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Home made jelly on the window sill.
When I first thought of making jelly, I didn't realize that it was a definite challenge and art. When I visited with Eppel Beard, she made it look so easy. She gave no hint that it might be hard to make a perfect clear jelly with the colors vivid and beautiful that when taken from the jar would hold its shape. But when I tried to make jelly on my own for the first time, I chose a fruit low in pectin, put too much sugar in it and didn't cook it long enough. It turned out like syrup. I tried again and cooked it too long. When it hardened it made a very good candy. Soon I found my mistakes and tried again and it turned out all right.

Like most people, I had thought that it wouldn't be very hard to make jelly because I reasoned, all I'd have to do was follow the recipe on the box of pectin. But Eppel said the real challenge is to make jelly like women did before the age of packaged products and commercial pectin, when they depended on the natural pectin and acid in the fruit.

Some fruits have enough pectin and acid to jell naturally, while others don't. Also as the fruit ripens it loses its pectin and acid. A good method to assure success is to mix unripened fruit which has lots of natural pectin for jelling with ripe fruit for the color and flavor. Some good combinations are crab apple with grape, currant with raspberry, gooseberry with raspberry, tart apple with plum and tart apple with quince.

It is best to limit the amount of jelly made at one time, using not more than six quarts of berries or eight pounds of fruit like apples or grapes. Two pounds of fruit, when cooked, make about one pint of juice and when the sugar is added, it yields about one and one-half pints of jelly.

...Archive/Nominations

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Portal:Food and agriculture/Selected page/1

CSA participants in New Hampshire
Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or "share-holders" of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

It is a form of local support for agriculture. Subscribers pre-pay a farmer to grow the desired produce. Sometimes the farmer will select what is to be grown, sometimes the buyer selects what they want to buy, more often it is a cooperative arrangement between the two parties.

For farmers, CSA offers a fair, steady source of income and a chance to talk directly with their customers. Many CSA farmers encourage members and their families to get involved, to work alongside "their" farmer to learn more about the food is grown. This develops understanding of the challenges facing family farmers in the community and helps create real partners in the local food system.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Food and agriculture/Selected page/2

Arcata Educational Farm
Local food (also regional food or food patriotism) or the local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place" and is considered to be a part of the broader sustainability movement. It is part of the concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves "localvores" or locavores.

Local food systems are an alternative to the global corporate models where producers and consumers are separated through a chain of processors/manufacturers, shippers and retailers. With an increasing scale of industrial food systems the control of quality is increasingly decided by the middlemen while a local food system redevelops these relationships and encourage a return of quality control to the consumer and the producer respectively. These quality characteristics are not only in the product but in the method of producing.

A locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, 150 or 250 miles. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with the argument that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Food and agriculture/Selected page/3

Arcata Educational Farm
Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, compost, biological pest control, mechanical cultivation, and other techniques using natural processes, to maintain soil productivity and control pests. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and livestock feed additives. Genetically modified organisms are excluded, and organic standards in Britain and Australia exclude engineered nanoparticles.

"Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved..." -- International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

Organic standards
  • The land must be free of prohibited substances for 3 years prior to organic farming.
  • Seeds should be organic but right now the use of some non-organic seeds is permitted.
  • The use of genetic engineering, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation is prohibited.
  • Weeds are controlled with management practices and lots of work.
  • Garden pests are handled with integrated pest management practices which include biological, physical, and mechanical controls.
  • Some organic pesticides are permitted.
  • To maintain soil fertility organic farmers use methods such as: crop rotations, cover crops, animal manures, compost, and diversity in crops.
  • Some organic fertilizers are permitted.
...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Food and agriculture/Selected page/4

Home made jelly on the window sill.
When I first thought of making jelly, I didn't realize that it was a definite challenge and art. When I visited with Eppel Beard, she made it look so easy. She gave no hint that it might be hard to make a perfect clear jelly with the colors vivid and beautiful that when taken from the jar would hold its shape. But when I tried to make jelly on my own for the first time, I chose a fruit low in pectin, put too much sugar in it and didn't cook it long enough. It turned out like syrup. I tried again and cooked it too long. When it hardened it made a very good candy. Soon I found my mistakes and tried again and it turned out all right.

Like most people, I had thought that it wouldn't be very hard to make jelly because I reasoned, all I'd have to do was follow the recipe on the box of pectin. But Eppel said the real challenge is to make jelly like women did before the age of packaged products and commercial pectin, when they depended on the natural pectin and acid in the fruit.

Some fruits have enough pectin and acid to jell naturally, while others don't. Also as the fruit ripens it loses its pectin and acid. A good method to assure success is to mix unripened fruit which has lots of natural pectin for jelling with ripe fruit for the color and flavor. Some good combinations are crab apple with grape, currant with raspberry, gooseberry with raspberry, tart apple with plum and tart apple with quince.

It is best to limit the amount of jelly made at one time, using not more than six quarts of berries or eight pounds of fruit like apples or grapes. Two pounds of fruit, when cooked, make about one pint of juice and when the sugar is added, it yields about one and one-half pints of jelly.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Food and agriculture/Selected page/5

Yeast Cakes from Hops
Yeasts for Baking. Generally when one mentions yeast, aromatic loaves of fresh homemade light bread come to mind. And so they should. Aside from acting as a leavening agent in bakery products, yeast is also the ingredient responsible for the tantalizing aroma that arises during baking.

Though probably today the most commonly known and used are store-bought packages of dried yeast, there are several other different kinds. The recipes that follow show two examples of different ways to make yeast--dry yeast cakes made from hops and an everlasting yeast "starter"--and also how the yeasts are used in making bread.

The dry yeast cakes are made in part by boiling the blossoms of the hop vine. These flowers contain a fragrant yellowish oil called lupulin. The use of this oil as a preservative in beer and as a narcotic drug originated in Germany before Charlemagne. Since then its use has become widespread and the vine cultivated in other nations, including America.

The hop vine is related to the hemp and mulberry plants in the nettle family. The plant itself is twenty-five to thirty feet in length with rough lobed leaves and flowers that grow on catkin clusters. It is quite possible that many people in the Ozarks have never seen a hop vine, because although some Ozarkians have had limited success cultivating it, it grows best in sandy coastal regions.

...Archive/Nominations

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