cooking, gardening, growing corn, tortillas

Homemade Blue Corn Tortillas

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An important part of homesteading for us is enjoying what we do.  Sometimes homesteading can seem like all work and no play.  Often we only grow things we know we can put up for the winter, or enjoy fresh.  A great way to make the homestead more enjoyable is to try growing something new and make use of it.  It doesn’t even have to be in your future homestead plans, it is just for fun.  A great time to make these decisions is when you are looking at your seed catalogs in January or February.  One of the fun crops we chose this past year was blue corn from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.  We wanted to make our own blue corn tortillas.  We grow several types of corn already, and they need to be separated to prevent cross pollination.   We had no room in our usual gardens,  so after a bit of argument, we planted the blue corn in the front yard.  It was just a little 8×8 patch and didn’t take up too much space.  It was sort of fun to watch the corns progress whenever we left the driveway.

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Soon it was time to harvest.  We had done some research (the fun part ) and found out that we needed it to dry if we wanted  to make flour.  So we found a nice dry place in the garage and hung it to dry.

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After a few months, and after all of the harvesting on the homestead was over, we ground the corn into flour.  We didn’t have a flour mill so we just used a spice grinder.  It was a slow process but in the end we had our own blue corn flour and corn meal.

 

Now it was time for the fun.  We tried a few different recipes and finally found one that worked.

Blue corn tortillas

1/2 cup of blue corn flour

1/2 cup blue corn meal

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1/3 cup of warm water (110 degrees)

Mix all dry ingredients then add oil.  Slowly add water until mix comes together. Knead dough for 5 to ten minutes then roll into a log and cut into equal pieces. Put in covered bowl and let rest for 15 min.  Then put in tortilla press or roll into circles then cook on hot griddle until brown.

 

We had made our blue corn tortillas.  We found that even after pressing twice they still needed to be rolled thinner.  The wax paper helped us keep them from tearing and sticking.  In fact we could have even made them thinner and we will next time.  We decided to fry some of them in oil to make blue corn chips, again they should have been a bit thinner.

 

The chips were a bit thick but went excellent with some salsa.  We had accomplished our goal and had a wonderful time doing it.  And watching the big game eating your own chips is kind of cool, right?  So this year when you start making homestead plans be sure you don’t forget the fun.

 

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ham hock, ham shank, ham soup, homesteading, soup recipe

Ham shank and bean homestead soup

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Many nights on the homestead, our dinner comes entirely out of the garden and freezer.  This year, we were blessed to have added pigs to the homestead, and this has allowed us to eat a home grown meal more often.  Everyone enjoys bacon, ribs and pork chops,  but when you have a hog butchered there are many other cuts that you may not be as familiar with.  One of these cuts is the shank.  Shanks are traditionally smoked and contain meat and a lot of connective tissue, which makes them perfect for a homestead soup.  I will admit that our shanks had found their way to the bottom of the freezer, but after making this soup that will never happen again.

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We started the soup in a large cast iron pot by sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil and butter until translucent.  We seasoned with black pepper.  We then added our chicken stock, which is made from our own birds, and water.

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We brought this all to a boil then reduced to a simmer for one hour.  After an hour we added several different types of dried beans that we had harvested this past summer.  If you have ever shelled beans then you know we didn’t waste any of these.  We also added our canned  tomatoes, red pepper, and oregano.

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We covered and simmered for one more hour.  After an hour we removed the hocks and removed the meat.  We returned the meat to the pot and discarded the bones.  We then simmered for 45 min or until the beans were tender.  The result was an amazing hearty soup that would warm you up even on the coldest day.  A cold Sunday is the perfect time to enjoy this soup, you can take your time and enjoy every spoon full.  Maybe even bake some crusty bread to warm up the house and enjoy with your creation.  When we looked into this bowl of soup we could see all of our hard work, not only cooking it but growing the ingredients. The shanks, the beans, and tomatoes, and even the tiny red pepper and oregano flakes.  This is truly a homestead soup, it not only warmed you up but put a smile on your face, and was a just reward for all the hard work.  There will never be any marching bands to congratulate you for your hard work, but there will be soup.

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