Ways We Harvest Food on a Small Homestead
There are so many avenues of food cultivation on the Earth. Our Earth is constantly creating food for us, but as time goes on, our natural instincts have been deprogrammed. The powers that be have pushed the idea that we have to go to supermarkets or restaurants to eat. Not only is that a ridiculous idea but it’s absolutely insulting!
You can find all sorts of food, mostly greens, available in nearly all parts of the world at almost all times. This fits most of the areas that people live. Obviously, if you live in the desert you will have serious issues coming up with a meal, so I say it’s not sustainable, so move to a place that is.
Reading stories of homeless people dying in Central park blows my mind. Even Central park has a multitude of foods available, but we need to re-educate ourselves. Surviving was a natural trait that was ingrained into us, but sadly it seems to be disappearing.
Do you have a homestead? I classify a homestead as a dwelling that makes efforts to sustain itself by growing food, raising food and making what you can to support life. It’s an idea and effort more than the size of land you have. I also know that smaller pieces of land are more efficient than larger plots of land.
Do you live in an apartment and dream of homesteading? Well, don’t be bound by the things you can’t control, but do what you can to reach your dreams.
You can grow mushrooms under your bed! Yes mushrooms are a better source of protein than meat. Buy some mushroom spawn from any of the many online sources and grow food under your bed.
Sprouts are another fantastic source of food. Sprouts have more value in nutrition than the adult plants per ounce. The best part of it is that from seed to the time you eat is usually 7-10 days. That is mind blowing and so exciting. Sprouts can be made from any edible plant like radishes, kale, beets, mung beans, wheat and many more seeds. Creating a seed mix can also change things up, like texture and taste.
To sprout, all you need is a mason jar with a threaded ring and a piece of muslin type cloth. To sprout your seeds, put ¼ cup of seed into your mason jar and fill the jar half full of non-chlorinated water (distilled is the best). Put the material over the top and screw on the lid. This has to sit for 24 hours at room temperature. The next day shake it up and drain it. Rinse it out and sit upside down on the dish rack to fully drain (about 1 hour).
Now, twice a day fill, rinse and drain. Store in a dark room temperature area, for the best results, until they are grown to your liking. When they are ready, just rinse and store in a container for up to a week.
Make your own easy and high fiber bread or crackers at home. Sprout wheat, barley or many grains the same way as I previously stated. Many recipes litter the net on how to make crackers or unleavened bread with sprouted grains.
The basics are to use a grinder or food processor to macerate your sprouted wheat. Spread the mixture out thinly onto an oven tray or preferably onto a dehydrator with a mesh to dehydrate. You can also make a loaf bread, but finding the right recipe will be key to your enjoying this bread.
Pigeons have been used for thousands of years as a source of food. The last great depression had an uprising of pigeon growers. Pigeons are easy to grow and fairly prolific once you have pairs. Pigeons pair up for life so make sure you buy mated pares to assure your success. They don’t make much noise and can even be kept on rooftops.
Pigeons breed year-round and usually lay 2 eggs at a time. Birds can breed by the age of 6 months and the squab (young pigeon) are ready to eat by 4 weeks of age. Most of the time pigeons lay a second set of eggs before the first pair of squab are ready to leave the nest. If you like the dark meat on chicken, you will love squab!
Off of the homestead is an abundance of food:
Here in the US, farmers spray to kill Lambs Quarters and then grow spinach. Spinach is good but Lambs Quarters is better! Out in Asia, they plant Lambs Quarters (we call it goose foot) as a crop. This “weed” grows everywhere and is easy to identify. Some differences in varieties exist but they are easy to tell apart. I won’t explain it here, just do your research.
This is such a tasty weed especially when it’s steamed. One Thanksgiving we made some steamed and seasoned, it was the hit of the meal for everyone. It has 133% of Vitamin C, 232% Vitamin A and 6% Iron compared to spinach which has 14% Vitamin C, 56% Vitamin E, and 4% Iron.
This grows just about everywhere. Simply establish a pile of horse manure if you have the space, and they will grow right from it since the seeds are used in horse feed.
Amaranth is the cereal weed. Amaranth is feared by factory farms. This “weed” grows tall and has an abundance of seed: bad for mono-crop farmers but great for us!
Amaranth seeds are a powerful food. This is a gluten free grain that helps lower cholesterol and even has anti-inflammatory properties. The number one trait is that it’s high in protein that is more digestible than the milk protein. It’s also know to boost the immune system! The plant is also edible, but it’s not my favorite.
The cattail plant can also be found anywhere from Central Park to Alaska. This plant helped the American Indians survive. This plant has so many uses from starting fires to making bread. I even make twine from this amazing plant.
The clearly identifiable cattail deserves its own article so I won’t try and do it justice here. What I can say is that breads can be made from the pollen of it’s heads or from drying and grinding it’s roots.
The early shoots are delicious raw or cooked. They taste a bit like cucumbers. The roots can also be boiled till soft and used like baked potatoes. This plant is a great starch and available free to anyone willing to bend over and pick it.
Another wild delicacy includes the acorn. An important lesson we can learn from the American Indians is how to use this available resource. The acorn itself can make you ill or even kill you because of its tannin. Luckily, all that’s needed is to boil it in water and dump it out a few times. This removes the tannins so that it can be used in a multitude of ways.
Bread type foods are one of the most popular, but you can also eat them after boiling and dumping the water a few times. Another way to leach out the tannins is to fill a sack with acorns and put it in a stream for a week. The running water will remove the dangerous compound.
We still have the more common weeds like dandelion, plantain, leeks, and elderberry to harvest. These options I gave you will help you to survive without the grocery store. Get a good book or keep looking for articles on the subject!