Loved the video, laughed out loud several times. But how in the world did this sandwich cost $1,500? It cost $1,500 because the entire effort was oriented toward a single sandwich, by a guy who lives in an apartment, and complete with travel for exotic ingredients. It it completely absurd to do this, but it makes a great video and is a telling comment on how out of touch many of our politically correct foodie friends can sometime be.
On the other hand, how much would the sandwich cost if this experiment was done on a country farm that raises these items as part of day to day operations? By my estimation, about $3. This assumes a few things:
1) Since salt has been shipped from place to place from salt mines for much more than 7,000 years, no one would go to the ocean to get 1 tablespoon of salt for their farm or homestead. They would ship it in once a year, or depend on a local source were it available.
2) One acre of wheat, not one row of wheat.
3) Ongoing cheese production process in place, not one patty of cheese made by paying some random person to let you milk their cow - or goat.
4) The sandwich was made in September because I can't think of another time of year when we have fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles all at the same time this far south.
On the modern homestead, things like this sandwich happen as part of the whole food plan and end up being much cheaper than mainstream, high-end foods. And certainly less than how much anyone would spend making a single sandwich completely from scratch.
- Bun (flour, sourdough starter, salt, water): $.25
- Chicken Breast: $1
- Cheese slice: $1
- The rest: $.75
Looks like McDonald's still has me beat on price with their dollar menu!
There is a more understanding surrounding the concept of how markets are better in crisis than command and control in this article about the government seizing crops from farmers to stock government run grocery stores in Venezuela than the mainstream media has posted in the US on basically ANY topic in a very long time.
Our biggest asset here at the Holler Homestead is our food supply - both in keeping our budget under control through buying food cheap to preserve for the year, and in being prepared to live off our stores through hard times.
Imagine if the US food was suddenly five times more expensive and still you could not buy meats, vegetables, dairy and grain due to government imposed scarcity? How long would you last? What would you spend to feed your family? How important would your iphone or new car be then?
As we march down the road of unnecessarily increased racial tension being used as a tool by our rulers to control all of us... As each tropic storm is promoted in a hysteria of potential disaster... As everyone continues to accept the dual choice of democratic or republican rule - rather than question the need for rulers... Amid this noise, it is comforting to have 57 jars of corn, 40 jars of beans, freezers full of meat, wild edibles all around us, and knowledge to replenish the stores without the need to buy things at a government run grocery store.
On no particular schedule, I take a walk. Each time this happens, I have a thought. This is Nicole Sauce's Thought of the Walk
Update: Some of my non native English speaking readers have noted that potato greens are poisonous, and THEY ARE! Please do not cook the leaves of potato plants. The Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) plant is completely unrelated to the potato plant. More info here.
Did you know that sweet potato greens are edible?
Sweet potatoes grow as very creepy viney things and they were taking over our porch from their raised bed so today they got a haircut. With the spring greens gone due to heat, and the fall greens not yet large enough to eat, sweet potato greens are an August treat.
Unfortunately the Internet is filled with recipes for sweet potato greens that yield chewy, stringy dishes (and must not have every been tested in Real Life.)
After much experimentation, we have decided the best way we like to prepare them is as follows:
1) Trim the leaves off the stock, and compost the stock unless you feel motivated to chop the stocks in very this slivers. (With high canning season upon us, I am not motivated to spend time on the stocks.)
2) Rinse them well and chop as you would any greens.
3) Saute onions and garlic in olive oil.
4) Toss in the greens and add a touch of balsamic and salt - cook these as you would spinach until they are soft.
This dish goes well with steaks, mexican soups, fish, and just about anything else. I like to add a fistfull of these greens to a squash and okra saute, and they do well in summer stews.
What not to do? Please avoid boiling the CR@!! out of them (and ruining their flavor and vitamin content) to tenderize the stocks, sauteeing large hunks of stocks which will be stringy, or adding too many spices to them. These babies have a slightly nutty, soft flavor that is worth experiencing.
Today, I am sadly reminded of what to do when you have a jar break in the canner. You can reduce your aggravation ten times if you act calmly and swiftly.
First, how do you know you broke a jar? TWO ways: you hear a big pop and go look in the canner and see jar contents floating around, or you see a jar that was formerly underwater floating merrily on top.
This happened to me today, and the fruit was still in it - the liquid had simply fallen out, creating air.
Next action? Stop for a second and THINK: How can I make this situation better without burning myself, ruining the other jars in the batch, or otherwise causing harm. If the jar exploded, the best course of action is do nothing until the batch is done. If, like my experience today, you have a jar that lost its bottom only (likely because it wore out), you can grab it with your tongs and slowly remove it to your sink. The stuff will likely fall out into your canning water and this is OK.
With the jar safely outta there, decide if you can skim out the jar contents from your canning bath water. Tomato Sauce or salsa will not skim out very well, but my bunch of peach slices today came out easily with a slotted spoon.
Why skim stuff out if you can? Because if you can avoid boiling your jars for half an hour in ever-thickening peach water, for example, you will have a much easier time later cleaning the jars that did not break.
And clean them you must. The final part of taking care of a jar break is cleanup. After your jars have cooled for 24 hours, clean them with soapy water and/or vinegar if it is needed. Carefully clean your canner after the batch is done in a way that keeps glass shards out of your sink, hands and off the floor (I usually pour the water through a fine sieve outside). And go on canning.
I hope it goes without saying: Don't eat the food that came out of the broken jar. What might look like a simple, clean jar break could leave bits of broken glass in the food. You don't want those rattling around your intestines later or cutting your mouth up.
In related news: Golden Harvest: Mason Jars. You failed me! You are only three years old and you lose your bottom? Disappointing since I have 50 year old jars that are still going strong.
The homestead guilt I have felt for the past two years of working my buns off on Spark Freedom instead of furthering the homestead has been immense. On the one hand, my personal goals of independence are important and I am not getting any younger. On the other, Spark Freedom has a valuable, freedom-oriented mission that I am willing to put my all into. The upshot? We didn't keep up on yard trimming and the local farmers here have seen some of my dollars while I buy in-season veggies to preserve for the winter when my crops failed.
Guilt is now gone - As it turns out, Mr. Kruse, master gardener and bunker builder, must have planted some blackberries when he built this homestead retreat. We had a bumper crop that is already done well before the local wild blackberries even thought of ripening. Having gorged ourselves on as many fresh ones as possible, we decided some blackberry jam would be excellent this winter.
If you have not made jam before, it is the second easiest way to start canning and the Christmas gift payoff fantastic. All you have to do is buy a box of pectin and follow instructions in the package. To protect your family against food-born pathogens, don't follow grandma's method of baking jars upside down to seal lids. This has not been an acceptable preservation method for a very long time and with reason. If anything manages to get in there while you are pouring the hot jam into the jars, or if you did not do well sterilizing your jars, you may end up with moldy, wasted preserves.
Anyway, the lesson learned this year on the blackberries (wild and domestic) is that simply following the instructions on my packages of pectin yielded runny jam. If you are running a local batch here in Dekalb County, I recommend you add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or increase your pectin amount if you are using jarred pectin.
This weekend while canning I came across this podcast about plants you should grow if you want to live off your land. It comes from "The Survival Podcast by Jack Spirko. I plan to listen to it a few times a year and think about which forest plants I want to move into our yard to make it easier to collect nutrition from the land we live on.
Check it out - 15 underrated plants for the homestead.
It starts slowly.
A few little wizard ha shaped berries.
In Tennessee, wild raspberries taste much sweeter than the blackberries to come in July. They tend to grow right by one another and locals often call any wild growing berry that is black a "blackberry" but don't be fooled. These little treasures have a short season and are well worth fighting the poison ivy and chiggers over.
After the first sets of berries start to arrive, it is a good idea to take along a tupperware on evening country walks and collect what is ready. What can;t be eaten fresh preserves well in the freezer.
This year, it took about two weeks from the first glimmers of wild raspberry goodness to a yield that would support the baking of a pie.
Confession: If you know you will be adding some sugar and baking it in a crust, you can harvest some not less ripe, tart berries. These go well in a pie, keeping it from being sickly sweet.
Thanks to the modern world, my favorite berry pie recipe is housed online. It has all the elements a busy hobby-farmer needs: simple ingredients that are on hand, no weird pre-cooking undulations to make a filling, a presentation that is pleasing and highlights the flavor of the fruit without the need for trendy cooking channel flair.
The 1-2 process is like all pies: Make a crust, pour in the filling.
Always remember to poke your fork through the crust a few times to ensure that air pockets can boil out, keeping your pie from exploding
The key to any pie is getting the crust right, and keeping the edges from burning. After wasting tons of foil crafting my own each time we make a pie, I discovered this $8-10 option on Amazon. Yesterday was the first test of this new device and it worked! A simple, reusable option that is not made from silicone, is easy to wash, reduces the amount of foil headed from my home to the landfill, and will ultimately save me a bit of money that would have gone to yet another kitchen consumable.
Unlike cake which responds will to the toothpick test, the best way to know your berry pie is done is a visual test. Is it bubbling happily both on the edges and in the middle? Is the crust golden brown? Then - success. The early summer/late spring wild raspberry goody is a great way to get vitamin K and C and provides some hard-t-absorb magnesium to boot!
Only a week or two left in the season for wild raspberries in our area. Happy hunting!
It seems like everything ripens at the same time in the summer. In years past, we have reverted to canning quick pickles during the cucumber glut of the summer because we were also pressure canning corn, beans and tomatoes and there was no time to get fancy.
This year, time got spare and we had not even begun to think about canning our cucumbers before a Sunday evening business flight. In a moment of desperation, I paged through my Encyclopedia of Country Living and looked up how to make fermented pickles. Twenty minutes later, the crock was packed, brine was in, and I was on my way out of town for the week hoping nothing would go awry.
Two weeks later, we just fished a fermented cucumber out of the crock to give it a try. It is unbelievably yummy. Quick pickles are about to become a thing of the past in the Holler.
The key to getting past jet lag is (drumroll please): don't take a nap! Nine years ago was my last overseas trip and it worked back then and it still works today. Cala d'Or was a great town to arrive in after about 24 hours of travel and only two hours sleep. The shops are full of interesting things, the weather is nice so you can walk outside, and it is touristy enough that the restaurants are open early - even at 4pm.
By sticking to a few rules, on day two I am not feeling jet lag's pull at all:
1) Sleep is not allowed later than 8:30/9am or before 9pm.
2) Coffee is not allowed after 2pm in the first day, 4pm after that.
3) Absolutely no sugar on day one. Very little sugar on day two. (Even though the cakes here look heavenly!)
4) Wine and other alcohol is not allowed before 8pm on day 1 (and then never drink too much, or you wake up again.)
5) Get outside as much as possible.
There is simply too many interesting things to see the let jet lag get in the way by stealing precious daylight hours!