Shannon

I am wife to Stewart, mama of five, homeschooler, messy cook, and avid fermenter. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
919 articles written by Shannon

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Storms rolled through thick and heavy last week and whenever rain seems imminent, somehow we all find our way to the garden. Stewart took a look at the garlic and the impending moisture and declared it time to harvest so Abram and I finished planting pole beans and headed over.

Garlic is one of our favorite foods to grow, harvest, and eat. It is so good and good for you and because it grows over the winter, it tends to do better than many of the summer crops that can be easily ravaged by heat or drought here. Last week’s harvest reminded me of why harvesting this allium is so fun – the children think it’s a treasure hunt!

“Look at this one!” “That’s huge!” “Ma, did you see what Ruthie has?”. It’s just so much fun.

We filled a big black trash can, a large tote, and a crate with the fresh garlic. It was right about then that we heard on the weather radio that severe storms were rolling through so I took the children to shelter and Stewart got the garlic into the barn and followed shortly behind us.

We trimmed the garlic tops and roots and ended up with what Stewart estimates as about twice as much garlic as last year’s harvest. Since last year’s harvest was our largest yet, we are blown away. And while many of the heads are quite large, it is also really spicy and pungent and doesn’t taste at all watered down to us.

In the end, once trimmed and stored, we ended up filling a box full of five pound potato bags (maybe 4-5) plus a crate and a basket I’ll be keeping on the counter for cooking and medicinal purposes. This may be enough garlic for all of our food and seed needs until the next year’s harvest, Lord willing.

I am in awe of the work the Lord has done with provisions such as this. Every year we harvest, the question is asked: “This really grew from just a single clove of garlic?”. Yes, children, yes it did. And isn’t it merciful and miraculous?

Previous Garlic Harvests

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When we were eating Matzo for Passover everyone in the family kind of hinted that maybe homemade crackers should be a regular deal. For some reason I had it in my head that this was much to laborious a process to become a common food in our home but really, it’s not.

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Especially since I mix up the dough in five minutes and walk away for 12-24 hours. Then, when a window of time in which I’ll be in the kitchen anyway (and not rushing to prepare a meal) presents itself, I roll and bake them. That’s actually one of the things I really like about sourdough: I can do it on my own time.

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Plus, with a long fermentation, the fibers and starches are broken down when the lactic acid bacteria go to work. Just like the breads in Traditionally Fermented Foods, I almost always shoot for at least a 12-24 hour fermentation period. Things like pancakes and crackers are especially easy to ferment for long periods since you don’t depend on the sourdough for leavening and the break down of gluten in the process is actually helpful.

And, with the tangy flavor sourdough imparts, these crackers are full of flavor.

Sourdough Crackers

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or clean hands, cut the fat into the flour and salt mixture until it is about the size of peas. Make a well in the flour-fat mixture.

To the well, add the water, starter, and eggs. Beat together to break up the eggs and then incorporate into the dry ingredients. Add more water or flour, if needed, to form a firm but soft dough. Cover and leave to ferment for 8-24 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously grease two baking sheets and sprinkle them with salt. Uncover the fermented dough and divide it into eighths. Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle and transfer that to one of your baking sheets. Cut the dough into 1-2″ squares and move these apart slightly on your baking sheet. Prick crackers several times with a fork. Repeat with one more section of dough.

Place crackers in preheated oven and bake 12-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool before eating. Repeat process with remaining cracker dough.