Tuesday, August 30, 2016


I have been making sauerkraut every summer for about 12 years now. I grow my own cabbages, which usually do fantastic in Alaska, sometimes reaching immense proportions.

Alaska State Fair, 2012, World Record!

Anyhow, I thought you might like to see how I make my sauerkraut.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Puttin' up Carrots and Kale

Just wanted to share some garden pics before I transition into Spudtember. Today I picked a bunch of carrots and some kale for the freezer. First I blanch the carrots for about 3 minutes, then pack in sealer-type freezer bags.  For kale, I only blanch about 30 seconds.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

SPUDtember Challenge!

Andrew "Spudfit" Taylor, the Australian bloke who is eating nothing but potatoes for an entire year, has issued a challenge on Facebook. He's calling it Spudtember. He wants to take people on a guided trip through his world of eating nothing but potatoes.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Whole Wheat...Kamut and Farro Review

I made a comment recently that "no one eats wheat, just flour." Later I wondered why. When I started looking, I found this statement could not be further from the truth. People have been eating wheat as a whole food item for thousands of years.

To explore, I bought a bag of Bob's Red Mill Farro and Kamut, the grains look like this:

Kamut (top left), Farro (top right), Modern Red Wheat (bottom)
I cooked the farro and kamut according to the basic cooking instructions, which were to "soak overnight in water and simmer for 30-40 minutes in water or stock."

Friday, August 26, 2016

Teff Pan Cakes

I've been getting emails all week from folks asking how they can incorporate whole grains into their routine. "Rich" has been working on a cracker recipe, with no luck. "Madeleine" knocks it out of the park with these pan cakes, though! I made a batch following her recipe:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Medicinal Mushrooms and Tea...for FREE!

Here are some mushrooms I pick around my house in Alaska. There is undoubtedly something just as cool where you live!

Other mushroom posts I've written here:

The Pharmacy in your Backyard

Magic Mushrooms

The nice thing about these type of fungi is that they grow quickly and they are plentiful.  The big one is perennial, you can count it's age in the growth rings, so this one is nearly 20 years old!

I grind these mushrooms and Labrador tea and put a spoonful in with my coffee when I make a pot. If you go for mushrooms, make sure you get the right ones!  Get a good book, take a class, or ask around. Some mushrooms are edible and tasty. These are not for eating, but make good tea, and have some very healthy qualities.

Shelf Bracket Fungi

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ed Yong Interview and New Book

Interview with Ed Yong, microbiologist.

Eating Yogurt Is Not Enough: Rebalancing The Ecosystem Of 'The Microbes Within Us'

Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes, says someday we might be able to improve our health by taking probiotics, but "we are still in the very early stages of working out how to do this."

Ed Yong is a researcher who studies the microbiome.  Hear his current thinking on probiotics and fecal transplants. Great interview.  Ed Yong just released his new book this month: "I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life."

A couple teasers from the interview:

...probiotics are products that contain beneficial microbes, and they have all sorts of health claims attached to them, but actually if you look at the evidence behind these products, they tend to be a bit medically underwhelming.

A lot of these species are being chosen for historical reasons because they're easy to manufacture and package, not because they're excellent at establishing themselves in the gut. And often they're very industrialized, very proprietary strains. You know, they enter and then they disappear or they pass through. They don't have a huge amount of impact.

If anyone reads the book, let us know what you think!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

What are "Whole Grains?"

I hope you've all read Jane Karlsson's 2010 thoughts on whole grains from last week. In writing that piece, and in some follow-up comments, I realize that we all tend to use the term "whole grain" nonchalantly like everyone knows what it means. One comment from last week mentioned that quinoa was not a grain, but a seed. This had me scratching my head:


tl/dr - "Grain" is a term used to indicate that a seed is sold and traded on a worldwide scale. Any seed can be considered "grain." The term "grain" is most commonly applied to corn, wheat, oats, and soybeans. When someone gives the advice to eat more "whole grains," this does not limit you to corn, wheat, oats, and soybeans, but a world of seeds (ie. beans, lentils, pulses, rice, and more) eaten in their whole, unrefined state. 

"Cereal" grains are the seeds of plants in the grass family, most common: Corn, wheat, oats, rye, rice, barley.

"Gluten" is found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Whole Grains and Jane

Forgive my back-to-back posts, it's just that I have some free time between classes. I have been sitting on a lot of good stories, and hope to get them all out before school starts back up in September. One class left!

Jane Karlsson has been a vocal proponent of whole grains since the early days of the paleo diet craze. She was in communication with a blogger, Anthony Colpo, who turned a chain of emails into a blog post in 2010, in an attempt to discredit Jane...six years later, the paleo movement is starting to soften their stance on grains, with much credit due to Jane's insistence that we need grains.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Twice this week I have been asked to check out something that Dr. Joseph Mercola is recommending. Both times I was unimpressed. I am impressed by his web presence, though.

Over One Million Subscribers -- including tens of thousands of health professionals -- read and trust the Mercola.com "eHealthy News You Can Use" e-newsletter -- and that number is growing by an average of 1,000 subscribers per day!

Let's take a look at what Dr. Mercola advocates. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Garlic Scapes

I tried my hand at growing garlic this year!  I bought seed bulbs from Territorial Seeds, a hard-neck Siberian variety. I planted the bulbs last October as the ground was starting to freeze. Imagine my delight when nearly all of the garlic bulbs sprouted this spring.

I've eaten a few immature garlic bulbs already, nice flavor.  But now I'm learning about something I had never even knew existed before this summer...garlic scapes.

My Picture

Garlic scapes are the seed pods of the garlic plant. I don't know that they have any amazing health properties outside the general goodness found in garlic as we discussed in October. Oh, and attracting women!

I've got about 50 of these things to toy with.  So far I've eaten them raw (pretty strong!), sauteed them in butter (OMG), and cooked some alongside potatoes in my hot air fryer (crunchy). I'm tempted to throw a couple into a crock of sauerkraut, but afraid it might ruin the batch.

Here's a website called Serious Eats, with seven garlic scape recipes...

Anybody else heard of these gems?


Monday, August 15, 2016

The Tannin Hack!

OK, that's not quite as catchy as "The Potato Hack." 

It turns out that certain eating patterns we naturally gravitate towards can increase the amount of food that bypasses normal digestion, and serves as food for our gut bacteria.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer Treat: Honey!

Honey often ends up on dieting "banned" lists. Is honey an evil sugar as so many in the diet industry would have us believe? Vegans do not eat honey, others say it's just nasty "bee puke." Some would even want you to believe that honey is actually worse than pure, white table sugar!

Refined table sugar (sucrose) is processed in our bodies by insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Honey is about 55 per cent fructose, a fruit sugar that's processed by the liver. Despite the chemical difference, our bodies still react to honey in much same way as it reacts to refined sugar - with a blood-sugar spike.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Eating: Pico de Gallo!

Want an easy way to get more onions, garlic, and tomatoes in ya?  Try Terra Incognita's idea:

Easy Pico de Gallo (makes 2-3 cups)
  • 2.5 tomatoes on the vine
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalepeno, de-seeded and diced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, diced
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

RS vs. Fiber in Real Food

A funny little abstract to a science article has been going around lately: Effects of total fibre or resistant starch-rich diets within lifestyle intervention in obese prediabetic adults.

It's generally accompanied with the admonishment that "fiber" is "better" than RS. Well, I finally got hold of the full-text, all is not as it seems!

The conclusion, as presented in the abstract:

At the end of the study, RS-rich diet failed to affect glycaemic control in prediabetic obese individuals in contrast to the regular fibre-rich diet, which indicated that fibre profile could be an important determinant of the effect of dietary intervention.

Post moved to www.potatohack.com