Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weird Things that Chickens Will Eat

I'm cleaning out the cupboards in preparation for our move and purging all of our grocery items that didn't fly so well with our family. You know, the stuff that gets shoved to the back and lurks in the darkness until either you clean your cupboards or a desperate midnight snacker decides to roll the dice. Just for grins, we tried feeding some of what we were going to compost to the chickens. Not surprisingly, they liked everything, including Trader Joe's High-Fiber O's (softened with water),dry quick grits & nori seaweed sheets.

This fits in nicely with my personal theory that chickens are practically pigs with feathers. There isn't much they won't eat, so long as you render it small enough or soft enough for them to swallow. Some of my hennies' favorite snacks-

*Leftover movie-theater popcorn
*Carrot tops
*Bread of any sort
*Pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds
*Cooked rice & pasta
*Carrot peelings
*Fish skin (especially salmon - they go NUTS for this!)
*Grapes and berries, right off of the plants :(

Between the husband, the chicks and the bunnies, who needs a garbage disposal?

Strawberry, chowing down on my carrot tops

I've got a bucket, got a bucket full of sunshine

Fresh off of jam-a-thon '10, I find myself with still more apricots to use up. Cakes? Fruit roll ups? Pies? Nahhh... How 'bout a little something for the grown ups instead? I'm making apricot schnapps. :)

Homemade Apricot Schnapps:

- 3 lbs cleaned, pitted apricots
- 1 cup sugar (adjust more or less to your liking)
- 1.75 liters vodka (Cheap is fine, the sugar will smooth out the rough edges.)
- 6 apricot pits (kernels) - OPTIONAL*
- Fermentation vessel w/ a lid (a food grade plastic bucket, large glass jar or stoneware crock)

Clean, pit and slice or dice your apricots. Throw them into your clean jar or bucket.

Sprinkle sugar over the apricots and let them rest for 20 minutes or so to release their juices.

Pour vodka over the top of it all.

Add pits, if using. Stir well. Cover and allow to steep in a dark place for at least 3 months. Strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and bottle.

*Apricot pits, or kernels as they are more often known, are a key ingredient in making Amaretto liqueur and amaretti cookies and have a wonderful almond flavor. However, they also contain trace amounts of cyanide, so use sparingly and at your own risk. ;)

I documented the whole process of making the schnapps, then, like an idiot, forgot to download the photos before my husband took our camera with him on a week-long fishing trip. D'oh! So I'll eventually update this post with pictures, but for now you'll just have to take my words for it on how lovely this brew looks. As for the smell - at the moment, I can only smell the nose-searing vodka. But, as the cots steep and break down, we should have some golden loveliness, ready to drink by the holidays.

Update - 9/8/10 - Now with pictures! :)