On new off-season rituals


Sunday wheat berry sprouts = Wednesday nutty bread

and look at that cool lid I found at the local hippie store

I guess I never quite know how much time I spend gardening/harvesting/preserving until it’s the off season.

My daughter and I made more apple cider vinegar this weekend from some of our windfalls.  It’s really quite easy to do, and microbes are my friends, as you might well know.  Every batch is slightly different, and that is quite fine with me.  We’ve also begun sprouting edible seeds again.  I even decided to make a new sourdough starter, as my last one has lost some of its tangy oomph.

I will tell you, though, what I have begun to do every Sunday afternoon.  Both of these things take little time, and both of these things are things I need to do weekly anyway so…it is nice to set a slice of time aside, no

Small hands love small tasks like tearing the pesky peels off of shallots.  We have two salad dressings:  a vinaigrette and a buttermilk.  The child likes harvesting the parsley and chervil out of the greenhouse, and she knows where the stash of shallots is stored in the basement.  She gets to harvest, wash and peel, pour and measure; I get to chop; she gets to shake.  It’s a pretty decent arrangement.

I get to sharpen the knives, though.  Maybe when she’s a little older, she can handle the whetstone.



17 responses to “On new off-season rituals

  1. OK, I think a lightbulb just went off. You see I have this stash of wheat berries I picked up at Whole Foods because they looked, um, yummy and I meant to grind them into some form of flour and bake but maybe I’m supposed to sprout and bake? Lately I’ve just been chewing them. Can you tell me what you do with those nifty looking sprouty things? I think I can steal the mason jar with the holes in the lid that my husband is using to cure tobacco (bad, bad man) to make the sprouts.

  2. Yeah Ms A. Check out the link I have to “sprouting edible seeds” in the post. There’s a tutorial there. You can surely eat them raw too but I put them in our bread for a bit of a change (plus they’re good for you).

  3. El if you enjoy the wheat sprouts, you would enjoy the Rejuvalac you can make from them too. I recently did a post on it with recipe on my site if you are interested.

  4. I haven’t sprouted seeds in years, but with the economy in spreds and the cost of living so high, I am ready to pick up where I left off. Sprouting seeds, grinding flour, and making juice.

    Thanks for the vinegar I want to add that to my cupboards also.


  5. Will you post your sprouted bread recipe?

  6. Is that a lid especially for sprouting? I want one! Where’d you get it? We talked about sprouting seeds, we’ve got some sprouts from some survival place, for when the world ends.

    Hey! Is that snow falling on your page? Cool!

  7. Oh yeah, love the new header picture too!

  8. Your Sunday routine sounds nice and domestic, as well as cozy and heartwarming at this time of year. Sharpening the knives, though? Sounds like a tiny bit of crazy mixed in.
    When I worked for The Man, we had to go to re-education camp and listen to that Covey guy and his seven habits for highly bureaucratic people. The last one was “sharpening the tools” after the story about the guy who has two hours to chop down a tree and spends the first hour sharpening his ax: a very sensible allocation of time.
    Me and several other closet anarchists used to mis-remember it in group discussions. Sometimes we’d say “cleaning the guns”, and sometimes it was “sharpening the knives”. So maybe the bit of crazy is just me, eh?

  9. Vinegar. I do it all wrong (plastic bottle, ambient light, no starter) but it comes out great.
    I like your rituals. I like your kid!

  10. Per Emily’s request, here’s the recipe I used tonight for the bread with sprouted wheat:
    –2 cups unbleached flour, plus more on kneading surface
    –1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    –2 teaspoons yeast
    –1/2 teaspoon salt
    –1/2 cup (more or less) sprouted wheat berries
    –1/2 cup applesauce (or same amt of water plus 1 T sugar)
    –1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups warm water

    Count backwards 4 hours from when you want to eat warm bread. I started this loaf, then, at 2:30 this afternoon.

    Mix dry ingredients then fold in sprouts, applesauce and about half the water. Mix with a spoon until it becomes too hard; add more water to make the dough evenly wet, but not sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until it’s ready (if you don’t know, then look on the web about proper kneading and proofing techniques). Place it back in the bowl, spray top with water, and invert a 2nd bowl atop it; set in warm-ish place to rise about 1-2 hours, or until doubled. Scrape out of bowl back onto floured surface then form a loaf. Oil a large-ish loaf pan (any bread pan made in the US before 1975 is smaller) and set loaf in it to rise again about a half an hour (I spray the top again so it doesn’t crust up and will rise). Place in preheated oven at 395*F for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 350*F until the loaf is done…about another 30-50 minutes, depending on your oven. Let rest at least a half hour before cutting: as you can see in my photo above, I didn’t wait that long and the hot bread began to tear! Ah. Good things come to those who wait, or not.

  11. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Your child will have happy memories of kitchen chores.
    I heard a quote from St. Theresa at a lecture last night that truly impressed me- “If you can’t find God in the kitchen, don’t look in the chapel. I’m keeping that one!

  12. Molly, thanks! I usually just use the washing/soaking liquid to feed my plants and seedlings, but hey, now I can feed myself too. Great tip.

    Linda! Pick up that ball then 😉 sometimes what’s old is new again. But you’ll love homemade vinegar, I swear.

    Emily, sure; what’s funny is I had to consciously write it down. Like, why applesauce? Because I had a nearly empty jar, etc.

    Hah, Jules! I got mine at a store that sells lots of bulk food, but I will bet if you google “alfalfa sprouting” or “seed sprouting” you will come back with some links. There are 3 lids altogether in my kit with varying hole sizes, very convenient. But I am glad you like the header and the snow…

    Ok, WS, you had me tripping in the way-back machine there for a minute, dredging up a bad memory of a mandatory reading of “Who Moved My Cheese,” I sh*t you not. That book was entirely stifling of the creative process so why the management at our particular architectural firm thought we needed to read it was a bit of a head-scratcher. But frankly I love that you had fellow anarchists in your ranks; I’d have been one of them, probably, chiming in with “swinging the mace” or some such.

    Thanks, CC! Good to know the airborne microbes of Marin are gently favoring your homebrews. Isn’t that exciting: things just, you know, work?

    Pamela, I love that! Being a former Catholic though I must ask: Avila or Little Flower? Either way it’s a great quote.

  13. Avila. I’m cafeteria myself.

  14. It’s funny how we acquired the sprouts. My VBF (very best friend) found herself a Man (yippee!) and he has himself a sister. She bid on a storage unit and won. Inside were 5 gallon buckets of seeds from Life Sprouts, many many many buckets, so much so that they almost filled the unit. She gave him a few buckets to bring home. They (my VBF & Man) had no idea what they were for, or what to do with them, so THEY PLANTED some. hahahahaha We went for a visit and got a baggie full of both kinds. The bags now reside in my freezer, waiting for me to figure out sprouts. They’ve got more if/when we want them. Sis found out how much those buckets cost. She nearly had a fit when she realized she gave some away. Go figure.

    Wondered about your local hippie store? Anywhere near Benton Township?

    • Hah, Jules! Try Berrien Springs: Apple Valley. Also, there’s a super expensive organic food store next to Panera. And, behind the Secretary of State’s office near Sears in Benton Harbor, there’s an herbal supplements place. All three carry these lids. And dang, those buckets ARE expensive! What a funny story, though…sounds almost illegal, you know?? Contraband sprouts!

  15. I love that: contraband sprouts! Now I just need to grow them!

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