This fall we have been obsessed with walnuts. Our trees were very productive. Rick and I and several groups of friends picked up more then 300 pounds of walnuts. Thank you walnut trees and a big GRATEFUL to everyone who shared in the joy of the harvest.
Many of the nuts fall clean from their outer husks, but as you can see in the photo some of them still cling to the thick green outer jacket and need to be liberated before storage.
The first step was getting them picked up, second was cracking them, which has been an on going theme for the last two months.
We used our Dave Built Nutcracker to get the shells open and picked through saving all the meats. It took about an hour for one person to liberate a pound of nutmeats. Having friends to share in the process lightened the task with lots of stories, conversation and laughter.
As of yesterday all of the main crop has been cracked giving us close to 100 pounds of walnuts out of their shells to cook with and share with the Quillisascut community!
All along we have been eating them, raw, toasted, with cheese and experimenting with recipes. One of the easiest to make was walnut butter. Here is how I did it.
Walnut Butter Recipe:
Toast walnut meats in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, until they take on a slight golden toasty color. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Let cool slightly. While still warm place in blender or food processor (the Vita-mix™ worked like a champion for this making a creamy silken butter, the food processor took a little longer and the resulting butter was a little grainier, but equally as delicious). Add salt blend and it’s ready to eat! I keep mine stored in a jar in the refrigerator to protect the fresh flavor. Iv’e used it as you would any nut butter on bread, and have also stirred it in salad dressing which is especially wonderful on a green salad with ripe pears! (We are enjoying organic Anjou and Bosc Pears from Cliffside Orchard)
It is the end of December and Cranky is the only chicken laying eggs.
You might remember reading about Cranky earlier this year. She was the little chick hatched by a duck. The mother duck would have nothing to do with her, so it was up to us to care for the baby chick. We put her in a box with a light, some chicken feed, clean water and kept her in our house. Cranky complained, she made mad little chicky peeps, hence the name Cranky.
Cranky was set free to make friends with Mr. and Mrs. Pretty and Billy Jean, the Quilli flock of free range Naked Neck or Turken chickens. Now she spends her days clucking about the farm and building nests in the haystack. Maybe next spring she will hatch some little Crankies of her own. (with some assistance from Mr. Pretty)
Often we are asked the question, “Who attends a Quillisascut workshop”? It seems the people who sign-up can be divided into two groups, for money “vocational” those learning skills for work, or for love *“vacational” those who are learning skills for life. Although, the outcome for most everyone is that Quillisascut is a place to dream up new ideas for the future. (maybe we should call it “idea farm”)
Many who participate are obvious food lovers who are looking for opportunities to refresh their memories around farm to table deliciousness, among them are those who are developing new skills for their careers or searching for a new path in life. It is apparent in our conversations around the dinner table that there is a common desire to make each day of their life vital and fulfilling. Continue reading “For Money or Love”
Winter Cress, Yellow Rocket, or Barbara’s Cress (Barbarea vulgaris, R. Br. member of a large family of plants, cruciferae, brassica and mustard) Named for Saint Barbara since the herb can be harvested during the cold winter months, Saint Barbara’s Day is December 4 and used as a salad green.
Surprising how quickly we forget the use of wild foods when it is so simple to fill our refrigerator with store purchased produce. Late in April, during the Intro to Farming workshop we wanted to include some fresh and foraged foods in our meal so Rick took a group of students to the nettle patch. It was a prosperous harvest, as they also came across a large area of Winter Cress that was beginning to form florets.