Finding commonly eaten foods locally may present a problem for us locavores.
I have been eating much of my food locally for about two years now and thought the following observations/methods may be informative to others. The sources provided are the geographically closest that I could find. If you do consider any of the following, maybe you could get free appliances from freecycle. I have seen all of the following advertised over the last year.
I also like to make my own commonly eaten foods as I know how they are made, and what they contain.
I could not find a source of Scottish wheat and therefore have purchased this from Northern English farmers. I buy hard spring wheat (grown in England) by the 20kg sack. If you can find this more locally all the better.
There is lots of fancy (read expensive) equipment you could purchase for grinding flour. I used what I had, a coffee/spice attachment for my liquidiser. This has served me fine for two years now.
Wholemeal loaf is rather dense, so I do cheat by using 50/50 white flour with home ground wholemeal. You may ask why grind your own wholemeal flour at all. Well wholemeal flour quickly goes rancid if not treated by nasty chemicals. Read the following and you may take the same view.
Grain to loaf:
If you can be bothered baking the loaf by hand, this takes about 15 Minutes of needing which may put busy people off.
The above loaf took 5 minutes of work. 2 minutes grinding wheat and 3 minutes putting ingredients into my bread maker. Bread makers are now very cheap and will pay for themselves in less than a year.
Organic pasta is easily made using the above flours mixed with water or eggs. Roll out and make lasagne or Tagliatelle . Or get a past machine if you make a lot of pasta.
Mix a spoonful of natural yoghurt (Biopot or Rachaels Organic) with some milk and leave it in a warm place until it sets, easy. Then use your own yoghurt as the starter culture in future. Yoghurt makers can also be used which are just heater plates. A radiator works just as well. Do this in glass or plastic as yoghurt is acidic and reacts with metal.
Beer and Wine and Vinegar
Like most Scots I like an occasional :0) libation. Making your own wine and beer is a great hobby and is very cheap to get started (or zero on freecycle). Beer and wine can be made from local ingredients when you get into the hobby. Even if you use kits, its still far more environmentally preferable as only concentrates are being transported and bottles can be reused indefinitely.
Cloudy wine from the bottom of the fermenter makes great wine vinegar as it is left to oxidise allowing the yeast to settle out. You can obtain mother of vinegar from traditional vinegar makers.
I got mine kindly from the following and now have a barrel of my own vinegar.
I use this for cooking and pickling onions, shallots and beetroot from the garden.
Organic Ice cream
Local cream, milk, honey and eggs can be used to make ice cream. Best made using an ice cream maker but not essential.
Organic Lard/Dripping (this one is critical from a cancer point of view)
Have you ever heard the one about eating a lot of meat putting you at risk of cancer? Pollutants (pesticides fungicides, herbicides and untested GM grain) in animal feeds are most probably the cause of this. Organic meat should not contain these toxins which concentrate in animal fat. We are what we eat, and what we eat eats.
I cook using organic lard and beef dripping but could find no source of this local or otherwise. Most probably as the health conscious have been brainwashed into thinking these saturated fats are bad for them. Well here is how to make it.
Ask your local organic farmer (the one you buy meat from) for beef or pork fat (fat from any part of the animal is OK but the fat from round the kidneys is the best. I get my beef from Blackmount Organics at the local farmers market.
The last batch of fat I kindly got free with my meat order.
Cut the fat into 1cm cubes. Put them into a large soup pot. Put this onto the lowest heat on your cooker ring. Leave for several hours. The solids will float to the top and the lard/dripping will form a liquid below. Strain this with a metal colander and pour into containers. Keep in fridge or freezer and use as required.
Are cholesterol and saturated animal fat bad for you?
For some other alternative ideas on traditional diet see:
My next project is keeping chickens and bees. I’m making coups and hives from old pallets (lots to do).