Scratch Apple Cider Vinegar

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I could have sworn I wrote about making your own cider vinegar before. As I was reorganizing the recipe pages I couldn’t find the article. Apparently I just posted the recipes on the “What’s Cookin’ ” page. I guess I’d better get on it.

I generally make my vinegar in the fall when I make apple cider, apple butter and apple sauce. You can save your apple peals in the freezer through out the year and when you have enough thaw and ferment. Personally I never peal my apples, with the exception of pie and then they are usually given as dog treats.

By now you’ve probably heard about the million and one uses for distilled and apple cider vinegar. I have the beginning of a vinegar article started and I think that’s where I will leave the history, facts and tips.(Finished it here) So without further ado the easiest vinegar recipes:

Apple Cider Vinegar 1
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This works well with pears too!
Apple Cider Vinegar 1
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This works well with pears too!
Instructions
  1. Place apple peals, cores and scraps in a crock or bucket and cover with water.
  2. Place a plate on top to keep the apples submerged. An extra weight may be needed. A jar filled with water or a rock that has been scrubbed and boiled works well.
  3. Cover the crock with a tight woven cheese cloth or flour sack towel and move to a dark cool place.
  4. This will sit and ferment for about a month. A taste will tell if it's done. If it seems weak let it set for another week and try again. If it's to your liking strain the apple pieces and pour into glass jars for use.
  5. There will be some sediment at the bottom of the jars this is referred to as the "mother". It can be strained out through a coffee filter if you like.
Recipe Notes

**Adding some sugar or honey to your apple peals will give the good bacteria something more to munch on and will hasten and strengthen your vinegar.

** Do not use metal containers to ferment or store the vinegar.

**A piece of wax paper under a metal lid will help prevent corrosion of the lid.

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Apple Cider Vinegar 2
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This one I find to be a cheater recipe, but it does work.
Apple Cider Vinegar 2
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This one I find to be a cheater recipe, but it does work.
Instructions
  1. Any amount of Organic Apple Cider in a crock left to set on the counter will ferment in a week or less.
  2. Once fermented this can be bottled and finished as hard cider or left on the counter for another week or so (check after a week and let it set longer if needed) to turn to vinegar.
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Here comes…

There’s a lot going on at the farm right now be sure to watch for the up coming posts!

The sheep have been sheered and it’s time to turn the fleece to a sweater. (Ok not our sheep, that will come later. But I do have a few fleece to tend to)

The pigs have been butchered. I should talk about the butchering, bacon making, ham curing, chop cutting pig processing,  but then what would I talk about next fall. Fat is being rendered and soap being made this time.

We are also going to talk about hide tanning too! But for now I have some steer hide ready to be tooled.

Cheese is in the works to start aging.

There’s some lace being put into a “built in” in the dining room. (I know it doesn’t sound to interesting but it’s actually kinda neat.)

The barn needs some help and repair.

The summer kitchen plans are getting close and will hopefully be in use by next year.

There’s more to come in the kitchen, the craft room, the garden and the barn yard.  Some things we are starting in the middle of the process, but don’t worry we will circle back to the beginning too!

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Pickled Eggs and Buttershots

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The last of the root vegetables are out of the ground just in time for the snow to move in…seriously it’s October and snowing like December right now.

It’s time to settle in for a long winters nap… Not really it’s time for indoor activities, like ice fishing. Ok so I’m jumping the gun a bit. There’s still the national holiday of Deer Opener and pheasant hunting to do before the ice fishing begins. But it’s time to start preparing for it.

Tuck the boat in the barn for winter and make sure the ice house is readily accessible. Get all the ice rods ready and check the tip-up’s. Minnow bucket, heater, propane tanks may need filling, pickled eggs and Buttershots and of course the auger. Yes it’s a bit early but I like to know what I have that may need replacing or what I can’t live without this season. It gets pretty cold around here and as you can tell I like my outdoor activities indoors (sometimes) when it’s 50 below.

What? Why yes, I said “pickled eggs and Buttershots“. What else do you eat when your fishing?

My first experience with pickled eggs was years ago. My brother went on a fishing trip with my dad and friends out west, when he came home he was telling us how they ate pickled eggs and gizzards. Yum. Not so much, I still don’t get into the gizzards but pickled eggs on the other hand are pretty good.

The pickled eggs I make need a month or two before they are ready to eat. You can see why it’s so important  to begin ice fishing prep so early now. It’s a very simple recipe I use and lends itself to so many flavors.

Pickled Eggs
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1 1/2 dz. Hard Boiled Eggs, cooled and pealed 3 c. Apple Cider Vinegar 3 c. Water 2 1/2 tbsp. Kosher Salt 2 tbsp. Crushed Chili Peppers 2 ea. Sprigs of Fresh Dill Few Black Peppercorns 6 ea. cloves of Garlic
Pickled Eggs
Print Recipe
1 1/2 dz. Hard Boiled Eggs, cooled and pealed 3 c. Apple Cider Vinegar 3 c. Water 2 1/2 tbsp. Kosher Salt 2 tbsp. Crushed Chili Peppers 2 ea. Sprigs of Fresh Dill Few Black Peppercorns 6 ea. cloves of Garlic
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 dozen Hard Boiled Eggs cooled and pealed
  • 3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 cup Water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp Crushed Chili Peppers
  • 2 each Sprigs of Fresh Dill
  • few Black Peppercorns
  • 6 cloves garlic
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Dissolve the salt in the water and vinegar.
  2. Place everything but the eggs and brine in a 2qt glass jar.
  3. Then add the eggs and fill the jar with the brine to the top.
  4. Let the jar sit in the refrigerator for at least a month. (I prefer two to three months).
Recipe Notes

Then enjoy in the fish house!

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Pickled Eggs For Luke
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Pickled Eggs For Luke
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Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 dz Hard Boiled Eggs cooled and pealed
  • 3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 cup Water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 each Slices of Yellow Onion
  • 1-2 each Jalapeno sliced
  • 2 each Fresh Dill Sprigs
  • few Black Peppercorns
  • 6 each Garlic cloves smashed
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Dissolve the salt in the water and vinegar.
  2. Place everything but the eggs and brine in a 2qt glass jar.
  3. Then add the eggs and fill the jar with the brine to the top.
  4. Let the jar sit in the refrigerator for at least a month. (I prefer two to three months).
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Farmer’s Cheese

Farmer’s Cheese has a few different names, dry cottage cheese and uncreamed cottage cheese to name a couple.

Recipes for farmers cheese can be found anywhere most all are the same. It’s the most basic cheese to make because it requires no cultures to make. Milk, vinegar, and salt are the main ingredients. Some call for the addition of buttermilk too.

Depending on what you plan to do with it can be left as curds, whipped to a ricotta texture or pressed to use as a soft sliced cheese. When left as curds it can be mixed with homemade yogurt to fit the SCD too. Whipped it makes a great cheesecake.

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Curds and whey beginning to separate.

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Straining the whey from the curds.

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Dry curds. This can be left as is, whipped or pressed.

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Cheese wheel still wrapped in the cheese cloth.

Basic Farmers Cheese Recipe
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Basic Farmers Cheese Recipe
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Ingredients
  • 1 gallon Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Slowly heat the milk to 180 degrees.
  2. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the vinegar and stir slowly. This will cause the milk to separate into curds and whey.
  4. I then strain this through a flour sack towel (save the whey too! It has many uses, like great bread!).
  5. Let the curds sit to drain for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the salt.
  7. At this point it can be left to drain more and used as curds, or put into a glass jar and used as a creamed cheese, or put into a cheese press and used for sliced cheese.
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Buttermilk Farmers Cheese Recipe
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Buttermilk Farmers Cheese Recipe
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Ingredients
  • 1 qt Buttermilk
  • 1 gallon Whole Milk
  • 2 tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Slowly heat the whole milk to 180 degrees.
  2. Add the buttermilk and stir for a few minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the vinegar and stir slowly. This will cause the milk to separate into curds and whey.
  5. I then strain this through a flour sack towel (save the whey too! It has many uses, like great bread!).
  6. Let the curds sit to drain for about 15 minutes.
  7. Add the salt.
  8. At this point it can be left to drain more and used as curds, or put into a glass jar and used as a creamed cheese, or put into a cheese press and used for sliced cheese
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For the Love of the Grain

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You can do a quick online search and find hundreds of reasons to avoid gluten and grains all together. One of my passions is grains. I can understand the benefits of both sides of the argument, and I still prefer to  ride the fence leaning towards grains.

Grains in their natural state are seeds with an outer shell ( hull) that is usually removed before processing. Depending on the use they are stripped of most nutrients and minerals and then “enriched” later. Some are left as “whole” grains and are ground, pressed or cut. In any form most of the “goodness” isn’t absorbed by the body as one would think. Most proteins pass through without nourishing us to their fullest potential. They also are actually rather difficult for use to digest even when an allergy or intolerance isn’t present.

A few easy steps can be taken to remedy this and help you get the most out of them as well as making them easier to digest.

Corn, for example is virtually indigestible. Yes, you may get a little nutrients from it but not nearly what is possible. Corn or some form is added to almost everything it seems now days and not to our benefit. Mainly thanks to the government subsidies making corn seemingly a profitable crop when realistically it’s no more profitable than any other. This has caused an over abundance of corn that needs to go somewhere. But we’ll save that soap box for later.

When corn is soaked in mineral lime or lime water (not the citrus) it begins to break down. It’s nutritional and mineral value increase by reducing the  mycotixins and adds niacin. It also becomes more digestible. Many cultures have been doing this for hundreds of years. The Maya is one culture that found the benefits and continues to use this method to date. Turning maze into masa, masa harina and then into tortillas, tamales and more.

On the corn subject another interesting tradition that is still used today originates from the Andes and is still used in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador is communal chewing of corn into gobs called muko. The muko is then turned into Chicha a corn beer. Yes, beer made from spit out corn.

When cereal grains are soaked, fermented or sprouted the grains are broken down and the nutrition is gained. Soaking grains over night is a good start and just that. Soaking allows the hard to digest fibers to soften and neutralizes the phytic acid. Grains soaked for 2-4 days with water changed regularly will begin the sprouting process. These grains can then be used soaked or dried and ground into flour. Fermentation is the ultimate goal though.

Fermentation increase the vitamin and mineral content naturally. It Decreases the starch because of the acid produced and neutralizes the anti-nutrients. Probiotics have been around forever but are now getting more recognition and turning into the next “big thing”. Fermentation is the natural process to them. Though the probiotic properties are lost once baked the breakdown of the fibers, neutralization of anti-nutrients and added nutrition is pretty good. Thus making the dreaded grain actually not to bad.

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