The Garlic Comeback, Corn Investigations & Food Nesting

So, I am trying to grow garlic again. I do not want to be defeated by the rust! Last time I grew garlic, aside from elephant garlic, which isn’t a true garlic, was in 2018. Three years of puny garlic harvests thanks to rust put me off trying. But… I always planted it in winter. Also, I haven’t grown garlic in the Front Plot before. I have space to grow things through the winter. So now I have, erm, five different varieties of seed garlic to try out. Garlic Trial! Two of them are early varieties that we will plant very soon, in March, earlier than I ever would have thought to plant garlic. That is part of my plan to thwart the rust. Another part of the plan is to add a lot of organic matter to the soil to get them growing well before prime rust conditions arrive in spring. The potatoes are out so I will plant them in that row of the Front Plot.

Seed garlic once again graces my presence. You better grow, little cloves.

I have been a little obsessed with corn things lately. First there were the corn chips that have become a staple pregnancy snack. Then there were polenta chips. Oh so tasty. After having some at a restaurant I made my own. Then polenta/cornmeal started accumulating in the pantry somehow. The next thing I found myself making cornbread. I don’t think I’d ever eaten cornbread, let alone made it. I don’t know why, it is so easy. And tasty. I don’t think New Zealand has much of a culture of making things from cornmeal. A lot of cornbread recipes are more of a sweet cornbread but I wanted less sweetness so I used this recipe from Cafe Delites.

The Husband says I have a corn baby. I don’t know how much of it is the baby/pregnancy and how much of it it just me. But seeing as we’ve grown so much corn, the next thing I knew I found myself investigating corn mills or grinders. While waiting for some of our corn to dry I discovered that I could attempt to grind popping corn, which we always have in the pantry, in our electric coffee and spice grinder. It actually worked. It took a number of passes to get the corn ground down to a good size, but it worked. I made my own cornmeal. Oh, this is good. Now, I know our corn variety is an eating corn rather than a popping or milling corn, so I will just have to wait and test it out for those purposes before I can say if it’s any use there. But I am excited about the knowledge that I could at least buy dried corn and grind it myself to keep up the suddenly necessary supply of cornmeal.

We are fortunate that we don’t have genetically engineered corn in our country. I’m quite astounded when I see footage of the vast fields of GMO corn grown in the US, and hear that it is modified to be resistant to herbicides so that more can be sprayed on or around it and how it is contaminating the crops of organic corn growers thanks to wind pollination over long distances. I don’t know why we don’t use more cornmeal in New Zealand, since we have good corn, especially in light of our high incidence of gluten intolerance and coeliac disease. Unfortunately, The Husband and the Little Fulla don’t seem to have a taste for cornmeal products like I do. Yet they like fresh corn more than I do. Well, the baby ought to like corn baking. I must find some more cornmeal recipes.

I have entered a phase of food nesting. I think the cornmeal started it. But I have a great urge to make lots of food to put away for when the baby arrives. And also for right now, because my appetite has become a little bit insane. Since I’m not eating gluten or yeast it takes more organisation to make and have things on hand that I can eat. It isn’t hard with forward planning, but I can’t be neglectful about it because I can’t just make a sandwich if I’m hungry.

Fruit loaves are a good option. And they can go nicely into the freezer. I bought a glass loaf pan since our old non-stick metal pans are overdue for retirement. I tried out a pear bread (loaf) recipe and it was good. We have pears from our tree right now and the recipe also uses walnuts, which we have from our tree from last year. I have great intentions of putting many loaves of different kinds in the freezer. That one did not make it into the freezer. But it’s ok, there’s another one now. The recipe I used is this one from Simply Gluten Free. I added less sugar because it was too sweet. We actually don’t use general sucrose sugar for anything other than feeding kombucha or preserves that really need it. We use glucose, also known as dextrose or brewer’s sugar. It’s the glucose part without the fructose, so more easily used by the body.

Pear bread, or pear loaf as makes more sense to me.

Stay tuned for more food-making sessions and equipment.

If you have any good cornmeal recipes, or other tasty, freezable recipes, feel free to share them below.

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