Dick Margulis shares tips for making your own sausage, buying ingredients at bargain prices and substituting whole wheat flour for white flour.
First, I want to apologize to those people who responded to my "Positions & Situations" listing in the May/ June 1973 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS and never got answers. Two members of our group died in an automobile accident last July while we were on our way to look at a farm. After that, we just never got ourselves together enough to reply to all the mail.
Now for some miscellaneous ramblings on subjects of interest. In the November/December 1973 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Gray asked how to make blood sausage (blutwurst). My boss gave me the following recipe off the top of his head; he says it's precise enough if you know what end result you're aiming for.
In some localities it's possible to buy fresh pork blood. Otherwise, the first step is to stick a pig, being careful to cut only the jugular, not the esophagus. Catch the blood in a stainless steel or plastic (not galvanized) bucket and stir it constantly to prevent clotting. (Use your hand rather than a spoon.) Mix in three to four teaspoons of salt to half a pail of blood and immediately add the following: cooked rice and/or barley sufficient to absorb the liquid adequately, chopped fatty pork, pepper, marjoram and additional salt to taste. Depending upon your preferences and the nationality you're imitating, you might try other spices, chopped onions, garlic powder, etc.
Stuff the mixture into whatever type of casing you prefer and tie the sausages. Simmer them in a large pot of water until they're cooked and chill them immediately. Serve the blutwurst cold or sliced, fried in butter and topped with lingonberry preserves. This is an uncured product, not meant for long keeping, so teach all your friends to like it.
Lee Ona Coleman and anyone else who's interested in old-time recipes should get hold of a book by Sandra Oddo, a good cook and a MOTHER EARTH NEWS subscriber. Home Made (Atheneum, 1972) is a compilation of recipes from old sources, with a good bibliography and an introduction to help you interpret the formulas.
People who use nutritional yeast-or would if they could stomach it-should know about Vimco brand, put out by Randal Nutritional Products. This product is yeast grown in whey, plus dried buttermilk. Its analysis is nearly equal to that of brewer's yeast, the price is low (especially in the larger packages) and the stuff actually tastes good. Honest! I presume that if you write the makers they'll tell you who distributes Vimco in your area.
Some friends of mine who are really into fresh carrot juice (to the tune of 50 pounds of carrots a week) discovered that a local packing house rejects very small, very large and misshapen roots rather than put them in cellophane bags. They don't actually discard the vegetables, but pack them up in 50-pound sacks which sell for $1.00. Presumably other sorts of produce are treated in much the same way. Check out your Yellow Pages.
Tank car owners won't ship unrefined soy oil because the lecithin coats the insides of the tanks. Hence, lecithin is a waste product from the processors' point of view and (as a liquid) should cost less than 40 cents a pound even in small quantities. In contrast, the granular form retails at about $2.00 a pound.
If you make a fair amount of bread, quit buying active dry yeast. Even in large lots, it's a waste of money. Almost any small bakery (one where they actually bake, not just a retail store) will be happy to sell you a pound of fresh yeast at or near cost since by so doing they use up their stock of this perishable item more quickly.
The leavening you buy from the bakery measures the same as dry yeast but weighs two and one-half times as much. (One pound fresh equals 6.4 ounces dry.) It keeps best if you slice off what you need with a sharp knife and wrap the remainder. White and green mold should be removed, as should dark brown dry areas.
Fresh yeast will keep about a month in the refrigerator. Toward the end of that period, however, you'll have to use a bit extra. You can freeze whatever you won't need in the four weeks after you buy it, but the result will be less potent by about 25-30% (the low temperature kills that many cells).
Lori and Michael mention the "floury" taste of whole-wheat lefse. I don't know whether the following trick works with that dish, but it's fine for any sweet baked goods (like pastries and cakes) in which the nutritional value of whole grain flour is desired but the characteristic flavor isn't: Add a small amount of orange extract or frozen orange juice concentrate to the dough or batter. If you use the right amount, the result tastes neither orangy nor wheaty, just rich. Some trial and error is in order, but here's a guide to start with: Pastry recipes that call for lemon rind or extract (doughnuts, coffee cakes, etc.) should need twice as much orange as lemon, in addition to the lemon when you substitute unrefined flour for white. For cakes, a six-ounce can of frozen concentrate neutralizes five pounds of whole-wheat flour.
One more home baking tip: Only raw milk must be scalded before being put into a yeast dough. The pasteurized kind needs just to be warmed (you can do it along with the fat, sweetener and salt). Best wishes to MOTHER EARTH NEWSreaders, and I hope these hints come in handy.