Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Expo and farm stuff

I took a drive this morning down to the annual sustainable living expo and walked around, looked, talked to a few people and I promised a nice lady I would post here on the blog about making rennet from thistle and how to make your own yeast for baking bread.

Right now, I need to take my son to town for parts for his truck so hang in there, I'll be back to write up a storm soon!

Whew! What a long day! I made my son happy as a clam, he hasn't quit smiling yet.Here's why... I've got a purple flare side Ford pickup truck. i got it from my Dad a few years ago. The "Barney mobile" (my fellow coal miners dubbed her that) is like getting a hug from Dad every time I get in it. Well, as the kids have grown, my college daughter drove it back and forth to school. Wow, was she hard on ole Barney. Barney sprung a leak in the gear box seal which eventually burned up the power steering pump which locked up and threw the belt. More like mangled the belt. So, Barney has been sitting here waiting for the money to repair her. Then, my son decided he wanted to fix her up and use her to go back and forth to a job which he hadn't found yet. He piddled on her and every now and then I'd give him a suggestion(can't have Mom do it, oh no) and with a few temper tantrums and some tool throwing, he finally got her ready to go. So, today I took him into town for his last 2 parts. The belt and a replacement battery since he burned up the other listening to the radio while he was working on her. I did have to help him with the belt, he just didn't get it on right. he turned the key, she fired right up! Power steering works and sh'e back to purring like the kitten she is. Boy, is he happy! Maybe since he spent all that time on her fixing her up, he won't be inclined to tear her up. Time will tell....

Okay, on to the Sustainable Living Expo. Overall, it was actually full of great information. The problem is, there wasn't anything there for ME to learn concerning sustainable living. I did gain some knowledge about the Emerald Ash borer I did not know, plus I got a good lesson on what it does, what to look for, where it is in the state, etc. I enjoyed the bushcraft fire starting demo, even tho I have already mastered that art. I got into a conversation about the thistle sitting on the table they were using as a fire starter. Thistle, if you collect it before it gets to the 'downy" stage can be used to make rennet for cheese making.

Here's how you do it-

Harvest your thistle flower as the pod begins to turn brown but before it makes the 'down" if it is downy, it is too mature to create rennet. Allow your thistle flowers to dry completely. Then, using a mortar and pestle, crush and grind your thistle flowers into a fine powder. Once you have your powder, add some warm water to the powder and allow to soak around 15 minutes or so. The water mix will turn a dark brown. I use a fine muslin to strain any plant solids out of the water mix. The dark brown water is your thistle rennet.

Now, I can't give you exact measurements on the amount of thistle powder or the water, I just kind of eyeball it. I normally crush 4 or 5 thistle and add probably around a 1/4 cup of water.

Thistle rennet also gives your cheese a pleasant twang you don't taste in store bought cheeses.

Now, I need to go find my notes on the wild yeast capturing and the home made yeast. So, stay tuned...........


  1. Really interesting! I am so glad you posted this. I never knew you could do this. Thistle is not plentiful around here but I sure will be looking for it.

  2. Ive heard about rennet from plants, but never tried it. Really interesting!

    Have a great sundag! :-)

  3. This is very interesting! i had no idea that there was rennet from plants!

  4. wow. more stuff for me to learn. thanks MM! i really appreciate it!

    your friend,


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