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Archive | Awesome Autumn

Fresh Market: Plums

Photo from michiganplum.org. Check out their website for more info on plums grown in Michigan and to find recipes.

Photo from michiganplum.org. Check out their website for more info on plums grown in Michigan and to find recipes.

By Vicky Babcock

Plums may have been one of the first fruits cultivated by humans. It appears to have several origins and varieties. Prunus domestica has been traced to East European and Caucasian mountains, while Prunus salicina and Prunus simonii originated in Asia. The remnants of plums were discovered in archaeological digs dating to the Neolihic age (Wikipedia).

A relative to peaches, nectarines and almonds, the plum is a member of the rose family. It is considered a drupe—a fruit with a stone pit surrounding their seeds. Plum trees blossom in the spring and a healthy tree will produce an abundant crop in late summer to early fall. Asian varieties can be harvested much earlier, sometimes as early as May.  China is the leading producer of plums, with the U.S. lagging a distant sixth. Of the 50 states, California leads in plum production.

The plum tree is featured significantly in Chinese mythology. It is associated with wisdom and longevity, and blossoms from the plum tree are frequently carved in jade to symbolize resurrection. It is often represented in Asian art and is included among “the three friends of winter” and “the four gentlemen,” traditional groupings of plants which often appear in artworks. The three friends—pine, bamboo and plum—are associated with strength and endurance during the cold winter months, while the four gentlemen—plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum—represent the seasons, as well as noble virtues.

Plum varieties range from sweet to tart and the skin can be somewhat tart. They are featured heavily in much Asian cuisine, while Americans are more likely to consume them in their natural state. Plums are a good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin K, copper, fiber and potassium. With about 30 calories per fruit, plums are an excellent choice to round out your diet.

On a cautionary note, plums contain measurable amounts of oxalates. In heavy concentrations, these can crystallize and create health problems. Individuals with kidney or gallbladder conditions probably should avoid eating plums. If you have any concerns, please speak with your doctor.

Nana’s Plum Bread

1 to 1 ½ cups pitted, chopped plums

1 T. flour1 ½ cups flour

½ cup butter, softened½ tsp. salt

¾ cup sugar½ tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. vanilla extract¼ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. orange extract2 T. sour cream

2 large eggs2 T. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan and dust with about 1 tablespoon of white sugar. In a small bowl, sprinkle plums with 1 tablespoon flour. Toss lightly to coat; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, ¾ cup sugar and extracts. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining dry ingredients except for brown sugar. Add to egg mixture, stirring until mixture is smooth and dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in sour cream. Fold plums into batter, then pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 50-55 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5-10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: Baking times are approximate.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

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Extend the harvest this season


By gardening expert Melinda Myers

 

AWE-Extend-the-harvest-seasonDidn’t get enough gardening in this season? Don’t worry there is still time to grow garden-fresh vegetables and herbs this fall and winter.

Purchase transplants and seeds that will grow and flourish in the cooler fall and winter temperatures. Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, root vegetables, edible pansies and calendula as well as cole crops, like broccoli, are a few to consider.

Those gardening in colder regions need to select short season crops like lettuce, spinach and radishes that will mature before extremely cold winter temperatures set in. Extend the fall garden season into winter with the help of floating row covers, coldframes and portable greenhouses. Many of the elevated garden systems now have built in cold frames or row cover attachments to make extending the season much easier.

Try container and elevated gardens like the VegTrug™ (www.gardeners.com) to extend the growing season and increase your enjoyment. These contained gardens allow you to plant herbs, vegetables and flowers anywhere. Place a few right outside the front door or on the balcony for fun and convenience. Plus, contained gardens can easily be moved to a sheltered location or covered and protected from frost.

Or move your garden indoors. Select vegetables and herbs that can tolerate the less-than-ideal indoor growing conditions. Greens, onions and root crops, like radishes and short carrots, will grow in a sunny window. Expand your selection with the help of artificial lights.

Basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, chives and of course mint are a few favorite herbs to grow on your kitchen or other sunny windowsill. Increase your harvest with the help of artificial lights or try an indoor tiered grow light stand to save on space.

Take cuttings from healthy herbs growing in the garden, purchase new transplants or start herb and vegetable plants from seeds.

Take four inch cuttings from healthy herbs. Remove the lowest set of leaves and place the cut end in a well-drained potting mix. Once rooted, plant the herbs in individual containers or mixed with other herbs in a windowsill planter.

Start the seeds in a flat, in individual pots or directly in a planter. Keep the rooting mix warm and moist until the seeds sprout. Move to a sunny location or under artificial lights as soon as the seedlings break through the soil. Wait until the seedlings develop two sets of leaves and then transplant them into their permanent planter if needed.

So get busy planting and soon you will be enjoying the tasty benefits of fall and winter gardening.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips. 

 

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Fresh Market

AWE-Fresh-market-winter-squash

Winter squash, one of the Three Sisters 

(part three of a three part series)

by Vicky Babcock

 

Long before the Earth was populated by people, there were the Sky People. This particular tale, of the Three Sisters, speaks of Sky Woman, who, because of her curiosity, fell through a hole in the sky while peering through to the world below, a world of endless sea. The creatures of this world saw her fall and swiftly scooping soil from the sea bottom, they placed it onto the back of a giant turtle, that she would have a safe place to land. This “turtle island” remains today and is what we now refer to as North America.

Now Sky Woman was pregnant at the time of her fall and, when her time came, she gave birth to a daughter, who grew up and in turn gave birth to twin boys by the West Wind. She died in childbirth and Sky Woman (or the woman’s children by some accounts) buried her in the new earth. Three sacred plants sprang up from where she laid—a gift from the Creator. These gifts were corn, beans and squash, the sustainers of life. They became known as the three sisters and were the three major crops raised and held sacred by Native Americans. They were grown together as three sisters, each sustaining the others.

The third sister, squash, provides ground cover for her siblings, crowding out weeds and helping to retain moisture in the soil. It was an important ingredient to a balanced diet, providing nutrition and fiber as well as caloric content. Native Americans consumed the seeds as well as the flesh of this prized fruit.

Winter squash is harvested and eaten when it is mature, as opposed to summer squash, which is eaten in the immature stage. In its mature stage, winter squash can be stored for longer periods. Winter squashes are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C and provide significant amounts of potassium and vitamin B6 as well as dietary fiber.  While about 90 percent of winter squash’s total calories come from carbohydrates, a number of studies suggest that certain starch related components in squash have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating properties.  A cup of winter squash, cooked, provides about 80 calories, comparable to a single medium apple.

Winter squash has been consumed for over 10,000 years. However, one of the most popular winter squashes, the butternut, is a relative newcomer to the plate. Charles Leggett has been credited with the development of this squash in the mid 1940’s. With its buttery flavor, its relatively thin skin and plentiful flesh, the butternut has quickly won the hearts of most squash lovers. Other varieties include, acorn, buttercup, hubbard, Lakota, pumpkin and spaghetti. There are over 40 varieties of squash available in the United States and countless subspecies.

Look for winter squashes in mid to late September and in early to late October. These tasty treats are a great way to round out your diet!

Butternut Scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup butternut squash, cooked and pureed*

3 tablespoons milk

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze 

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk

For the spiced glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or cut a clean brown bag to fit and butter lightly.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Add cold butter, working into mixture using a pastry cutter or two knifes until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In another bowl, whisk together squash puree, milk, egg and vanilla. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Roll the dough out into a 10- by 7-inch rectangle. Using a large knife or a pizza cutter, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut into 4 even pieces crosswise, making eight rectangles. Cut each rectangle into two triangles, making 16 scones.

Place scones onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk as needed; set aside. For spiced glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and milk. Whisk until smooth; set aside.

Cool  baked scones for 10 minutes and spoon on glaze before drizzling with spiced glaze.

Allow glazes to set before serving.

*Butternut squash can be washed and baked whole in a 400ºF oven. Remove the skin while still warm and scoop out the seeds. Leftover squash from this recipe can be mashed and served with a little salt and butter or frozen for later use. Yum!

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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How tall is your corn?

AWE-Corn-heightTracy Skelonc, of Solon Township, sent us this photo of her husband, Martin, and their son, Dalton, in the corn on their family’s farm. She said their corn measures 11 feet 6 inches.

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Join the Arbor Day Foundation in September 

 

AWE-Arbor-Day-Red-mapleReceive 10 Free Trees for Planting in Michigan

 

Everyone from Michigan who joins the Arbor Day Foundation in September will receive 10 free trees as part of the Foundation’s Trees for America program.

Through Trees for America, everyone is encouraged to plant trees that will benefit the environment and improve the quality-of-life. With one million members, the Arbor Day Foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees.

Everyone joining this month will receive an eastern redbud, white pine, sugar maple, white flowering dogwood, pin oak, red maple, river birch, silver maple, northern red oak and Colorado blue spruce.

“This group of trees was carefully selected to yield year-round benefits in Michigan, including beautiful spring flowers, cool summer shade, spectacular autumn colors and winter berries and nesting sites for songbirds,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation.

“These trees will also add to the proud heritage of Michigan’s 125 Tree City USA communities,” Harris continued. “For the last 38 years, Tree City USA has supported effective urban forest management across Michigan, and planting these trees will enhance the state’s tree-planting tradition.”

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between October 15 and December 10. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Easy-to-follow planting instructions are enclosed with each shipment of trees.

New members of the Arbor Day Foundation will also receive The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.

To receive the 10 free trees, send a $10 membership contribution to Ten Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by September 30, 2014, or join online at arborday.org/september.

 

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Leaf Experiences

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

The best learning is a family experience with fun. I was raking leaves and thought about my girls helping or thinking they were helping. Then I thought about when I helped my dad rake leaves or thought I was helping. What I remember best from both experiences is that I jumped into the pile of leaves and buried myself and my girls jumped into the leaf pile and buried themselves.

A difference in our experiences was what happened to leaves—Earth Stewardship. In the 1950’s people up and down the block raked leaves into the road and burned them. My girls learned leaves make good compost and should not be burned. As mulch they decay and release nutrients into the soil or garden rather than into the air. We used leaves to spread on trails at Ody Brook to prevent dirt from getting in the soles of shoes.

A great experience helps kids observe the intricate natural world. They see details and gain basic knowledge, comprehend what they experience, apply experiences to life at home and in the community, analyze what is best, synthesize what they experienced to use for new unrelated purposes, and then evaluate the value.

The experience allows discovery. I did a leaf activity with students when I was classroom teacher and at the Howard Christensen Nature Center. In fall we found a sugar maple and each student collected ten leaves and then we found a silver maple and collected ten more leaves.

In the process the students learned to distinguish leaf similarities and differences for the two species. Learning more about adaptations for the species took us deeper into reasoning and mental development. Students compared the amount of substance in the two kinds of leaves to discover that silver maple leaves were lighter with less substance. They curled and shrivel more than the heavier sturdy sugar maple leaves. We weighed the leaves and found sugar maple leaves were heavier.

I shared that sugar maple leaves do not remove most of the nutrients from the leaves but allow nutrients to fall to ground in the leaf, where they rot under the tree to release nutrients for the tree’s use in spring. Silver maples ship a greater proportion of nutrients to the roots with the sap, and store it until spring for new growth. Both species have unique nature niche strategies for recycling nutrients. Silver maples are floodplain trees and their leaves wash away with spring flooding so nutrients would be lost if dropped with leaves. Sugar Maples are upland plants and their leaves stay near the tree and release nutrients to their own roots.

My dad, like most other dads, did not realize that releasing nutrients into the air by burning leaves contributes to air pollution and increased atmospheric carbon. I like fires and “some-mores” so we burn branches cleared during trail maintenance and make our “some-more” treats. We allow many to decay in the woods to replenish soil health. Most nutrients are in the small branches that decay rapidly so we leave those in the woods and burn some larger branches. We use large branches for brush pile construction for bird and mammal shelters.

Create family experiences and build relationships. Our kids are grown but I still desire help with projects at Ody Brook. I can use the help but more importantly I think it continues to build our relationship. Of course, their lives are full and busy but sometimes we still build relationships working together outdoors.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

 

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Fresh Market-Jack o’ the Lantern

AWE-JackolanternBy Vicky Babcock

 

Most of us have heard the story of the wily rascal, Jack, and how he tricked the devil and thereby secured his own soul. Many versions of the tale exist, but all agree on the conclusion that Jack—having barred himself from hell and being unworthy of heaven—was made to wander the world, a lost soul.

One such tale suggests that Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Not wanting to pay for his drink, Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that he would use to buy the drinks. But Jack instead put the coin into his pocket next to a cross, which prevented the Devil from turning back. Jack agreed to release the Devil on the condition that the Devil never take his soul.  When Jack passed away, he found himself barred from heaven. The devil had provided him with a lit coal in which to light his way. Jack placed his coal into a carved out turnip and so the practice of Jack o’ lanterns began.

In truth, the practice began long before the story of Jack. Carved vegetables, usually turnips or beets, were used in celebrations around the world for centuries.  Wikipedia associates the term jack-o’-lantern with ignis fatuus (foolish fire) named for the phenomenon of strange flickering light over peat bogs.  You may have heard it called the will-o’-the-wisp. Gourds were the choice of the Maori, who used the carved fruit as lanterns over 700 years ago.  s gourds (the pumpkin is one) are the earliest produce known to be cultivated by man—dating back over 10,000 years—it is likely the practice of carving lanterns from them extends back thousands of years.  Irish immigrants have been credited with bringing the practice to the United States however, where they discovered the pumpkin made a much better media than the turnips they used in their home country.

The origins of Halloween can be traced back to the Celtic festival of Samhain—the celebration of their new year, the day of the dead—which took place on November 1. The day marked the harvest, the end of summer and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. The Celts believed that on the eve of their new year the bounderies between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred and the dead could return to earth. The advent of Christianity changed and blended with the old rites. November 1 eventually became All Saints Day and November 2 All Souls’ Day to honor the dead. It is commonly believed that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic traditions with more sanctioned beliefs and the two holidays share many aspects, including bonfires, parades and dressing in costume. All Saints’ Day, or All-hallowmas—from Middle English for All Saint’s Day—has itself changed to include more of its pagan roots.  All Hallows Eve, or Halloween as we know it today, became the date of choice and the Jack-o-lanterns we all love, once used to frighten the dead and demons away from our doors, can be found on doorsteps everywhere. Trick or Treat, a mostly American tradition, probably resulted from the old practice of feeding the dead.

You’ve most likely carved your pumpkins for this year. Next year, consider saving the bits of carved out fruit (minus the peal) and throwing it into a pot of chili for a healthy and tasty addition. And the seeds—well we all know what pumpkin seeds are good for.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween, everyone—and Happy Haunting!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve never had pumpkin seeds, you’re in for a treat!  While these are great simply roasted and salted, you can make them your own by adding your own special blend of spices. If you’ve already carved your pumpkins, consider purchasing another. Roasted or baked pumpkin makes a great addition to soups and stews, breads, cookies and pies.

Basic ingredients:

Approximately 1 ½ c. pumpkin seeds

2 or 3 tsp. melted butter or olive oil

Salt

Optional choices (partial list):

A dash or two of soy sauce

Garlic powder

Seasoned salt (I like Morton’s)

Chili powder or cayenne pepper

Pre-heat oven to 300◦ Fahrenheit.  Rinse seeds thoroughly in a colander under running water, removing the majority of pulp and strings.  In a medium bowl, toss together seeds, oil or melted butter and seasons of your choice.  You can also make a sweetened version by substituting sugar and cinnamon.

Spread seeds out onto a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally. Once these start to brown, they will do so quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on them. Cooking times are approximate.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

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Rob Vander Zee’s ArtPrize

Rob VanderZee’s entry into ArtPrize.

Rob VanderZee’s entry into ArtPrize.

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

Rob Vander Zee, talented young man, was seeking an art project while in high school and has now displayed in Artprize 2013. When I was developing a wetland learning station at the Howard Christensen Nature Center in the 1980’s, it was fortunate that Rob connected with us. I explained a wetlands vision and gave him an image. From there he created the artwork mural that still draws youth and visitors to think about wetlands. Please visit HCNC and become a member.

I gave Rob a picture of a beaver pond and he painted a wonderful realistic rendition. The work entices viewers to think about the world we live in. Rob is at native of Cedar Springs and his work helps people think about the future.

Wetlands are major contributors to Michigan’s recreation economy.  They are economically valuable assets that filter toxics from water, reduce flood damage, are major food producers, and provide desirable sites for human habitation. Wetlands modify weather conditions and determine the depth of ground water tables that recharge city and private wells.  Water moves from wetlands to ground water and vice-versa.  How we handle sewage, fertilizers, pesticides, and toxic substance disposal are important community health issues that are constantly in debate. Safe drinking water is taken for granted and there are those that want to reduce community efforts to protect water quality by reducing government programs protecting our health and the environment.

In the 1970’s we passed the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species. These programs have helped restore conditions that improve our quality of life. Those protections are being challenged to reduce taxes. People forget the pollution costs were more expensive and damaging to health than the preventive tax programs. Saving tax dollars spurs efforts to reduce government programs but at what cost? They may not be perfect but the programs protect our economy, health and quality of life. Rob’s art work hopes to engage people to think about the future and I hope my articles do the same.

When we bought Ody Brook property in 1979, the home plumbing from the toilet went into a 55-gallon drum that had rusted away and other water was piped directly to the Little Cedar Creek. We installed a proper septic system and drain field. It was not until 1976 that government regulations changed construction codes to meet the Clean Water Act and provide environmental protection. We recently added five acres to Ody Brook that has an existing home. That home’s plumbing ran to the Little Cedar Creek without a septic drain field. The home construction predated the 1970’s Clean Water Act tax legislation. We recently installed a proper septic system to protect the stream, wetlands, and water quality for Cedar Springs human and wildlife neighbors.

How many homes still have systems that pollute water quality, fishing, health, and damage our community’s economy and quality of life? The current budget battle in Washington is wrestling with what is needed to maintain a high quality of life in Cedar Springs. That brings us back to Rob Vander Zee’s art.

Rob painted a mural for ArtPrize called Michigan Forest: The Future of Genetic Manipulation on an Eco System. He comments his artwork is open for interpretation. He wants people to think about society actions. His work displays possibilities for the future. He wants viewers to contemplate nature niches and our role as participants in the ecosystem. I hope many of you viewed his work. If not, view and read his comments about the painting at: www.artprize.org/rob-vander-zee.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at the odybrook@chartermi.net Ody Brook, 13010 Northland Dr, Cedar Springs, MI 49319-8433.

 

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Fresh Market the Cranberry

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It is commonly held that there are only three fruits native to North America—blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes. While I am not certain of the accuracy of this statement, cranberries are indeed native to America. Native American Indians used the berry as both a food source and a wound medicine, as well as a dye.  Its name is said to come from a variation of “craneberry,” so called because the early settlers from Europe thought the flower resembled the head of a crane.  Also referred to in various parts of the world as mossberry, fenwort or fenberry, marshwort, bearberry, bounceberry (a common method of testing for quality was to bounce them) and Sassamanash.

The rich red color of the berries lends itself well to festive occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving. Indeed, many of us associate the fruit solely with Thanksgiving and have not enjoyed the many dishes that can be created from this versatile berry.  If your experience with cranberries has been limited to cranberry relish, it’s time to open the door to a world of culinary possibilities.  Cranberries—used to flavor meats for centuries—make a good addition to breads and desserts as well as salads and cereals.  Because of their tart flavor they are best consumed in a sugared dish or paired with another fruit such as the apple.

Cranberries are one of the Super Fruits. This nutrient rich berry carries its own natural anti-biotic and has been linked—in the form of juice—with urinary tract infections relief in women. Cranberry juice consumption can aid in the prevention of tooth decay as it helps prevent the build-up of plaque. Studies indicate that extracts may have anti-aging effects.  Cranberries are high in vitamins C and K as well as fiber.  Vitamin K promotes cardiovascular health. It, along with phosphorous in cranberries assists in bone and tooth health.

An Indian legend describes how the cranberry came to be:  Long ago, the Yakwawi’àk, or Mastodons, walked the Earth, placed here by the creator to be useful to man. The monstrous beast was fierce, powerful and invincible and a great help to the Lenape’wàk .  But the powerful creatures turned on them and waged war on all of the animals—a great battle was fought. Many lives were lost and the ground ran red with the blood spilled.  Yet the Yakwawi’àk were nearly impossible to kill! Slowly, the battlefield turned into a great quagmire and many of the hugh creatures drown. The Creator, angry with the monstrous beasts, threw lightning bolts, killing all but one bull. Badly wounded, the beast fled to the far north, where it is said, its evil spirit remains. Evidence of the great battle can be seen today. You can find the bones of the Yakwawi’àk as well as other animals in the marshes. The Lenape’wàk were saddened by the lives lost and the loss of potential food and furs. In remembrance and compassion, the Creator caused the cranberry to grow in the marshland so that it might be used as food for mankind. The deep red color of the berry was to remind us of the blood that was spilled on that terrible day.

Cranberry Cake with Butter Cream Sauce

3 T. butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed and halved

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in milk.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Stir in cranberries.

Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan.  Bake at 350º for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Butter Cream Sauce

½ cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine melted butter, sugar and cream; bring to a boil, stirring often.  Boil for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Serve warm over Cranberry Cake.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

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Fresh Market—the Cabbage

AWE-Cabbage

By Vicky Babcock

 

Everyone knows that babies come from the cabbage patch, right? But do you know where cabbages come from?  According to Roman mythology cabbages sprung from the tears of Lycurgus, King of the Edonians of Thrake.  Lycurgus had reason to cry cabbage tears, having angered the god Dionysos whom he had persecuted.  As punishment he was struck mad and in this sad state, slew his wife and sons.

Cabbage is one of the earliest domestic vegetables, likely dating as far back as 1000 B.C.  They are from the family Cruciferae, from the Latin for “cross”, so named because the flowers of this family are cross-shaped.  While many varieties of cabbage can be found today, the most common and familiar to us are the green and red cabbages.  The savoy cabbage, also fairly common, was developed by German gardeners during the 16th century.  Not all cabbages are equal as red and green and savoy all have slightly different nutritional values.  For a nutritional powerhouse, you can’t go wrong with cabbage!  Generally speaking, one cup of raw, shredded cabbage contains only 50 calories and a whopping 190% of the RDA of vitamin C.  It is an excellent source of vitamin K with 91% RDA in one cup, shredded.  It is also an exceptional source of manganese, vitamin B6 and folate as well as a good source of thiamin, riboflavin calcium, potassium, vitamin A, fiber, protein and magnesium.  With virtually no fat, it is a dieter’s dream!

Cabbage, in the form of sauerkraut, was used by Dutch sailors to prevent scurvy during long ocean voyages.  Captain Cook believed in the medicinal value of sauerkraut and his ship’s doctor used it for compresses for wounded sailors.  Long before this the cabbage was recognized as a valuable medicinal tool—Greeks and Romans believed that the vegetable could cure almost any illness.  Both the Egyptians and the Romans believed eating cabbage before a night of drinking would prevent them from feeling the effects of the alcohol.  While I found no support for this theory, cabbage juice has been used to treat stomach ulcers and to relieve constipation and cabbage has been linked to cancer and stroke prevention.

Love of cabbage was the undoing of the Man in the Moon, whom, it is said was banished to Earth’s satellite because he had been caught stealing a cabbage from his neighbor on Christmas Eve.  The heaviest cabbage on record was grown by Scott Robb of Palmer, Alaska and weighed 138.25 pounds.  The largest cabbage dish used 80,191 cabbage rolls and weighed 1,221 pounds.  Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his hat during games to keep cool—he would change it for a fresh leaf every 2 innings.  World Cabbage Day is on February 17th.  You can use red cabbage water to determine pH—it will turn red in acidic solutions and green in basic solutions.  In a neutral solution it will stay purple.  You can make red cabbage water by chopping up one large red cabbage and boiling it until the water turns a deep purple.  Cool and refrigerate.

 

Sautéed Cabbage

1 small head savoy or green cabbage, about 2 ½ pounds

1 thinly sliced onion (optional)

2 tablespoons butter

Salt to taste

¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper

¼ tsp. nutmeg or ginger

Directions:

Cut the cabbage thinly as for coleslaw—discard core.  In a large pan, sauté in butter until tender and slightly browned—approximately 10 to 12 minutes.  Add seasons and serve as a side.

Fresh Market is brought to you by Solon Market located at 15185 Algoma Avenue.  For more information call 616-696-1718.  Like us on facebook for updates.

 

 

 

 

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