Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's better to barter

Sorry about my recent absence, but it is August in Iowa so I am up to my elbows in produce. I know, you miss the animal posts, me too, and I will be getting back to the critters soon, but for now harvesting, freezing, canning are my life...and baking..and weeding....and mowing....and...notice that I made no mention of cleaning the house...I digress.
I have 'outed ' myself many times on this blog as a bartering/salvaging/repurposing  fool. I think perhaps this obsession stems from when I was a small child. I remember whenever we stayed at my Grandmother's cottage (back in the olden days) there was no garbage collection so we had to gather up any unwanted items and haul them to the town dump. We are a strange family so this was always kind of an adventure for us. Back then you could drop off your discarded items at the dump and you were allowed to wander about in search of treasure...granted there was not a whole lot of treasure to be found but there was a whole lot of really disgusting stuff, and huge, swirling flocks of seagulls searching through the mountains of debris . But I liked the concept- you drop off junk-you bring home junk, it all made sense to I am typing this it just occurred to me what an odd practice this was, and how strange it must sound, but if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you have probably grown immune to my oddities, plus it gives you a little insight into my twisted childhood.....once again, I digress.
ANYWAY, I love to trade things, especially at this time of year when there is the mad dash to 'put up' food for the long winter months. So, when my neighbor Don called to tell me that another neighbor had finished picking his field of sweetcorn and gave Don permission to take whatever he needed and bring some to me if I wanted any, well, I just got all tingly! I gladly accepted the offer, and in return, when the corn was delivered, I gave Don some of the Summer Squash that I accidentally grew...and loathe (his family likes it), and a bucket of pears. See how that works? I got rid of squash I didn't want, pears that I didn't have time to get to (I already made 4 cases of Caramel Pear jam and have another pear tree that will be ripe soon) and Don got stuff his family needs-I got some free corn. Now all I have to do is take a basket of cookies, nut rolls and jam to the neighbor who grew the corn....nobody expects anything in return, but that is part of the fun. The corn was delivered on Tuesday, which is a day that I have Farmers' market, so I wasn't going to be able to process it until the next day. That evening, at market, a friend traded me more corn for some baked goods. So, I had a whole lot of corn..almost like chicken math. 

I have always frozen sweetcorn by blanching it before I freeze it, but my market buddy informed me that I don't need to do that, he gave me an old time recipe for freezing corn that sounded too good to be true....maybe it is....he swears by it though. I tried his method, but won't know how it worked out until I actually thaw some and taste it... I probably should thaw some before I freeze another batch so that I don't waste a whole bunch of time, corn and freezer bags if it was a disastrous endeavor. Anyway, I am going to drag you all down with me and give you the recipe so that we can all improperly freeze corn together.
15 cups of corn cut off the cob-raw. I think I used about a bushel of corn to get 15 cups.
5 cups of ice water
1/2 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of salt
So basically all you are doing is cutting the corn off the cob, well, after you husk it of course. Dumping 15 cups of it into some sort of large vessel, vat, bowl, pot, cauldron, what-have-you. Add the sugar and salt-throw it in freezer bags-liquid included. I dunno, he says it works.
OK, when I looked at this picture I, like you, thought, "boy, that looks disturbing" but the dark spots are just ice cubes.
Now that you have it all tucked neatly away in freezer bags, all you will have to do is get rid of your big bucket of corn leavings...maybe you could take it to the dump.
I put mine in my compost pile and my roosters promptly took them back out of the compost pile to pick the cobs clean. See? Dump-picking is fun for everyone.


Tammy said...

Oh my...I hadn't thought about dump digging in years. It used to be one of my favorite pastimes as a kid. My cousins and parents too, so I think maybe we are a little twisted too? The only difference is we didn't have a 'city dump' and every farm had their hidden dump in a field or clump of trees. Of course what they dumped was mostly glass or metal--everything else was burned or reused. I found lots of things, and a good dump digging day was a GOOD day. Ha! :-) Love the concept of bartering too. My payment one year (at their request) for someone to bring their tractor and unload and stack round bales was iced sugar cookies. Thanks for a great post and I hope the sweet corn recipe works!

tbsomeday said...

lol--yes--i love other people's garbage too
i can't believe what people throw away--wasters!

pickled sure if that sounds good??
never had it?

but..bartering is great--i just don't have much to barter other than dogs...and no one is really into that :)

about the sweet corn
i think that's prolly the best recipe!
sweet corn is great raw!
i'll pass this on to my mom

Patsy said...

I love your blog ,you make things sound more like fun then hard work.

angelandspot said...

The chickens and goats love the get all the last little bits off the cobs when we are though with them. I love to hunt for treasures too. We got our welder for a few ducks and old hens. We like to barter too. :)

Karen Anne said...

We used to live one house away from the dump when I was a little kid. My Mom forbid me to go there "a rat might tear your throat out," but I went anyway.

I couldn't believe the good stuff people threw out. I once found a set of white enamel cookware with beautiful red rims. So I brought it home, but then what to do? I couldn't tell Mom about it, so I put it in the garage. I have no idea what happened to it.

Karen Anne said...

Here the neighborhood skunks love corn on the cob. They used to drag it out of the compost bin, but now I save them the trouble and just put it next to the bin. Two of them were out there a couple of days or so ago snacking away.

Corn on the cob is so inexpensive, and the neighborhood market gets it from a distant cousin's farm so I figure I'm supporting my local farmer :-), that I occasionally buy some ears just for the skunks.

Nancy K. said...

OK, so what do you want in exchange for some salted nut rolls and a jar of caramel pear jam???

Chickens? Did I hear you say you'd like chickens??? I've got lots of chickens...


Love ya!

Crosswinds Farm said...

I am glad to see that I have so many dump-picking supporters, and I thought I had the only crazy family : ).
Oh, Karen Anne, I would also have risked my throat being torn out by rats for enamel cookware....your mom must have thought there were some pretty big rats at the dump LOL.
Nancy, I would accept a hug in exchange for the items you mentioned ;).

dirtyduck said...

" that we can all improperly freeze corn together..."

lol shall we?
even though it sounds like a LOT of still a little jealous:) we dont even have a farmers market here. i live vicariously through blogs!

Teresa said...

I confess we used to go to the dump occasionally with my dad. It was always fun! I must say that is a unique way to freeze corn. Be sure to let us know how it turns out.

Rayna said...

A friend of mine dump picks all the time...her family works at a dump near her house and she gets ALL kinds of furniture all the time, it's crazy. I think the closest I get is going through free boxes at rummage sales, but I still love it :D

Rayna said...

P.S. That corn looks AWESOME YUM! :)

Spinners End Farm said...


You might have to post the recipe for caramel pear sounds wonderful!!! We made peach butter yesterday from a plethora of peaches and it turned out wonderful.

I enjoy reading about your chicken addiction...we somehow ended up with 19 more pullets this spring and increased our flock diversity by 30 percent! :) It wasn't hard to convince hubby because we have a good egg market.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Excellent post! I am so sick and tired of produce that when I saw the photo teaser on Nancy's blog I thought, well I'll have no interest in THAT post ;-). hee hee

Linda said...

A post worth waiting for! Love the reference to chicken math...and the rooster grab at the end! I will be interested to hear the evaluation of the corn freeze!

Kelly said...

I don't find it the least bit odd that you bring stuff back from the dump, I do it all the time. Our townwhip operates a dump and when I take my treasures there, I bring a couple home that someone else so kindly left for me. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but we all know it's a perfectly normal thing to do....don't we??

Anonymous said...

caramel pear jam? Ooh! That sounds wonderful. (says one who has a tree loaded with pears)

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