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Free food

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:45 pm
by Odsox
On another thread there were comments about freebie food plants, and I have a very unexpected one.
Last autumn the local council were widening the road in front of my house, and I got them to dump and spread some soil on a low lying area at the bottom of my plot.
In that rather rough soil 2 clumps of wheat sprouted and grew rather well.
I have no idea where the seed would have come from. There are no arable farms within 30 miles and the quality of the wheat suggests it didn't come from chicken feed, and all the soil came from less than 100 metres of my house.

So, of course I harvested it, and it is now drying in my conservatory. When dry I will grind it in an old coffee grinder, and although there won't be anywhere near enough to make a loaf, it will make a brown(ish) loaf when added to my white bread flour.
All the work and energy is almost certainly not worth it, but a fun thing to do.
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Re: Free food

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:04 pm
by Green Aura
That looks like fun. You should keep replanting some of it until you get a field full of freebies!

Re: Free food

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:39 am
by Odsox
Green Aura wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:04 pm
You should keep replanting some
No, I don't have the space and besides what would I do with large quantities, not enough gluten content to make bread and no good for baking.
I've often been tempted to grow hull-less (naked) oats, I have oats for breakfast most mornings so would be useful, but again I don't really have the space and the birds would probably beat me to it.

Re: Free food

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:55 am
by Green Aura
More oats = less grass cutting? We've got a few freebie cereals growing under the bird feeders. Not enough to bother with though.

Re: Free food

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:58 pm
by Weedo
You tweaked my curiosity on cereals Odsox. I wonder if any Ishers or have, grown and processed their own cereals? If so what was involved in method and uipment; particularly wheat for bread, oats for porridge and baking or barley (for whatever you might use processed barley for)? I do grow cereals for grazing and hay but never let any mature for harvest.

Re: Free food

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:43 am
by Green Aura
I've never grown any, Weedo - never had enough land to even consider it. I have bought whole wheat to grind myself as it stores much longer than flour. Having only a hand-powered mill I nearly killed myself making enough flour for one loaf! OK, maybe I wasn't near death but it took ages, mainly because of the really poor mill and I'm sure was harder work than it need be.
To put paid to it finally, the end product wasn't great.
I finished up using it to make wheat bags for my aromatherapy shop. :lol:

Re: Free food

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:18 am
by Brewtrog
I've been tempted by the idea of growing barley to malt - especially now that I'm growing my own hops. It would be really something to be able to brew a beer that I'd fully grown (well, except the yeast). Sadly I've got the same problem as Odsox - not enough land to even think of doing it.

Re: Free food

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:28 pm
by Odsox
I think the main problem Weedo is the equipment needed.
Those few ears of wheat had to be "threshed" by hand, or to be more precise rubbed, squeezed and cajoled to remove the grain from the husks. Then winnowed, which admittedly is easy, and finally milled. I am sure my coffee grinder will only grind it to a coarse powder rather than flour, and all for a handful of "flour", which as I pointed out above is pretty useless for anything other than adding to white bread flour to make a rustic brown loaf.
It would be easier and more beneficial to sprout it for wheat grass.

"Naked" oats sound a better proposition as at least they can be substituted for shop bought oats, threshing should be easy, but you then need a roller or somehow crush the grain to make porridge.

It's an interesting project, but unless civilisation breaks down and we go back to the stone age, I think it will stay just an interesting project that I might do one day when I get bored.

Re: Free food

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:50 pm
by Flo
I thought this might be a discussion of foraging. I've discovered that there's a whole channel on YouTube about foraging. Am still working on learning something really new rather than just oh I didn't think of doing that with that.

Re: Free food

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:59 pm
by Odsox
UPDATE ...

Today was bread making day, so a good time to see what the foraged wheat would make.
It was threshed and winnowed, and totally dry by now, so it was put through the coffee grinder.
It made surprisingly fine flour and not the fairly coarse powder I was expecting. It yielded 165g of flour which was bulked out to 400g with strong white flour.
I intended to make a cob loaf, but I made it a bit too wet and it spread a bit, although not quite to a pizza base.
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Then came one of those "Oh sh*t" moments, it actually tasted fantastic !!
Far more flavourful that the normal wholemeal loaves I make, even though it was made from 3rd rate wheat that was really only fit for chicken feed.
Oh well ... most of the rest of that loaf will be eaten this evening with home made, home produced (mostly) sweetcorn chowder, and enjoy the flavour while trying to convince myself that I'm NOT going to started milling my own flour. :lol:

Re: Free food

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:46 pm
by Green Aura
I'm saying nothing.....well, OK I will say something.

Well done and of course it tasted fantastic - even with budgie cage grade wheat, freshly ground flour is so much more nutritious and flavoursome than any flour you can buy. It might be worth buying a bag of wheat for "emergencies".

You'll be growing it and making sourdough before you know it. :lol:

Re: Free food

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:01 pm
by Thomzo
Being Coeliac, I won’t be growing wheat anytime soon but I could be tempted to try oats given that gluten free oats are ten times the price of the gluten infested ones. I’d be interested to hear how anyone else gets on.

Re: Free food

Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:02 pm
by Thomzo
Should have said that the bread looks lovely. Well done.

Re: Free food

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:58 pm
by Odsox
I've been at it again.
I had some saved sweetcorn seed left over from last year and rather than waste it I tried to make popcorn.
The popcorn maker whizzed and got very hot, but no popcorn came out. The kernels were very toasted, but that was it.

It was bread making day today and I couldn't let it go to waste, so I put it through the coffee grinder and put the resulting flour in with the normal mix.
I'll let you know what it tastes like tomorrow.
Waste not whatnot.

Re: Free food

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:33 pm
by Weedo
Popping corn is a whole different critter; being popped is its only reason for existence in the modern world.