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When I have space I grow hominy corn in my garden in the summer, and this is the first time I’ve harvested enough corn to actually have enough for dinner.  This made me incredibly happy and yesterday I made the first batch of the year, the largest batch I’ve ever done.

Hominy is a somewhat rare variety of white (sometimes yellow, but usually white) flint corn.  I bought a pound of seed corn several years ago at the Kalamazoo Living History Show – probably in 2007 – and have saved seed every fall since then.  This past summer I had an 3’x6′ bed of corn this year, about 18 stalks producing one or two ears each.  Here’s a pic of this year’s harvest after the critters got into it.

Mom and I shelled it off the cob.  The easiest way to do this is to rub two ears together.  The kernels just fall into the bowl.  This is Mom shelling the corn.

We ended up with about four cups of corn kernels.

The skins of the corn need to be removed before eating and the traditional way to do this is with lye, an caustic chemical derived from wood ashes and rainwater.  Its now commercially made and used as a really harsh drain opener that I’d rather not have in my food.  Fortunately the skins can also be removed by boiling the corn with baking soda, and thats what I did.  I used 2 1/2 cups of corn, 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and enough water to cover the corn in the pot.

I kept it on a low simmer and this is how it looked after an hour.

And after 4 hours, just before I took it off the stove.  I added water as needed so the pot wouldn’t boil dry.  The yellow color is from the baking soda.  It can turn things yellow sometimes.

I could taste the baking soda so I rinsed it and put it back on the stove to simmer the baking soda flavor out.

From 2 1/2 cups of corn I started with, this is what it became:

Usually each kernel needs to be looked through to get the skins off but this was cooked long enough that they just rinsed off.    Here’s the difference in the size of the kernels.

The final step is to fry the hominy with bacon grease and salt.  You can use butter but bacon grease is more traditional in my family if we happen to have it.

It was seriously yummy last night for dinner with salmon patties and broccoli and  we even have enough corn for dinner one more time this winter.  Yay!

I really love preserving family traditions like this.  Without these kinds of experiences the old techniques will die and I’m not willing to let that happen.  Its a priviledge to be able to experiment with such things and I’m happy to be able to share them with you.

I vaguely remember Russian Tea from my childhood.  It was generally a gift sort of thing made from simple ingredients and presented in a glass jar, a sweet orange/lemon instant tea drink served either hot or cold. Last year I had a hankering for it but didn’t know how to make it, so of course I turned to allrecipes.com for help.  The recipes there called for Tang, which is full of sugar and expensive – both  counter to my lifestyle (unless I’m medicating, which is entirely another post).  Not being opposed to Splenda (sucralose, a sugar substitute made from sugar) and of course using a generic version of it, I concocted my version of Russian Tea.  The recipe follows.  As soon as I’m done posting here I’ll have my nice warm cuppa.  :)  Hope you make some up sometime and enjoy it too.

Sugar Free Russian Tea

2 c Splenda
6 Tbsp instant tea
1 pkg lemon drink mix (aka Kool-Aid, but any brand is fine)
1 pkg orange drink mix (see above)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Stir all together and store.
One rounded teaspoon per cup of water generally works for me.  I go with hot water most of the time but cold works equally well.  Stir before scooping since it may tend to settle.

I’m currently working on a fairly complicated lacy top-down sweater in a lightweight charcoal-colored wool blend  yarn using this pattern from Ravelry but I’m using the edge of this shawl pattern for the hem and cuffs.  I’m using size 6  circular needles that are 29″ long.  I changed the neckline of the sweater too, mostly because I didn’t understand the directions in the pattern.  It’ll be more of a boat-neck sort of thing, I think (I hope!).  So far its only about two inches long.  I’ll post a pic of it soon.

It’ll take me quite a while to get it finished since I usually just work on it when I’m waiting on something, like this morning when I take Mom to the doctor.  I hate sitting still with nothing to do so an ongoing knitting project is perfect for me.  :)

I participated in a yarnbombing project this past September at the Strange Folk Festival in O’Fallon, IL.  Here is a pic of me with my pieces:

Yarn Bomb

Yarn Bombing piece for the Strange Folk Festival

I’m afraid I got a little carried away…  ;)  It was great fun and I’m already thinking about what I’ll do next year.

My name is Djuana Tucker.  Its pronounced doo WAH nah, in case you were wondering.

My whole life I’ve done two main things  – make stuff and gather people.  Currently the making stuff part includes knitting, food (with extensive gardening), and porcupine quill embroidery.  The ‘gather people’ part has been on hold for a while but has mostly been my homeschool group and (up until a couple years ago when I retired from it) La Leche League.  I’ve been an active part of both groups, organizing parties and fundraisers ‘n such.

I have three great kids, a partner who is a fantastic painter and all-around great guy, a mom that lives across the street, and an ex-husband that is my backyard neighbor.  My sis and her family are around sometimes too, but she lives about 4 hours away so its pretty occasional.

I tend to be a minimalist in my lifestyle and people often wonder how I survive this way.  I really don’t buy much but food and toilet paper and my entertainment is either free or cheap and either makes or saves money.  Honestly, I don’t know how it works either, but it does.  Most of the time I’m pretty happy with it.

I’m heading to a living history event at Locust Grove in Louisville, KY this weekend.  Monday I’m planning on making some walnut dye (for leather for the porcupine quill embroidery) and putting the garden to bed for the season.  Hope you stick around for the ride.  :)

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