Try this easy, economical and healthy root.

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Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash

Have you ever tried ginger tea?

It is delicious.

Ginger is a strong and distinctive flavor. As a fresh root, it is frequently associated with Asian dishes. When dried and powdered, it features in sweets, like pumpkin pie and gingerbread.

A couple of years ago, when stores were open and we could roam freely through retail establishments, I stumbled upon a small bag of ginger tea in a gourmet coffee roastery. If you have ever been to one of these olfactory tingling shops, you know what it is like. The moment you step in the door, each tantalizing aroma beckons a sniff or a taste. …


There’s more to it than cooking and selling your favorite food.

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Scones produced in Cottage Food Operation. Photo by D. Coonce

There are three broad categories of prepared food businesses:

— restaurants including delis whether dining in or to-go,

— food truck/mobile food service,

— and cottage foods.

The first two are fairly well known. Almost everyone has been out to eat at a restaurant or picked up a deli sandwich.

Food trucks are everywhere now, even showing up in small towns. Mobile food service covers everything from catering to mail-order foods.

Here’s what makes those tough.

They need significant investment to get up and running. Equipment, employees, product, and overhead like a facility all add to the cost even before the first sale.

Neither is quick or inexpensive to start. That doesn’t even touch getting approval or licensure from a local health department. …


How I used as many homegrown ingredients as possible for our New Year’s Eve meal.

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eNew Year’s Eve meal featuring local ingredients. Photo by D. Coonce

In my life, it is not uncommon to have no clear idea of what I am going to cook for any given meal. When I get hungry, I head to the pantry or refrigerator and open the doors wide. Looking for items that are about to expire or an ingredient that strikes me as appealing.

To get out of this pattern, I decided to implement a theme for New Year’s Eve. Local food. I determined to use as many ingredients as possible that were grown here on our farm.

Traditionally, I make a stuffed filet of beef, roasted to perfection and served with a pan sauce. This was still the protein anchor for the meal. But my effort to use home-grown ingredients would feed not only our bellies but sustain our souls through a relationship with our land. …


I just want to make it like everyone else.

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Photo by Joanna Rae Lopez on Unsplash

Bread has been referred to as the staff of life.

It is one of our oldest foods, dating back to the time when people discovered grinding grain into flour. They mixed that ground grain with water and natural wild yeasts fermented the mixture. It could now be baked into a palatable loaf or grilled as a flatbread.

No wonder this one of our oldest foods is the base for many a meal in many a culture.

Our friend makes us sourdough bread almost every week. It is always wonderful. Beautiful flavorful loaves. …


We may all be in lockdown again soon and we have to find ways to manage it.

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Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

I anticipate we may soon be confined to our homes to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus. Yes, I too have pandemic fatigue. But the way I see it we have two choices: we can whine and cry and stomp our feet, or we can make the best of it.

Find things to do to pass the time and maybe even improve our lives a bit.

My recommendation:

Take advantage of the time we must stay at home to linger over meals and maybe even make this a lasting habit.

Back when we all worked in offices, it was commonplace to eat on the run. Even if we had the wherewithal to pack our own lunch, there was no real break to eat it. …


That one thing made all the difference.

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Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

I have always had some awareness of where my food comes from. After all, I grew up on a farm. I am not blind to the true source of meat, eggs, and milk.

For a long time, I fell into the trap of fast foods. Not only McDonald’s, although I have eaten my fair share of Big Macs, but also other convenience foods.

Little Debbie snack cakes, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Campbell’s Beef Vegetable soup, and similar ‘staples’ sustained me through college. I continued this habit when I took on a busy work schedule.

In some deep recess of my brain, I understood a steady diet of processed foods were not good for me. I tried to make a few changes every once in a while. Invariably, after a couple of weeks, I would get a craving, or get busy and return to my old habits. …


My modern technique to make an old-fashioned food.

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Photo by Sarah Boyle on Unsplash

The idea of using today’s equipment to make a formerly labor-intensive food encapsulates my view of a modern homestead.

Honor old skills but adapt where possible to a modern lifestyle.

I love homemade noodles—especially my Grandma’s version.

Being from the Midwest, both of my Grandmother’s made their noodles the same way. A stiff eggy dough rolled thin and cut into the thinnest imaginable ribbons. These dough slivers were cooked in beef or chicken broth with bits of meat clinging to the noodles. As the noodles cook, the broth thickened until it was a warm hearty meal all by itself.

Delicious.

When I was a child, we only ate noodles on special occasions. …


Here’s my version of this delicious dish.

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Fried corn. Photo by author.

In the peak of summer, sweet corn is in abundance fresh from the fields. Whether picked up in the market or grown in your own soil, it is the taste of summer. After a multitude of corn still on the cob is consumed (roastin’ ears in some vernacular) and plenty is cut and frozen for winter, cooks begin expanding their sweet corn preparations.

Enter fried corn.

Fried corn appears to be a recipe from the South.

In the southeastern United States, bacon is often included. Chopped fine and fat rendered, the crispy bacon bits give a flavor and crunch to the spectacular dish.

In the southwestern United States, hot chilies define the flavor profile. …


The sweet fall treat with a hidden winter weather forecast.

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Fresh harvested persimmons. Photo by D. Coonce.

Behind my grandma’s barn stood a lone tree in a dip between two fields. In late autumn every year, that tree would be loaded with a deep burnt orange fruit.

Persimmons.

Wild or American persimmons are small, about the size of a golf ball and filled with seeds. These trees are native to the eastern United States.

I learned early in life these beautiful fruits were no good before frost. At least that was the marker in the season when we knew the persimmons were ripe enough to eat.

Anyone who has picked up a native green or hard persimmon and tasted it will not forget the experience. The flavor is a cross between a bitter shot of black ink and astringent antiseptic. It does not leave your tastebuds even after a drink and embeds a deep memory of caution. The actual component that creates this flavor is an abundance of tannins. Thankfully, these tannins dissipate as the fruit ripens. …


It is easy to make your own marinara.

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Fresh marinara with mushrooms and green pepper simmering on the stove. Photo by author.

Sometimes I find myself working with what I have on hand, which seems to create some of my best recipes.

Once, while preparing to leave on vacation, I wanted to use up any fresh food sitting around the kitchen. Tomatoes at the peak of ripeness will not last for a week until I get home—time to get busy making something more than a salad.

I decided this is also a good plan when only a handful of tomatoes are ripe. …

About

Julia Miller

Building a productive and profitable life on a small farm. Writer, speaker, modern homesteader. Farm blog and more at fivefelinefarm.com

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