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May 9, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

I'm a fair bit north of you so I'm still waiting for the dandelions to show themselves and then garden season will be in full swing!

I've recently started up a food preservation / urban homesteading blog. It's partly my attempt to organize my hundreds of recipes and partly to "do something" with my food passion. (So many people have told me to start up a food truck, but a blog is more my speed.) I run a publishing company, so my ultimate goal once I have the recipes written out and organized is to then put them into a couple cookbooks.

With alllll that in mind, do you have any suggestions or tips or advice for someone new to the food and homestead blogging world?

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For sure!

That's actually exactly how my blog (or blogs) started originally...just a place to gather my thoughts and put my notes. I'd done all the research into how to ID a plant, but if I didn't write it down I'd just forget it, so I wrote it for myself and everyone else at the same time (though for a long time, no one else was reading it of course).

(I actually did kind of start a food truck, or at least a farmer's market food table at a bunch of different local markets...and though the food was popular and we always sold out, blogging is more my speed too...I, quite frankly, just can't handle the humans...not in person at least.)

Since you run a publishing company, you're probably well ahead of the game at how to organize and format the written word to make it digestible and accessible, and that's what a lot of new bloggers struggle the most with.

And beyond that, the second obstacle is getting more than just your mom to read it, if that indeed is your goal. (Ironically, my mom and family don't read mine...so I never made it there, but I did get other people to read it some how.)

It really depends on your goals in the long term.

Do you really want it to be just a place where you gather your thoughts and recipes for use somewhere else later (like a book), or do you want to try to use it to promote said book before it comes out, or do you want to try to make income from the blog in its own right....or do you just want to write because it's fun and putting awesome things out into the world is a great way to contribute and meet new and interesting people with shared interests online?

Regardless though, my best advice is to write 30 posts before you tell anyone about your blog (or at least anyone you know and care about in person). That's the advice I was given at the beginning, and I think it's really solid.

You get the kinks out that way, and get a bit of flow into it, and have enough content that you can show it to people in a meaningful way. And you also get yourself out there on a few different topics before you hear feedback and reactions, which can be crippling and demoralizing on your first and only post...enough to stop you from writing more. Once you're 30 posts in, things start coming together, and you're committed...that's a good time to talk about it to family, friends and the world.

(I'm happy to help in any way I can if you have specific questions as you get started, just let me know.)

Best of luck with it!

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Thank you!

Ultimately my goal is a little bit of everything — a place to organize my stuff, ad and affiliate revenue, a source for my book, and promo for my book. (I scooped up that book you recommended on your blog, about how to start a blog, and it was helpful!)

I’m about 15 posts in so far and it’s going good so far though a bit slow— once summer hits I’ll be overrun with material since I’ll be taking photos of everything I do so I can create blog posts.

I’m somehow managing to get some traffic already. My mom is reading it, lol, but I know it’s more than her. (She’s on vacation in Kazakhstan right now so it’s easy to know which views are her on my blog stats!)

And I did farmers markets last year! I similarly dislike working with people, lol.

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May 8, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Hi! I have so many questions about your indoor citrus growing extravaganzas. How do you deal with pests? Leaf drop? What are your most common pests? Do you fertilize? With what and when? Any questions I'm missing?

Thanks!

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Good questions. They do drop leaves in the winter, that's normal in northern climates especially, but they do come back when more light hours are available.

We get them into the greenhouse as early as we can, provided it'll stay above freezing. Sadly, our greenhouse door shifted...and it didn't latch properly...meaning it blew open in the middle of the night and they all got frost killed. We're working on that latch, but there's a brick in front of it now...but the lemons still all died. They're just so darn frost sensitive.

Anyhow, the most common pest was those little soil knats, but you deal with that by repotting and letting the soil dry out between waterings. For fertilizer, try espoma citrus tone.

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May 8, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Would love to know any new (this or last yr) fun things you've planted this season that you're looking forward to! We added a wolf cider apple tree to pollinate our liberty trees, and replanted a black raspberry bed with lingonberries, strawberries and 1 wild rose (all of them want similar soil!). Our goji berry of 3+ years is finally thriving and a good amount of our saffron that we planted has made it another year!

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Favorites from last year include alpine strawberries, they're amazingly delicious. I definitely prefer the red ones, but my daughter likes the white/yellow, so it's up to your tastes.

Opalka tomatoes are my favorite tomato of all time, for everything. They're a paste tomato but they have better flavor than any tomato I've ever tried. I eat them like apples right out in the garden.

We did a pumpkin taste off, and New England Cheese (also called long island cheese) was by far the best.

We tried honeynut squash this year, which is like butternut in shape, but much more intense flavor and they're amazing. I really want to make them into an ice cream, as they taste so rich and carmel-y all on their own. (They don't keep though, so unlike butternut, you have to use them up quickly).

Those are my first throughts, if I remember anything else I'll let you know. (And I absolutely love lingonberries fresh, they're so good, and not astringent like cranberries, I hope you enjoy them.)

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May 9, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

I want to can but am totally terrified of screwing up! I would just start with water bath but don't know what to begin with. Any recommendations?

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So water bath canning is pretty fool proof honestly, so long as you only can things that are approved for water bath canning. That includes pickles, fruits, jams and jellies. All of those are high in acid (low pH) meaning that you're not dealing with the risk of botulism. That's the main risk with canning in general, and it's just not an issue with the type of things you water bath can, so the risk is really quite minimal.

I'd start by water bath canning jars of water, simple as that. That'll get you use to the process and how to fill jars, put on lids and load the canner (which can be tricky your first time, those jar lifters are tricky). Literally just can water, then let the jars cool and listen for the "ping" when they seal. Check the seals, practice that, and remove the rings and make sure the jars are fully sealed.

Once you've gone through a dry run with water like that until you feel comfortable, try canning a simple fruit jam.

Trust me, you'll feel a lot better once you've done it in person once or twice, even if it is with water. And after that, jam is kind of foolproof. Choose a high sugar European recipe. In Europe, they don't even can their jam, it just keeps on its own (so much sugar and lemon juice), so canning it is an incredibly low risk way to practice.

This is a good example of a European style jam recipe. Very sweet, no added pectin, just fruit, sugar and lemon juice: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/simple-strawberry-jam-european-style/

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May 9, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Perfect! Thank you!

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May 9, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Thanks so much for your time.

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founding

Will you be able to answer my previous question about homemade food wrap recipes using pine resin or pine rosin as an added ingredient?

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So everyone knows what you're referring to here, this is the question via email:

"Can you clarify an ingredient definition? When recommending pine sap: is it pine resin or pine rosin used as a recommended addition. They are not the same.

Recipes for making cloth food container wraps from cotton cloth used to replace cling wrap, saran wrap, or wax paper. Some recipes list pine resin as a recommended ingredient. I think some confuse pine resin with pine rosin. My understanding is pine resin is pure sap cleaned of debris. Pine rosin is residue left after turpentine has been distilled and cleaned of debris. Within the recipes, what is used: resin or rosin? or does it not make a difference? Just curious, I am about to make more wraps, and recently discovered I have been making rosin and not resin from my foraged pine sap because I learned the processes are different"

To answer your question:

I honestly have no idea here. I have never made beeswax food wraps myself, though I have seen friends do it and been gifted them, but I've never purchased the materials or written a recipe for anything.

The only interaction I have had with pine resin and rosin is in grafting apple trees, where you make a tree wound treatment from either resin or rosin...and I also found conflicting information there and never really got to the bottom of it. I ended up just using a commercially prepared tree wound goo when we made a multi variety apple tree.

I don't know the exact process for working with actual pine sap in this context, and if you do find a good answer there online from someone who seems like they know what they're talking about I'd love to see it...as I'm also mired in conflicting information on the topic.

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May 9, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

I am planting and planting and then... planting some more! It's make or break time.

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Sounds about right!

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It'll be about three weeks out before I do my first racking of the dandelion wine, but I'm worried about how to get the flowers and citrus debris out without stirring things up unnecessarily. It's probably very obvious, but how do you accomplish this? I do have the wide-mouthed 1 gallon containers. I was thinking that I could take a small sieve dipped in Camden tablet water and then bail out the petals, etc. as best as possible before syphoning. I'm wondering if some sort of coffee filter setup would be feasible. I'm definitely practice the whole syphoning process ahead of time so I know I know what I'm doing!

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So that's exactly what I do. The petals mat together, so I start by removing them with a fork and they come out as a mat all together. I get the last ones with a mesh strainer, then carefully pour (or siphon) the liquid to the new container, leaving the sediment at the bottom.

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Ashley, I made my first batch of wine and it was dandelion wine. I was surprised at how long it took to separate the "flower" from the green part. When I separated them, the part that is yellow really was mostly white and "seed" like. They were very young dandelions, so I am hoping that that is okay. Also, I made a note to cut back the water added to the sugar for the simple syrup because mine overflowed, too. I'm thinking cutting back by just a 1/4-1/2 cup. That should be okay, right? It might be a little stronger, but I'm good with that! After reading the comments where many said that theirs overflowed, I preemptively put a flat-bottomed fruit bowl beneath the gallon carboy to catch the overflow. This worked perfectly and was very easy to clean and set back up. Thank you for such straight-forward directions and simple ingredients. It was not intimidating at all. As produce starts to become bountiful in my fruit forest, it will be so nice to turn to your recipes. I really appreciate all that you do.

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Sounds like you did it just right!

Yes, the petals do have white "seed" looking fluff at the bottom, that's normal, even when they're young.

And yes, you can use slightly less water/sugar mixture to keep the level lower at the start. When you filter out the petals, just top it off later.

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May 9, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Hi Ashley, I grew a lot of cabbage last season thinking it would last all winter in the basement but it did not. I made sauercraut in jars and stocked the frige, did not want to can ... Wanted the enzyes. How did the oldtimers eat it all winter? It only lasts so long in a fresh BIG crock? It's known as a cancer prevention and don't want it to come back. THanks!

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I think there's a couple of ways they did it. First, many of the crocks were burried into the basement floors, so they stayed root cellar cool (or fridge cool) all winter long. They also replaced the brine on top regularly so that everything stayed submerged.

And I think lastly, they made multiple batches. Cabbage would keep 6+ months in a root cellar, and so does kraut...so they'd harvest it all in the fall, make kraut with part of it, and then keep starting new batches with the root cellared stuff (rather than making one huge batch right away). That way, the kraut wouldn't get too fermented, but they'd eventually use up all the cabbage they wanted by this time of year...and then the last batch took them through the summer.

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May 9, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Hi Ashley, where is the recipe for the dandelion cake? It was not listed under the red link. Also, I have a lot of dried aronia berries on some of my trees that did not get picked. If I wash and dry them what can I do with them? Can I plant Corn in the same place as I did last year. I have not had good luck with heirloom varieties. Thank you!

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I just posted the recipe here for you Kay: https://adamantkitchen.com/dandelion-root-cake/

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I used the America's Test Kitchen recipe for honey carrot cake, but it looks like it's pay walled on their website. (I love their recipes, they're always perfect.) I'm out and about at the moment, but I'll see about getting that specific recipe added to that page so that it's there and you can make it.

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May 8, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

I have a decent sized area that I would like to use for more raised beds but two black walnut trees abut the area. They are just over my property line.suppose I can plant greens in the mustard

Garlic mustard thrives there, so I suppose I can try greens in them mustard family. Do you have any experience planting near black walnut trees and juglone tolerant (edible) plants?

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All of our black walnut trees and butternut trees are kind of off in the hinterlands, no where near our cultivated areas, so I don't have any experience trying to garden near them. My friend Chris has an article on this though: https://joybileefarm.com/plants-will-grow-near-black-walnut-trees/

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May 8, 2023Liked by Ashley Adamant

Hi Ashley, I was gifted a bunch of bok choy and Napa cabbage. I know there’s no canning instructions for them - but I was wondering if there is an Asian base soup I could can them in? Any recommendations? One can only eat so much kimchi lol

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That is a darn good question. I've heard that cabbage dehydrates really well, though I haven't tried that personally. More on that here: https://www.thepurposefulpantry.com/dehydrate-cabbage/

There are a number of canning approved cabbage relish recipes, but like kimchi, you can only eat so much relish.

The bok choy might actually do well in a canned soup recipe in place of chard. I made a "white bean and greens" soup from Angi's pressure canning book that was excellent, and I think the bok choy would go well in that...but you only use a small amount. Like 1 bundle across quite a few jars.

Cabbage does keep for an age in the fridge, properly wrapped. Like literally months, so depending on how much you have that might be a good option and just use it up a bit at a time.

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