Dig In: Composting a bust, but nutrient-rich gummies prove to be a hit
“More wormies!” they chant.
So, we go dig for worms. Scratching through grass, upturning rocks, dirt under the nails — no wormies. Worms — along with the other visible and invisible creatures, bacteria, fungi and more — make up the ecosystem of dirt. A crucial ingredient, without wormies, something is missing.
I immediately become troubled by the lack of wormies in my garden. And, if you believe as I do that kids and dirt are like peanut butter and jelly, then a bucket full of worms makes the perfect pet for a pair of 2-year-olds. So, enters worm composting. It seemed easy …
The idea is that the wormies will eat your fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells and up-cycle all of it into amazing compost. You can buy a worm bin or build one yourself with a plastic, cardboard or wood container. It takes some occasional maintenance, but it is basically a low-input, high-output equation. I wanted one!
I asked at my favorite garden store, “How do I get some worms?” “Simple,” she replied. Just send in this prepaid mail card, and the worms will arrive at your door. I filled it out.
I waited. No wormies.
So, I turned to old reliable and bought 500 red wigglers on Amazon. I clicked. I waited. No wormies. My deepest apologies to the post office if the boxes of worm carcasses are piling up — I don’t know where these wormies went!
Perplexed, I recalled a recent hike to Rainbow Lake where the underside of every rock and log was teaming with big, fat worms. We never made it to the lake for all the worm watching and snail finding, but it gave me an idea. What if I sourced wild worms for my compost? Well, that seemed to me the best idea of all …
“More wormies!” they point, running up the path to the next log. “Can I touch them?” Yes. “Can I take them home?” Yes! (I sing this one with operatic intensity.)
Pulling the wagon home, kids singing, mama grinning — all aglow with the radiance of success. At home, I transferred the worms into a plastic bucket drilled with small holes for air and drainage, covered them with food scraps and felt very accomplished.
By the next morning, our wild wormies had committed suicide by crawling out of the holes in the bottom of the container. The inside of our house looked like a parking lot after a rainstorm. I transferred the worms that remained into a planter filled with dirt and have never seen them again. Sometimes, the girls dig around in there looking for wormies, but I have a feeling that they’ve found their way home.
So, I am not a worm-composting expert. Instead of feeding the soil, I have satisfied myself with feeding my kids. I hopped back online and ordered worm-shaped gummy molds, and thus, the wormy problem was solved. Not going to save the world with this one, but we sure had fun trying.
“More wormies!” they chant, never satisfied. Slimy hands and smiling faces devour carrot and orange gummy worms made with nutrient-rich gelatin and (to be honest) store-bought juice. The leftover-smoothie-that-can’t-fit-in-the-glass works great, too.
Paleo gummy worms
2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (I like Great Lakes brand)
1/2 cup fresh juice or smoothie
2 tablespoons raw Colorado honey, or to taste
In a small saucepan, bloom the gelatin in about half of the juice. Whisk the remaining juice, honey and gelatin in the saucepan over low heat until there are no lumps. Pour mixture into worm molds (any shape mold made of silicone will work great). Let the gummies firm up in the freezer for about 10 minutes for immediate consumption. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Striving to grow made-from-scratch kids in a machine-made world, Julia Landon is the chef-owner of Bun in the Oven High Nutrient Bakery. Landon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more inspiration at http://www.bunintheovenfrisco.com or on Instagram or Twitter @BITOFrisco.
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