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Daily Archives: April 17th, 2022

Maple nutmeg mostly bulletproof. Yum.

What foods did sourdoughs eat I wonder?? So I did some prospecting for information nuggets and found some interesting factoids. Besides the well-known home made cakes & breads, we know that Sourdough’s ate a lot of salted meat, hardtack and whatever else local foods they could muster.

Around here, we incorporate traditionally harvested foods in our daily diets. Unlike the traditional Native Alaskan subsistence culture & to some extent, Sourdoughs of the past, our diet isn’t solely based on these foods, but an interesting addition. Except for salmon, that’s an integral part of our diet.

Some years we simply don’t get a harvest of certain foods. Like mushrooms. We may hunt and hunt for morels and just not find more than a meal’s worth. Or we may not be able to go out and hunt at all. But we don’t starve because of it.

Some years we gather a large amount of berries, one variety or another. Last year it was low-bush cranberries, the year before it was raspberries… Then the jams and jellies will be plentiful. And a few tasty desserts. But if we don’t gather any, we don’t starve.

Some years we get a moose, other years we don’t. But, you guessed it, we don’t starve. We make due with what we have and the local grocery stores & a farmer here and there. We have this security and conveniennce that Sourdough’s of the past did not have. Life is less stressful during most years due to this convenience.

Now, add in a couple of years of supply shortages and outages plus sky high inflation, suddenly supplementing our diets with foraged foods becomes more of a necessity for modern wannabe sourdoughs.

Like those leathery old souls of yesteryear, we’re eating things like moose stew and salmon cooked every which way you can. We’re making sourdough bread and capturing Birch sap to add as many varied vitamins, minerals & nutrients to our diet as possible. And flavors. It’s important to have variety.

We’ll be looking for those first shoots of ferns, fiddleheads as they are called, and fireweed shoots. Perhaps we’ll get our timing right for horsetail shoots as well. All of these “spring tonics” to help get the sluggish winter gunk out of our systems and jumpstart us for summer’s busy schedule.

Then we’ll be harvesting dandelions en masse for jellies and maybe a fried blossom or two. Throwing a few greens into our salads. We’ll be drinking “pineapple weed” and spruce tip teas. Both can be made into tasty jellies as well. Then it will be salmon harvest time. You know where to find us then 🤣

We may do things differently than our forebearers did but I guarantee you that we are eating some of the same things. Mostly we are eating Alaska. And being ever so thankful for her abundance. B’H!

Moose Stew

I make moose stew two ways, fresh or with canned moose. I’ll share both with you here.

Start with a pound or two of chopped moose meat, brown in a cast iron dutch oven with plenty of fat (use what you have: oil, butter, tallow, etc).

Once browned and smelling delicious, add to the pot 2 qts of liquid, make due here with broth or water. Two- three large potatoes chopped into bite-sized nuggets. Three or four large Alaska grown carrots or make due with any old local variety, by local I mean imported from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Toss into the pot whatever seasonings you have: garlic, bay leaf, salt & pepper, celery seed or salt, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, or a Cajun spice blend if you’re so lucky to have. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for hours until meat and veggies are tender. Better if you place it on top of the woodstove in the winter, and let it slow cook all day.

After the meat and veggies are done you can either eat as is, soup style or add some thickener for a more traditional stew. I usually prefer cornstarch since it’s gluten free. Make a slurry with about a 1/4 cup of cornstarch and enough water to dissolve it all. Mix it up and pour into your simmering pot of Stew. Stir and cook until the soup is thick and clear, not cloudy from the cornstarch.

You can also thicken with wheat flour in a similar manner. Your stew will have a more opaque appearance then with a clear cornstarch based sauce. It also will not be gluten free then, but if that’s no matter to you, then by all means, carry on!

Usually I make stew with canned moose meat and veggies. I think the moose tastes much better plus half the work is already done. Besides being a quick meal, it’s what we have in the pantry.

To a large Dutch oven add 2 jars moose meat, 2 cans carrots and 2 cans potatoes, season to taste as above recipe dictates and heat through. Once heated, add thickener of choice and cook until thick and hearty. Serve with sourdough rolls, hardtack, pilot bread or matzos if the timing is right. Enjoy!