Monthly Archives: October 2013



I came across some whole organic milk (both cow’s milk and goat’s milk) that was being tossed from a Whole Foods. Grocery stores are the ultimate urban resource because many remove items from their shelves BEFORE expiration dates as quality control. It’s easy to check for bad milk- trust your nose and you will know.

For WELCOME HOME food processing this week, Michael and I decided to do an experiment, creating yogurt with cow’s milk and sheep’s milk. Here’s simple instructions on the process.

The cow’s milk yogurt was delicious, and the sheep’s milk one was too… however the texture was unexpectedly mucous-like. If you can imagine, it was quite slimy. I think we can use this batch to try to create cheese for next week’s processing!

Photo on 2013-10-28 at 21.43 #2


1. Boil Cotton in Lye of Barilla or Wood Ash

Recipe 1

20131021_185514 This ash is from our WELCOME HOME bonfire pit.


WELCOME HOME: Food Processing

I live in a quaint cozy pink house on the south west side of the city with a generous-sized kitchen and back yard space, 2 lovely roommates, and 2 cats. WELCOME HOME is an attempt to open up our domestic space to public use as a hub for sharing and exchange.

Beginning as an effort to deal with the incredible abundance of Fall harvest, to save food from being wasted, and to stock up for the winter, we have been hosting food processing at our house Wednesdays from 2-9PM.
Guests are invited to bring excess food, supplies, recipes, and experience or to come and learn.

Canning – Baking – Drying – Fermenting – Prepping


Michael and Megan peeling tomatillos


Making banana bread out of squishy ripe bananas and apple sauce from Green City Market apples.


A twist on pumpkin pie using pumpkins, bananas, and applesauce.


Look out for what is being grown and tossed from the city parks – such as these organic sunflowers seeds that can be lightly roasted. When picking the right sunflowers look for plump seeds with many stripes.


Contrary to last year, we’ve had an abundant apple crop in the Midwest this Fall. A good way to preserve apples before they go bad is to chop them up and dry them. The sugars become much more concentrated with sweetness in every slice.


Canned goods can make great alternative currency that can be traded as barter for other goods. So far I’ve traded my tomatillos and tomatoes for maple syrup, venison jerky, and pickled spicy tomatoes!

Grapes- Green City Market

Received a garbage bag full of grapes that were rescued from the compost at Green City Market from a friend. They smelled sweet and fermented, way past edibility.

I took half of the bag for my first attempt at potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar) extraction.

20131015_143659Twin pots boiling simultaneously.

After some heavy boiling, I will strain the juice and let that boil down and thicken. Then I will quickly transfer the liquids to a freezer and hope to find crystals gather on the surface.


Recipe 1 – Map

I will be basing my first Turkey Red attempts with this first recipe from Wikipedia.

1786 recipe from Manchester dyer



  • White argol – Potassium bitartrate, aka. Cream of Tartar:
    Mineral crystals that are found naturally in grapes. Grapes can be found in growing wild along the Chicago River. Fall is also grape season, and you would not believe the amount of surplus at the end of the Farmer’s Markets.
  • Olive oil – Vegetable oil: Refuse vegetable oil can be collected from restaurants after use.
  • Lye of Barilla/ wood ash – Wood ash: Wood ash can be produced through the burning of scrap wood and mulch from the Bureau of Forestry maintenance. Free pick-up sites are located throughout the city.
  • Sheep’s dung – Horse manure:
    Horse manure from local stables can be a rich soil amendment and is commonly used for compost for urban agriculture. Ask local farms or visit horse stables in and around Chicago for manure, including the city’s police horse stables.

  • Gall nut – Wasp gall on Oak: Galls are formed around the eggs of wasps on Oak trees. They are high in tannic acids and have been long used for inks and dyes. Oak trees grow throughout the city’s public parks.