My husband grew winter wheat this past winter. Usually he plows it under when it’s time to plant our garden, but this year I wanted to try to harvest some of the wheat to store and grind. How do I know when it’s ready to cut down, and what do I do with it, once we cut it down? I think we need to beat it into a tarp to get the kernels out, and then possibly “fluff” it, so the chaff flies away, but I’m not sure it that’s right, and I’m not sure how to know it’s ready to cut.
Your wheat is ready to cut when it is golden brown and the individual kernels are hard when you squeeze a thumbnail into them. Cut the wheat then, on a sunny day, and bring bunches onto a clean tarp or child’s blue hard plastic swimming pool. You can either beat the wheat with plastic baseball bats or sticks — or even walk about on it with clean tennis shoes to separate the kernels from the straw and chaff. Then lightly toss off the straw (stems and leaves). Scoop the wheat up and put it into a pail. It will be “dirty” with chaff and debris. Winnow it on a windy day by pouring it slowly from a pail into a large bowl. The chaff will blow away and pick out any other debris that remains. You may have to do this more than once to get clean wheat. Once clean, you may store it in any airtight, bug and rodent-proof container until you use it. If weevils and pantry moths are common in your area, freeze the wheat for a week before storing to kill any possible remaining eggs. — Jackie
Canning pickled fish
My question is “Can you can pickled fish?” Have searched your canning books plus many others and have not found a recipe.
Here’s a recipe from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources you might like:
1 large pike or several smaller fish, cut into fillets
2 onions, sliced
1 tsp. whole black pepper
1 tsp. whole allspice
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ lemon, sliced
1 Tbsp. capers
Cut fillets into small pieces; barely cover with water. Add onions, pepper, allspice, sugar, and lemon. Boil until fish is nearly done, then add vinegar to double amount of liquid remaining. Boil till done; add capers and seal in hot, sterilized jars. Process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. — Jackie
The right canner and planting summer squash
My wife and I are eager to try pressure canning this year. Do you recommend a specific brand? One that could be easier for the beginner canner? We feel confident in water bath canning, so we are ready for the next challenge. Also, we live in the Southeast and have to fight the long hot days of summer, when do you consider it too late to plant summer squash and can you plant them in a spot in a garden that gets shade?
Ryan C. Fowler
I like the All American canner as it’s gasket-less so it never needs the gasket replaced. However, it is more expensive than the more commonly available Presto which does have a gasket. The gasket is long-lasting and is not expensive to replace. Both are good canners and have been around for years, and both are safe to use. Enjoy canning!
As summer squash matures quite quickly, you might try either planting where there is a little shade during the heat of the day or wait until the hottest part of the summer has passed and plant then. Most take around 50 days to begin producing squash which is not very long at all. — Jackie