Eating local; from garden to cupcakes

I planted a wheat crop in the spring of 2010.

There’s nothing unusual about that, except I planted it in a 150 sq. foot garden in the backyard of my Saskatoon home.

I obtained spring wheat from a farmer friend, marked off the seed rows and practised a form of precision agriculture by carefully planting each seed by hand with the help of my two teenaged daughters.

It didn’t turn out to be much of a crop, which I blamed on the tree that had grown up beside the garden in our neighbour’s yard.

However, the day before the first frost, we harvested our meagre bounty with scissors and threshed the collected heads by hand at the dining room table.

The crop yielded slightly more than a quarter cup of kernels, which we ran through our coffee grinder to produce slightly more than a quarter cup of whole wheat flour.

I had assumed we would just add it to our store-bought flour the next time we made a loaf of bread, but our oldest daughter would have none of that. She wanted to make something that used just our home-grown product.

That became a problem. It’s not easy finding a cake or pancake recipe that calls for a quarter cup of flour, and we weren’t sure that reducing all the measurements proportionately would work.

So, after all negotiations with our daughter failed, the flour was stored in a small plastic container and placed in the freezer. And that was that.

Our daughters grew up and moved out of the house, and the flour was pretty much forgotten, other than the occasional sniff test to make sure it hadn’t gone rancid.

And then, earlier this month, miracle of miracles, a friend told us about a cookbook she had just acquired, Baking for Two. One of the recipes was for chocolate cupcakes, and it needed only a quarter cup of flour.

One last sniff test later and four cupcakes were cooling on the kitchen cupboard. They were a little gritty because of the unsophisticated grinding method, but my oldest daughter, who now works for the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre in cereals pathology, declared the project a success.

Home-grown cupcakes, six years in the making.

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