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Growing a Food Business: Becoming More Self-Reliant!

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Homesteaders, farmers, gardeners will often decide to take that next step...taking their food product to market. This often provides more income or a complete income. It can allow for more self-reliance.

When we started out, here at The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms, we decided we had to make the farm sustain us. We started out selling fresh mushrooms at farmers' markets. Then, we started getting requests for dried mushrooms. We were working with the state "food inspectors" and were approved to sell dried mushrooms. They called up and said, "oh by the way, regulations have changed on the dried mushrooms. Because of moisture content they now have to be "sampled" and approved before selling". So, that put a stop to dried mushrooms because the cost of sampling didn't warrant what sales were made. Anyone who decides to "grow" a food business will realize you do actually "grow" it. You find the markets and demand changes from year to year so you have to diversify to stay in the game. Not necessarily be competitive, because that is hard for a small farmer, but have something different to offer.

Some of our diverse products are Shiitake Mushrooms on logs, hops, heirloom tomatoes, potatoes, berries, honey, Bloody Butcher corn, maple sap, sorghum, aged cheese, crafts and more.

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What Is a Food Business?

A food business can mean selling your produce (vegetables, fruits and berries) at farmers' markets or restaurants. A food business can mean any processed food you’re looking to get to market. It can be a product you want to do in small batches for in-home/farm sales, farmers’ market sales or other retail outlet. Depending on what “food business” you’re looking at there are usually different rules and regulations.

Pick your Product

After you have decided WHAT you want to market you need to research what requirements there are to get that product to market. Requirements are different from state to state.

If you have chosen one of these: Jams/Jellies; Baked goods: bread, cakes, cupcakes, pies (cannot make/sell pumpkin products due to spoilage). You can use a “Home Kitchen” or On-Site Kitchen. This requires an initial inspection by the States’ Food Inspector. He/she will ask what you want to make in the kitchen and the inspection will go from there. The Inspector will visit each year to renew the inspection (or not). Most often part of the inspection is a requirement that you have a water analysis done yearly. You will need to have that report for the inspector when they come out. You can request a water analysis through the countys’ environmental health office. This is usually a cost of $50.00. The States’ Inspection is “Free” but if you have to have State Lab testing for a product that is not. Lab testing can run around $100.00/sample and take 6-8 weeks turn-a-round time. This is for the state of North Carolina.

Other Options to a "Home Kitchen" or "On-Site Kitchen"

Most county Cooperative Extension Agencies have public kitchens you can "rent". You can get your name put on a list and this gives you a slot to use the kitchen for processing your product. This is great if you need to dry mushrooms, fruits/berries, vegetable or herbs because they have commercial dryers. Sometimes, depending on your state/county, the fee to use is per use or you can buy membership and just set up your slots ahead of time. If you go this route, make sure you have all the things you will need with you when you go. I have done this and forgot some of my jars for my jellies!

Some Products Requiring Testing

• Jellies that are made with “exotic” (according to the States’ opinion) fruits/flowers that don’t contain enough acid content
• ANY dried product such as herbs, mushrooms, etc.
• Corn that is going to be sold for human consumption or animal feed (they will need 10lbs. of product) this is a free test by state and sometimes they will pay for the product.
• ALL products going for retail sale/markets must carry an identifying label that has been approved by the state.
• Labels must carry Sellers/Farm contact information and DBA (doing business as) along with the ingredients (beginning with the largest content listed first) sometimes weight and or volume will be required.
• Packaging must be done on-site or by an approved off-site location. Packaging for each product must be approved.
• You can use your “kitchen” as a point of sales and also online sales.
• If you plan on doing fermentation/pickling you are required to take a class. This can be done at your local Ag office (check with them for dates…usually free).
• If you are planning on liquids/beverages most of this can be done under the same requirements as Jellies/etc but there can be restrictions for some ingredients…always check before going to time and money to produce!
• Ice cream etc. can usually be made if you are buying milk from an approved dairy.
•Catering must have Certification from the Health Dept., water analysis also required. The most concern here is where the septic system is located.

Home Kitchen Requirements

If you're looking for a "cheap" way to build a separate "kitchen" area...look for people wanting buildings to be torn down. This makes a way to re-use lumber and to get the space you need. We found a local couple wanting a garage to be removed. Alan started tearing down bringing home and building back! What is amazing about this is that we found out this garage had belonged to a great uncle of mine!

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• For flooring, sinks, dryboard/drywall always look at salvage stores, Habitat Re-Store and thrift.
• You will need a double sink…one side must be designated for “hand washing” and you must display a sign above the sink. So, for the hoarders out there, keep it up! I had been saving an old sink for years and it finally came in handy. Sink must be stainless steel and not have any “nicks” or they must be filled in. This can hold bacteria.
• Floors and walls must be “washable”. Dishes need a stainless rack to dry.
• You need a refrigerator for eggs, etc you will be using in your baking. You will need a refrigerator temp. gauge and keep at 45 degrees. You can use a "used" refrigerator as long as it works.
• You will need an approved cooking/baking source. So we wouldn't have to install electrical unit to carry for a range, we improvised. We have a large Oster oven (cost $79) for baking small batch which is good on the utility bills as well. We also use an induction cooktop (cost $59) for making jellies.
• You will need an approved “hot water” source. We knew we couldn't afford the $2,000 for hot water heater and set-up. So, we researched alternatives that would meet guidelines. We found the electric tankless water heater (cost $129) that just heats the water as you need it.

Now that you’ve met your requirements…get cooking and good luck!!


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Einkorn: Wheat for the Gluten Sensitive?

Sourdough Einkorn Loaves

As an avid baker, I’ve spent years in pursuit of mastering all types of breads, pastries and other savory, comfort foods that include wheat as a major ingredient; so you can imagine how I felt upon realizing that my digestive problems seemed to coincide with consuming products made with commercial wheat flours.

I do not believe that I have celiac disease or a gluten allergy but think I reside in a sort of in between place along with so many others; my body is just intolerant of hard to digest grains— wheat in particular. Out of a reluctance to give up wheat completely, I embarked on a mission to learn all I could about traditional methods of preparing grains—that render them more digestible—as well as the different types of wheat (hard red, soft white, emmer, kamut, spelt, etc). Our ancestors knew the value of soaking legumes, sprouting grains and sourdough fermentation but in our modern society—which values “instant” and convenience above all else— this knowledge has fallen by the wayside. It is fascinating to examine through the lens of science the difference it can make to take some extra time to prepare foods properly.

I became dedicated to sourdough, learned how to sprout grains and started milling my own flour. I also experimented with ancient grains like spelt—which I enjoyed the flavor of—but found that it produced a texture that was often too dry for my taste. When I spoke to a good friend of mine she mentioned, “Have you tried baking with einkorn?” I had never heard of it but was intrigued and began to do some research. The plethora of information I came upon is too great to recount here but I’ll give you some of the main points.

Einkorn is the most ancient form of wheat cultivated by humans; in fact, einkorn is the only wheat that has never been hybridized.

Einkorn has less gluten (and it’s gluten structure is a slightly different variant) than other types of wheat making it easier for the body to digest—especially when sprouted or prepared using a sourdough technique.

Einkorn has a much lower yield than modern wheat but a much greater amount of nutrients including: almost twice the amount of protein compared to soft white wheat, two times the amount of lutein (an antioxidant) compared to modern wheat, 50% more manganese, riboflavin and zinc, 20 percent more magnesium, thiamin, niacin, iron and vitamin B6—all things which are added back synthetically to our processed, store bought breads.

I was sold on the research and began baking with einkorn. The sweet and nutty flavor is wonderful, it holds moisture extremely well, creates moist cakes and soft breads. But while I had wonderful success right off the bat, some of my more complicated recipes fell short. I stumbled my way through different techniques and slowly perfected my staple recipes, but einkorn is in some ways counterintuitive to even slightly seasoned bakers so in certain instances, I had to let go of some basic baking principles to achieve success. One thing I learned is that no-knead, sourdough breads are a cinch and also incredibly delicious if you adjust the liquid levels a bit. Things like cookies took me longer to get the hang of but I found that little tricks like refrigerating the dough for a bit before baking made all the difference. Below, I’ll share one of my favorite einkorn recipes adapted from Carla Bartolucci’s cookbook, Einkorn: Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat.  

No Knead Overnight Artisan Loaf

Ingredients:

• 2 cups warm (not hot) water
• ¼ cup refreshed sourdough starter or ¼ tsp active dry yeast
• 6 cups all purpose einkorn flour or 7 ¼ cups whole grain einkorn flour plus more for dusting
• 1½ tsp sea salt

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix together the water, sourdough starter and yeast until creamy. Add the flour and salt, and mix until all the water is absorbed and you have a sticky dough. Cover with plastic wrap or ceramic dish and let rise in a warm place for 10-15 hours or until doubled in size.

2. Generously flour a work surface, turn dough out onto it and form into a loaf.

3. Put loaf seam side up into a heavily floured, linen couche lined colander or heavily floured proofing basket, cover with clean dry towel and let proof at room temperature for 30 minutes

4. Place a dutch oven with the lid on in the oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the pot from oven and take off the lid. Invert loaf and place it in the pot seam side down. Cover and place in the oven.

6. Reduce the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for 40 minutes. If you like a darker loaf, take off the lid and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

7. Remove loaf from pot, place on wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing (by far the hardest part of this recipe).

You can store by wrapping in a clean kitchen towel on the countertop for up to three days or you can freeze in a sealed plastic bag for up to a month.

If you’re interested in trying einkorn but don’t know where to purchase it, you can find it available at Jovialfoods.com. I buy all of my einkorn from Jovial Foods because I find that they sustainably produce a wonderful, quality product at an excellent price. Carla Bartolucci, the owner of Jovial Foods also wrote an excellent cookbook full of great recipes, tips and information about einkorn. If you’re interested in their cookbook Einkorn: Recipes for Nature’s Original Wheat, they have kindly extended a special offer to Mother Earth News readers for 25 percent off the cookbook, free shipping, plus a free 2-lb bag of all purpose or whole grain einkorn flour with the purchase of the cookbook. Just add the book and whichever flour you choose to the cart and use the coupon code FLOUR. I should also mention here that I have no affiliation with Jovial Foods other than being an enthusiastic, long time customer. Happy baking!

Lindsay Williamson is a mother to two beautiful boys, keeper of bees and backyard chickens, baker and fermentation enthusiast . She is the co-owner of Farmhouse BBQ–a BBQ pop up and catering company that specializes in 100% oak smoked, grass-fed brisket. She is also the homesteading instructor at Haywood Community College in Clyde NC. You can contact her via email at lindzwilliamson@gmail.com.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

 

When Choosing Organic Grocers, Trust MOM

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Mom's Newest Store

When I found out MOM’s Organic Market was opening in White Marsh, just 7 minutes from my home, I was thrilled. Over the last 7 years I have seen them grow from three stores to seventeen; quite a feat in the competitive grocery store world. Scott Nash started MOM’s in his mother’s garage at age 22 in 1987 before opening the first store in Rockville, Maryland. He has been making waves in the organic grocery world ever since.

 As a professionally trained chef, grocery stores have been more than a passing interest to me for over 35 years. Wild Oats in Boulder, Colorado was the first environmentally focused grocery store I found in the 1980s. They offered sustainably raised chicken, pork, and beef as well as plenty of organic veggies and fruits. When Wild Oats was bought by Whole Foods it seemed like a good move. Unfortunately Whole Foods went on to become more like the big-box conventional grocers it tried to set itself apart from previously. Now days hardly half of their fruits and veggies are organic on any given day.

What sets MOM’s apart is several things. First is the fact they only sell organic produce. Big deal you say? The big deal is they source the best organic produce and the most variety of any store I have seen in my worldly travels. Items like sunchokes, brussel sprouts, shallots, and other hard to find organic veggies are stocked often. They occasionally sell local organic apples, even if they have spots on them. It’s rare to see a grocer explain to their faithful customers that sometimes by virtue of not spraying apple crops, there will be spots; that it is perfectly natural and not harmful to eat such fruits. After all, if you are cooking the apples in pie, applesauce, or cobblers who cares if there are some spots on them?

 MOMs produce

The best organic produce selection anywhere

Helping Customers Recycle

Another aspect setting MOM’s apart is their commitment to the environment and aggressive recycling service. At the front of their stores customers can bring in the usual plastic bags and such, but MOM’s also takes in shoes, eye glasses, wine corks and more. MOM’s has started accepting previously non-recycle packaging like: snack bags, squeeze pouches, energy bar wrappers and drink pouches. These will then be turned into park benches, backpacks and other new products. MOM’s has an annual drive for gathering recycled denim, and electronics to top off their exceptional commitment to recycling.

The commitment to the environment is shown across several areas of operations. MOM’s stores utilize LED ultra-low watt lighting in their stores. Motion sensors with dimming controls help reduce electric consumption. Skylights are used where allowable and they power down all unnecessary light and equipment when not in use. MOM’s has purchased all 1.5 megawatts from a solar farm in Kingsville, Maryland for the next 20 years to cut down on conventional electricity use. This purchase cuts 25% of the total power needs of their stores.

Plastic bags were discontinued in 2005 and MOM’s banned bottled water from their stores in 2010. Many Americans don’t realize less than 20% of recyclable plastics make it to recycling centers! According to Wikipedia, in 2008 some 33.6 million tons of plastic saw only 6.5% of that get recycled. In an article by Renee Cho from January, 2012 Renee points out 6.5% is recycled and another 7.7% is burned. It’s clearly time to ditch the bottled water habit, and MOM’s is here to help. I asked Scott Nash why the big commitment to snub bottled water and recycle.  He said, “It’s our way of not supporting plastic industries. Our purpose is to protect the environment.”

MOM’s has an extensive liquid bulk section including oil, vinegar, honey, household cleaners, detergents, and hand soaps. Customers can bring their own containers, or use the ones at MOM’s to cut down on plastic use. Just think how many plastic bottles wouldn’t be needed if we all filled our own containers with the above liquids? That would be great for the planet. I hope MOM’s and similar stores keep expanding throughout North America. I asked Scott Nash what’s the future of MOM’s and similar green-minded grocery stores and he said “Some will fail like Mrs. Green’s and maybe Natural Grocers, but MOM’s model is alive and well.”

 Moms soap refill station

How cool is this liquid soap refill station!

Even If you don’t have a MOM’s near you, consider asking your favorite store to implement the factors that sets MOM’s apart from the crowd. We vote with our dollars and can make a difference for the environment and our own health by choosing our grocery stores wisely.

Kurt Jacobsohas been a chef for 40 years and, after being schooled in the U.S. Coast Guard, he trained in many restaurants under both kind and maniac chefs. Kurt is starting his fourth year of container and raised-bed organic gardening and is volunteering at Wilbur’s Farm in Kingsville, Maryland, to learn real organic gardening. For this and other recipes using garden greens, and more fresh veggies check out his food blog. For tasty travel ideas check out Kurt's travel blog, TasteofTravel2.com. Read all of Kurt's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Easy Bread, Fast

 

Yesterday, I used my last two slices of sandwich bread. With no extra time to bake bread, I went with the easiest bread that needs almost no actual prep time. I stuck with the most basic bread formula. Here’s what I did.

Ingredients:

• 20 ounces bread flour (about 5 ½ cups)
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp instant yeast
• 13 ½ ounces water

Directions

This is detailed so it may take longer to read than to do.

Day 1

1. Put the mixer bowl on the scale, turn the scale on and measure out the flour. Put the salt on one side of the bowl, the yeast on the other, and give it a quick stir. Reset the scale to zero and pour in the water

2. Using the dough hook of the mixer, run the mixer on “stir” and then on 2 until the flour is all taken up. Increase the speed to 4 for just a couple minutes. Walk away and do one of your other chores for five minutes. Back to the mixer, turn it on to 4 for another couple minutes then let it rest again. Repeat once more. The dough should be all on the dough hook.

3. Put out a big acrylic cutting board, put about a tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil) down and smear it around with one hand. Use your clean hand to detach the dough hook and bring it to the oiled board. With the oiled hand, pull the dough off the hook. Flatten the dough then stretch it from front to back. Do a “letter fold”, bringing the back of the dough to the center and the front over that so the dough is folded in thirds. Turn the dough and repeat.

4. Walk away again for 10 minutes then go back and stretch and fold again. And one more time: rest, fold twice. Now your dough is beautifully developed and you only spent five minutes in between doing other tasks. Put the dough back into the mixer bowl, cover the bowl with plastic and pop it into the refrigerator until tomorrow.

Day 2

1. Take the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto the oiled board. Form the dough into a ball by repeatedly tucking the sides under until the surface is smooth and round. Using a flour wand, sifter or whatever, flour the surface of the dough quite heavily. Put the dough onto a baking sheet — a nonstick pizza pan is great. Cover with your proof cover (mine is a plastic underbed box).

2. Allow the dough to rise, which will take close to 3 hours, because the dough was cold. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. When you see the flour cracking and the loaf is nearly doubled, slash the top in your favorite style. Let it rise another few minutes until you see the slashes opening then into the hot oven.

Bake your bread for about 30 to 35 minutes until a thermometer inserted through the side reads 200 degrees. Remove the loaf onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely before cutting.

Options

The recipe for this bread is actually set by law in France for a baguette. Flour, salt, yeast, water. If a baguette fits your needs better than a fat “country” loaf, you can form the dough into two baguettes or even pistolette rolls. Or a couple pizzas or whatever you need. Rising and baking times are less for smaller breads, of course.

Wendy Akin is happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Parmesan-Olive Bread

 

Recently, I tasted a little sample of a Parmesan bread at an upscale store; it was so bland, I couldn’t taste any parmesan in it. So, yesterday when I turned out the dough for my Easy Bread, instead of washing the bowl, I just reloaded it. Thinking of future plans, I made my own version of the disappointing bread I had sampled.

Mine really tastes of the parmesan and has the added flavor interest of the olives. It will be ideal on a cheese platter, perfect for a turkey sandwich, or with any pasta meal.

If you can’t get the shriveled oil-cured olives, you can use other black olives, but be sure to blot them as dry as possible so they don’t “weep” into your dough. The Parmesan should be freshly grated from a wedge.

Parmesan-Olive Bread Recipe

Ingredients

• 20 ounces bread flour (about 5 ½ cups)
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp instant yeast
• ½ cup packed coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, the best you can afford
• ¼ cup oil cured black olives, pitted and cut in quarters
• 13 ½ ounces water
• a bit of your best extra virgin olive oil for brushing
• Optional: a couple grinds of the pepper mill

Directions

Day 1

1. Put the mixer bowl on the scale, turn the scale on and measure out the flour. Put the salt on one side of the bowl, the yeast on the other and give it a quick stir. Then stir the grated cheese and olives into the dry ingredients so every shred is coated with flour.  Reset the scale to 0 and pour in the water.

2. Using the dough hook of the mixer, run the mixer on “stir” and then on 2 until the flour is all taken up. Increase the speed to 4 for just a couple minutes. Walk away and do one of your other chores for five minutes. Back to the mixer, turn it on to 4 for another couple minutes then let it rest again. Repeat once more. The dough should be all on the dough hook.

3. Put out a big acrylic cutting board, put about a tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil) down and smear it around with one hand. Use your clean hand to detach the dough hook and bring it to the oiled board. With the oiled hand, pull the dough off the hook. Flatten the dough then stretch it from front to back. Do a “letter fold”, bringing the back of the dough to the center and the front over that so the dough is folded in thirds. Turn the dough and repeat.

4. Walk away again for 10 minutes then go back and stretch and fold again. And one more time: rest, fold twice. Now your dough is beautifully developed and you only spent 5 minutes in between doing other tasks. Put the dough back into the mixer bowl, cover the bowl with plastic and pop it into the refrigerator until tomorrow.

Day 2

1. Take the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto the oiled board. Form the dough into a ball by repeatedly tucking the sides under until the surface is smooth and round.  Put the dough onto a baking sheet – a nonstick pizza pan is great. If it looks at all rough, smooth the top with wet hands. Cover with your proof cover (mine is a plastic underbed box).

2. Allow the dough to rise, which will take about 3 hours because the dough was cold. If the house is cool, it could take even longer — give it time. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. When the loaf is nearly doubled, slash the top in your favorite style. Let it rise another few minutes until you see the slashes opening.

3. When your loaf is ready to bake, give it a quick spritz with water and into the preheated 450-degree oven. It will bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a thermometer inserted into the side of the loaf reads 200 degrees. Remove the loaf to a cooling rack and brush lightly with a bit of olive oil.

 

Option: a light grind with the pepper mill over the top of the loaf.

The aroma of this bread baking is incredible. It’s mouth-watering. Let it completely cool before cutting. I know it’s difficult to wait, but cutting a warm loaf can make it all gummy inside. Patience.

Note on Washing a Mixer Bowl

If you’ve made cookies, do wash the bowl with hot, soapy water. But if it’s bread dough in the bowl, fill the bowl with cool soapy water and let it sit. The dough will slowly dissolve so you can just pour it out. If you use hot water, you “cook” the dough and make it more difficult to clean.

Wendy Akin is happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

 

Orange Mulled-Whiskey Cider

 

Winter and Christmastime seem to call out for a hot cider drink, preferably spiked, for sipping by a fire or with a good movie, like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. This recipe hits all the high notes in my opinion, with cider, maple syrup, orange flavour, spices. And whiskey. What’s not to love?

The orange really sets this hot cider drink apart with just the right amount of citrusy accent to give it a twist. If you are short on vanilla beans, in a pinch, you could substitute with Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract, but the bean really adds a nice touch. The sweetness of the cider doesn’t really require much of the maple syrup, but by all means, include some. It does round out the taste nicely. As mentioned below, I used Canadian Club whiskey, but whatever your favourite is, certainly use it if you wish. 

If you’re not familiar with Nielsen-Massey extracts and flavourings, you’re in for a treat. I have been using their vanilla for years in baking among other things, but they also make a fine line of other extracts as well. Almond and lemon are more of my favourites. Almond and cherry pie are almost indispensible in my book. They are also one of the few companies that still manufacture rose water, which I’ve used in cookies and puddings, just to name a few possibilities.

So, if you are baking this Christmas, it pays to use the very best in vanilla extracts especially, as the fake stuff (artificial vanilla) just doesn’t compare. I cannot be stress this enough. Now, on to some pure sipping yumminess!

Orange Mulled-Whiskey Cider Recipe

Ingredients:

• 2 quarts apple cider
• 1/2 cup 100-percent-pure pomegranate juice
• 1/3 cup 100percent-pure maple syrup (adjust maple syrup if cider is already sweet)
• 1 Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean
• 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract
• 3 large cinnamon sticks
• 12 whole cloves
• 5 whole allspice berries
• 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
• 2/3 cup whiskey (I used Canadian Club)
• 1 large Gala apple, thinly sliced (garnish)

Directions:

1. Add apple cider, pomegranate juice and maple syrup to a large saucepan; heat over medium-high heat.

2. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise with the tip of a small knife. Scrape both sides of the bean with the knife’s dull side and add the seeds and bean to the saucepan.

3. Add the orange extract, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries and cardamom seeds to the saucepan; stir to combine.

4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

5. Strain mulled cider through a fine mesh sieve.

6. Add whiskey; stir to combine. Serve with a fresh apple slice. (I might be inclined to use a cinnamon stick too.) 

Serves 6

References:

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc. Last accessed November 25, 2016. They have a whole section of recipes on this website — it’s fabulous.

Sue Van Slooten teaches cooking and baking classes at her home on beautiful Big Rideau Lake, Ontario, Canada. She specializes in small classes for maximum benefit. Follow her homesteading adventures and check out her class offerings at www.SVanSlooten.com. If you wish, you can email Sue at suevanslooten@icloud.com. She would be thrilled to hear from you! Read all of Sue’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.