Showing posts from November, 2014

Gardening in Alaska~Winter Returns

Life in Alaska moves infinitely slower than it does where we came from on the East coast but our gardening season is much much faster.  So much so that it stunned me how quickly it ended.  By the middle of September we were getting close to the type of temperatures that would kill the cold loving brassicas so we knew, the time has come to harvest what was left.
Gardening here is so much more different than it was in Maryland.  I knew what it was like to grow tomatoes here, I knew that aphids here are tough little monsters when compared to their Maryland cousins, I knew some of the troubles with growing cucumbers and herbs and yet, I learned it again through this year.

Tomatoes: This summer was a super wet and cool one which frustrated many of the gardeners and farmers I spoke with.  Locally grown tomatoes were scarcer than hen's teeth and what were found locally grown were ridiculously expensive.  Our plants (9 of them) provided beautiful foliage, they grew tall, but they had a hor…

Rendering Beef Suet to Tallow

I'm always looking for something new to learn, whether it be spinning my own yarn, canning a new recipe, or making soap so when I came across a really good deal at my local grocery store I just couldn't help it.  I had to try something that I had only read about previously.  Rendering animal fats into solids.
If I were to render pig fat the end result would be lard; while if I render beef suet (fat) the end result is tallow.  While shopping at our local grocery store I inquired in the meat department if they sold beef fat.  The butcher excitedly jumped up and said "Sure Ma'am, how much would you like! We've got lots!"  Not knowing how much it would take to create how much I just stammered to the gentleman working the butcher shop area "Uhhh, 2 or 3 pounds, I guess?".  He jumped away to fulfill my order, he almost seemed excited to give away these scraps that sooner or later I would turn into something wonderful.
As I waited another store patron aske…