Breeding out the phytonutrients

david52_gwMay 26, 2013

Interesting article at the link about how mankind, over the years, has inadvertently bred out some of the important elements in our food.

snip

" Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.

snip

Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans, have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a âÂÂsuperfood.â A purple potato native to Peru has 28 times more cancer-fighting anthocyanins than common russet potatoes. One species of apple has a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious displayed in our supermarkets.

end quote

Article goes on to make some recommendations -

Here is a link that might be useful: link

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jodik_gw

Thank you, David... a very good article and subject for discussion.

It hits home with me in a big way because we, my husband and myself, truly believe that the foods we eat are incredibly important to our overall health and well being.

We feel that many of the commercially produced foods of today do not meet our nutritional needs, and that the officially recommended levels of daily vitamins and certain minerals are not nearly high enough to allow the body to work as it should.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:56AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Excellent points offered by the op-ed piece. We are breeding food plants for palates, not for healthful benefits. If I grow very sweet white corn, my customers buy the ears up and demand more. If I grow yellow corn, the demand is much less. Grow bicolor corn and the comments become odd.

We have grown hominy and dent corns in the past, offering some for sale in the milk stage for a special old-timey treat. Few takers. As dried ears, these corn make some of the best corn-y meals. I am especially fond of Blue Claridge dent corn, an heirloom from the midwest/Ohio Valley. Makes great corn bread and flapjacks.

We also grow a lot of "odd" greens, traditional types that are powerhouses of nutrition and once figured as important food sources in different regions of the world. I'm working with wild kale mixes and tree kale in season to promote healthy eating. We try to promote eating the tops of many crops, including the leaves of cauliflower and other cruciferous crop plants. My attempts at market young and very tasty and nutritional "weeds" has not been very successful in spite of people loving dishes I've prepared with the plants.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 12:26PM
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david52_gw

Where do you get wild kale?

I'm growing Russian red, and love the stuff.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 1:28PM
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althea_gw

"The United States Department of Agriculture exerts far more effort developing disease-resistant fruits and vegetables than creating new varieties to enhance the disease resistance of consumers. In fact, IâÂÂve interviewed U.S.D.A. plant breeders who have spent a decade or more developing a new variety of pear or carrot without once measuring its nutritional content.

What a good point. As well as plant disease resistance, plants are developed to be machinable and shippable, without any concern about the nutrition value.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 1:43PM
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art_1(10 CA)

I don't think that 'breeding out the phytonutrients' is something that has been done intentionally, but looking at nutrition more closely is gaining popularity, both publicly and scientifically.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Wisdom and Science of Traditional Diets

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 2:48PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

David, my original mix of wild kale came from Territorial Seed; I also ordered some from J.L.Hudson, Seedsman back in the day.

The genetics seem to be mostly Western European, rather than Siberian, the latter more cold-hardy and generally better tasting.

You might be interested in this article, written a decade ago, by the manager of the Abundant Life Seed Foundation, now subsumed into Territorial Seed company.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Best Kales

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 3:28PM
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jodik_gw

I think as more people become aware, the organic and heirloom type foods will become more available, through more of a demand for wholesome, nutritive foods.

When we began working more with organic ingredients and cooking differently, there were a lot of things we had to learn... but it's so worth the effort, not just for good digestion, but for feeling better overall... and Lupus has a bad habit of making me feel very poorly a lot of the time. It's almost as though I got somewhat of a new lease on life... in a manner of speaking. I actually feel better, physically... which also makes me feel happier. :-)

There's definitely truth in what Hippocrates said... "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Funny how medicine and nutrition are not always 'hand in hand', as they should be... better nutrition is tied so closely to our overall health.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 3:28PM
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pnbrown

An important point, rarely noted, is that B.Napus is tetraploid and does not cross with other brassicas, including mustards and numerous common weeds. This is what makes it such a great naturalizer. Giant red mustard is another such tetraploid and naturalizer.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 4:04PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Pat, B. napus will cross with other brassicas, esp. B. juncea, although the hardiness of such crosses are rarely good. While checking on this issue, I ran across a link from Florida of some interest to this discussion. See also additional internal links.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 5:10PM
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david52_gw

Thanks for the info. I'm intending to plant Russian Red and Scotch curl kale this year - I'll look and see what Territorial has on offer.

Russian red is pickable pretty much the entire year as long as I keep it watered and it doesn't dry out. Not a whole lot of growth in Jan and Feb, but the leaves are still pretty good. And the deer off it. Not too shabby for zone 5. It generally over-winters, and as long as I keep it whacked back, doesn't go to seed.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 6:00PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I recommend for your climate White Russian Kale. See link below:

Here is a link that might be useful: J.L. Hudson, Seedman catalog page

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 6:08PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I remember now having gotten the wild mix from Bountiful Gardens rather than JL Hudson. Here is the BG page with description of the wild kale origins and the selection out of the mix of the White Russian Kale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild west of Kales

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 6:15PM
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david52_gw

Marshall, now you've given me two new-to-me seed sources that I'm going to have to spend hours looking through and likely support even if its only on principal.

(shakes fist impotently)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:08PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Puny grocery store buyers will die off and stalwart home gardeners will inherit the earth, which is as it should be...

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:33PM
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pnbrown

I love BG.

Marshall, for 15 or so years the red russian has bred true for me. Maybe it is exporting its genetics but it doesn't seem to be importing any. Also for over ten years there has been a population of B. napus sharing ground with giant red as well as a common wild mustard and all three seem to have maintained integrity.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:21PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Good to know, Pat. I'm doing some mass kale seed saving: lots of leaf to eat, then rouge out the less desirable ones, then save seed from the best 5. Next year plant out each of those saved 5 as separate blocks and go through the same process a few more years. By the end of 5 years, the variety will be well adapted to my area and bioclimate. Tetraploid pollen is often used to cross with diploids and triploids, not usually the other way round. Been a while since I studied on that subject and that was a lot of years ago.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:52PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I spent some time looking at the graphics accompanying the article, and noticed that the blue corn and blue potatoes had higher values -- both staples for West L.A. foodies and farmers' markets. Purple carrots are less abundant, but still available. (I tend to think it's the novelty of the color and trendy heirloom cache rather than strictly nutritional benefits, but I could be wrong.)

Dandelions still figure in traditional Italian cooking.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 2:10AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Real dandelion or the Endive that looks like wild dandelion?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 2:21AM
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october17(5chgo)

Hey! This thread has been derrailed into a seed/source swapping thread!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 8:21AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

marshall, real dandelion -- part of a culinary tradition that began as poor people's food.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:32AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Nancy, I'm familiar with dandelion greens and wine made with the flowers and even "coffee" made from the roasted and dried roots. When I was a kid, each spring would bring a mess of these greens to the table. I hated them at the time but must admit that I felt better for having eaten them. Powerful restorative food in an era when winter meals did not deliver the right nutrition to growing children.

I'm going to start a weed recipe thread over on the other side of HT.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:41AM
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jodik_gw

Very cool, Marshallz... I might have to ask my husband to check some out.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 11:48AM
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pnbrown

Really they are pretty unpleasant, IMO. Nettles are not much better tasting, though both are ok mixed into a dish of some kind. I think between the dark leafy greens like kale and leaf lettuces we get what we need.

I plan to remember to eat more SP foliage this summer, I think they are brimming with nutrition and they don't taste like a rank weed.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 1:00PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

marshall, one dish calls for dandelion greens served with a rich pork sausage. Variations include beans or orecchiette pasta. Of course the name now escapes me; traditionally Roman/central Italian iirc.

Field greens were normal for grandparents; not so much for the more suburban second generation.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 3:32PM
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esh_ga

Wild dandelions, once a springtime treat for Native Americans

Which dandelions? I believe that the common weed we have so much of today is not native to North America. Does any one know?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 5:21PM
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pnbrown

Methinks you are right, my memory says the common dandelion is from northern europe....

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 5:43PM
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david52_gw

As are wild purslane, lambs quarters, and chicory, if I don't disremember.

All of which are, um, widely dispersed and quite hardy in their new environment.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 6:00PM
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elvis

Lambs quarters are delicious sauteed in butter. I understand they used chicory root as a coffee substitute during the civil war. I've been told Germans brought dandelions over as a garden staple.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:46PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I am so excited! I just watched a video of a talk given by Dr. Daphne Miller, MD, who is specializing in the values of traditional diets and lifestyles on avoiding our major health crises brought on by diet and lifestyle. I usually don't watch you-tube videos but this one is well worth it.

Our conventional food and behaviors are killing us quicker with worse prognoses as we inflame our bodies and kill off the beneficial microorganisms that are mediators between what we ingest and what the body receives.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Wisdom and Science of Traditional Diets

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:56PM
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lily316(z5PA)

I want to watch that last video when I have more time. Dr Miller seems very interested in changing people's minds about food. I know if I ate what the typical fast food eater does, I'd be sick as a dog. I only feel good on fruits, grains and vegetables. I had to have a piece of birthday cake tonight at a party and couldn't actually eat more than three bites. It's not part of the way I eat. You can change your diet to a healthy one and then never want to go back.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 2:31AM
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pnbrown

I have found that when lamb's quarter gets about five feet tall with a main trunk of two inches diameter one can't pull it. So yeah, well adapted to the environment.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 6:50AM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

What about the fact we are poisoning our soils with herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. Traditional farming methods of rotation, green manure and the like are long gone on large scale farms. I feel sorry for the less developed countries who are still practicing this way (traditional) - I am sure the are being preyed up to "modernize" their system.
Plus if people don't want to change how they eat (and how much and wastage) this "new" practice will be all there is offered to us (on a large scale). Give us our food, lots of it and cheap! No, this is not how I feel but what I see.
Edited to add:
Oh, to get back on topic, I can't find kale seeds anywhere where I live - only ornamental kale:(.

This post was edited by cookie8 on Tue, May 28, 13 at 7:59

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 7:58AM
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althea_gw

Cookie, try Richter's in Goodwood, ON. They only have 2 varieties, but that's a start.

Here is a link that might be useful: richter's search

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:46AM
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jodik_gw

Much like Lily, I get sick whenever I step backwards and eat over processed, chemical laden, or unnatural food items.

I can hardly believe I could at one time actually stomach much of it. Now, it tastes bad, and it affects me in many different ways.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:57AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Cookie, wow!, no kale seeds available? There are many on-line seed catalogs that ship to Canada or or in Canada. You have Heritage Harvest in Manitoba, for example and just over the border in VT is High Mowing Seed and in ME Johnny's Selected Seeds, Fedco Seed, and Pinetree Seed.

I just googled for Canadian companies and found these in Ontario: Dominion Seed House, Richters Herbs, Ontario Seed, William Dam Seeds, and Cottage Gardener Heirloom Seedhouse and Nursery. They all have on-line catalogs.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:07AM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

Okay, I know, get off my lazy butt and look online (truthfully, didn't even think of it). I will do that this afternoon. It's been a busy gardening season for me. I do try to keep my seeds organic and have just been looking at nurseries and hardware stores. I would have taken any kale seeds at this point.
Thanks for the suggestions. I do find it odd that kale isn't readily available although I know of quite a few people who haven't even tried kale before.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:31AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

I used to grow Red Russian kale and curly kale but aphids liked them as much as I did. Due to the pest problem I switched over to collards which never got as infested. Might give red russian another shot.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:50AM
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david52_gw

Kale salad: wash, dry, shred leaves in fine strips. I strip the tender bits off the stems. Mix with your favorite vinaigrette, let sit for several hours in the fridge to 'marinate', then serve.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 12:10PM
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pnbrown

I used red russian leaves to make lactic acid pickles, I was very pleased with it. Much greener and more salad-like than typical sauerkraut.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 1:23PM
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lily316(z5PA)

I remember my German grandmother making dandelion salad and dandelion wine. I thought she was kooky. Now I think she was ahead of her time.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 2:24PM
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david52_gw

Pat, did you use it to make something like kimchee? I've heard that kale doesn't work that well for 'kraut, but haven't tried it myself.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Campanula UK Z8

But hey, we put all that yummy MSG in place!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 6:02PM
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pnbrown

Yes, Dave, kind of like that, I used hot pepper flakes and sliced carrots or sun chokes mixed in with it. I'll definitely make it again in the fall.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 7:10PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Pat and David, in what kinds of container(s) do you ferment these roots and vegetables? I'm kicking myself for having donated most of the canning tools and supplies and canning pressure cooker.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:44PM
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elvis

Marshall, you didn't ask me, but I do mine in old Red Wing crocks. Pretty sure that's what they were made for, back in the day, *&(%%! heavy suckers.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:34PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Old Boots, eh elvis? I once had 4 ceramic crocks ranging from 7 to near 14 gallons in size. I had a crew come in to do some yard work and they managed to crack all of them. Wouldn't admit to it, of course, but the crocks were good earlier that morning when I moved them out of harms way.

Is there a source of crock not requiring a second mortgage to purchase?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:04PM
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david52_gw

I use 3 gallon ceramic crocks, but thats for big batches of fermented chilies and making sauerkraut.

I know a lot of people who just use wide-mouth quart canning jars. I have some half-gallon canning jars that would seem to be far more flexible for larger veggies.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:06PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I am dying to make dill pickles like my grandmother's. Don't have a recipe, just a taste and mouth-feel memories.

On Sunday I visited with a foodie group a local olive oil operation in Ojai, Cal. I was amazed at the qualities of well made extra virgin oils, cold-pressed. Even more amazing are the vinegars, all based on imported balsamic stock. Then there are in infused olive and vinegars. Honey Ginger was my favorite!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:49PM
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elvis

Marshall, I get 'em at garage sales; lots of folks don't have any use for them. One woman's trash is another woman's treasure. That would be me ;-)

How big you looking for?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:58PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Around here they are considered "antiques" and priced accordingly. I don't do garage sales (inadequate impulse control.) I am a packrat by nature and must consciously resist more "treasures." Suppose I could check Craig'sList or perhaps eBay.

I like the ones that range around 18-24 inches tall and wide. They are darn heavy at that size so cost of shipping is rather significant.

My grandmother used quart and gallon-sized glass jars for pickles but stopped making kraut before I was old enough to notice.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:31AM
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david52_gw

You might look around in the small town hardware stores.

We've one near here that sells every size of crock from a gallon to 25 gallons at very reasonable prices - they must buy them by the truckload.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:35AM
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lily316(z5PA)

We used to make pickles in those enormous crocks back in the day. I still have one I keep magazines in. Flea markets are your best bet. Look for something not in pristine shape, maybe with nicks and tiny imperfections and a no name maker and they should be reasonably priced.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:46AM
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pnbrown

Marshall, I made two oaken kegs. One holds water sufficiently to make pickles, the other doesn't.

I plan to buy the biggest glass jars I can find for making the summer pickles like cukes and dilly beans.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:43PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Around here they are considered "antiques" and priced accordingly.

I'll second Marshall's comments.

Look for something not in pristine shape

In SoCal -- land of 'shabby chic' -- that pushes the price even higher.

Saturday I'm stocking up on purple potatoes from the farmers' market. I'm going to remake the potato salad (with Yukon gold variety) that I prepared for Memorial Day with more phytonutrients. I didn't see anything on the phytonutrient values of green beans, Persian cucumbers, Bermuda onions, or Kalamata olives, so I guess I'll stick with those ingredients, plus evoo and lemon.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:57PM
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elvis

"I like the ones that range around 18-24 inches tall and wide. They are darn heavy at that size so cost of shipping is rather significant."

That's a 5 gallon. I'll keep my eyes peeled for ya. If it's $20 max, even with the shipping it would be a good deal. I found one just like mine on ebay and it was $299 (I paid $20).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 1:39PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Thanks, elvis. You saw what "useless collectibles" get priced at: $300 for a $15 wholesaled item. I don't have time for the next couple of days to do on-line hunting for reasonably priced crocks.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 9:44PM
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pnbrown

How about the lead in glazing on old crocks?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 6:33AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Often a concern but there are test kits to determine presence of lead. Of course, you have to scratch the surface of the glaze to perform the usual tests. What are the chances of significant leaching of lead during fermentation processes? Any used food grade plastic liners in old crocks?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:05AM
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jodik_gw

In my opinion, the plastic would be as, or more dangerous than any lead... unless it were an unusually high content... to line any crocks with. Plastic has a big tendency to leach into its contents when certain actions are applied... like heating, and possibly other actions, like fermentation... I'd have to ask my husband. He's the plastics expert, as it was his field, and he's kept up with what's been happening. Now I'm curious about that... I will ask him later just to find out.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:15AM
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david52_gw

For what its worth, anything a ceramic crock will do re fermenting, a food-grade plastic bucket will do just as well. I suppose one can worry about stuff leaching from the plastic, but they tell us its safe, and if you can't believe plastics manufactures, who's left to trust in this world?

My crocks now all have a slow seep. Likely all the lead dissolved, making them more porous....

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:46AM
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althea_gw

The red wing printed on Red Wing crocks used to be made of uranium oxide. They said the glaze prevented the radioactive print from being dangerous.

I have a Buckeye 3 gallon crock. My mother used to make pickles & sauerkraut in crocks of all sizes and handed them off to the kids, like the valuable heirlooms that they are. that's where mine is from. I was planning on making sauerkraut last summer but didn't get around to it. Maybe this year.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:45AM
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jodik_gw

Food grade, in the plastics business, only means clean material is used in the manufacture... no re-grind is used...it doesn't mean anything about it's actual safety.

I asked... just in case anyone was interested.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:52AM
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lily316(z5PA)

Geez, Nancy, I should load a tractor trailer and come to SoCal to peddle my wares.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:01PM
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pnbrown

That's interesting, Jodik, thanks.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 3:48PM
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pnbrown

I found a large crock the other day, amongst our junk, that could make large batches. No idea if it has lead in the glaze.

Marshall, I have read, maybe in Sandor Katz' book, that the high acidity of the final fermentation stage might leach glazes.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:22PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

FYI, a nice little presentation of wild edible plant in W.Virginia although no images. For a good reason: better to go collecting with an experienced browser than to poison yourself and family.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edible Wild Plants

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:53PM
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elvis

"better to go collecting with an experienced browser than to poison yourself and family."

Yes; especially something like poison hemlock, which closely resembles Queen Anne's Lace, wild carrot, and others. Usually deadly, I hear. :-(

"When in doubt, don't"

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:22PM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

Another great book is Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictorates by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. It offers a little on fermentation, cultured dairy, sprouting, broths and so much other useful information.
Edited to add:
Thanks for that link for the wild plants. I don't think I will ever be brave enough to go mushroom picking though. The rest - yes.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370088357&sr=8-1&keywords=nourishing+traditions

This post was edited by cookie8 on Sat, Jun 1, 13 at 8:13

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 8:10AM
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jodik_gw

No problem, PNBrown... I realize the industry has attempted to color plastics with a "safe" brush... but in reality, they have never told the entire truth of plastics. It is indeed, in many forms, a known carcinogen... a cancer causing agent... and some of those forms have been deemed "safe" for food or medical use.

We live in a world inundated with the variety of materials that is "plastics"... an offshoot of the petroleum industry, and a way to reclaim and sell some of its refuse.

Anyway...

Thanks, Marshallz... interesting read. I really have to learn more.

My Mom was proficient in mushroom gathering, and would wait every year for rains to bring forth the fungus from a stump in our front yard... it was so delicious fried in butter. Looked much like coral... can't recall what she called it... and unfortunately, had no interest at the time to learn that which I could kick myself for NOT learning! lol!

It's really important, I think, to pass down these traditions and knowledge to our offspring... lest it be forgotten and relegated to history, while perhaps needed tomorrow...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 9:31AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Jodi, I've been leery of wild mushroom gathering since my old and very knowledgeable grandmother nearly killed off half the family in one sitting by adding one poisonous mushroom to the dish, another mess of mushrooms fried in butter. If there had been more, they would all have died. She knew all the favorite spots, kept some secret even from her family, but had very poor eyesight by that time.

Cookie, the Falon/Enig book convinced me to avoid unfermented soy and other products when it came out about 2000. I don't consider the book to be in the class of Politically Incorrect Cookbooks.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:41AM
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jodik_gw

I hate to make an ethnic comment, and there's no offense meant to anyone... but my Mom often and openly described her family as "Bohemian hobi pickers"... second generation to come from the old world, so to speak. She was proud of her heritage.

She always said, if one boiled mushrooms with a nickel and a small onion, and either one turned black or dark, the mushrooms were poisonous.

I have no idea if this is lore or truth, but it seemed to work for her.

Disclaimer: do not try this at home without knowledge!

I'm leery of picking mushrooms... though I would like to learn which are good and which to avoid.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:48AM
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TxanGoddess

Just took a look at this thread, and wanted to recommend a really nice off the wall veggie I recently discovered to everyone.

Chaya, or tree spinach, is native to Central America, and is a euphorbia. So, it has to be cooked (and not in aluminum, though nothing should really be cooked in aluminum anyway) to be edible but it is really tasty... like a milder version of spinach, with a lot more nutrients and a possible anti-diabetic effect as well.

As far as my research goes too, it is not high in Vitamin K, which is great for my diabetic-and-on-blood-thinners father who has been missing greens now for many years.

It makes a handsome foliage shrub, three pronged leaves with rather insignificant white flowers, probably not hardy, although it grows well in a pot, has low water needs, and is great for xeriscaping.

I really love mine! The food and the plant! Got it the day before the Superbowl as an 8 inch cutting, it is 4 ft tall now and I harvest about 60% of the leaves off of it 2-4 times a month for dinner without ill effects.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:01AM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

"I don't consider the book to be in the class of Politically Incorrect Cookbooks." LOL, then talk to the author about that one. But in all seriousness, compared to our modern diet - yes, but I choose that over what is offered now.
I found out about chaga "mushrooms" so I went foraging and found some. My husband saw them on the table and said "you are going to get paralyzed eating those" - jokingly, of course, so I wimped out and didn't make my chaga tea.
I made kimchi and was so sick after that - so am nervous of yet another practice. Granted I ate two cups worth in one sitting. Once I get over it, I will try fermenting beets or carrots.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:25AM
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elvis

"She always said, if one boiled mushrooms with a nickel and a small onion, and either one turned black or dark, the mushrooms were poisonous."

The babushkas (Grandmas) will tell you to use a dime--a silver one. Don't rely on that, please.

In these parts the poisonous false morels are eaten by many with no ill effects. Something to do with soil types. I grew up eating them, but after doing more research as an adult, decided it's not worth the risk. Now I only eat wild mushrooms with no look-alikes. Complete & sudden irreversible renal failure 3 weeks after ingestion is not on my bucket list.

;-D

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:26AM
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jodik_gw

Ah, yes... Vitamin K... a blood thickener. Handy to have in injectable form if one has pets and also uses rodent poisons... which thin the blood in rodents until they bleed to death internally.

Some poisons do not cause secondary poisoning, but some do.

Back to the target...

I've read about many different plants that pack a punch when it comes to nutrients, and have medicinal values, as well... many in South America.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:26AM
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jodik_gw

You are correct... my bad... it WAS a dime. I couldn't remember the denomination. I thought it was a nickel. I didn't pay enough attention to that sort of thing as a youth. I was not interested in learning to cook, more's the pity.

As a survival tool, learning to feed oneself is of great use... but when one is young... eh... I was more of a tomboy, I think.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:40AM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

"As a survival tool, learning to feed oneself is of great use... but when one is young... eh... I was more of a tomboy, I think. "
This is where I turn arrogant. I think "how can you not be interested in it". I love it - foods, nutrition, growing, cooking. I am totally obsessed with food and nutrition. Sadly, no one in social circle is:(. They think I am a "whacko". Probably am.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 11:54AM
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jodik_gw

(Raising hand.) I'm a 'wacko', too... welcome to the club!

When I was a kid, and a teen, I just had no interest in learning those things... though, as an adult, I see the usefulness.

We've gotten more obsessed with nutrition, and with how much better we feel, overall, when we do eat well.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 12:27PM
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haydayhayday

"though nothing should really be cooked in aluminum anyway..."

Why's that?

Hay

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 4:26PM
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elvis

""though nothing should really be cooked in aluminum anyway..."
Why's that?

Hay"

Where do you see that on this thread, Hay? I don't see it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:24PM
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TxanGoddess

elvis, it is in my post about the chaya plant and vegetables.

hayday, the reason for not cooking in aluminum, which you just prompted me to research, was something my mother had taught me that now appears to be inaccurate, or at least, unproven.

She told me as a teenager that aluminum was linked to dementia and/or Alzheimer's, and that since anything too basic (as in chemical, not rudimentary) or too acid would make it leach, increasing the danger even further.

Sorry to have spread a potential misconception there, but it definitely can cause a toxic reaction with the chaya if you ever decide to explore that, so use some other type of pot for that veggie in particular.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:36PM
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elvis

Tex, I heard that too, years ago. My MIL :-)

Maybe it was a plot against the aluminum container industry. Think of all those soda cans! But there are other reasons and instances where using aluminum is not the best idea:

'Do not use an aluminum pot, pan or utensil when cooking tomatoes. The acid in the tomato reacts unfavorably with the aluminum. Using aluminum makes the cooked tomatoes more bitter and fades the color. The dish will also absorb some of the aluminum and the acid in the tomatoes can pit and discolor the aluminum cookware.'

____

'It is widely reported that people ought not cook Chaya in aluminum, because a toxic chemical reaction can cause diarrhea.'

http://www.arthurleej.com/p-o-m-Jan12.html

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatoes & Aluminum

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:50PM
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pnbrown

Most soils are high in aluminum in any case, so we eat plenty of it. I remember that dictum against aluminum pots, during the hippie daze....

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 6:37AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I am surprised to read that most soils are high in aluminum. Most soils have just a few percentage Aluminum bound with silica mostly. It is rare for a full-spectrum soil test to measure aluminum content because it is so rarely found in soluble form.

I recall that there may be possible toxicity in very acid soils that are not buffered by organic content. Under high acidity aluminum silicates become more soluble. Liming takes care of that problem

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:24AM
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david52_gw

Someone emailed me something about the research at the link, where some doctors ran a clinical trial showing that women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yogurt showed altered activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation.

/off to slurp some kefir..

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 1:05PM
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cookie8(zone 5 ON)

At a cellular level in the body - food is an amazing thing. That's why I don't want it messed with.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 2:40PM
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pnbrown

I should probably have said that there is some aluminum in most agricultural soils, so presumably we are ingesting in some form and tiny amount in many foods. I know it is high in florida sands, don't know to what extent plants uptake it and include it in tissues.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:14PM
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jodik_gw

I would agree, Cookie. I think tampering with all these animals and plants through genetic bio-engineering is going to lead to a nightmare, with regards to nutrition and starvation. Food is an amazing thing as it reacts on the cellular level.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 7:39AM
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haydayhayday

"Under high acidity aluminum silicates become more soluble. Liming takes care of that problem."

Drop that bag of lime and back off and nobody will get hurt!!!

If you want blue Hydrangeas, not pink, then you need to make aluminum available to the plant. Which means you need aluminum and means that the soil needs to be acidic so that the aluminum is freed up to be absorbed.

It's usually found quite abundant in many, most (?) soils. Perhaps not in the Cliffs of Dover? And maybe not near Lime Rock, Connecticut.

"Aluminium is the third most abundant element (after oxygen and silicon), and the most abundant metal, in the Earth's crust. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth's solid surface."----from Wiki.

To make double sure, add Aluminum Sulfate. Acidic making and Aluminum all in one.

I've been involved in discussions with people who are terribly afraid to be adding Aluminum Sulfate to their soils. Like it was a poison or something. Indeed some plants are said to not tolerate it at all and I believe that.

But, given that you need to keep adding Aluminum Sulfate, year after year, month after month, suggests that it gets bound up very quickly and I've seen that. If you've got limey soil, it's never ending.

In the discussions I've had, I once did some calculations and showed that the Aluminum in Aluminum Sulfate is the same percentage as Aluminum in granite. And then I ask if anyone would be terribly afraid of adding some New Hampshire Granite dust, a couple of cups at most, to their soil.

Then I point out that one day I'm checking the ingredient label for a Stella D'ora Biscotti and there it is: Aluminum Sulfate.

"In keeping with its pervasiveness, aluminium is well tolerated by plants and animals.[6]"

I still don't like beer in aluminum cans. These days there's more and more beer in cans. They line the cans with that terrible BPA (?) stuff. That's enough to turn me off, but if you want to drink the beer without pouring it into a glass, you'll still get that horrible aluminum taste with your lips touching the outside of the can.

Hay

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:26AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

I use al. sulfate for bluing up hydrangeas but take great care with using on azaleas. Hay, what about aluminum in granite? How soluble in silicate compounds?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 10:53AM
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jodik_gw

That may be true, Hay... but can we eat hydrangeas? ;-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 11:02AM
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pnbrown

Hay, best come over to the soil forum and read some oft he recent debates on various rock dusts.

One thing I learned is that a salt form of an element is very different in availability than the oxide forms most likely found in silicate rocks. Plants suck up sulphates, but not oxides.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 1:54PM
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florey

Healthy, colorful vegs. are medicine.
Thanks for the thread.

.....
There's something very share-y about useing an old crock. It's a kind of communing with others from long ago. Those who have shared the same tastes and interests, long ago, are brought into the present, to share again.

Lead glazes are fired at around 700*.

Crocks were used for pickleing because they were the best available tech. They are high fire ware. The kilns go up to ~ 2000* [degrees], give or take a few 100*, leaving a fairly inert, melted, vitrious finish from the glaze on the tan/ brown ones.
The grey ones with blue designs are likely salt glazed, a process that melts the surface. of the clay itself.

Do check for lead anyway , also for other foreign substances, like paint, or other unpleasant uses if the darn thing is close to 400 hundred years old. Many are 19th cen, some are older.

The clay itself, may have odd minerals in it - such as the manganese in Stamford, or something else. A worn or weakened inside glaze might let something out [?]. Colonial Milk paint that has always seemed so plain and healthy - just milk and earth, is now deemed unhealthy because of some unpleasant minerals in the dirt.

If clean, unworn, and lead free, the vessels are probably fine. It all sounds yummy. Kimchee, various pickles, rummy mince...
....

Some of those kales, look small leaved enough, to do in containers. Was that just the photo? We have lead in the soil, so we put edibles in big pots. We are always looking for semipresentable looking, high food value, medium to small scale options.

...

Is there a yummy way to cook bitter crucies without vinegar? A family member can't do acidulous, ingredients. Another can't do pork. Aaaak!

I may have seen a recipie with molasses and red pepper flakes, which may aproximate a sausage/ bbq-ish substitute. Got to avoid potatos too. Dang!
We must comply with many competing circles of avoidances: allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, triggers, and just plain dislikes. That's very frustrating.
It makes it hard to share much of the same meal.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 5:56PM
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pnbrown

Florey! Long time no read-see.....

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 6:45PM
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