The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hi, y'all, from Northeast Texas

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Anj's picture
Anj

Hi, y'all, from Northeast Texas

Hi, y'all!

I just found you! My name is Anj and I live in Northeast Texas, about 60 miles east of Dallas and 50 west of Tyler. I've been reading ever since stumbling across a link. Wonderful stuff here! I can see that I'm going to learn a lot. Right now some of the terminology is Greek to me, but I'm sure I'll learn.

My husband and I are raising our two granddaughters. My daughter was in a fatal car accident in 2006, and this is a difficult time of year for me. This year is better than last year and I'm hoping it will continue to get better each year. Life goes on.

In addition to raising our granddaughters, we inherited two horses from my daughter, then my husband bought one more for a total of three. We have 6 dogs right now, three of them are mastiffs, three of them are rescues. The dog population goes up and down depending on mastiff puppies. Oh, and we'll have one more horse addition sometime in the coming year.

We live on 42 acres with a combination of prairie/pasture and woodland/wetland with quite a few mesquite trees. Has anyone ever made mesquite flour (meal) from mesquite beans? I've made some biscuits with a portion of the flour out of mesquite. Umm-umm good! *grin* If you haven't figured it out, I'm a bit of a forager too. I love to find and use the wild things growing around here. We've been blessed with a lot: American persimmons, mustang grapes, mesquite, pyracantha, prickly pear and more.

Thanks for taking the time to read! I'm looking forward to reading more and learning more.
Hugs,
Anj

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Anj.

Welcome to TFL!

I can tell you're not going to let the "Greek" terminology get in your way! If you have questions, just ask. There are lots of people here with answers. Sometimes we agree, and sometimes we don't, but we're all learning together.

David

Anj's picture
Anj

Hi, David,

Thank you very much for the welcome!

Nope, I'm sure not going to let the terminology slow me down. I find it a challenge and I love to learn new things. For example, I've just learned how to recognize the difference between good wheat kernels and sprout-damaged ones. THAT explains a lot of the problems I've been having with my bread! I should have known there was a string attached to the "cheap" whole wheat berries. *grin*

Thanks again!
Hugs,
Anj

Eli's picture
Eli

Welcome! I lived  in Dallas for a couple of years. You are going to have to share with me your knowledge about prickly pears.


Eli

Anj's picture
Anj

Hi, Eli,

Thanks for the welcome!

Prickly pears aren't the easiest thing to use, but they do taste pretty darned good. I've put up 4 quarts of juice made from the tunas, and a batch of jelly.

The biggest thing to know about prickly pears is the glochids, the tiny, hair-like spines on the fruits. There are several ways to deal with this during the processing, but only one that I know of during the picking. LONG, strong tongs. Grab the tuna with the tongs and twist slightly. Do NOT pick them with your hands unless you have a stainless steel glove. Even then, the glochids can get through the mesh, so I don't recommend this way unless you want to spend some time with a tweezers picking out the glochids. (BTW, we learned all this the hard way - by trying to use leather gloves to pick the tunas. We spent a LOT of time with the tweezers as a constant companion! *grin*)

If you want to know anything more about the prickly pears, please don't hesitate to ask!
Hugs,
Anj

Eli's picture
Eli

and chutney. I am trying to figure out a recipe that will allow the taste of the pears with maybe apples. Not certain yet but it is rolling around in my head! Thanks for the information on picking. I usually get them from the neighbors so I haven't picked any before.


Eli

Anj's picture
Anj

Hey, Eli,

If you figure it out and get some good results, please let me know? I'd love to give it a whirl.

This year David and I are sending homemade jams and jellies to our relatives for Xmas. We thought that would be a pretty unique gift, and more so because the basic stuff came from our property.

Have you tried mesquite jelly yet?
Hugs,
Anj

Eli's picture
Eli

I will share my findings. I have not tried the Mesquite Jelly yet. I am going to have to give that a try.


Eli

Anj's picture
Anj

Howdy, Eli,

I highly recommend mesquite jelly. I happen to think it is awesome! The taste reminds me of spiced honey. David loves the smell of the beans while they're simmering.
Hugs,
Anj

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Welcome to TFL!


I'm a forager too, though our choices in the Northeast aren't as wide and exotic as yours! Or maybe exotic is just another word for regional?


I see you listed pyracantha... do you use the berries for anything tasty? We used to have 2 beautiful pyracanthas, until they kind of took over the whole front of our house. The thorns made it awfully touchy to do any work on the paint job or the windows!


Glad you're here, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in baking and milling.


Soundman (David)

Anj's picture
Anj

Hi, David,

Thank you for the welcome!

Well, I wouldn't say that your choices in the Northeast are limited. In fact, I think you have a lot more up there than we do down here. We just have exotic stuff, as you say. *grin* I wish we had some of the berries down here that y'all have up there... and the apples! I'll bet you have cherries??

Pyracantha makes great jelly. Oh yeah, the thorns! I got quite bit up by the thorns as I was gathering the pomes, but it was worth it. Firethorn is a common name and I know why. *grin*

BTW, I lived in Mass for a few years, north of Boston.

Thanks again for the welcome and, if I know me, I'll have some pretty funny disasters in the baking and milling. *chuckle*

Hugs,
Anj

karladiane's picture
karladiane

 Hi Anj!  So glad you found TFL.  Bread baking is a true gift, and I hope that your baking endeavors are as fulfilling as mine have been - with many a helpful hint and fabulous recipe from TFL. 


I'm afraid that being an urban dweller now, I don't have foraging capabilities, but I have fond memories of picking many wild things in Northern Michigan as a girl - do you have morels where you are?


So, I send you my very best wishes in your breadbaking, foraging, and animal caretaking endeavors.


peace&love,


karladiane


And Soundman - I couldn't decode the email address you had typed out a while ago in the previous TFL Gallery string - I kept getting a bounce-back.

Anj's picture
Anj

Hi, karladiane,

Thank you for the welcome! I am sure that I will learn more here, especially about baking bread. When I was younger I thought I couldn't bake even though I was a good cook. Now I think it was impatience more than anything else. Since I'm old, and partially gray *grin*, I seem to have a lot more patience and am branching out, hence my renewed attempts to make a better loaf of bread. I got discouraged when I was younger because I couldn't get the texture I wanted. I've since proven to myself that I CAN do it, even if it is only sporadically now.

Sigh... No morels. Growing up in Iowa we used to "hunt" them and I have fond memories of eating 'em. Now I'll just have to find out what we might have here. We only bought our property a little over a year ago and I'm still learning about foraging in Texas.

Thank you again for the welcome!
Hugs,
Anj

Anj's picture
Anj

Oh, karladiane, I wanted to let you know I am attempting my first free-standing loaf tonight. I've never done this before. *crossing fingers*.