Snack Food

I’m thinking of growing some popcorn this year.  I don’t particularly enjoy popcorn, but I’m trying to come up with a good wintertime snack food.

Fortunately there aren’t many things that we still get from a grocery store. But, I’m a bit sorry to say, we are still buying nuts, chips, raisins and pretzels–thanks primarily to the fact that I like to snack on things like that at night while reading.  We’re not buying Doritos of course,  The chips we buy have no ingredients other than organic whole grain blue corn flour, vegetable oil and salt.  We buy Utz hard pretzels, which have only five ingredients: wheat flour, malt syrup, salt, yeast and soda.  The ingredient lists of most snack foods these days read like some kind of chemical stew, so as snack foods go ours aren’t bad.

Still, I don’t like the packaging and I don’t like buying things we can grow ourselves.

We do make some of our own snack foods.  We have homemade flax crackers in the pantry now, and there’s always the options of pickles or kale chips.  But I’m seemingly hooked on my salty processed snacks.

Maybe popcorn will be the answer.  Of course I could always just quit snacking at night.  It’s not that I’m hungry. It’s just a habit.

Any suggestions for a good do-it-yourself nighttime snack food would be welcome.

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44 comments on “Snack Food

  1. Woody says:

    I love dried fruit. Strawberries are awesome dried. Pumpkin seeds, tomato and peaches are good too. Can’t go wrong with jerky for the salty snacks. Deer jerky rocks!

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    • Bill says:

      I like the deer jerky idea. I had one deer made into summer sausage this year and that’s a great snack food. But I’ve gotten in the habit of having something to munch on mindlessly while reading at night. Jerky would be a much better option I think.

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  2. I love popcorn, the less processed the better. I make (far too much of it) in a covered wok, in peanut oil. Last summer I bought some “cinnamon w/chipotle spice” at a farmer’s market and that gives it a nice kick. The spice possibilites are endless, really. Yay, popcorn.

    I love plaintain chips, too, but I assume you’re a little far north for plaintains.

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve never been a big fan of popcorn. It sticks in my teeth and that bugs me. But I’m looking for something I can produce here on the farm and it does have that going for it. All we’d need to add is salt.

      I love plantain chips but they’re not an option for us. Cherie made squash chips last summer that were great. We grow plenty of things that can be turned into great snack food. I think I just need to kick the chips/pretzels habit.

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  3. Bill, No advice on how to break or improve the evening snack routine. I have a great weakness for chips in general. Doritos are the worst. I just don’t bring them into the house and when I do indulge I only buy the small one serving bag. In the area of chips truly, I can’t eat just one. One bag maybe. If the chips are not in the house then I don’t eat them. It’s as simple as that for me. I really don’t miss them either. My taste receptors must be very addictive to the chemical cocktail that goes into the making of Doritos. I do still eat them at special party events but hardly ever do I bring them home. My eating habits have gotten better over the last couple years but living with a daughter that’s a junk food junkie makes it difficult at times.

    I do like popcorn on occasion. When my grandson lived here, his favorite after school snack was popcorn and a big fat dill pickle. I bought pickles in gallon jars which would last about two weeks at most for one jar. I’ve always thought about growing popcorn but haven’t done it yet.

    Have a great health snack day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      High-paid food scientists have engineered those chips so that we’ll eat a whole bag rather than just a handful. They cook up just the right mix of chemical flavors and even design the “mouth feel” so that they are exactly the kind of crunchy that will cause overeating. Michael Moss’ describes it in his book Sugar Salt Fat and it is fascinating reading.

      I haven’t eaten Doritos in a long time, but I’ve eaten plenty of them in my lifetime. Back in the days when I was still commuting one night I got a craving for them. So I walked to the nearest convenience store and bought a large bag of the “Cool Ranch” kind. I ate the entire bag. Felt crappy afterwards of course.

      Pickles are great but I end up eating them all well before winter arrives. I’m not good at moderating my pickle-eating.

      I’m thinking the best way to deal with my problem is just to quit eating snacks at night. It’s not a good thing to do anyway–for lots of reasons. (Yet, as I’m typing this I’m thinking about going to get a bag of chips.)

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  4. BeeHappee says:

    We do popcorn if there is movie time, just an organic popcorn in a pot with tons of coconut oil. For some reason we like it with coconut oil much more better than butter. Then mix in raisins and nuts sometimes. Pumpkin seeds are also one of the favorites, or any kinds of seeds, nut butters, and ants on the log: celery, sunflower butter, raisins and seeds, as well as cured meats, like jerky someone mentioned, buffalo sticks. And just plain old apples and carrots for cleaning the teeth. 🙂

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  5. beeholdn says:

    Cheese (cheddar) in little cubes? Quite salty and, apparently, rather soporific . . . A new project 🙂

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    • Bill says:

      Sounds yummy, but we don’t make cheese here. I have a friend who will barter homemade cheese for venison, so maybe we can work something out…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joanna says:

        You don’t make cheese from the goats milk? A friend of mine makes it and uses vinegar as the setting agent, it then makes a harder more rubbery cheese of a similar feel to edam or halloumi. She then fries it with garlic and salt for a snack.

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      • Bill says:

        We raise Boers, which are meat goats. We don’t have any dairy goats, so no goat cheese. We have friends we can get it from though, so it’s still an option.

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  6. Buffy says:

    What about growing peanuts? I was wanting to do a row to show my kids. I remember the first time I pulled them as a kid it was so cool. We also like dehydrated okra chips. Maybe the deer will leave you some okra to try this year.

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    • Bill says:

      Believe it or not I’ve never grown any peanuts. It’s an excellent idea and I expect they’d grow well here. Okra chips sound delicious. I’ll have to look into that. Cherie made chips from squash and zucchini last year and they were great. I finished all those off pretty quickly but we weren’t trying to put away enough to get us through the winter. I’m going to look into the okra chip idea (assuming we ever have okra again).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. shoreacres says:

    I just realized I don’t snack if I’m reading — only if I’m at the computer. It must be the screen. We grew up making popcorn as a snack for tv watching, and I still love it.

    I love Lundberg’s organic rice cakes. Of course, that doesn’t answer your need for home grown, but they’re a good option for those of us who aren’t going to be growing our own popcorn. 🙂

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    • Bill says:

      I snack at the computer sometimes, unfortunately for my keyboard. But mostly it’s when reading. I try to read from 9 to 10 every night and I feel the urge to munch on something while doing it. I think I’m realizing what I need to give up for Lent this year.

      Rice cakes are yummy, but I’m trying to come up with something we can grow here. Popcorn, peanuts, dehydrated vegetable chips and deer jerky seem to the best options so far.

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      • shoreacres says:

        Hey! I just thought about all those sunflowers you grew this year. Do you like roasted sunflower seeds?

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      • Bill says:

        Sailorssmallfarm mentioned that too. Don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it. We have a big sack of the seeds in the basement that we saved for planting. It would have been easy to save a lot more for eating (though the birds would be disappointed).

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  8. El Guapo says:

    Pretzels and sesame sticks are both very easy to make, and quite tasty.

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  9. I like the peanuts idea. What about sunflower seeds? I would seek out some local nut producers – we grow hazelnuts, but not nearly enough for our tastes, so I buy from a farm nearby – they sell roasted and salted hazelnuts around Christmas, and we enjoy those. I am lucky not to really feel a need to snack in the evenings, but my late afternoon snack is often melted cheese on toast – the cheese hits the salty craving. My Dad always had a few cheese and crackers before going to bed.

    I’m not crazy about popcorn – I only seem to like it when it’s slathered in butter and flavouring, and really, at that point I might as well be eating chips. Chips? I’m like Dave, if they’re in the house, I’ll eat them – all. The only solution seems to be not to buy them.

    We do have snack food in the house (I have teenagers after all) – similar to you – pretzels, organic blue corn tortilla chips, rice cakes. They’re all definitely in the “less bad for you” category, but not the local/home grown food you or I strive for either.

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    • Bill says:

      Sunflower seeds! Another great idea and we have plenty of those.

      I’m not a big fan of popcorn either. I think the best idea of all is for me to quit snacking at night. 🙂

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  10. Sarah says:

    Like Nebraska Dave, my absolute favorite is Doritos. I just can’t help myself if they’re around. Fortunately, they are hardly ever around :). And like Woody, we do dried fruit. Our favorite, actually, is dried Fuyu persimmon. I sprinkle salt on it when it goes in the dehydrator and then take it out when it’s still a little chewy. So very delicious…salty and sweet and nutty.

    My other favorite is kale chips with plenty of nutritional yeast and tahini and tamari and a bit of soy sauce and lemon juice. Gotta go now, I’m starting to drool!

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    • Bill says:

      Ooh, dried Asian persimmons sound so good! We planted an Asian persimmon tree this year but I think it will be a while until it can keep me in snacks for a winter. We’re going to use the dehydrator a lot more this year, so maybe we’ll come up with the perfect solution.

      Kale chips are awesome, but time-consuming to make and they disappear as fast as Doritos.

      Doritos are probably the chemical food masterpiece. With basically no recognizable ingredients or nutritional value, our bodies don’t recognize them as food, so we never feel full. We just keep shoveling in the Doritos and our bodies keep saying “please give me some food,” I could probably eat a five gallon bucketful of them. Imagine trying to eat that many kale chips or raisins.

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  11. The Lundbergs, mentioned by Linda of Shoreacres are good folks. I think you would approve of their practices, Bill. Also, almonds are good and good for you. –Curt

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  12. Cynthia says:

    I’ve been trying to substitute after dinner snacks with cultured pickles. Sometimes it’s okay, other times I can’t stop thinking about potato chips

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    • Bill says:

      Pickles are great, and we’re learning that lots of things other than cucumbers can be wonderfully pickled. Thanks to me, pickles don’t last long around here. We may need to buy some more pickling jars. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. avwalters says:

    I am a secret corn chip addict. It’s the salt. Of course, they are gourmet, GMO free corn chips, but it’s my secret vice. (Well, until now it was secret.) I try to tell myself that I have so many food restrictions (glutin, citrus, peanuts, dairy products from cows), that one little vice shouldn’t be that evil, should it?
    But then, popcorn. Hmmmmmm. Especially with a little olive oil, and , of course, salt. Just the ticket.

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    • Bill says:

      Addict may be a good word for me too. I’ve weaned myself off nearly every processed food, but I’m holding on to chips (minimally processed and less-bad than the standard fare, but still….). I love eating good food and I’m not about being some sort of stern-faced food Pharisee. My main problem with the chips I’m eating is that I have to get them in a grocery store and the packaging is wasteful. I want something that will scratch my itch, that we can grow and prepare here. Right now popcorn seems a poor substitute for a cruncy chip, but maybe it’s worth trying. 🙂

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      • avwalters says:

        Yeah, I buy my chips at the coop, and the packaging is, well, semi-responsible. I could certainly live without them. Steaming brown rice, drizzled with olive oil and tossed with scallions, celantro and salt is a nice alternative–but it feels like food—not treat or snack.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. farmerkhaiti says:

    I hear your lament loud and clear, big issue here too. Late night snacks, crispy and crunchy- hard habit to break! The packaging is a big waste. To try to curb my husband’s chip purchasing I bought a 25# bag of bulk organic white popcorn (SO delicious popped in homegrown lard!) and a 10# bag of raw shelled organic sunflower seeds to roast up over the winter. We get sick of popcorn, but I discovered curry powder makes it a whole new thing, and tamari sprinkled over is delicious and “healthy” salty. Another snack I made once was one of those oven roasted chick pea recipes- pretty great on the crunch scale, but rather dense as a snack. Yeah, if it’s chips you crave, you may need to break your habit after all… all the best!

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  15. Sorry but I can’t resist jumping on the popcorn bandwagon – we pop it almost every night in organic, gmo free canola and lots of turmeric powder (great anti-inflammatory properties) then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and salt. It’s quite addictive. I’m going to have to try farmer khaiti’s idea of popping it in lard.
    Spicy toasted nuts and seeds are another favorite – not sure if you have any nut trees but maybe consider planting some now for future snackage. Pumpkin and sunflowers – toast them up with cumin, salt, maybe some chili powder. I’m loving anything with hot smoked paprika.
    Someone mentioned toasted chickpeas – you can also grind those into flour, add some seeds and spices, etc… to make your own crackers (gluten free too!). I wonder if it would make a good pretzel?
    Pickled spicy green beans, asparagus, etc… and one of my favorites – spicy pickled eggs. I don’t recall if you are raising chickens or not. There’s a Mexican pickled veg mix I make and can called escabeche – cauliflower, carrots, onions, garlic, jalapeños – super delicious!
    Oh, and what about Chicharrones (aka pork cracklings)?

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    • Bill says:

      Lots of great ideas here. We shouldn’t have any trouble coming up with plenty of delicious snacking options. 🙂 We do raise chickens and have plenty of eggs. Spicy pickled eggs don’t sound appetizing to me, but having said that they’re probably delicious!

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  16. Dried blueberries, use a solar drier, raisins from grapes, dried Apple slices. L told me excellent polenta can be made from popcorn varieties of corn btw. Boiled Peanuts! (Pronounced “bald peanuts”) my favorite growing up. Corn crackers are good if you don’t want to bust out the frier for homemade Doritos. Don’t forget sassafras. You should have some growing in ditches.

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    • Bill says:

      I’m loving all the great suggestions this post has generated. I never would have guessed.

      My wife is a big fan of boiled peanuts. I think they’re OK, but I’m not crazy about them like she is (her heritage is Deep South–the land of boiled peanuts).

      We plan to do a lot more drying and fermenting this year. Whatever else happens, I don’t expect we’ll go hungry. 🙂

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  17. And spicy pickled okra!

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