Monday, August 29, 2016

Puttin' up Carrots and Kale

Just wanted to share some garden pics before I transition into Spudtember. Today I picked a bunch of carrots and some kale for the freezer. First I blanch the carrots for about 3 minutes, then pack in sealer-type freezer bags.  For kale, I only blanch about 30 seconds.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

SPUDtember Challenge!

Andrew "Spudfit" Taylor, the Australian bloke who is eating nothing but potatoes for an entire year, has issued a challenge on Facebook. He's calling it Spudtember. He wants to take people on a guided trip through his world of eating nothing but potatoes.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Whole Wheat...Kamut and Farro Review

I made a comment recently that "no one eats wheat, just flour." Later I wondered why. When I started looking, I found this statement could not be further from the truth. People have been eating wheat as a whole food item for thousands of years.

To explore, I bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill Farro and Kamut, the grains look like this:

Kamut (top left), Farro (top right), Modern Red Wheat (bottom)
I cooked the farro and kamut according to the basic cooking instructions, which were to "soak overnight in water and simmer for 30-40 minutes in water or stock."

Friday, August 26, 2016

Teff Pan Cakes

I've been getting emails all week from folks asking how they can incorporate whole grains into their routine. "Rich" has been working on a cracker recipe, with no luck. "Madeleine" knocks it out of the park with these pan cakes, though! I made a batch following her recipe:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Medicinal Mushrooms and Tea...for FREE!

Here are some mushrooms I pick around my house in Alaska. There is undoubtedly something just as cool where you live!

Other mushroom posts I've written here:

The Pharmacy in your Backyard

Magic Mushrooms

The nice thing about these type of fungi is that they grow quickly and they are plentiful.  The big one is perennial, you can count it's age in the growth rings, so this one is nearly 20 years old!

I grind these mushrooms and Labrador tea and put a spoonful in with my coffee when I make a pot. If you go for mushrooms, make sure you get the right ones!  Get a good book, take a class, or ask around. Some mushrooms are edible and tasty. These are not for eating, but make good tea, and have some very healthy qualities.

Shelf Bracket Fungi

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ed Yong Interview and New Book

Interview with Ed Yong, microbiologist.

Eating Yogurt Is Not Enough: Rebalancing The Ecosystem Of 'The Microbes Within Us'

Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes, says someday we might be able to improve our health by taking probiotics, but "we are still in the very early stages of working out how to do this."

Ed Yong is a researcher who studies the microbiome.  Hear his current thinking on probiotics and fecal transplants. Great interview.  Ed Yong just released his new book this month: "I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life."

A couple teasers from the interview:

...probiotics are products that contain beneficial microbes, and they have all sorts of health claims attached to them, but actually if you look at the evidence behind these products, they tend to be a bit medically underwhelming.

A lot of these species are being chosen for historical reasons because they're easy to manufacture and package, not because they're excellent at establishing themselves in the gut. And often they're very industrialized, very proprietary strains. You know, they enter and then they disappear or they pass through. They don't have a huge amount of impact.

If anyone reads the book, let us know what you think!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

What are "Whole Grains?"

I hope you've all read Jane Karlsson's 2010 thoughts on whole grains from last week. In writing that piece, and in some follow-up comments, I realize that we all tend to use the term "whole grain" nonchalantly like everyone knows what it means. One comment from last week mentioned that quinoa was not a grain, but a seed. This had me scratching my head:


tl/dr - "Grain" is a term used to indicate that a seed is sold and traded on a worldwide scale. Any seed can be considered "grain." The term "grain" is most commonly applied to corn, wheat, oats, and soybeans. When someone gives the advice to eat more "whole grains," this does not limit you to corn, wheat, oats, and soybeans, but a world of seeds (ie. beans, lentils, pulses, rice, and more) eaten in their whole, unrefined state. 

"Cereal" grains are the seeds of plants in the grass family, most common: Corn, wheat, oats, rye, rice, barley.

"Gluten" is found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats.