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Harvesting and Drying Corn

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I’ve been tardy with the follow up to my post about growing painted mountain corn – sorry!

First, a few thoughts about growing corn:

  • I planted the rows a bit too close together. This made it hard to weed between the rows, and I think the weeds competed for water and held the corn back a bit. Doing this again I’d make every second or third row wide enough to comfortably walk between so that I could reach in and weed. I think this would increase yield quite a lot.
  • Similarly we had a heat wave while the cobs were growing and I think the soil dried out a bit. It seems like corn really likes water, so it’s worth making sure you have a good sprinkler setup.
  • I picked the corn when the beards were starting to look dry. I shucked it and laid the cobs out to dry on a cloth in the garage. After about a week the kernels felt quite hard. It was fairly easy at that point to detach the kernels from the cobs. What worked best was to remove one kernel, then work along in rows by pushing the next kernel down into the empty space with fingertips. I understand that you can also get devices designed to do this, like a metal ring that you grip in your hand, but I didn’t find it necessary.
  • The final yield was about 2kg/4lb of dried corn from a 2×4 meter patch.

But now the interesting part – the pictures! I was really stunned how lovely this corn looks. It is easily the most impressive thing I have grown. Some ears were deep ruby red through to black,  some were speckled with flecks of red, orange and yellow, some had random blue and white kernels. My favourite were the pale yellow, blue and white ones with a pearl-like sheen.

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Read more posts tagged with: corn (2), polenta (5)

A Christmas Cocktail: Santapants

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In the mood for an xmas treat, I just invented this cocktail and it is good enough to tell you about. I call it… Santapants. 1 shot brandy 2 shots port 1 heaped teaspoon cream* 1 teaspoon brown sugar generous half teaspoon of mixed spice (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg type of thing) 1 pinch dried ginger powder *It isn’t the type of thing I’d usually buy but I found buttterscotch cream and had to use it in this cocktail. Shake all ingredients vigorously on ice in a cocktail shaker and serve in a chilled martini glass. If I had some …read more »

Harvesting Home Grown Wheat

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wheat harvest (1 of 7)

Here’s some exciting news: I just spent a morning harvesting our first patch of wheat! Sweat, itch, straw and dust aside I am pretty excited to make the first loaf. At a very rough estimate I think we might have a yield around 1kg wheat per square meter so the 40m2 patch might have produced enough grain to make a years worth of bread. I’ll update this when the final count is in. I used a beastly sharp sickle, and good gloves. I can see this thing lopping a finger right off. First I tried cutting quite …read more »

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Polenta Quiche

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polenta quiche (3 of 4)

After reading about the benefits of getting more calories from good oils and protein and eating less carbs I came up with this recipe for polenta quiche, which has about 300 calories per serve, half from fat, and with 20g of carbs. I’m making up large batches and freezing slices so I have healthy tasty breakfasts on hand for the morning rush. It’s interesting to see how it comes out of the oven – the recipe is easy to make because you really just mix and bake and the heavier polenta settles to the bottom forming a crust on …read more »

Read more posts tagged with: eggs (4), polenta (5)

Homegrown Kale Chips

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The price of Kale in my local shops is surprisingly high given how easy it is to grow – in the garden it doesn’t seem to need as much water as some things once it is established, and produces lots of leaves over a month or more. I find  Kale seductively beautiful with its chunky dark green leaves and strong flavour. Here is my little Kale patch – nearly time to plant some more. I often make quiche or bean & Kale stews but I’d never heard of Kale chips until I found a bag for sale …read more »

Growing Corn For Polenta

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painted mountain corn seeds (1 of 1)

I’ve come to realise that I’m in love with polenta (which if you don’t know, is a kind of porridge or paste made from cooked corn meal). It is good for you, delicious, texturally satisfying, and goes in a surprising range of dishes – from appetisers to desserts. So when I coincidentally read mister meatballs post about growing your own, then the salt’s writeup about the flavour of heritage varieties, I knew I had to try growing it myself. The first step in any new project is …read more »

Read more posts tagged with: corn (2), polenta (5)

Growing your own wheat

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I’ve been interested in growing wheat for a long time – it just seems to be something you should do if you’re into baking and doing things ‘from scratch’ so with winter rains here and the offer of a spare patch in my mums veggie garden if I helped clear it, I have just sown my first crop! As you’ll see, this is just a test patch for now with perhaps 20 square meters of land. If it works out, I can use a much larger patch for planting. We just scattered the wheat by hand (broadcasting) so it …read more »

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Herb Omelette

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Herb Omelette (3 of 7)

I am writing down this recipe to share the enjoyment of picking fresh garden greens on a sunny spring morning – there is something very satisfying about cooking like this. The only remaining piece of the puzzle is to get our own chickens for really fresh eggs! I vary this recipe depending on what is in the garden, today it is rocket (arugula), flat leaf parsley, thyme, oregano, spring onion and a little new spinach. Here is part of the oregano jungle My rocket is going to seed – but it still tastes good! Ingredients read more »

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How To Dry Salt Cure Olives

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I love having lots of homemade olives around but I have to confess that sometimes I’m a bit slack with changing pickling liquid every day. Luckily there’s a method that suits my temperament very well – just chuck the olives and dry salt into a bucket and stir once a week. You don’t have to slit each olive or change the water or anything like that and best of all I think these are my favourite tasting olives too – they are kind of leathery and wrinkly, surprisingly they don’t actually taste all that salty though! Most of the …read more »

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Salmon & Caper Pizza on a Rye Crust

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Rye bread is one of my favourite things to eat so recently I have been learning more about making my own. Rye is a bit tricky to handle compared to wheat flour because of its natural stickiness and lack of gluten but once you get the hang of it the reward is a spicy more-ish flavour with a moist dense crumb. Of course I can’t experiment with an ingredient without seeing if it can make a pizza and rye pizza dough seemed like something I had to try. Here it is, ready to eat! This was a good pizza, …read more »