This week I'm excited to bring you one of my favorite DIY projects-- SPROUTS. It's so easy and inexpensive to sprout grains, seeds, legumes, it doesn't take up much space, and the return on your effort is HUGE. Sprouts are densely packed with vitamins, minerals, trace elements, micro-nutrients, and all kinds of healthy stuff. They're versatile and delicious on salads and sandwiches,  as garnishes or snacks.

You can use all sorts of containers to grow your sprouts-- jars, tubs, trays. I have lots of options in the shop if you want to get started. In this week's video, I show you how to use a simple stacking garden system, with draining trays and covers that double as soaking bins. It's efficient and effective and will require a space on your kitchen counter no bigger than a dinner plate.

Growing your own sprouts, wheat grass, and micro-greens is anywhere from 20-100 times less expensive than buying them in the store... not to mention, the ones you grow will be even fresher. Have a peek!
 
 
When you  get right down to it, what the heck *IS* yogurt in the first place? Yogurt is milk that has been cultured with one or more strains  of lactobacillus-- bacteria that eat sugar, turning it into lactic acid. That's where yogurt gets its tangy flavor. 

Why would we want our milk full of bacteria? Good question. 

Like a bunch of other fermented foods, yogurt contains beneficial  probiotics. These tiny organisms live naturally in our gut, helping to break down our food and making nutrients bioavailable. They also crowd out the harmful bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy digestive track. Lacto-fermentation is a natural food preserver, and it's responsible for many of the delicious and nutritious foods  we love, like  cheese, pickles, beer, sauerkraut,  kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and even sourdough bread.

Making yogurt at home is fast and easy, and you end up with a pure product that contains none of the added sugar, corn syrup, flavors, colors, thickening agents,  preservatives and chemicals that are often found in store-bought yogurt. All you need is milk and a starter culture-- which is about a half cup of your favorite yogurt to kick things off.

Warm your milk, add your cultures, and let nature do the rest. A yogurt fermenter makes your job even easier, maintaining a steady 95 -100 degrees F while your yogurt incubates. But even that is optional as long as you have a warm spot to let your yogurt get going. Watch this week's video to see just how easy it is to have homemade yogurt!


 
 
Here in Los Angeles, we’re in a severe 5-year drought.  Watering your in-ground garden uses a lot of water, and might not be the most efficient use of this precious resource. When you have your own garden, it’s easy to waste water. Overwatering doesn't just use more than you need, it also washes away valuable nutrients in the soil. But under-watering can be just as bad! Have you ever had a great crop of veggies going strong, then lose it all because you got busy, you had a momentary lapse into forgetfulness, or an irrigation line broke?  For people on the go, growing food can be a lot of work and a drain on water.

Well, there’s a better way: aquaponics. If you’ve ever wanted to grow your own organic veggies but simple don’t have the space, water, time, or decent soil to work with, consider an aquaponics system.  It's like hydroponics... plus fish to fertilize the water and feed your plants... which in turn clean the water for the fish. A very cool symbiotic system.

In this week’s DIY video, Roe introduces you to the King’s Roost aquaponics system. It’s a soil-free, environmentally-friendly, self-watering,  low maintenance, water-sipping, super efficient, high-yield organic gardening system that not only gives you fresh chemical-free vegetables, but whose “by-product” is fresh, organic protein in the form of sustainably raised Tilapia! No more frozen tilapia that’s been shipped thousands of miles from an industrial farm in China where they have been fed who-knows-what.

The video below covers all the basics of aquaponics. Stop by the store to learn more or to pick up your aquaponic supplies. We'll help you get started and and answer all your questions.

 
 
If you're into baking and haven't yet discovered the pure joy of cultivating your own yeast, you are in for a treat.

The commercial yeast you've been buying in stores is manufactured, processed, refined and dried out.  You spend money on the stuff, when countless strains of feral yeast abound right in your own kitchen! All you need to do is lure those little organisms into a jar, keep them happy, and feed them. They'll reward you by creating tastier, healthier, vibrantly natural and flavorful  baked goods... AND they'll save you a bit of  dough (HA!) in the meantime. 

You may even find that the loved ones in your life who suffer from wheat belly, gluten sensitivities and other  grain-related maladies are better able to tolerate baked goods that are made with wild yeast instead of the commercial variety.

All you need to begin is a jar, some water, and a bit of flour. Watch the video below to learn how it all works... and pick up  a secret shortcut with pineapple juice!

Catching and keeping yeast is an art form that becomes pretty addictive over time. Crazy as it may sound, you'll become attached to your little yeast colony, learning its idiosyncrasies and individual moods as you play with flavor, texture, rise time, and moisture levels.  Let us know how your personal yeasty adventure is going... or stop into  the Roost to get a jump start with some of our own starter anytime.

 

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