, garam masala, and berbere. (You can find all of these at our Local Harvest store

 

Coriander's has a long history and it can be traced back for thousands of years. Folklore says it was grown in Persia 3,000 years ago and used to fragrance the hanging gardens of Babylon. There is mention of coriander in the Bible where manna is described as being "like a coriander seed, white" (Exodus 16:31). As civilization spread, so did the popularity and uses of coriander. It has been used as a condiment and as an ingredient in medicines. It is still widely used in tonics and cough medicines in India. The leaves of the plant, cilantro, are also a popular flavoring in many Indian, Latin American, and Southeast Asian dishes.Though used in North American cooking many cooks in this country do not think culinary herbs are not high in many cooks pantry. However, I also think that over the past 10 years and especially with all the cooking channels that is changing.

 

Planting some Cilantro is really easy and you can have a small kitchen garden near your back door in the event you have the room to do so.  Even a 4 foot by 4 foot raised bed will give you room for several different herbs.  For those who have no room then consider small pots of herbs and especially Cilantro.  For those who cook, but have no desire to garden then you can simply go to LocalHarvest.org, search up Home Farm Herbery, click on it and then search Cilantro and you will get a bunch of stuff on it since we sell all the culinary cilantro and coriander one would want included a limited amount of seeds. http://www.localharvest.org/coriander-seed-C23730 

 

However, what would one cook with coriander?  Why not try this Coriander, Barley, Leek Soup

I think you might enjoy the exotic flavors that add pungency and depth to this hearty soup which is delicious all year round but especially on a cold wintery day.

 

This recipe makes 10 servings, the prep time is 15 minutes and the cooking time is 1 hr & 45 min.  Complete time is 2 hrs.

 

Ingredients: 3 c water

1 c uncooked pearl barley

2 tbsp olive oil

2 med. onions, chopped

1 bunch leeks, chopped

1 1/4 lbs ground turkey or chicken

2 ½ qts. Chicken stock

1 ½ c Chinese rice wine

2 ½ tbsp ground coriander

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a saucepan, bring the 3 cups water to a boil. Stir in the barley. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and leeks until tender. Mix in the chicken, and cook until heated through. Pour the chicken stock into the pot, and stir in the cooked barley. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Mix the rice wine into the soup, and season with coriander. Continue cooking about 10 minutes.

Season with pepper to serve.

You can get Home Farm Herbery Coriander seeds at

http://www.localharvest.org/coriander-seed-C23730

or ground coriander at

http://www.localharvest.org/coriander-crushed-powder-C23809

Or Cilantro slow bolt seeds at

http://www.localharvest.org/cilantro-coriander-slow-bolt-seeds-C24593

Buy today!

 
 

What in the World is a Kohlrabi? ©

What in the World is a Kohlrabi? ©

 

 

 

Not a lot of people in the USA eat Kohlrabi and not a lot of people grow it in their gardens and it is simply a shame because this thick skin veggie has a delightful surprise inside of it.

 

According to Wikipedia the name comes from the German Kohl ("cabbage") plus Rübe ~ Rabi (Swiss German variant) ("turnip"), because the swollen stem resembles the latter, hence its Austrian name Kohlrübe. Kohlrabi is a very commonly eaten vegetable in German speaking countries and this vegetable is a main stay food in India.

 

Once peeled a Kohlrabi is delicious either cooked or raw.   It is a member of the brassica family those nutrient-dense cabbages (as well as kales, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower) whose phytochemicals are highly regarded for their antioxidant properties.

 

If you can get kohlrabi with the greens attached, cook them as you would turnip greens or kale.

 

Kohlrabi comes in many different varieties and here at Home Farm Herbery we grow several kinds and then save some of the seed to share with you.  This year we have Kohlrabi, Delicatesse (Blue) Seeds, Kohlrabi, Delicatesse (White) Heirloom Seeds, Kohlrabi Early White Vienna Seeds and Kohlrabi Purple Vienna Heirloom Seeds all of which are Non-Hybrid/Non-GMO.  So once Local Harvest makes these seed offering live buy them as we have only 4 to 10 packets of each kind.  

 

However, I think the reason Kohlrabi is not a popular vegetable in the USA is because it is a lot of work to get to the good stuff.  It’s important when you cook with kohlrabi to peel it thoroughly. Beneath the thick, hard skin is another fibrous layer, which should also be peeled away. The fibers will not soften when cooked, and they can get stuck in your throat.

 

Kohlrabi home fries are delicious and 1 ½ to 2 pounds of peeled and sliced Kohlrabi makes enough for 4 to 6 people depending on how hungry they are.  Kohlrabi can be cut into thick sticks like home fries, browned in a small amount of oil, and seasoned with Home Farm Herbery Dragon Mix Salt (Organic, Chemical-Free). It’s a very satisfying and healthy fry. 

 

Here is our favorite Home Farm Herbery Kohlrabi Home Fries recipe

 

Peel the kohlrabi and cut into thick sticks, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch wide and about 2 inches long.

 

Season them with Home Farm Herbery Dragon Mix Salt (Organic, Chemical-Free) by sprinkling all over the kohlrabi sticks. 

 

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet (cast iron is good). Meanwhile, place the flour in a large bowl, season with salt if desired and quickly toss the kohlrabi sticks in the flour so that they are lightly coated.

 

When the oil is rippling, carefully add the kohlrabi to the pan in batches so that the pan isn’t crowded. Cook on one side until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then, using tongs turn the pieces over to brown on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. The procedure should take only about 5 minutes if there is enough oil in the pan. Drain on paper towels, and then sprinkle right away with more Home Farm Herbery Dragon Mix Salt and serve hot.

 

Advance preparation: You can cut up the kohlrabi several hours before frying. Keep in the refrigerator.

 

Why not try something new in your garden, your diet by adding healthy, chemical-free, organic Kohlrabi to your life?

 
 

Amaranth Pancakes

If I could ever get the picture icon to work on this site I would put in a picture of these good pancakes.

Amaranth Pancakes


Makes 12 4-inch pancakes

1/2 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 tablespoons honey
Butter or oil, for greasing

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Separately, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, egg and melted butter. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine, do not over-mix.

Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a pan or cast-iron skillet over medium until hot. Brush lightly with butter or oil.

Spoon the batter (about 1/4 cup) onto the skillet. Cook until bubbles appear along the surface, about 1-2 minutes.

Flip and cook on the other side, 1-2 additional minutes. The pancakes should be neither too dark nor too pale. Adjust the heat as needed so that they brown evenly.

Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve warm with honey or syrup and topped with fruit with additional nutritional benefit like blueberries, blackberries or pomegranates

 
 

Here are some good reasons for planting Amaranth

Here are some good reasons for planting Amaranth

The word amaranth means "everlasting" in Greek. Indeed, this tiny seed has endured the ages, as an important food source for ancient civilizations in South America and Mexico, to its current resurgence as a highly nutritious gluten-free grain.  It can be can be used as a high-protein grain or as a leafy vegetable, and has potential as a forage crop. Each year more and more of it is grown in the USA.  Grain amaranth plants are about five to seven feet tall when mature, and are dicots (broadleaf) plants with thick, tough stems similar to sunflower. The tiny, lens-shaped seeds are one millimeter in diameter and usually white to cream-colored, while the seeds of the pigweed are dark-colored and lighter in weight.

There are many good reasons why you should be planting some of Home Farm Herbery’s Amaranth, Herb (Non-Hybrid/Non-GMO)  heirloom seeds in your garden and here are a few of them.  Several studies have shown that amaranth seed or oil may be of benefit for those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. - Regular consumption reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels - Also shown to have high antioxidant properties

Seeds are very small, so it is important to have a fine, firm seedbed and it is 85 days to Maturity.  You can get our seeds at http://www.localharvest.org/amaranth-herb-seeds-non-hybrid-non-gmo-C24898

Amaranth contains more magnesium than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 519 milligrams of magnesium, followed by buckwheat with 393 milligrams and sorghum with 365 milligrams. In comparison, an equal amount of white rice contains 46 milligrams of magnesium.

Amaranth contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain- and more protein than wheat. One cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams of protein. Oats are a close second with 26.3 grams of protein. In comparison, 1 cup of raw white rice contains 13.1 grams of protein.

Amaranth is second only to teff in calcium content. 1 cup of raw teff contains 347 milligrams of calicum, amaranth 298 milligrams. In comparison, 1 cup of white rice contains 52 milligrams.

Amaranth is an excellent source of lysine, an important amino acid (protein). Grains are notorious for low lysine content, which decreases the quality of their proteins. The high lysine content in amaranth sets it apart from other grains. Food scientists consider the protein content of amaranth of high "biological value", similar in fact, to the proteins found in milk. This means that amaranth contains an excellent combination of essential amino acids and is well absorbed in the intestinal tract.

Amaranth is slightly lower in carbohydrate content compared to other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 129 grams of carbohydrates, white rice 148 grams, brown rice and sorghum 143 grams and teff 141 grams of carbohydrates. Oats contain 103 grams of carbohydrates, making them the lowest carb gluten free grain.

Amaranth is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (as are most whole grains) and it contains vitamin E in similar amounts to olive oil.

Amaranth contains more iron than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 15 milligrams of iron. Teff is a close second with 14.7 milligrams of iron. In comparison, white rice contains 1.5 milligrams of iron.

Amaranth contains more fiber than other gluten-free grains. 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 18 grams of fiber- buckwheat and millet contains 17 grams. In comparison, white rice contains 2.4 grams of fiber.

Maybe this is a crop for your garden!

 
 

How to Make Your Own Chorizo Sausage©

How to Make Your Own Chorizo Sausage©

 

Chorizo is a chili (pepper) and garlic flavored sausage. Chorizo originally arrived with the Spanish Conquistadors but has evolved into a distinctly Mexican sausage during the last several hundred years.  Spanish chorizo is made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat, seasoned with smoked pimentón (paprika) and salt. It is generally classed as either picante (spicy) or dulce (sweet), depending upon the type of smoked paprika used. Hundreds of regional varieties of Spanish chorizo, both smoked and un-smoked, may contain garlic, herbs and other ingredients.  At Home Farm Herbery we make our own Chorizo from a blend of organically grown and chemical-free herbs we grow here at Home Farm.

Chorizo comes in short, long, hard and soft varieties; the fattier versions are generally used for cooking, whereas the leaner varieties are suited to being eaten at room temperature as an appetizer or tapas.  Although this is not always the case a general rule of thumb is that long, thin chorizos are sweet, and short chorizos are spicy,

Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. Whenever I am in Spain I stop into a bar to enjoy the different varieties as they may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as chopitos), which are battered, fried baby squid).  According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry (see below for more explanations). The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales.  The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.

Portuguese chouriço is made with pork, fat, wine, paprika and salt. It is then stuffed into natural or artificial casings and slowly dried over smoke. There are many different varieties, differing in color, shape, seasoning and taste.

There is even a Mexican version of chorizo which is based on the uncooked Spanish chorizo fresco; the Mexican versions of chorizo are made from fatty pork (however, beef, venison, kosher, and even vegan versions are known).  Rather than chopped, the meat is usually ground (minced), and different seasonings are used. This type is better known in Mexico and other parts of the Americas, and is not frequently found in Europe. In Mexico, Chorizo and longaniza are not considered the same thing.

In the Dominican Republic,  Panama and Puerto Rico, chorizo and longaniza are considered two separate meats. Puerto Rican chorizo is a smoked, well-seasoned sausage nearly identical to the smoked versions in Spain. Puerto Rican and Dominican longanizas have a very different taste and appearance. Seasoned meat is stuffed into pork intestine and is formed very long by hand. It is then hung to air-dry. Longaniza can then be fried in oil or cooked with rice or beans. It is eaten with many different dishes.  Chorizo is a popular pizza topping in Puerto Rico.

Chorizo is great for breakfast or any other meal. Fry it up, scramble in some eggs ... and you have chorizo con huevos!

At Home Farm Herbery we have created 3 different blends of Chorizo Sausage Seasoning and they range from mild to medium to hot.  You can go to localharvest.org and do a search for Home Farm Herbery and then do a search of Chorizo and you will find all 3 of them.

To Make Home Farm Herbery Gourmet Chorizo Sausage you will need the following ingredients:  The contents of a package of Home Farm Herbery Gourmet Chorizo Sausage Seasoning, 5-lb coarse ground pork butt, 1-cup cold white wine, and 3-medium onions, finely chopped.  For those who want their chorizo hot just add the separate package of cayenne pepper.  You can get the Home Farm Herbery Gourmet Chorizo Sausage Seasoning at this link http://www.localharvest.org/hot-chorizo-sausage-seasoning-C23359 

To make easily make your own healthy, chemical free Chorizo you can just follow these simple directions and all you will need is an old fashioned meat grinder or just mince the meat finely.  Start by hand-trimming the fat from the outside of the meat to your desired fat preference. Grind the meat with a fine grinding plate. After grinding, add the sausage seasonings to the meat and blend by hand or use a meat mixer. Be sure to mix thoroughly to ensure the ingredients are spread evenly throughout the meat.  Stuff by hand or by using a sausage stuffer or sausage stuffing attachment for an electric meat-grinder. (Note: do NOT use the blade in meat-grinder when stuffing and it is best to use a stuffing (bean) plate). If you wish, you can also form patties without casings.

I do hope you will experiment with our seasonings because you do not have to stuff casing as you can easily fry it up in patties or minced or even roll it up in cheese cloth as a log and let it dry out or smoke it.

 
 

One of our readers sent us a fine letter

This is a response from one of our readers, “I appreciate your attempts at educating the public concerning the source of their food. We all want to eat every day.  Sustainable agriculture, the term is tossed around nowadays. Naturally it is a concept dear to my heart. With all my hard work and effort, I can not say that I have reached the stage of being self sustainable.

 

For some reason I have always had an interest in food production, paid attention and put two and two together. for instance, Long time ago, while still living in Germany, I noticed that since modern agriculture has been in full swing, and reliance on chemical fertilizers is heavy, that though the fields look lush and green, sometimes, on a corner and sometimes a whole strip, where the farmer missed a spot in fertilizer application, the corn is yellow and knee high. If there was no artificial fertilizer applied, the whole field would look that way and there would not be a crop.

 

When I was young, I lived through the transition of age old practices to modern agriculture. The land where I grew up has been continually farmed for a couple thousand years. During that time, it basically had maintained a reliable state of fertility. The farmers knew that you can not just take, you have to give back and you have to give back as much as you take in order to keep equilibrium. The farmer also practiced a tried and true system of crop rotation. Something that I observed, since I still saw fields tended the old way (I come from a very backwards region) were the relative lack of weeds and harmful insects. On my grandparents farm, where we raised oats, wheat and rye, also potatoes, mangels and turnips, the ground was never, ever treated with herbicides, there was no such thing yet, and yet, our fields were not infested. The hayfields, which we would have called meadows, had not been touched in probably hundreds of years. A variety of grasses, herbs and wildflowers grew and made very fragrant hay that kept animals healthy. Also, the hay was cut before the plants went to seed and so weeds were not spread onto fields by surviving seeds in the manure. I had to learn the hard way that you can not use old, spoiled hay as mulch as it is full of weed seeds nowadays.

Sustainable agriculture is like the famous "circle of life". The old dies and gives substance to the new. On my own place, I have worked very hard for several years to improve the soil. Basically I have employed a system that would best be referred to as "robbing Peter to pay Paul" as I am dependent on soil building mulch, manure, etc., that has been grown somewhere else. I try to be as natural as possible, but the hay my little cows eat, was grown on somebody else's unnatural field. Nevertheless, Paul has gotten richer. I am trying to apply all means to improve and help the natural effort of the soil to repair it.

 

Basically by growing green manure cover crops and interseeding things like ladino clover which takes nitrogen from the air and transfers it to the soil.  In my attempt to learn the local flora, I noticed that in some woodland where I was digging up some wildflowers, the soil looked rich and friable, much different than just a few yards away in the adjoining pasture. It is to be safely assumed, that a hundred some years ago, this was the general condition of most of the bottom lands.  It is a sad situation. Wendell Berry, whom I would consider a chronicler of good farming practices, had a character in one of his books says, “When the white man came to this country, he fell in like a pig in a corncrib wasting the abundance. We all have read the numbers, the unfathomable tons of good soil that has been washed away, irreplaceable. I consider it to be good economy to sell produce locally. Of course that is not sustainable agriculture at the soil level. Like a neighbor told me when I first moved here, you can not grow anything without 10-10-10. The question arises. 10-10-10 has not been around very long. What are we going to do if there is none?” My answer, “Try to be as organic as you can be and be a small scale farmer.” QWTCBCS5MEG9

Cold weather and good hot soup

We are busy here at Home Farm Herbery at many things such as starting many organic and heirloom seeds in the greenhouse, getting new raised planters built, creating new herb blends and putting new organic and heirloom seeds up on Local Harvest as they become ready and proven for 2013 plantings.

We start off our chilly mornings with some of our Home Farm Herbery teas and we find one of our favorites is our Herbal Chocolate Chai and it can be found at this link

http://www.localharvest.org/herbal-chocolate-chai-C24258

 

It been cold here with a lot of wind that brings us a low chill factor so the other day I made some good pumpkin soup and here is the recipe.

 

Zesty Pumpkin Soup

Makes 6 good size cups

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 cups chicken broth

1-3/4 cups (16 oz) can) Libby's solid-pack pumpkin

1 cup half & half

Optional: sour cream & chives

 

Direction

In large saucepan, melt butter, sauté onion and garlic until soft.

Add Home Farm Herbery’s Zesty Pumpkin Soup Blend

http://www.localharvest.org/pumpkin-soup-blend-C23784

and cook 1 minute.

Add broth gently, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in pumpkin and half & half; cook 5 minutes.

Pour into blender container. Blend until creamy.

Serve warm, or reheat to desired temperature.

Garnish with dollop of sour cream and chopped chives, if desired.

That soup coupled with some of Home Farm Herberys hearth baked crusty carraway rye bread was just the thing for a healthy delicious supper. Our carraway seeds are so good and can be found at http://www.localharvest.org/caraway-seeds-C24113

Our deal of the week is our White Wonder Cucumber seeds. This rare heirloom seed is in limited supply and we only have 5 packets so get your quickly at http://www.localharvest.org/cucumber-white-wonder-seeds-heirloom-C25028

 

 
 
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