ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends


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Bookmark This! King Arthur Flour Fruit Pie Thickener Guide

I love King Arthur Flour. They stock the best cooking equipment, and their flours are high quality and reliable. I also have a Pavlovian response to their cinnamon buns.

But… my appreciation is deepened every time I find valuable resources – tiny treasures for bakers – hidden in their website. Today, it was a table of how to thicken fruits for pie using flour, corn starch, tapioca, sure gel, and their branded “Pie Filling Enhancer.”

https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/guides/pie-thickener

I used the table to make cherry pie filling for some cherry turnovers. And (oh darn!) I made too much and had to freeze some for pie later.

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The Canning Inventory, 2019

Friends, I have been way behind in relating some important news in the 2019 ReLocavore season.

First, I am sure many of you know, but if you don’t, ReLocavore and The Mister relocated. We are now back in our native turf, Southern Wisconsin. Back with quality farm land, quality farmers and quality markets. So, we re-re-located. You’ll see a definite shift in my work. First, I have lots of built-in helpers. Second, my new house has white composite marble countertops (goodbye beautiful New Hampshire granite).

Second, I have not been posting the canning inventory for 2019. Let me catch you up…

  • 37 pints Strawberry Jam (h/t Smother and The Mister)
  • 8 quarts frozen strawberry halves
  • 9 pints blueberry jam (h/t The Mister for getting them from Tree Ripe Fruit Co)
  • 10 quarts frozen blueberries (I think…?)
  • 6 quarts canned peach halves (ditto Tree Ripe)
  • 6 pints peach butter
  • 1 gallon cherry bounce (h/t Brennan’s Cellars)
  • 16 cherry hand pies
  • 2 quarts dried cherries
  • 7 half-pints cherry jam
  • 1 quart cherry pie filling (future pie #1)
  • 1 quart frozen cherries (future pie #2)
  • 2 quarts cucumber pickles
  • 6 quarts hot dilly green beans (h/t Smother)


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Strawberry Jam 2019

Sam and I picked strawberries at Carrandale Farm in Oregon, WI on a hot, humid July 5.We pulled in 39.8 lbs. Cost was $2/lb for $78.44. I also had to buy jars for this goaround.

We netted 35 jars of jam from 28 cups of crushed berries, 21.5lbs of sugar, and 7 pouches of Certo pectin. I also added about a half cup of lemon juice to the recipe because the berries were very sweet.


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Glorious Gammon 2: The Porkventory

The hang weight for the hog was around 236lbs, and we know our half was 118 lbs (hang weight).

This year we split the hog with 2 other families, so this is my inventory for one quarter of a hog:

  • 5 lbs ground pork,
  • 6.5lb rib end roast
  • 9.6lb ham, butt end (not the shank end)
  • 4.3lb pork butt roast
  • 5.6 lb loin roast
  • 1 shank, uncured, 1.4 lbs
  • 5 lbs bacon

I would take pictures, but you would only see frozen hunks of meat wrapped in plastic with a label. Nothing to see here (yet).


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Dirt Oven Cooking?

I caught this interesting description of Dirt Oven Cooking from Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham (not related to the Hunger Games sequel… which makes it a difficult book to find on Amazon searches.)

“…the Aranda of central Australia [way of cooking meat] involved digging a hole, filling it iwht a pile of dry wood, and topping that with large stones that did not crack when heated–often river cobblestones that had to be carried from a distance. When the stones were red-hot and fell through the fire, they were pulled out with sticks and the ashes were removed. The hot stones were then returned and covered with a layer of green leaves. Cooks liked to wrap meat in leaves to retain its juices before placing it on this layer, sometimes on top of a plant food such a roots. More green leaves and perhaps a basked mat would be laid on top, water was poured on, and some people added herbs for taste. Finally, the hole was filled with a layer of soil to retain the steam. After an hour or more–sometimes it was left overnight–the meat and vegetables would be ready and superb. The meat was laid on leave branches, carved with a stone knife, and served. The even heat and moist environment made earth ovens efficient for gelatinizing starch and other carbohydrates, and they offered effective control over the tenderness of meat. This sophisticated cooking technique doubtless increased the digestibility of the meat and plant foods” (pp124).

So, backyard pot roast anybody? Gristly beef chuck roast, fat potatoes, sweet potatoes, maybe some onions and herbs. I’d eat that.

Should I try it out in my backyard? Anybody have some river cobblestones that I could carry from a distance?