Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Cooking from scratch (49)

Why we make our own maple syrup

Mother Earth News / Rebecca Harrold / 29 March 2018

Finally, after years of talking about it, we tapped some sugar maple trees and boiled down the sap to make maple syrup. The syrup we produced is rich in maple flavour and tastes all the more delicious because we produced it ourselves.

Our home is in Southern Ontario, in the heart of the sugar maple’s (Acer saccharum) range. Around here, real maple syrup is easy to find at farmers markets, at farmgate sales on Mennonite farms or at any Maple Syrup Festival. Despite its easy availability, we wanted to try our hand at making it ourselves. It would be one more check mark on our list of Self-sufficiency To Dos.

We tried. We succeeded (with lots of room for improvement). And we’re doing it again next year. While not labour intensive, it does take time and effort to produce a batch of maple syrup. But for us, all that time and effort are worthwhile. Real maple syrup, in addition to being delicious, really is a better option than refined sugars and even some natural sugars.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Eating out increases levels of phthalates in the body, study finds

The Guardian / Patrick Greenfield / 29 March 2018

Eating at restaurants and fast food chains may increase exposure to potentially harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals used to increase the flexibility and durability of plastic, a study has found.

Researchers investigating levels of phthalates in the human body, which have been linked to asthma, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and fertility issues in the past few years, were found to be nearly 35% higher in participants who had eaten out the previous day compared with those who stayed at home.

Phthalates are binding agents frequently used in food packaging as well as a number of other products including flooring, adhesives soaps and shampoos, and some forms of the chemical have been banned from children’s products in the US.
Phthalates are everywhere, and the health risks are worrying. How bad are they really?

Certain foods, including burgers and sandwiches, were linked to higher phthalate levels in the study, but only if purchased at a fast-food outlet, restaurant or cafe.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Are pickles fermented? Pickled vs. fermented foods

Mother Earth News / Chelsea Clark / 11 May 2015

Since I discovered the various health benefits of fermented foods, I have become a complete fan of these sour, delicious treats. I have learned to make my own fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, and more. But when it comes to grabbing a fermented snack from the grocery store, choosing the right product can be confusing. So what are fermented foods, exactly? And are pickles fermented, or are pickled foods different from fermented foods? These types of questions shouldn’t be ignored; there is a crucial difference between pickled and fermented foods that impacts their nutritive value.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

All you need to know to eat good, grass-fed meat

Mother Earth News / June/July 2012 / Deborah Krasner

Beef and other ruminants are generally called “grass-fed,” while pork and poultry are referred to as “pastured” or “free-range.” The essential point is that these animals spend their whole lives eating what they were designed by nature to eat and getting exercise, fresh air and sunlight. They tend to be healthy, with no need for antibiotics or other drugs. Because they range through rotating pastures, they aren’t stressed or crowded. When grass-fed animals are allowed to grow slowly and naturally to the appropriate processing weight, they don’t need growth hormones.

Pastured animals produce manure that enriches the fields they roam on and nourishes birds, promoting a diverse ecosystem. Grass-fed meat and milk are increasingly recognized as healthier and consistently lower in bad fat than industrial products.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Where do you keep your compost bin?

treehugger / Katherine Martinko / 01 December 2017

The location of a compost bin could be affecting your willingness to use it. A group of researchers from the University of British Columbia found that the closer a main collection bin is to one’s door, the more likely one is to use it. While this is a logical and unsurprising conclusion, it’s interesting to see how small the changes have to be in order to make a big difference.

The 10-week study took place in several high-density residential buildings in Vancouver. Compost and recycling bins were placed in three locations — the garbage disposal area (least convenient), at the bottom of the elevator (somewhat convenient), and just outside the doors of individual suites (most convenient).

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Fermented oat porridge recipe

Mother Earth News / Sandor Ellix Katz / August 2016

Fermentation can add new dimensions to grain porridges. A 12- to 24-hour soak will increase digestibility and creaminess without altering flavor.

Sally Fallon, author of the pro-fermentation cookbook Nourishing Traditions, is emphatic about soaking grains to make them digestible. “The well-meaning advice of many nutritionists, to consume whole grains as our ancestors did and not refined flours and polished rice, is misleading and often harmful in its consequences; for while our ancestors ate whole grains, they did not consume them as presented in our modern cookbooks in the form of quick-rise breads, granolas, and other hastily prepared casseroles and concoctions. Our ancestors, and virtually all preindustrialized peoples, soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes, and casseroles.”

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

Resilience is the ability of a system or community to withstand impacts from outside. An indicator is a good way of measuring that. Conventionally, the principal way of measuring a reducing carbon footprint is CO2 emissions. However, we firmly believe that cutting carbon while failing to build resilience is an insufficient response when you’re trying to address multiple shocks such as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis together.

— Transition U.S.
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