Healthy Home Made Granola

Homemade Granola

From the Spring 2013 issue of Rural Roots Magazine

Submitted by Michelle Forrester

My friend and frugal living guru Dorothy gave me a recipe for home made granola and I am in love. Dorothy said making your own granola was easy and so much healthier than out of a box because you get to control how much sugar is in it. It is now my go to cold breakfast. Whether it’s with milk or yogurt and fresh fruit (the best!!) I am in heaven and my tummy is happy until lunch.

Home Made Granola

Mix together in a large roaster:

4 ½  cups rolled oats

½     cup sunflower seeds

½     cup ground flax

½     cup sesame seeds

½     cup chopped walnuts

½    cup chopped almonds

½     cup pumpkin seeds

Mix in a small pan:

½ cup honey

½ cup olive oil

Stir together well while heating. Do not boil.

Pour hot mixture over dry and mix together well.

Bake @ 275 C for 1hr, stirring every 15 minutes.

Cool and store in airtight containers.

You could also leave the nuts whole and add some dried fruit after baking and it would make a great trail mix!

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Classic Ukrainian Borsch

 

 

 

Borsch

Ingredients:

 

STOCK

 

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef short rib
  • lb pork ribs
  • 2 beef bones with marrow
  • quarts water
  • 1 carrot peeled
  • medium parsnips peeled
  • stalk celery & leaves
  • salt
  • tied in a cheesecloth bag (3 dill sprigs, 3 parsley sprigs, 4 bay leaves, and 10 peppercorns )

 

SOUP

 

  • large beets baked (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • medium boiling potatoes peeled and cut into large pieces
  • lb fresh ripe plum tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • salt to taste
  • large onion chopped
  • large carrot, peeled and cut into julienne
  • large green bell pepper cored, seeded, and diced
  • cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice to taste
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • teaspoons sugar
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • sour cream

 

Directions:

 

  1. FOR THE STOCK: In a large soup pot, bring the meat, bones, and water to a boil over high heat, periodically skimming off the foam as it rises to the top.
  2. Add the remaining stock ingredients and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Simmer, partially covered, until the meat is tender, at least 45 minutes.
  4. When the stock is ready, remove the beef, pork, and marrow bones, and set all but the marrow bones aside.
  5. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a clean large pot and discard all the solids.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. Meanwhile, wash and dry the beets and wrap each one separately in aluminum foil.
  8. Bake the beets until tender, 1 1/4 hours.
  9. Do this while the stock is cooking.
  10. FOR THE SOUP: Allow the beets to cool until manageable, then stem and peel them and cut.
  11. Bring the stock to a boil, add the cabbage and cook for 15 minutes, add the potatoes, onion, carrots, peppers and cook for 20 more minutes, add beets and tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  12. Season to taste with sugar, pepper, and additional lemon juice and salt.
  13. Simmer for 15 more minutes.
  14. Cut the beef into bite-size pieces and scrape all the meat off the bones. 
  15. Add meat to the soup.
  16. Simmer for 15 more minutes.
  17. Remove the borsch from the heat and sprinkle with the minced garlic, bacon (if desired), and 3 tablespoons each parsley and dill.
  18. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.
  19. Serve with sour cream.
    Serves 12 to 14.

 

 

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Fall Garlic Trial in Northern Canada

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To Plant or Not to Plant?

A fall experiment growing garlic in zone 2

~ By Danielle Roscher for Rural Roots Magazine Fall 2012 Issue

Last fall I set out to do what many told me could not be done in our climate. I wanted to plant fall garlic and harvest it this summer. I ordered my seed garlic from my dad who owns an organic farm in Creston, BC. He grows amazing delicious varieties, my favorite being Red Russian, Baba Franchuck and German Red. I chose to plant Baba Franchuck and Red Russian because they have big bulbs with strong flavor. I chose 3 different planting sites. Eight cloves were planted in my south facing 4 foot by 4 foot garden bed which is a raised 8 inch deep cedar box. The soil is a 3 part mix of compost, vermiculite and peat. Twenty-one cloves were planted out at a friend’s place in a new garden patch with very hard sandy soil and four cloves were planted in my flower bed at the north end of our lot. I was advised to mulch the garlic to protect it from our harsh winters so I mulched all 3 locations with a thick layer of dead leaves. In my raised beds I then laid a fleece blanket on top of the mulch and then threw a straw bale on top of the blanket. I wanted to protect the garlic in the raised bed with more warmth as heat is lost through the sides of the box. I used the blanket as a barrier between the mulch and the straw because straw can sometimes contain mites that are harmful to garlic.

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The garlic was planted on Oct 21 and I noticed the first signs of life in mid-April. By April 30th half of all the cloves planted had emerged from the cool soil. The sprouts in the raised beds grew the fastest, next the garlic out at my friends place and my cloves in the back yard lagged behind. It appeared that the hotspots made a big difference in the width and height of the sprouts. Eventually all but one clove sprouted. What some said would not work, had worked! I was pleased but also realistic, thinking back to the extremely warm weather we experienced over the winter with temperatures rarely reaching -15C with the exception of one week of -30C .

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In mid-July, I returned from a trip to my Dad’s farm to find all the garlic in each location had produced curling scapes. Scapes are the beginnings of the flowering stalk. They need to be cut off once they curl to promote growth to the bulb. My next job was to find out when to harvest. As a general rule, garlic can be harvested 9 months from the date you planted it. That put me at the end of July. Dad advised to start looking for yellow fronds. When all but 2 fronds are yellow it is usually a good sign that your garlic is ready. Another way to find garlic maturity is to leave one scape on your bulb. The scape starts out curly and will eventually straighten out. When your scape has straightened out, your garlic is ready. At 9 months from planting I wanted to check the garlic before I dug up everything so I plucked a bulb to see if each individual clove had produced its own skin or wrapper. It had not yet fully produced the wrapper so it was not yet time to start drying all my bulbs. I left the garlic in the ground for another 2 weeks. I found it was more like ten months from time of planting before the cloves had fully matured.

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After pulling the garlic from the ground, make sure you dry it properly. Hang the bulbs by their stalks until the stalks are completely dried. This could take up to a month. Drying is important if you want to use your product throughout the winter. Well dried bulbs can last up to 9 months in a cool garage or basement. Hang garlic away from direct sun, preferably in a place where it will get some air movement. Planting garlic worked well for me this year. We had very mild winter temperatures and a wonderful, hot growing season. The cloves in the raised beds were the largest. The cloves in the sandy soil did well but were not as big. The smallest cloves were from my north facing flower bed. I will definitely try planting again this fall, this time using seed from my own harvest. I am also going to collect new seed from the single plant I left behind to flower. I would recommend trying a small patch in your own garden as the product is well worth the effort!

DANIELLE ROSCHER

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At War With Slugs

For the first time ever, I have encountered slugs in our greenhouse.

Regular visits to the nursery and trial plots during the growing season allow us to keep a good check on the plants,  pest problems and potential crop failures. Most days, we can enjoy the solitude in nature, but every once and awhile we stumble across problems.

Busted!

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Damp, shady areas are a favourite place for slugs to live, while they eat away at lettuce, strawberries and other garden vegetables.

Small holes in our tomatoes were the first sign of problems. The first line of defence was to decrease the dampness by removing the leaves from the first foot of the plant. This not only allows for better air circulation, but also allows us to check for more slugs hiding on the soil surface.

It was also important to pick up the dead leaves and fallen tomatoes from the soil surface as this would encourage disease as the leaf litter rotted.

 

Tips for removing garden slugs:

The Beer Trap ~ slugs are attracted to the fermented yeast in beer. Sink a shallow plastic container into the soil and fill it within 1″ from the top of beer.

 

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Diatomaceous Earth ~ is a fine ground white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms (one-celled algae). The powder is very sharp to small garden pests and causes dehydration from cuts.  Sprinkle the powder around the base of the plants you are protecting. It will be necessary to reapply after watering or rainfall outdoors.
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A Distractor Crop ~ slugs love red clover. A wise old gardener once told me to weed my garden selectively. By leaving a patch of red clover in my garden, slugs will prefer to head to the legume that can be tilled down in the fall adding nitrogen to your soil.
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Hand Picking ~ it sounds yucky, but it is actually quite easy to catch a slug. It’s easy to track their trail of shiny slime and they’re not too fast. The best time to hunt for slugs is early morning or late evening. I even try to bait them to hide under wet shingles.
Unleash the Hounds ~ I mean the Chickens ~ I assumed that all good ranch chickens would eat slugs. These ones eat every other pest they come across, but slugs . . . not.
I understand other ranches have more dedicated chickens, but for now, I will have to continue picking by hand, but hopefully only for a few more days.
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the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY

It’s harvest time for potatoes and we would like to pass along a few of the results from our trials here at Heritage Farm. With over 14 varieties grown this summer, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but so far it looks like an “unknown” purple handed down through generations is in the lead as a conversation piece, especially with kids.

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We had planted a few varieties in the raised beds this spring thinking we could encourage some early new baby potatoes to the dinner table sooner. We were surprised to find that we could reach into the light soil under the plants by July 30 to steal 2” potatoes. Of course this would jeopardize the harvest weight results at the end of the season trial – but we had fresh potatoes all summer, so it’s all good!

The GOOD:

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These stolen potatoes above were easily removed without damaging the main plant. By the third week in September we had decided to harvest a majority of the potatoes due to early frosts here in zone 2b. We were very impressed with the quality. Large, clean, no scabs and VERY easy to harvest. Despite stealing all summer, we harvested more usable potatoes from 12 plants in the raised bed than from 5 rows (over 250 hills) in the traditional garden plots. Which brings me to . . .

The BAD:

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In all fairness I will note that due to heavy rains early in the season, a majority of the plants were lost to rot and drowning. These potatoes above had developed from new growth later in the season as surviving plants were further stressed by an extended period of drought that followed the early heavy rains. The common scab that you encounter in your garden is a plant disease caused by a Streptomyces species which is less likely to cause problems in moderately acid soils (pH 5.5 – 6.0) vs. higher pH soils. Although the potatoes are still safe to eat as mashed or peeled, the quality makes them unsuitable for resale and quite frankly stresses all new gardeners.

Tips from the pioneers:

  • Avoid planting in areas recently converted from high clover pasture
  • Plant in an area that allows for good drainage in case of heavy rains
  • Add grass clippings to the holes during planting to increase the organic matter
  • Avoid sowing potatoes in areas that recently grew members of the brassica family (such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli)
  • Water regularly (to field capacity) especially during the tuber development stages
  • The first soil amendment method to balance pH is to add more compost material to the soil
  • If lime must be used to correct a pH problem, apply it after digging the potatoes
  • Don’t get carried away with the lime! A pH of 6.0 – 7.5 is optimum for most plants to absorb all of the essential nutrients in the soil
  • Application of wood ash and burning of tops may increase common scab

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Any other established traditional garden would have produced much better results than we saw here on our 7 year old plot. This plot had been converted from pasture with MANY organic amendments added over the years. The heavy rains caused a crust on the compacted soil once we headed in to the drought. Due to the large size, it is still a long way from being the rich loamy gardens you may see on the old farmsteads or urban historic lots.

The UGLY:

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Same potatoes – wetter area in the ground plot. These ones didn’t stand a chance after the second 3 day downpour. Although this plot is on the top of a hill, the low-lying areas do not offer enough drainage because of the heavy clay soil. Although it is not likely that we will build the high raised beds for an entire field potato crop, we will be amending the soil even more with straw, peat and organic matter before banking up a series of lower raised beds this fall. By adding peat moss we can increase acidity to deter scab as well as improve aeration and drainage. Logistically, we may just bank the soil up 6” – 12“ with old logs or rough cut 2” x 6”.

Tips for harvesting and storage:

  • Harvest once the tops have started browning
  • Lay potatoes out to air dry / harden off in the sun
  • Do not wash, this reduces shelf life and encourages mold
  • Use up potatoes punctured during harvest – do not store with others
  • Store in a cool, dark , dry environment or root cellar allowing good airflow
  • Sort through the stock pile through the winter to discard the ones that may start rotting

Send your potato harvest photos and tips. We would love to hear your thoughts!

More stories just like this in Rural Roots Magazine

Happy gardening!

Heritage Farm

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Welcome to Heritage Farm

Join us as we explore the best of rural living in Western Canada. We are busy building the new site to bring you stories about heirloom gardening, small farms and urban agriculture here in zone 2. Follow us on Facebook to learn about upcoming classes and the new website launch.

Happy gardening!

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