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Author Topic: Sustainable Food Thread  (Read 14466 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #30 on: Oct 14, 2008 at 19:57 »

Just cleared out some garage space for the brewing supplies that UPS delivered, much to Mrs. F's bewilderment.  Read an article about home brewed hard cider, and thought, That sounds easy enough.  And the equipment is all I'd need to brew beer and wine, too.  Cider's easier, so it's my early foray into moonshinin', LOL. 

Have five gallons of local cider bubbling like mad right now.  Hope to brew 3 batches before Thanksgiving.  Never really drank the stuff, so I tried some Woodchuck at ye local pub (after I had the stuff going): a bit sweet, mainstream flavors, not kicky enough.  Want mine still (not bubbling), so, more like wine than beer.  Will probably try beer and wine in the spring.

Early thought on naming/labeling this batch, courtesy of my namesake lit: Earwicker's Publican Cider, with a picture of a chimp in a top hat on the label as homage.  Will prolly sample some early, gift some, and then cellar some as long as I can.  Hope is that I can break out some for the 2009 Steelers opener and have it, well, rock the motherfucking house.

Anyone home brew?

BTW, I used champagne yeast and added 2 lbs of brown sugar to up the alcohol, and second day in it's bubbling out the airlock maniacally.  I know champagne yeasts are very active, and the sugar may really boom the alcohol, but the specific gravity (starting) suggested something in the 7-8% range.  Now, if it keeps going like this, the adjusted SG may up that substantially.  This thing's kicking out more gas than I do.
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Big Virgil
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« Reply #31 on: Oct 15, 2008 at 08:11 »

No home brew experience for me.

How much Earwickers Publican Cider can I get for $37?
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« Reply #32 on: Oct 15, 2008 at 10:03 »

No home brew experience for me.

How much Earwickers Publican Cider can I get for $37?

Counting start-up costs, my first batch should come to about $9.02 per bottle.  I anticipate doing about 3 5-gallon batches, which would drop the cost to $3.54 per. 

They have beer kits which are supposed to be pretty good, and would cost about half of retail.  If I get good at this and buy materials rather than kits, maybe a third to a quarter the cost?  Have to see how it turns out...

For MGS members, a special rate!  $37 gets you a variety pack of cider and beer!  The gummint doesn't need to know about this, right?
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pensodyssey
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« Reply #33 on: Oct 15, 2008 at 12:41 »

No home brew experience for me.

How much Earwickers Publican Cider can I get for $37?

Counting start-up costs, my first batch should come to about $9.02 per bottle.  I anticipate doing about 3 5-gallon batches, which would drop the cost to $3.54 per. 

They have beer kits which are supposed to be pretty good, and would cost about half of retail.  If I get good at this and buy materials rather than kits, maybe a third to a quarter the cost?  Have to see how it turns out...

For MGS members, a special rate!  $37 gets you a variety pack of cider and beer!  The gummint doesn't need to know about this, right?

I used to home brew years ago when I lived in london, and then again when I moved back.  If you get good at it, you'll find you end up paying less than $1 per bottle. 
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #34 on: Oct 15, 2008 at 13:05 »

Cool.

Some weird market shit with the price of hops might skew that, but if the beer brewing works out, I may even try a hand at growing some hops. 

Gotta read up over the winter.  Cider's the easy intro: dump cider, yeast, and (optional sugar) into the fermenter and let 'er rip. 
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« Reply #35 on: Oct 17, 2008 at 18:05 »

5 days in, and still bubbling like mad.  I mean, it was bubbling right away and hasn't stopped, usually 2-4 bubbles per second.  I keep thinking, the more CO2 this baby pushes out, the more delectable alcohol Finny gets to ingest.

I wanna rack this by next weekend so I can start another batch.  Going to the Giants game, so hope the bubbling stops by next Saturday.
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jonzr
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Have a cup o' joe.


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« Reply #36 on: Nov 07, 2008 at 11:31 »

So, how did it turn out man?  Were you able to harvest before the local winos sussed the place out?
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« Reply #37 on: Nov 07, 2008 at 11:47 »

I used a champagne yeast, and added some extra brown sugar to give it an alcohol spike.  Champagne yeast is supposed to be very active, and produce a very dry cider.  Usually, the bbbling is supposed to stop in a week or two.  Almost 4 weeks into this, and it's still bubbling.  I expect a high alcohol content.  The airlock, where the CO2 bubbles out, still has a nice cidery smell.  I'll probably rack it next week at this time, whether it's done or not, just so I can get a second batch in before the season is out. 

Part of it may be that I have the works in the garage, and cooler weather (42-48F in the garage, mostly) has retarded the fermentation process.  Whatever.  As long as it tastes good.  Maybe try some around Thanksgiving.

If I invest in a belt heater, I might be able to get a third batch going.
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« Reply #38 on: Dec 18, 2008 at 09:40 »

Cider update: first batch was bottled the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  IIRC, there were 27 bottles, and one that was 3/4 full that I'll test around St. Patty's day.

I bought 5 more gallons of cider from the orchard we go to, just before Thanksgiving, and had them in the garage for about a month.  Pretty cool out there, so the containers weren't bulging or anything, but wild yeasts may have gotten some foothold that could vie with the yeast I drop.  Well, this past weekend I finally started the last batch of 2008.  The first batch came in at about 8.5% alcohol, so this time I added more brown sugar and some honey, plus spices (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, etc.), for a spikier holiday brew.  Added white wine yeast, and put it in the basement, which is warmer than the fermentorium/garage.  Fucker's been bubbling like mad ever since.  Didn't get the initial specific gravity reading, as Mrs. F. discarded the un-fermented sample, and I didn't want to expose the batch to air.  Just figure, this stuff will be closer to wine than triple bock, based on sugar inputs.

OK, so we're riding out the bad economic times with a freezer full of pastured beef from Oat's boy Farmer Bob; an organic ham we got at Costco (kind of a cheat); and a pastured turkey from a new farm we tried for Thanksgiving.  I got two birds for Thanksgiving and froze one.  Also, plenty of freezer veggies and berries being used right now.  Stuff frozen 6 months ago has held up perfectly.

Some interesting stories on NPR today:

One of the ingredients I always have on hand, and look for good quality, is olive oil.  Apparently, there's money to be made in thinning olive oil with other stuff.  So be careful there.  If you go to Costco, the Kirkland brand premium is excellent and not all that pricey.  Williams-Sonoma has good ones that are pricey, but watch for markdowns.  Also, a good Italian market (like Penn Mac in Pittsburgh) is an excellent source. 

I've been on the pastured products bandwagon for some time now, and it's heartening to hear that some folks want organic milk to be labeled thus only if it's also pastured.  I heartily concur.

And one of my favorite authors of the sustainable ag and real food movement, Michael Pollan, weighs in
on Obama's Dept. of Ag appointee Vilsack.  I'm willing to give Obama appointees a chance, but I agree that he's not likely to be the guy to make the kinds of important changes Pollan advocates.  More likely, we're going to see status quo and maybe a few tweaks.

Also, mentioned somewhere that I was reading Anticancer, by David Servan-Schreiber.  All in all a very good book, and highly recommended if you or someone you know is now battling cancer.  I was mostly interested in seeing what he had to say on food as medicine, with some foods proven anti-inflammatories (inflammation sets the table for a host of diseases, including cancer) and others proven cancer-killers.  The second half of the book got into more the mental aspect of fighting cancer, and techniques like yoga that aren't explored as much in traditional medicine but that may have value.  The latter part was fine, but I just sort of skimmed through that.  On the whole, I'd characterize it as a conventional medical practitioner giving sound scientific scrutiny to some aspects of what is lumped together as alternative medicine.  At the very least, he makes a sound case for dietary changes.  If you happen to see this book, at least read the chapters on food.  They completely dovetail my other readings on health and sustainability.

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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #39 on: Dec 18, 2008 at 09:52 »

Sample diet:

12/17/08

Breakfast:  Fage plain yogurt with local blueberries and blackberries (frozen mid-summer), local honey (about 1 t.), cinnamon, and about 3 T. Kashi GoLean.  Fage is Greek yogurt that I love and Mrs. F. hates: she likes the more Americanized version, which I find too sweet, and too runny.  Greek yogurt is tart and tangy, and thick, more like sour cream.  I always buy extra and use it in place of sour cream in cooking.  They have a fat-free and a regular, and I buy the regular.  Fat free is, to me, less satisfying to hunger.  I don't use as much of the regular yogurt either.

Lunch:  Salad with organic greens, hothouse tomatoes and cukes, and homemade green goddess dressing; piece of homemade mushroom quiche; and an apple.  The quiche was a cheat, we used a store bought crust, and there are carbs, of course.  The eggs were some left from the farm, with a better omega 3 count and better nutritional value overall.  The mushrooms used were sauteed maitake and shiitake, with some enokis thrown in raw to bake.  Maitake and shiitake are prized in Japan and China for medicinal uses, and have since been shown to be cancer-fighters, and to have properties that help against diabetes and blood pressure.  Either way, they're delicious. 

Dinner:  Mrs. F. had some roasted steelhead trout, but I had medium-rare NY strips from Farmer Bob's ranch, with roasted beets and Brussels sprouts, dressed only with extra virigin olive oil.  That's also lunch today.

It takes a little more work to gather and prepare these foods, but they are delicious and IMO a far better course than commodity foods.
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