SO much goes on in my kitchen (I feel like a mad scientist sometimes!) – including the potting and planting of seedlings in the late winter – that it’s nearly impossible to list everything here. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common processes happening in my favorite room in the house:
Fertilization: The weekly collection, and use, of the used tropical aquarium water from our two fish tanks (a previously wasteful hobby of mine), which now feeds both indoor and outdoor plants. Aquarium water is a perfectly balanced all-purpose fertilizer. We also use all other bio-compatible grey water on our plants. Generally I’ll collect it in 5 gallon buckets and after watering the smaller plants I’ll use the remainder to deep-water the largest trees on the property.
Fermentation: Depending on the season and my mood, I’ll make beer, wine, vinegar, kombucha, lacto-fermented veggies (we especially love purple saur kraut), Sriracha and other hot sauces.
Baked and dried foods: Keto cracker/pizza/tortilla dough, sourdough bread (on occasion), dried veggie chips and berries for snacks, dried stew ingredients for easy longterm storage, dried cut herbs to enjoy throughout the winter months.
Food storage: Drying, canning, and cellar storage for winter veggies. My most requested recipe is habanero jam.
Growing from seed: It is much cheaper for us to plant veggie seeds than to buy starters from the store. For the price of a single starter plant I can get 2 discounted seed packs from my food co-op and grow upwards of 30-60 plants. It’s cheaper, and it helps cure my winter blues by allowing me to play in the sweet-smelling dirt on my kitchen counter, while drinking tea and dreaming about the warm days ahead.
*Regarding indoor seed-growing, I’ve recently learned the expensive lesson that plain ol’ fluorescent light bars seem to work just as well as, and require less fuss than, expensive LED grow lights. Fluorescent bars can be set right above the emerging leaves and raised to be 1-3″ above the leaves the entire time they’re growing. No leggy plants, no leaf burn, easy and cheap to acquire on Craigslist.
Home and body product DIY’s (I ran out of time before the tour to post recipes for each of these so check back again soon or contact me with a specific recipe you’d like): Starting with a base of a handful of ingredients I’m able to make many low-cost products that save us hundreds of dollars a year, and a lot of plastic packaging waste too. The best-bang-for-your-buck replacements that also seem to work even better than their store-bought counterparts are; cleaning products, body butters and after-bath oils, deodorant, mouthwash, antibacterial face wash, and chapstick.
Other random fun things I love to make: butter, yogurt, nut butters, coconut butter, Keto-friendly chocolate bars from cacao nibs, mayonnaise, mustard (recipes to come).