Friday Food Storage Quickie: Bread and Seeds

Sharon December 12th, 2008

Ok, this week we’re going to concentrate on storing two things fairly basic to sustainable food systems, bread and seeds.  Or rather, we’re not going to store bread, we’re going to store the components thereof – flour, yeast and salt.  With water, that’s really all you need to make good bread.  And flour is often on sale this time of year – I recently saw 5lbs of bread flour as a loss leader for $1.99.

I generally recommend that people who make their own bread a lot store whole wheat and grind it themselves with either an electric or a manual grinder.  I’m not going there today, in a quickie, but if you eat a lot of bread, and want to store a large quantity of whole grains (because as we all know, white flour isn’t very nutritious), it is wisest to store wheat and acquire a grinder.  The following posts might be helpful – the first describes storing whole grains of many sorts:

http://sharonastyk.com/2008/07/17/the-storage-life-of-grains-major-and-minor/

The second covers grain grinders:

http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/18/tools-part-ii-grain-mills/

and this one discusses whether you really need one:

http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/26/what-do-you-really-need/

But today we’ll assume you are simply going to buy flour.  If that’s the case, you shouldn’t buy more than a six month supply of whole grain flours – the reason being that they go rancid.  The oils in the grains are no longer very good for you.  Some people find that they taste awful, but some people actually can’t tell when grains are rancid, or aren’t super sensitive to rancidity, so you might not know, leading you to eat things not so great for your body.  So generally speaking, you don’t want to buy more whole grain flour than you can use in six months.  After that, use white flour (but not bleached – that’s bad for you too). 

Yeast stores for six months to a year in a cool dark place, but longer if you freeze it.  I buy 1lb packages at BJs and freeze several.  Salt stores forever – if you preserve food you might want to get some that isn’t iodized – kosher or pickling salt.  But you also might want to buy a few packages of iodized salt, since that can help with thyroid issues.  Or leave it out, and eat kelp.

If you don’t have yeast, or can’t replace it, you can make sourdough starter, and use that to leaven bread.  Crunchy chicken has a link here to a basic sourdough starter: http://www.thecrunchychicken.com/search?q=sourdough

If you’ve never made your own bread, it can be a little intimidating – the easiest recipe I’ve seen is this one, also at La Crunch’s site: http://www.thecrunchychicken.com/2008/10/do-you-need-to-try-no-knead-bread.html.  But don’t be overly intimidated by the idea of kneading – it is actually a lot of fun. 

For those with gluten or wheat issues, you’ll want to find a good gluten-free bread recipe that works for you, and be able to store the ingredients.  Anyone out there want to post one in comments?

Ok, now let’s talk seeds – which are really part of food storage.  Plus, seed catalogs are the best remedy to winter ever – it is no punishment to have to look at them. 

Generally speaking, you want to order seeds from a catalog specializing in open-pollinated (so that you can save seed) varieties suited to your area.  That doesn’t mean you should never use any hybrids – but you might not want to depend on them for your primary crops. 

The part about your area is important – a seller that does variety trials will be able to give you useful advice here.  And if they buy their seed locally (almost no sellers buy all their seed locally, so be aware of that) it will be particularly adapted to regional conditions and climate.

If you live in the Northeast, here are my favorite seed companies:

Johnny’s Selected Seed is the company I grew up with – I used to steal the catalog from my stepmother’s mail pile and look at the pictures as a teenager.  They are terrific – not cheap, but the quality is extremely high, and they breed some neat things.  Not to mention that when Rob Johnson retired, he sold the company to his own employees.  This is a good company, and they deserve your bucks:  www.johnnyseed.com

For small scale gardeners, Pinetree seeds is terrific - they say their packages are for smaller gardeners, but quite honestly, often the packages are just as big as any others, and much cheaper.  Plus, the catalog is a fun read – even though I’m not a small garden I look forward to it every year, and order quite a lot of things that I don’t need a ton of from them.

Fedco I’ve already mentioned – they are a coop, have the most fun seed catalog ever, and really do a lot of work to make their recommendations useful.  They also one of only a few companies I know of in the seed trade to completely drop all varieties held by Seminis, which was purchased by Monsanto – which, after purchase promptly began dumping open pollinated varieties and stripping our seed heritage.  They too deserve your money for taking a principled stand

Unfortunately, most of the other companies do buy some seeds wholesale from Seminis – which means it is very hard sometimes to know if you are inadvertantly putting dollars in Monsanto’s pocket.  You can call the company and ask where their seed comes from, but some places won’t tell you – honestly, this is one of those cases where we all do the best we can.

High Mowing Seeds http://www.highmowingseeds.com/ is another one I recommend. They grow all their seed locally (to their Vermont area) and while they are expanding their hybrid offerings (unfortunately more and more emphasis is on conventional hybrids, rather than the exciting and unusual varieties they used to emphasize), offer an alternative to Seminis by growing out many of the classic OP varieties, including Waltham Broccoli and Long Pie Pumpkins. They have good prices, good service and they sent me 25lbs of buckwheat within a week of my order. What more can you ask for (full disclosure – the family that runs it are somehow connected to the church my mother and step-mother attend, which is how I got my first copy of their catalog, but I assure you my alliegence is purely to their seed) from a seed company?

In the Southeast:

I feel very kindly and fond towards Baker Creek Heirlooms – their catalog and range of varieties is huge, and even though they aren’t specifically oriented towards my climate, the huge range of OP seeds means that I’ve found some favorites there.  I made my first order from them when the founder was a teenager, operating out of his bedroom – he’s now grown and married and still running it.  I wouldn’t go a season without ordering from them – among other things, they have the best selection of sweet peas ever.  www.rareseeds.com 

Southern Exposure seeds is something I haven’t used much, but I hear wonderful things about their seed if you live in the South – they are based in Virginia www.southernexposure.com

I’ve ordered some varieties also from Monticello, which maintains the varieties of seed actually grown by Thomas Jefferson, or as close as they can get.  Many are flowers, but they have some interesting vegetables as well, and how else could you get this close to history? http://monticellostore.stores.yahoo.net/plants—seeds-seeds.html

For Southwesterners:  I can’t say enough good things about Native Seeds/SEARCH which operates out of Arizona which emphasizes regional native seed varieties.  I wish more of it would do well in my area http://www.nativeseeds.org/v2/default.php

Seeds of Change is sort of the Industrial good guy. They have a very polished catalog, and lots of wonderful varieties. They are not local to me (NM), but I like them anyhow. I’m not sure I totally trust anyone who has a line of processed foods, but they also do a lot of neat plant breeding, and have a great book section. Italian White eggplants produce very well for me here in upstate NY, and Golden Giant Amaranth is both beautiful and a delicious and nutritious grain crop. Their prices are high, and their bulk selection isn’t great, but they are worth a look. www.seedsofchange.com.

For the Pacific Northwest, the obvious leader is Territorial Seeds www.territorial-seed.com.  I like them, and I’ve had good results using varieties adapted to their region in the Northeast.  I will say that I’ve had difficulty getting good information from their customer service over the years – they have declined to reveal the source of seeds, are sometimes slow to send things out,  and when they listed two varieties I had seen elsewhere as hybrids as open-pollinated, I was pleased to think that someone had stabilized them, and then  called and was reassured that yes, they definitely were open-pollinated varieties.  Well, oops, no they weren’t.  Their prices are also high – too high to give mediocre customer service.  But they do provide an important service in their region, and offer some varieties you won’t find anywhere else.

 Other Northwestern options are www.saltspringseeds.com a tiny company I’ve ordered from and liked and the wonderful Northern CA Bountiful Gardens Catalog. Bountiful Gardens is a terrific small seed company that is run in part by John Jeavons, the person who has most devoted himself to figuring out how to feed the world in small spaces. Not only do they have great seed, but they are a great cause. They also have a remarkable variety of compost, fiber and other uncommon crops. For those of you in northern CA and the Pacific NW, this is probably the place to buy, but all of us can get some wonderful things from them. http://www.bountifulgardens.org/.

For the Midwest, there are two wonderful options. 

Sand Hill Preservation Center, run by the amazing Glenn Downs, is devoted to preserving heirloom breeds of poultry and seed. They are a single family operation, and you have to wait your turn for things. But if you can get things from them, you should. They are well worth your dollar, and virtually everything they offer is produced on farm. While you are picking out seed, don’t forget to check out the chickens and ducks – I definitely want some Marans. They do not take internet orders, and they are picky about how things work. But that’s ok – they are such a good cause that we just have to get over ourselves and wait politely for this tremendous gift they are giving us. http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/ Don’t forget to say “thank you” for keeping our heritage alive and our food more secure.

And, of course, in a class entirely by itself, is Seed Savers Exchange, at www.seedsavers.org. You can buy seed from them directly, and they have a wonderful selection. Even if you don’t save seed, you should become a member – the Seed Savers Exchange has been losing members, and more and more people are the only repositories of a particular kind of tomato, or green, or millet or pea. The Irish potato famine and the corn blight of the 1970s should be evidence to us that relying on one particular crop is unbelievably dangerous – we need all the genetic diversity we possibly can get. The people at Seed Savers are keeping our heritage, our history and possibly our food security alive, and they need you at the very least to join up and give them money. But why only do that? Because the very best place to get seed is not from a catalog at all, but from your own garden, or your neighbors. So join seed savers and consider maintaining one or two or 20 varieties of seed yourself. Grow them out year after year, and save a little to trade to others. This is good practice for yourself, and enhances your own security – after all, if you ever couldn’t get seed, having some at home is a big thing. But most of all, it is a way of your participating in the provisioning of the earth.

Are you planning to save seed from a number of crops?  Here’s a piece I wrote on designing a simple, beginner’s seed savers garden that saves seed from the easiest crops: http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/08/a-seed-savers-garden-part-i/

If you have more seed than you’ll need, you’ll want to store it properly – here’s how:

http://sharonastyk.com/2008/03/19/storing-seeds/

Happy breadmaking and seed selecting!

 Sharon

41 Responses to “Friday Food Storage Quickie: Bread and Seeds”

  1. Raven says:

    What advice would you serious gardeners have for someone who lives in zone 4, at 5,500 feet? Yes, I’m serious. I grew a garden last year that produced more than it had any right to– I only weeded sporadically in July and stopped thereafter. I am just finishing up eating my carrots and I ate my last tomato (wrapped in paper inside) in November. However the native people who lived here dug bitteroot, ate berries and dried bear and buffalo jerky. They didn’t really garden. So– other than putting in huckleberries and bitteroot at the foot of my garden, which I’m already doing, does anyone else garden in these conditions and am I really crazy or only normal crazy to keep trying? :D

  2. I have a quick question. I want to order some seeds, but I’m not sure who to order them from. Fedco in Maine seems more like the climate in North Dakota, than say the midwestern seed companies. When I lived in Illinois, it never got to 50 below with the wind chill (which is what we’re facing this weekend). I know Maine can get that frigid. Would I then look for seed companies from the Northeast?

    Thanks.

  3. KF says:

    Another seed site I recommend for West Coasters is Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden located in Grass Valley, CA (N. CA). They specialize in farm supplies and seeds for organic farms, and have a fantastic selection of bulk seed, cover crop seeds, supplies like row covers, and tools. I have had great service every time I’ve ordered from them. Their selection of OP seeds is great, and they also stock specialty seed from biodynamic sources and for medicinal herbs. Prices are generally good. They are at: http://www.groworganic.com

  4. KF says:

    Response to Raven about growing in Zone 4 at 5500 ft:

    There are lots of things you can grow. If you have space and light enough for them, I’d recommend setting up some permanent plantings of trees/bushes in addition to a summer garden. Many varieties of apple trees will grow to zone 3 even (look for ones bred by the U. of Minnesota like Zestar! and honeycrisp and snow sweet) and do well in cold/high elevation. Certain nut trees will grow that cold, especially walnuts and hickory nuts, but they’ll do better in more extreme conditions if you get plants on their own roots instead of grafted trees. You may need to mulch heavily around 1 or 2 yo new trees over winter until they get well established. Also look for growing out huckleberries, serviceberries, lingonberries, currants, cranberries, alpine strawberries. I’m not positive but I think elderberry bushes will also do fine. Most cole crops (broccoli, kale, etc) will do well, and greens like spinach. Root crops: turnips, beets, etc. will provide both greens and roots. Raintree nursery has a lot of plant options: http://www.raintreenursery.com. They’re in WA state. You might try Fedco trees and Fedco seeds for the NE as well.

  5. Hausfrau says:

    Last year Baker Creek had a “Southern seeds” value package for $80.

    If anyone is interested, I bought this package and listed all the varieties I got here: #2008/06/baker-creek-seeds-pt-ii.html.

  6. Lydia says:

    Sharon,

    Have you seen this book? Worth your while.

    Here is a link to the amazon page of this fantastic book on seeds.

    http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Seed-Inventory-Non-Hybrid-Vegetable/dp/1882424603

    For those of you who want to help save some of the varieties that are at risk of going by the wayside. This is essentially a research book, but do not let that scare you off, it is well organized and quite readable. Has become a bible for me. Whealy is the guy who started Seed Savers Exchange. This book lists all seed companies and all non-hybrid vegetable seeds available in the US and Canada.

    What amazed me the most and was like a brick between the eyes was how much commerce (the large Monsanto type) has affected diversity due to the desire to sell all types to all people and hence the march to mono culture in vegetables. Whealy states that 57% of all non-hybrid vegetable varieties offered by seed companies have been dropped since 1984!!! Due to his efforts and others this has since turned around but still greatly at risk.

    But I got to wondering if anyone had information about how many people each year since 1980 have stopped farming and gardening? Would the graph of that overlay in relation to the loss of seed variety? I do not know. Just a thought. Anyway this is an excellent book.

  7. BoysMom says:

    Raven, we gardened in zone 3 at 7000 feet with a 28 day growing season. The lettuce did well, and it was the best rhubarb production we’ve ever gotten. We were digging lettuce out of the snow to pick. (It was Black Seeded Simpson, we purchased from Johnny’s. It’s the best producing strain we’ve found anywhere we’ve lived.) We put up a cold greenhouse, and got tomatos well into October. Here where we are now we didn’t get a single tomato, had frost in the middle of the summer at only 2500 feet.
    There were wild roses all over, we could get as many rose hips as we cared to pick. We heard also of people growing raspberries, there was a wild variety in the area and you just dug some up beside the road and brought them home. The big problem for us wasn’t the temperature, it was the number of frost free days. Leafy greens do well, as do root crops as you found. We never got to try Jerusalem Artichokes but thought they might do well, too.
    Build a cold greenhouse, there’s a book called The Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion written by a fellow out of Cheyenne Wyoming, and go for it. You aren’t crazy, or if you are, you have lots of good company!
    I am a big Johnny’s fangirl: their stuff sprouts. And the next year, it sprouts. And the year after. And even the fourth year. And I don’t store it properly at all. Also, they lable everything that’s hybred right up front right after the name. Soo easy! I just wish they had more varieties!
    Seed storage: Alas, if you put the seeds up on top of the piano, the toddler will get the container and open it and rip the packages and dump the seeds all over the floor. Picking up seeds is not fun. Now I have a bunch of unknown seeds.

  8. Beth says:

    Your link to Baker Creek is missing an “s”. It’s

    Thanks so much for these resources. I was unaware of the options available to me so close to home.

  9. Susan in NJ says:

    Southern Exposure is also the recommended seed source for the Mid-atlantic region (which is not all South to me, Sharon, even though it’s mostly below the Mason-Dixon line).

  10. Susan in NJ says:

    I meant “a” recommended source

  11. Grandma Misi says:

    Another great source for West Coast, specifically the Pacific Northwest is “Victory Seeds” in Oregon. It is a small, family run heirloom seed saving (as in rescue too). I have ordered from them 3-4 yrs now and the seeds are perfect and the service is amazing. They stopped having a catalog just this year ($$) but have a wonderful site online – http://www.VictorySeeds.com
    They also have wonderful “old time” candies, gums, etc. this time of year.
    You’ll love it, trust me!

  12. Sarah says:

    Huh…I may need to figure out where I’m getting my metabolism from, but without a thyroid I have no need of iodine. That’s kind of cool.

    Will yeast store at cool room temperatures even after you open it?

  13. Rosa says:

    Sarah, yeast stores really well at about 40 degrees, which is the temperature of my kitchen cupboards in winter. I buy dry yeast granules in bulk from my coop, twice a year, so I know it keeps about 6 months, but i keep it in the fridge in summer.

    Screaming Sarding – I just got the SeedSavers Exchange sale catalog, which is how they fund a bunch of their activities (this year they have heritage cattle, btw). There are at least a couple NoDak varieties in there – you have to read the descriptions. Also, I’m in Minneapolis, and I have had good luck ordering from them.

    Their catalog is very, very pretty, btw. I have it out on my desk at work and people keep stopping to look at it.

  14. I’m going to add:
    http://www.wildgardenseed.com/
    to the list. They are located in Oregon and specialize in OP greens that are cold hardy.

    I might add too, that beginning gardeners should not stock up on vegetable seeds that require huge amounts of fertility and/or water to grow, unless you have some sort of livestock that you can save the manure from for your compost. A lot of people have came to organic gardening and farming with the mindset that animals do not need to be in the equation. But, the days of getting expensive soil amendments shipped in, and distributed easily may be a thing of the past. Grandma grew corn and other heavy feeders because most likely she had a house cow, or a good size flock of chickens and she probably saved every bit of manure too.

  15. Laurie in MN says:

    This is possibly a really, really basic question, but why would we want to avoid the iodized salt? Is it just the concentration in (some) preserved food, or is there a reason that it’s actually bad for you? I was under the impression that having a source for it in your diet was a *good* thing.

    Nice to know about the kelp, though! :) Of course, kelp isn’t all that plentiful in Minnesota… *laughs!*

  16. Shamba says:

    Okaaay, I’m willing to look at the seed site in Arizona to see what there is. I’ve never been much of a gardener except for some hardy colorful and year round green plants n the flower bed out front. However, if I could learn to make bread again I might be willing to try to grow one or two vegetables. If I could just grow carrots or some kind of lettuce/green stuff, that would be an accomplishment!

    thanks for this wealth of information that you have, Sharon and others, too.

    peace to all,
    Shamba

  17. Lynnet says:

    Some more fantastic (fun) timesucks in this article. I could spend days happily browsing through the seeds. What fun!

    Another nice small seed company is Turtle Tree Seeds:
    http://www.turtletreeseed.com/

  18. Rosa, thanks for the SeedSavers Exchange info. I’ll check them out!

  19. [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Friday Food Storage Quickie: Bread and Seeds Ok, this week we’re going to concentrate on storing two things fairly basic to sustainable food systems, bread and seeds. Or rather, we’re not going to store bread, we’re going to store the components thereof – flour, yeast and salt. With water, that’s really all you need to make good bread. And flour is often on sale this time of year – I recently saw 5lbs of bread flour as a loss leader for $1.99. [...]

  20. Sarah says:

    Laurie — iodine (and anti-caking things) make canned veggies and pickles and things go all cloudy and weird. It might affect the taste, too; I’m not sure. It won’t *hurt* them as far as I know.

  21. Gen says:

    I have bought seed from Johnny’s for many years, even though I only grow a small family garden, using the square foot gardening method. They are a good company to work with.
    I recently bought seed from Seed Savers Exchange, and yes, they have a beautiful, informative catalog. They sell some great books, too.

    I keep my currently-being-used yeast in the fridge, and spare packages in the freezer.

    I buy wheat and grind my flour as needed. That keeps your flour fresher. If you have a hand grinder, you can put your kids to work, which will help temper their winter cabin fever! With all the storms and power outages in the NE currently, we are reminded to have Plan B.

  22. Laurie in MN says:

    Sarah:
    Thank you! I haven’t gotten into the canning part yet, having gotten my first water bath canner *after* the season was pretty much over, so I’m pretty much a total noob at some of this stuff. I appreciate any info I can get!

    I picked up the (cheap) store brand salt a while ago because I occasionally do dye work which takes a LOT. I may have to reserve it for canning, instead.

  23. Raven says:

    Shamba– I must have gotten incredibly lucky last year with my carrots. I had read somewhere to plant them mixed in my radishes and then when you harvest radishes, voila! auto carrot thinning. It’s hard to kill a radish, they seemed to disgust the rabbits, and I never even weeded my carrots. Oh, and I only watered them like twice a week at most. So I’m sure you can do carrots at least. :)

    I’m thinking root crops are the way to go. My mom, an hour away, is zone 2 and 6,000 ft. and grew a bunch of potatoes accidentally from sprouted grocery store ones. And I’ve got some really lovely turnip and beet seed for spring. So! No excuses for me. Thanks for all the help everyone!

  24. Rebecca says:

    I love Bountiful Gardens. I’ve ordered from them for years. Baker Creek is also wonderful. Territorial is also okay, though they don’t have much that is good in my climate.
    This year was the first time I’ve ordered from Southen Exposure and while their prices, ethics, and service are good I had horrible problems with all the squash seed I got from them. It might have just been a fluke and I haven’t yet decided whether to try them again or not.

  25. yarrow says:

    Native Seeds/SEARCH is *fabulous,* and if you ever happen to pass through Tucson, their outlet store is a gorgeous little botique of hand-made, local native-plant crafts and foods. they were also very friendly about looking up information for me–i live in Albuquerque, and our farm is at 4,900 ft, a far cry from Tucson’s nearly-winterless, Sonoroan desert 2,000. but they found a variety of devil’s claw (a charming desert plant that happens to also be edible) that is frost-tolerant, and should grow where i live.

    For those reading, I cannot reccomend Native Seeds/SEARCH strongly enough if you live in the desert. They have dryland varieties of a surprisingly huge array of foodstuffs, and tons of information.

    We also buy from the Seed Saver’s Exchange, and have had good luck with their seeds. Seeds of Change is a good company, though they are pricier than Plants of the Southwest, which is where i’m more likely to find myself, as they have an Abq location. :)

  26. Rebecca says:

    (I’m at work and bored -can you tell?) Anyway, one of the things I like about Seeds of Change is that they sell heirloom apple trees, including several varieites that are hard to find.

  27. tasterspoon says:

    Can anybody tell me whether flour is edible once it has bugs in it? Last week as I was teaching my boyfriend how to ‘flour’ a cake pan he noticed teeny bugs on top of the flour. Not those hard brown ones I’ve seen before, but little slim wispy ones. We looked in the other bags and ended up throwing away a couple of paper bags’ worth, and it killed me. Plus I’m sure my boyfriend will never bake again.

    Anyway, there was nobody living in anything wrapped in plastic so I know what I have to do now, but I’m wondering whether, if I had been hard of seeing and just stirred them in, I would have gotten sick.

  28. Mary Ellen says:

    Sharon,
    This was very interesting. I was telling my husband about it. His comment was, “Then why are we sprouting seeds to eat if there is going to be such a seed shortage in 2010??” I really wonder that myself. We have made sprouts to eat in winter for years, and now I am wondering how ethical it is. Can someone ease my mind or tell me if this is a terrible use of seed? Thanks much.

  29. Rosa says:

    Tasterspoon, I always figure that if I can sift out the bugs, the flour that comes out of the seive is edible. We had recurrent meal moth infestations, so I always run my flour through a seive just to be sure.

    I mean, it’s not like there aren’t bug parts in commercial baked goods, right?

  30. Laurie in MN, the reason you want to avoid iodized salt, is because it is actually added back to refined salt in almost toxic amounts. You can get the iodine you need from using natural sea salt like Celtic Sea Salt or RealSalt. There is a post about that very thing today
    at http://www.womennotdabbling.com/

  31. Ellen says:

    Mary Ellen, I really wouldn’t worry about the sprouting of seeds– first of all, many of the things you’re probably sprouting, such as various types of beans, lentils, grains, sunflower seeds, etc. would be foods you’d need to eat anyway, short of moving to an entirely fruit and fresh vegetable-based diet. By sprouting, you’re increasing the nutritional value of these foods, meaning you’re getting more out of a small quantity of food than someone who takes the same items and just makes soup or bread. Most of the other common sprouting seeds, such as radish or alfalfa, are abundant and easy to grow– they’re probably not going to be as hugely affected by shortages, especially since seeds for sprouting don’t need to be carefully isolated to prevent hybridization. If you have a garden, you could even grow some of your own sprouting seeds… many plants produce seeds in great abundance.

    I suspect the real problem will be when people need varieties specific to their region and growing conditions… for instance, if I want seeds for an open-pollinated onion that will produce bulbs in southern latitudes and store for more than a few weeks, my options are limited to just a couple of varieties sold by just a few companies. The possibility of these onion seeds becoming unavailable to me is much greater than the possibility of losing something like lentils, which can be obtained as long as grocery stores still exist.

    Anyway, I hope this is coherent and somewhat helpful, since it’s 3 hours past my bedtime!

  32. grace says:

    Yarrow!….did you start the Devils Claw inside
    or direct sow?
    Thanks, grace
    near Socorro

  33. d.a. says:

    As someone who is wheat-intolerant, I’m not going to worry too much about storing grains for bread. Making gluten-free bread – at least bread with decent taste/texture – requires a variety of grains as well as binders like xantham gum. Instead, I plan on making do with cornmeal tortillas, as living in the SouthWest makes access to cornmeal very easy. I might also grow potatoes to make potato flour, or garbanzo beans for bean flour, which will help make for softer corn-based items such as muffins or spoon bread.

    If gluten/wheat intolerant folks really wanted to stock up for making breads, I’d suggest finding a pre-made mix that you like that’s already well packaged and has an expiration date on the package for reference. That way it will store nicely.

    Although not a bread, I’m also stocking up on a specific brand of brown-rice pasta. The packages I’ve been picking up sport an “expiration date” of 2011.

  34. KathyD says:

    Laurie in MN.

    Regarding iodinne. I’m not a nutritionist, but have family experience. My aunt, who is now 70, had goiter as a child. Here in MN the soils don’t have naturally occuring iodine and we have no local sources– like seafood. Until iodized salt many folks suffered from goiter. So personally, I’ve included iodized salt in my pantry. I’ve also bought extra for my neighbors.

  35. Laurie in MN says:

    Not sure you will see this, but wanted to thank Throwback and KathyD for the information on iodine in salt. Wow! I remember being told as a kid that it was in there to prevent goiter(s). My parents grew up during the Depression, so I’m guessing they may have had some family or community experience with it.

    Anyway, nice to know that sea salt (at least some of it) is a potential source for the iodine that we actually do need. We’ve been cutting WAY back on salt due to my husband experiencing a kidney stone, and I’m exploring sea salt as an alternative. I really appreciate the information being passed on here!

  36. Mary Ellen says:

    Ellen,

    Thank you so much for your thoughts on sprouting seeds. Sorry you missed three hours of sleep for me. You did ease our minds on this subject and I hope you find this reply thank you. We live near the center of Alaska and have gardened here each short summer for 33 years, many of those years also with a greenhouse. But the winters are very long and we crave that “fresh picked” taste of nutrition. That is why we sprout. Based on your well thought out words, we will continue. Come visit our state some day!

  37. [...] read.  I never really thought about the personalities of seed companies before!  At the same time Sharon Astyk posted about seeds.  All this input has gotten me excited about seeds and planting for next spring – and here it [...]

  38. [...] 5, 2009 in Sharon Astyk, seed-saving | by David Here is a detailed and useful post from Sharon Astyk with some good basic info about seed-saving. Here [...]

  39. Jake says:

    We ordered from Sustainable Seed Company last year http://www.sustainableseedco.com They are a small family run seed company on the West Coast that only sells heirlooms. They seemed committed to going beyond organic standards of farming. We were so impressed with the fact that they don’t import any seed from out of country and buy from small farmers in the US. Everything we got from them germinated and grew very well.

  40. Kayce Bunts says:

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

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