Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Making Potato Flour

Thought I had forgotten you. Well, hardly but I've a side kick that has decided that, "I'm living here forever and ever." or at least ten days she says. The last time she said such a thing I asked if she wouldn't miss her mommy she replied, while holding up three fingers, "At least three days." By George if she didn't stay three days, She's waning on the ten day thing though and has decided that seven might due.  That is until her mom came to pick her up and really all she wanted was a visit from mom and she was good to stay longer.

Though I've enjoyed her immensely, I do have a pile of work that needs doing and can't be done with her here, like livestock chores. It has been bitter cold here. Not the weather to take a tyke out in that's immune system has a tendency to be weak. She is so tiny for her age.

I've got the oldest grand daughters off to school today, there mom dropped them off early this morning, but the youngest, who's nine months old, and my side kick are here for part of the day. 

 I have been sewing up a storm since that I can do at the kitchen table while she plays around me. The sewing is for The Calico Bush. I'm building quite a stock pile of things to sell but still struggling mightily on the photographing. Once again the photographs turned out bad yesterday so I'll have to try again today after the kids leave. 

I've also been doing a great deal of research. The new Soviet like agricultural legislation that will be voted on in the next month or so has me really upset. The reporter's descriptive words not mine though I agree with the description of Soviet. That has set my mind a racing. If we had to produce even more than we presently are of what we consume, what would we do about flours for bread? 

Kirk can't survive without his bread or so he thinks and I'm not as knowledgeable about bread as I'd like. Being skilled at one bread just isn't going to do. I need to be able to use what is available for flour.  

We buy wheat but I have no idea how to grow it let alone enough space to do so. In that area we are definitely not self-sufficient. Grains are a basic staple for us and our livestock and are something we need to look into more. I'm thinking it would be smart to create a small patch of wheat in the garden this summer as an experiment, like I did buckwheat for a couple summers. I've still got that buckwheat to dehull and use as soon as I figure out where I put it. OOPS! The lesson therefore is not complete but I did learn a great deal about growing buckwheat. The biggest lesson being that it takes a lot of plants to get just a little grain.

Hands on learning is always better than book learning as anyone who has read about something and then done it can attest.  
I can 't grow an acre of wheat but some knowledge is always better than none. But what if?.... Can't you hear the gerbil cages whirling in my brain? What if we did some substituting with things we grow and could potentially grow? I've been throwing in my breads some dried corn ground into flour. We have dried sweet corn or dent corn as they call it and Painted Mountain flour corn.  Plus I've even thrown in a little dried beans ground into flour. Got that idea from one of my favorite kinds of chips.  
Potatoes are great in bread, what about potato flour said my brain one day? Sure enough, there are recipes for potato flour in breads, even sweet potatoe flour. Now that sounds good and we have some potatoes that are getting rather wrinkled or trying to sprout. Oh how I'd love a cellar. Best of all potato flour could stretch our wheat supplies if need be in the future.

 Wouldn't potato flour be great added to home-made pasta or tortillas shells too? Why not? The powdered beets, spinach, zucchini, and carrots that were puny in the garden and then dried and ground are great in pasta and I bet would be good in bread too. They would up the nutrition and add a complexity to the flavor. There isn't any gluten in those vegetables but none the less they could be added in smaller proportions to bread and in greater amounts in pasta and some tortillas where gluten isn't such a big factor.

This would help solve my waste not want not problem since I just don't like canned potatoes. I will bottle them when needed in the future but I have a tendency to waste them right now if bottled since they aren't a favorite. So the experimenting has begun.
I baked some sweet potatoes in the oven yesterday even though the recipes called for boiling them. 
 I'm such a rebel but it made more sense to me. Then I saved the skins for the chickens and mashed the potatoes on the drying trays. 
 I used the fruit roll up trays. It is drying now. It's taking a while. I think I'll spread them out thinner next time. I know I need to get them really dry, brittle in fact in order to turn to powder. I've then got to try the blender, the rolled oats grinder, and the small meat grinder to see what works best to turn them into flour.

Today I planned on boiling some small white potatoes from the garden but then I checked the sweet potatoes in the dehydrator and they aren't done. If I add white potatoes, the moisture from them will moisten up the sweet potatoes again. I'm going to have to boil the potatoes I have because they are too little to bake.  Sigh, baking is so much easier.  I am going to leave the skins on to boil and take them off afterwards. No sense trying to peel small potatoes.

Have any of you made potato flour and cooked with it?


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