Real Food
Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.


Home-Based Food Business Case Study: Clare's Nutty Concoctions

 

Clare selling nut treats by Kurt Jacobson

With so many farmers markets, local grocery stores, and distributors looking for new food products, now is a great time to start selling your home-based foods. The question is how to bring your special homemade food to the market? Few know about or understand cottage food laws or what it takes to bring your product to the market, but it's not that difficult to learn the ropes.

Throughout my food travels, I find plenty of home-based food startups doing well. When I wrote about Michelle's Granola, readers got a picture of how an exceptional product can go from a home kitchen to farmers' markets and on to a large part of the U.S. market. When I came across Clare's Nutty Concoctions at a small farmer's market on Maryland's Eastern Shore, I once again saw and tasted the future of home-based food products.

Nutty treats in a bag by Kurt Jacobson

Clare Shockley launched her nut brittle business in July 2020, focusing on over-the-top delicious Golden Brittle. After just two months, feedback from sales at farmers markets and her boyfriend's restaurant, led her to add the best cashew brittle I've ever tasted. Clare has a background in the food service business from working at restaurants, Sysco Foods, and as a beer, wine, and alcohol sales rep. She longed for a business of her own that would allow her to work the hours she chose, not her employer's schedule.

Work from Home or Find a Commercial Kitchen

Working out of the home appeals to many entrepreneurs. The challenge is to make it profitable enough to stand the test of time. Clare told me she had an edge in starting her business by using her boyfriend's restaurant kitchen instead of relying on her home kitchen or renting commercial kitchen space. While it's great to start out in your home kitchen, to make a food business thrive, you will probably need a commercial kitchen space eventually.

It's not that hard to find such commercial space with restaurants looking to add income by renting out their kitchen when they are closed or underutilized. Find a restaurant that's regularly closed a day or two and negotiate the use of their kitchen. You can produce way more products in a commercial kitchen than in most homes and be in compliance with local food production laws.

Or better yet, find one of many businesses that exist mainly to provide flexible commercial kitchen space. I wrote about the Artisan's Exchange to help Mother Earth News readers learn how to locate commercial kitchen space rentals, get product creation support, and marketing support. These types of commercial kitchen rentals are gaining in popularity, and you might have one close to you.

Formulate a Business Plan

If you have an outrageously delicious product, it's time to start putting together a plan for your success. Start by doing research and develop a business plan. Clare told me, "I didn't use a formal business plan, but did plan on seeding my business with $5,000 and see if I'd make it through the first year without adding more cash." By January 2020 she was able to start paying herself a salary due to her business expansion. After a humble start, Clare is in seven farmers markets now and two other businesses sell her brittle as well. This progress was accomplished in under eight months!

Take a clue from Clare and Michele's Granola, that to succeed, you must have the best product your customers have ever tasted. Don't rely on friends and family for quality feedback that don't want to hurt your feelings. A farmers market is one of the best places to judge the public's opinion of your product. Engage with your customers and adjust your recipe, packaging, or price if needed.

After starting in farmers markets and her boyfriend's restaurant, Clare has added special events at wineries, breweries, and other gatherings to her sales venues. Customers from all of these venues have helped spread the word. She has slowly added more products like chocolate-covered almond brittle and granola to her lineup, waiting to judge her customer's reactions.

It's important not to expand too fast in the early going, but it is okay to dream of hitting the big time. If you plan well, work hard, and have great products, it's not hard to imagine success like Michele's Granola has had. Clare told me "There's a million things I can do with nuts." If those other things taste as great as her first three products that I've tried, you might see Clare's Nutty Concoctions coming to a store near you in the future.

Resources for Home Food Businesses

An excellent resource to help launch your business is Lisa Kivirist’s writing about Cottage Food Laws and how to learn the ropes of a home-based food business.

You can also check out score.org to find free support in planning your business.

Rutgers University has its Food Innovation Center that offers an online webinar, two-day class, teaching just about everything you need to launch a food product business. Check out their success stories page to get you jazzed up about how far you can go.

So what are you waiting for? Now is the time to launch your home-based food product and find the joy of working for yourself. Here's to good taste on your path to success.

Kurt Jacobson writes about travel, food, wine, organic gardening, and most anything else from his varied professional life. His articles appear in Alaska magazine, Fish Alaska magazine, Metropolis Japan magazine, Edible Delmarva magazine, North West Travel and Life magazine, and MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Kurt lives in the Baltimore, Md., area with his wife, dog and cats. Kurt’s articles also appear on several websites like: GoNomad.com, Trip101.com, MotherEarthNews.com, Adventuresstraveler.com, and several others. Kurt is a regular contributor to GoNomad.com writing about Alaska, Colorado, New Zealand, Japan, and the Mid-Atlantic areas. Read all of his 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.

How To Be a Food Waste Champ

market 

Farmers market stand
Photo by Aur Beck

April 28th is Stop Food Waste Day. We have all done it: Bought fresh food only to find we already had some in the pantry or fridge. When was the last time you or I have cleaned out the fridge completely and cooked just with what we have? I remember reading that as much as 40% of food in the United States is thrown away. That's a lot of good value & money being thrown away.

I do tend to forget what I have and buy more. My kitchen has no doors on the shelves, so I can more easily see what I have in stock, but still I have serious issues with knowing what I have in my fridge and/or freezer. I have been challenging myself to only cook with what I have. We have gotten spoiled by our full access to any and all food even if it is out of season. I have been challenging myself to cook with what is locally available and in season. I do can a lot of tomatoes and green beans to have them year round but do that in season to get bushels (lots) cheap. What is something you eat regularly and could figure out ways to obtain or make more cheaply? Veggies in season I have found to take less, due to their high flavor and nutrition, to satisfy my body.

Farmers Market Scores

I love talking to the local farmer to get the weird-shaped or spotted seconds cheaply. The farmers like that they don’t have to throw away their hard work and I get lots of local and/or organic produce cheaper. Usually however that means the produce needs to be processed quickly. 

I go on Saturdays to the farmers market or the farmer calls me and then Sunday, I cut the bad spots off and freezer bag it to be put away for all of it to be cooked and/or processed further later. I tend to do most of my canning (except for green beans) in the winter when I want to heat up the house and I have more time to be inside due to the increased hours of darkness. While summer is a great time to use a solar cooker and solar food dryer to pack massive quantities away. Dried apples and “sun”-dried tomatoes are two great examples. I do love drying a veggie mix of onions, peas, parsley, squash and/or zucchini. It is a lovely mix to very easily add to soup or casserole.

Note; Do you throw out cans once they pass the “best if used by date”? Note that the date is a Not an expired date. 

Hope this helps recipe you find a little inspiration to waste less and for saving lots of money

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Veggie scraps
Photo by Aur Beck

Veggie Broth or Chicken Broth to Avoid Food Waste

No need to every again pay $3-6 a quart!

Vegetable broth: When you cut off the ends of your vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, green stems, zucchini) save any of the-non rotten bits in a gallon freezer bag or a container in the freezer. Once the bag is full slow simmer or run through the soup setting on your electronic pressure cooker. I use a gallon of water and put in a steamer basket or deep fryer basket to easily strain the veggies out to get a clear broth. 

Meat broth: I save meat bones in a gallon freezer bag or container in the freezer until full. If you want want a lighter chicken broth just use the chicken bones and bits. If you want a darker richer broth save any type of meat bits and bones but crack open the bones for the rich inner bone marrow. 

Although I sometimes allow the broth to cool and pack in quart freezer bags, I usually fill quart canning jars and do a hot water can.


Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Reality Project, a fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous International  and a talk show co-host at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page, and read all of Aur'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.

Yuca Fries Recipe Make Use of Marvelous Cassava Root

 Yuca fries
Photo by Renee Benoit

This story begins years ago when I was a kid growing up in Iowa. We didn’t have a lot of vegetable variety even though we had our own garden. It was the standard tomatoes, green beans, corn, what have you. The only time we had anything unusual was when my dad grew some cauliflower which turned out kind of green because his method for covering the heads was not fool proof.

Flash forward to 1969: I went to stay with my aunt and uncle in Hawaii for my first semester of college. What a revelation! The grocery stores were full of strange and wonderful things that I still, to this day, am not sure what some of them were. Some things I do know: guava, bitter melon, cuttlefish to name three.

Flash forward again to 1977: I moved to California where I lived for 35 years and the last 4 in the Central Valley. Here I saw all sorts of vegetable foodstuffs from across the border in Mexico. Jicama, prickly pear, tomatillo. Now that we’re in Arizona, I discover that we have Yucca Elata growing all over our property. Yucca Elata is also known as the Soap Tree by the indigenous peoples of this area. How cool! But what else could this thorny plant be used for? How about Yucca Fries? I have had those in Bay Area restaurants and loved them.

Not being savvy I did not realize that the cooks were talking about YUCA, not Yucca. Still ignorant I found pictures online and, lo and behold, I discover yet another vegetable that is completely delicious and one that I’ve seen in Central Valley grocery stores and had no clue what they were. This is the Yuca root, also known as cassava. It tastes very much like a potato and in nutrition is very similar. If you have a Mexican market near you, this root will likely be found there.

Yuca Fries Recipe

Six servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds fresh yuca (aka cassava)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 - 3 cups light-tasting oil (canola is a good one)
  • Salsa, mayonnaise or ketchup as condiments

Directions:

Yuca roots come waxed. This is to preserve their freshness.

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Waxed yucca root
Photo by Renee Benoit

1. Cut the ends off your yucca roots and then cut them into 4-inch cylinders, depending on the length of the yuca.

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Cut ends
Photo by Renee Benoit

2. Make a shallow cut lengthwise into the skin of the yuca. Work your thumbs under one side of the cut. Once you’re underneath the peel, you can work your thumbs down the length of the root, peeling the skin off. If this does not work for you, stand the roots on end and slice the skin off as you would a pineapple.

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Trimmed root
Photo by Renee Benoit

3. Bring to boil a pot with plenty of water and salt. Add the rounds to the boiling water. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and let it cool.

4. Cut yuca pieces in half and remove the inner root. Then cut French-fry size sticks. Think steak fries size not shoe string.

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Julienne root
Photo by Renee Benoit

5. Heat oil at least ½ inch or more in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the yuca fries in batches, turning once, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

6. You can also cook them in an air fryer. Toss them with oil and fry as you would potato French fries.

7. You can also crisp them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425º F and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until slightly brown, turning twice.

Yuca Fries are really good with anything you would serve French fries with like hamburgers or grilled steak.  

A word of advice: If you cut into one and find that it is not completely unblemished and white, it is not suitable. Look for brown streaks that indicate the root is overripe. You have to discard it. If there’s only a few blemishes you may opt to remove them and go ahead and cook normally.

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Bad quality
Photo by Renee Benoit


Renée Benoit is a writer, artist, ranch caretaker and dedicated do-it-yourselfer who homesteads a small ranch in the southeast corner of Arizona near the Mexican border. Connect with Renée at RL Benoit, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS.


 

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts.

Recipes from the Spring Garden: Radish Toasts, Pea and Mint Risotto, and More

multi-colored spring radishes 

Bountiful spring radishes
Photo by Unsplash/phillippecollard

Its spring and harvest time has started in the early garden: the first radishes are ready, new asparagus spears knife their way out of the ground, and leaves of green garlic wave above their straw bedding. Depending how cold your winter was this year, there may be tulip petals coloring your salads while dandelion fritters and wild sorrel soup fill your foraging thoughts. Visit BouquetBanquet to find some ideas on using spring flowers in your meals.

The first early peas will be ready to harvest soon, while baby spinach and spring cabbages come along at the same time. Spring can be such a neglected time of year in the garden as people wait for consistent warmth to start planting.  Step away from the crowd and start your garden early each year so you can try these delightful recipes. If you planted late greens of cold-hardy varieties to overwinter you’ll be ready to harvest and cook even earlier!

Radish Toasts

 Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette
  • Butter, softened
  • Large spring radishes
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Slice the baguette thinly and toast lightly in the oven.

2. Slice the radishes thinly as well.

3. Spread butter on the bread slices, top with a radish slice, salt and pepper. Eat up—you’ll find it’s hard to stop!

Deep-Fried Overwintered Kale

Ingredients:

  • Several handfuls of overwintered kale, cut into 2 inch strips
  • 1 ½ cups beer (vary the taste with different types of beer)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups lard or peanut oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • Sea salt

Directions:

1. Dip each strip of kale in beer, then dip in flour.

2. Set aside on a rack for 15 minutes

3. Heat lard or peanut oil in a cast iron Dutch oven.

4. When sizzling, drop in several kale strips at a time and remove as soon as they crisp.

5. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkle of sea salt.

Pea and Mint Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts water
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 3 ½ cups spring peas
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup fresh mint chiffonade

Directions:

1. In a large pan, bring water and salt to a rolling boil over high heat. Add peas and cook for one minute, drain, and rinse in cold water.

2. In a saucepan, heat chicken stock to barely simmering.

3. In a large, high sided skillet, gently cook the shallot and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and discard the garlic.

5. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat well.

6. Over medium low heat, add warm stock one ladle full at a time stirring until absorbed before adding more.

7. When all the stock is absorbed, remove from heat, stir in Parmesan, peas, and mint.

8. Serve immediately.

 Floral snap peas with sesame

Floral snap peas
Photo by Sheryl Campbell

Floral Snap Peas with Sesame

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup calendula flower petals
  • 2 Tablespoon radish flowers
  • 4 cups freshly picked snap peas
  • ½ cup snap pea flowers
  • ¼ cup dark sesame oil
  • ¼ cup light sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Cook snap peas for 2 minutes in boiling water, drain well.

2. Cool by running cold water over them in the colander for a moment.

3. Toss the peas with sesame seeds, calendula petals and snap pea flowers.

4. Pour sesame oil over everything and toss lightly. Serve cool.

lemon parmesan asparagus salad

Lemon parmesan asparagus salad
Photo by Pixabay/ludwigwilliams

Lemon-Parmesan Asparagus Salad

Ingredients:

  • Two handfuls spring asparagus, sliced longwise, very thinly
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Whisk the oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper together.

2. Place the thinly sliced asparagus and Parmesan in a bowl, pour dressing over-top and toss lightly.

3. Serve immediately.

Minty-Orange Spring Peas

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups freshly shelled English peas
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • Zest of one orange
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves, chiffonade

Directions:

1. Cook peas for 4 minutes in 2 quarts boiling water. Drain well.

2. In a small bowl, mix melted butter, orange zest, and mint chiffonade. Pour over peas and toss lightly.Serve warm.

Pair any of these lovely spring salads and vegetable dishes with chops of spring lamb grilled to perfection. Add a bottle of Chianti or Malbec for the perfect spring al fresco dining experience. What’s coming out of your garden this month?


Sheryl Campbell is an heirloom gardener, shepherd, and edible flower educator who owns Bouquet Banquet in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Read Sheryl’s previous blogging with Mother Earth Gardener and Grit and read all of her 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.

A Base Bone Broth Recipe for Culinary Riffing

 

Bone broth ingredients simmering
Photo by Taylor Goggin

Have you ever made your own bone broth before? You know, that clear, protein rich liquid you can make at home that's loaded with infinite health benefits?

Homemade bone broth is as simple as simmering meat bones in water with select vegetables and herbs of your choice for enhanced flavor. Bone broth made at home tops any broth you buy at the store. Generally, packaged broths contain artificial meat flavors, a lot of sodium, and are loaded with MSG. 

In order to make your own broth purchase grass-fed bones from your local farmers market or perhaps the meat department in a supermarket will have them as well. You can also use bones from an already cooked chicken.

As stated on Dr Axe, simmering the bones causes the ligaments to “release healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine that ave the power to transform your health”.

Gelatin is a powerhouse for your body, shown to restore strength of the gut lining. The broth seals openings in the gut lining that cause inflammation also known as “leaky gut syndrome”. With the help of gelatin your gut heal those open seal and can function smoothly properly digesting your food without inflammation.

Your gut is also known as your “second brain” when you have a happy gut you have a happier mental state! These gut supportive benefits contribute to a healthy immune system. Consuming bone broth creates a positive rippling effect in your body.

The key here for making bone broth is cooking it low and slow.

Homemade Bone Broth

Ingredients:

  • 1 leek
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  •  bones
  • Bay leaf

Directions:

Chop leek, onion, and bell pepper. Oil a pan and sauté chopped vegetables. Add bones.

When veggies become slightly golden add purified water to completely submerged the mix (almost to the top of the pot). Add bay leaf. Cover and let mixture simmer on low for at least 2 hours.

Readers can follow this recipe to a tee or alter to your culinary preferences. Example of alternations you can feel free to add are carrots, celery, garlic, fresh herbs, and or black pepper. There are hundreds of bone broth recipes out there and this recipe is yours to tailor to your palette.

Store your broth in jars, glass bottles, any type of Tupperware you can have handy and ready to use for recipes! Make sure the broth has cooled completely before pouring it in glass jars. If you have made a large batch, throw half of it in the freezer to have for future dishes.

Bone broth is extremely versatile and can be used in so many ways! After you make your own batch, it can be used as a base for soups, stew, risottos, pasta water, etc. Replacing water for broth as a base for recipes will take your cuisines to the next level in terms of flavor and add a kick of nutrients. 

Easy to digest, nutrient-dense, and rich in flavor. Gather your ingredients and tag us in your bone broth recipes.


Taylor Goggin is tropical gardener in Florida who gained her skills in cooperative agriculture while work-trading with a World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) program on the Hawaiian Islands. She now grows papaya, banana, avocado, fig, tomatoes, and medicinal herbs to make into inventive plant-based recipes. Connect with Taylor on Instagram, and read all of her 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.

Home Brewing Kombucha

mother
Pixabay/timolivermetz

What is all the hype about this funky tea known as Kombucha? Kombucha most likely started in China and spread to Russian over 100 years ago. It is often called mushroom tea because if the scoby that forms on the top, resembling a mushroom. Scoby is actually an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

Kombucha contains multiple species of yeast and bacteria along with the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and vitamin C. According to the American Cancer Society "Kombucha tea has been promoted as a cure-all for a wide range of conditions including baldness, insomnia, intestinal disorders, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and cancer. Supporters say that Kombucha tea can boost the immune system and reverse the aging process." I will caution you however that there is little scientific evidence to support such strong claims.

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For us Kombucha is fun to make, and is highly recommended among many of my holistic friends. It is naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, which is helpful for digestive health. I think it smells a little strong, but is actually pleasant tasting.

Instructions for Making Kombucha Tea

Ingredients

14 cups water
1 cup sugar
8 tea bags
1 cupstarter tea or vinegar
kombucha culture

Directions

1. Combine hot water (14 cups for 1 gallon) and sugar (1 cup) in the glass jar you intend on using to brew the tea. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The water should be hot enough to steep the tea but does not have to be boiling.

2. Place the tea or tea bags in the sugar water to steep. Use 8 tea bags for a gallon of tea. I prefer the flavor of green tea, but you can also use black tea. Try to find an organic tea. If you use loose tea leaves use 4 tbsp for a gallon of tea.

3. Cool the mixture to room temperature. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools. Once cooled remove the tea bags.

4. Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid. If you do not have starter tea, distilled white vinegar may be substituted. If using vinegar use 2 cups for a gallon of tea.

5. Add an active kombucha scoby (culture).

6. Cover the jar with a towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Ants can smell sweet tea a mile away.

7. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 68-85°F, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.

Keep the scoby and about 1 cup of the liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch. You will have the “mother scoby” that you added and a new “baby scoby” that will have formed on the top. You can reuse your mother scoby, and gift your baby.

Souza_Kombucha_004-3-300x204

The finished kombucha can be flavored, or enjoyed plain. Keep sealed with an airtight lid at room temp for an additional 7 days with added fruit if you like a fizzy drink like soda.  Otherwise store in the fridge to stop the fermentation process.  These little bottles of “hippy tea” have been popping up all over grocery stores for about $3 a bottle, but you can make it at home for about $1 a gallon. I'm not sure that it's a cure-all, but at worst you have a delightful and affordable probiotic.

Melissa Souza lives on a 1-acre, organically managed homestead property in rural Washington State where she raises backyard chickens and meat rabbits and grows plums, apples, pears, a variety of berries, and all the produce her family needs. She loves to inspire other families to save money, be together, and take steps toward self-reliance no matter where they live.


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.

This Indigenous Corn Pinole 'Smoothie' Recipe Packs a Punch

pinole drink resize

Pinole smoothie by Renee Benoit

Pinole (Pin-Nole) is my new favorite smoothie. It’s a Southwestern food staple made out of native corn that has been roasted and ground into a fine powder. From my experience I have found that it’s best when mixed with milk and sweetened with honey for a creamy drink much like a milkshake. It can also be added to other foods as a supplement or thickening agent or even eaten alone. Try it when back packing or hiking just like Native Americans did when they were on the go. It’s light weight and durable and doesn’t mold or rot if you keep it dry.

Pinole has been a staple food for a very long time in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States but corn wasn’t always the familiar corn we’re used to. Archeao-botanists believe that corn was developed over thousands of years from “teosinte” grass. Teosinte was cultivated in Mexico and Central America and selected to eventually become corn as we know it. It’s not common but farmers in Mexico still let wild teosinte plants grow around the edges of their cornfields because they believe that it makes the domestic corn plants 'stronger'. Early types of corn then made their way through trade to the Southwest U.S. by 4,000 years ago.

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Corn teosinte, Photo credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation

Back in the days when travel was on foot or horseback, Pinole was the preferred food. It was easy to carry because it was dry and needed only a little bit of water to be satisfying and nutritious meal.

It’s a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Just two ounces of pinole provides 7 grams of fiber, 40 grams of complex carbohydrates, and 100 milligrams of anthocyanins; a specific antioxidant that may help reduce rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer and boost cognitive function.

Let’s make a Pinole Smoothie!

Making pinole is very easy. Just add 3 tablespoons (more or less to taste) pinole to 8 ounces of liquid of your choice: milk or nut beverage is best in my opinion but fruit juice is also very good. I tried mixing it with water but found too bland for my taste so experiment with what tastes best to you. I mixed mine with soy milk because I don’t tolerate cow’s milk very well. It was delicious.

You can add a bit of raw sugar, honey, cinnamon or vanilla. I found that honey mixes well. If you use raw sugar let it sit for a while until the sugar dissolves otherwise you have a crunchy texture! You can also blend it with ice in a blender for an iced drink. You can also add any jam that tastes good to you.

Pinole makes a great supplement! You can also add it to hot cocoa, hot cereal, pancakes, waffles, cakes, cookies, muffins, or pudding. You can also sprinkle it over ice cream or yogurt.

The great thing about Pinole is that it’s a food stuff that is derived from grains that are adapted to the environment and that means another way to tread lightly on Mother Earth.

You can buy pinole from Ramona Farms in Sacaton, Arizona.


Renée Benoit is a writer, artist, ranch caretaker and dedicated do-it-yourselfer who homesteads a small ranch in the southeast corner of Arizona near the Mexican border. Connect with Renée at RL Benoit, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts.







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