Seed Tape – DIY

You can buy Seed Tape versions of seed from many on-line catalog seed retailers and I now see it offered in local home improvement stores in the seed section each spring. The advantage of Seed Tape is that small seed types such as carrot, spinach and radish are properly spaced to reduce or avoid the amount of thinning you have to do when planting these tiny seeds straight from a packet. The downside of this approach is the expense. So I learned to make my own seed tape.

I’ve found this is great late winter, bad weather day activity. I can start “planting” my garden by planting the seeds in my seed tape substrate: Toilet Paper. Yep, that’s right, I plant my seeds in biodegradable toilet paper. I don’t want the expensive, extra layer, fluffy, quilted stuff for this job. I want that really thin, scratchy kind you’d find in a port-a-potty. It breaks down faster and saves money.

Later, when it is time to plant, all I have to do is bury the seed tape per the package directions with a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of fresh garden soil, water and wait for the perfectly spaced seedlings to emerge.

Seed Tape Supplies

  • Any kind of small seeds
  • Ziplock baggies or containers marked with type of seed tape to go in it.
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • Toilet paper – measured out in 2 foot lengths, very compostable type
  • Any Squeeze type bottle (you can wash out and use an empty mustard or ketchup bottle or find one in the travel container isle)
  • Funnel for pouring mixture into squeeze bottle.
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Toothpicks
  • Small plate

Instructions

  1. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and cook over medium heat until it boils and thickens.  Mixture should look opaque and cling slightly to a fork before dripping off. This will be your “glue” for getting the seeds to stick to the toilet paper.
  2. Let it cool and add a couple drops of food coloring if using. Adding the food coloring is actually optional, but it will make your “glue dots” easier to see. Pick a color that makes you happy.
  3. Using the funnel, transfer your cornstarch glue to a squeeze bottle for easier application.
  4. Using a 2 foot length of toilet paper, squeeze dots of cornstarch glue on the lower half of the strip.  Space the glue dots as directed on seed packet for planting spacing.  This is where reduction of thinning after planning is achieved.
  5. Place a seed on top of each dot.  Fold the toilet paper over and press seeds in.  Let dry completely.
  6. Store in a plastic bag or container until you are ready to plant along with the seed packet for planting directions and easy identification.

Notes: I typically use a plate and toothpick to handle the tiny seeds.. I put some of the seeds on the plate, and then dip the toothpick in a bit of glue to pick up a seed and then transfer it to a glue dot. Has always worked for me, but if you have better ideas or suggestions, please let me know.

Latic Goat Cheese with Minced Truffles and Oil

I began keeping goats in 2010 and making my own dairy products from their milk in 2011. Over the years I’ve made soft and hard cheeses but never had a teacher or classes. There aren’t many classes available in Reno. Today you can find classes on making the basic mozzarella, ricotta and farmers cheeses at local cooking schools. However, those weren’t around back when I started. I had to rely on the internet and books. But for my supplies and step-by-step instructions for a variety of creamery and cheese recipes, I’ve turned to the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company for many years. In the fall of 2018, they published this great blog on a number of cheeses that could be successfully made in time for Christmas. I was a bit behind and saw a beautiful lactic cheese with black truffle oil and knew I had to try it. This company is so generous in sharing the recipes of their cheesemakers, creating a community of home cheesemakers and allowing us to share our stories and recipes. Please check out the blog and articles from Jeri Case and other contributors at A Better Whey

Lactic Goat Cheese with Minced Truffles and Oil

This recipe is based on an original from Jim Wallace of the New England Cheese Making Company found here: https://cheesemaking.com/products/lactic-cheese-with-truffle-oil-recipe

Ingredients

Ingredients:
1 gallon raw goat milk
7 oz. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. MM100 culture
4 drops single strength liquid rennet
¼ tsp calcium chloride dissolved in ¼ cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black truffle in oil (small minced). Use both the truffle and the oil. Additional black truffle oil to taste

Equipment

  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Stainless Steel pot 6 quarts or larger
  • Slotted Stainless Steel skimmer
  • Slotted Stainless Steel Spoon
  • Cheese Cloth or Butter Muslin
  • Large collander
  • Small stainless bowl
  • Sheet pan and cooling rack
  • Small Cheese molds with drain holes.

Instructions


Bring milk to 78F (verify with Instant Read thermometer), so when adding the cold cream and cool water it will level out to the correct 68-72F.  When milk is at 68-72F, add 1/8 tsp of MM100 culture by sprinkling on the surface of the milk and letting it “bloom” for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir into the milk using a slotted stainless skimmer with up and down motions, not breaking the surface of the milk to pull the culture through the milk for even distribution and ripening. Add Calcium Chloride diluted in water next, doin same up and down motions to distribute through milk. Next add 4 drops of rennet with same up and down motions. Allow cheese ferment for 18 hours and it is pulling away from the pan with ¼ inch of whey resting on top.

When fermented by culture and whey has separated due to the rennet, cut the curd into 1-2 inch cubes. Allow curd to rest for 5 minutes. Line a large collander with cheese cloth or butter muslin (I prefer the butter muslin) and transfer curd to cheese cloth, retaining the whey for another use. Allow the curd to drain for three hours. I like to tie the cheese cloth up and hang it over a sink so it drains under its own weight. Use a pan to catch the whey and reserve for another use. After curds drain, you will be left with a soft spreadable cheese. Move cheese to a stainless bowl. Mix in salt and minced black truffles in oil – adding 1/2 tsp at a time until you achieve the desired taste. Add additional truffle oil if desired. I like a lot of this flavor, but it can be overdone. Let your own taste preference drive the quantity of minced truffles and oil. Salt can be adjusted as well, but start with 1 tsp as it helps preserve the cheese and release more moisture. Cheese is done and can be eaten now, or can be molded for a firmer but still spreadable cheese. This is my prefernce. Follow the next steps for this result: Transfer cheese with slotted spoon into 4 round molds placed on a cooling rack over a sheet pan to catch the whey drips.

Cover top of cheese loosely with plastic film, and allow it sit at room temperature overnight. Drain any collected whey from the sheet pan, and transfer cheese in molds to the refrigerator with a light plastic film cover so some of the drying effect can occur. This protects the ripening cheese from other flavors in the refrigerator environment. Leave undisturbed, except draining off any collected whey for 6 days to allow flavors to blend.

On the sixth day, unmold the cheeses, they should be nice and firm, but still soft and spreadable. Wrap in plastic wrap or cheese paper and put in containers to store in the fridge.

The finished product

Notes:

You can drizzle more truffle oil over the cheese just before serving. We love it best just spread on crostini and drizzled with a little more oil. This cheese works well in Truffled Macaroni and Cheese for a gourmet treat. This is a simple and quick cheese and lovely for gift giving in a special container or accompanied by a bottle of truffle oil.

You can learn more about my cheesemaking journey on another A Better Whey Blog here http://blog.cheesemaking.com/amy-monette-in-reno-nevada/?trk_msg=E9O9N3GB1RVK792TI9LPO4DN74&trk_contact=5LV7BSI6ASMTOAAT8SUCFLDRDC&trk_module=new&trk_sid=7P6RG5G46ETMKUQGLNQQBSBMPS&utm_source=Listrak&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=Click+Here+for+More+About+Amy&utm_campaign=Mooletter+2019+01&utm_content=Mooletter+2019+01

Welcome!

Thanks for joining me!

I have always shown my love through the preparation and sharing of food.   There are a number of reasons and choices for this expression of love, and each time I embark on cooking there is a story to tell.

This site will share recipes I’ve created or explored; my trials and triumphs.   This will also curb my tendency to post everything I cook on social media, abusing the patience of friends and family 🙂

The need may arise to use up fresh ingredients, and no specific recipe comes to mind.  Sometimes, I come across an ingredient to try, or a technique not yet explored.   Or…in the middle of cooking I realize I’ve forgotten a key ingredient, and don’t have it on hand.  These are the invitations to create, invent, improvise.

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