Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Garden Begins & Homemade Amazake
I've been busy in the greenhouse.Look how they're all coming up! Mmmm...future delicious food.I've started medicinal & culinary herbs, dye plants, salad fixin's, brassicas, some flowers. I've been using this nifty little almanac from Ed Hume. It's available from their website, or at stores selling Ed Hume seeds. We used it last year and really liked it. It gives day-by-day suggestions, according to lunar and astrological cues, for the best times for planting, weeding, fertilizing, harvesting, and much more. I've found it to be especially helpful when I'm feeling overwhelmed with garden tasks, or not sure what to do next; I let the suggestions in the almanac decide for me. I've been looking through the upcoming weeks and making notes in my daily planner as to what gardening tasks to do on which days. So far, so good! Recently I made some amazake. A delicious, naturally sweet beverage made with organic sweet brown rice and koji. Koji is a culture (Aspergillus oryzae) used to ferment the rice. It's quite easy to make amazake at home, the only trick being to keep the fermenting rice at a consistent 120 deg. for about ten hours. I have a box food dehydrator with an adjustable thermostat that works great, but it could also be kept warm with a heating pad, or on a radiator. The recipe I use yields about three quarts of amazake. Usually I freeze about half of it for future use. Last year I made some pretty tasty "ice cream" out of it. It can be used as a sweetener in baking; my favorite recipe is coconut macaroons with chocolate chips. And of course, it's so delicious to drink. I like to blend some up with cocoa powder, vanilla, maca, and a dab of almond butter. Wow, what an awesome treat. I'm working on getting together a system for getting good photos in the (dimly lit) kitchen. Then I'll be able to make some more detailed food posts with recipes & how-to's. Until next time, Happy Spring!