Noelle Wagner from Grown & Gathered Heirloom Farm visited the Fredericktown branch of the Ozark Regional Library, July 18, to teach participants how to make spring rolls.
Wagner brought enough farm fresh ingredients for everyone in attendance to create and enjoy their very own creations.
“I’m not an expert in spring rolls, but I’ve made them a lot,” Wagner said. “They’re fun to eat. They’re fun to make and most of the ingredients used today, except the iceberg lettuce, came from my garden in Park Hills.”
Wagner said, spring rolls originated in China but can now be found everywhere. She said, the dish may differ a little bit by location but they all start with a spring roll wrapper, which is a rice paper wrapper.
“It’s super thin so when you add the hot water to it, it’s going to go completely clear,” Wagner said. “Sometimes you can just move it around on the plate and you can barely tell it’s there.”
Wagner said, the trick with rice paper wrappers is you want to work quickly because they will continue to soften as you work with them. She said, it is important to have all ingredients prepped and ready to go.
“As you add your ingredients whatever ingredients you put down first is what you’re going to see when you roll it up,” Wagner said. “So I’m going to put my flowers down first so we can really see the flowers and then you’re going to lay down your vegetables. I’m going to work quickly and it doesn’t have to be perfect because they’re going to be really pretty regardless.”
Wagner said, she likes to add a lot of different colors when preparing her spring rolls. Once they are filled with edible florals, veggies and a small round of noodles it is time to roll it up.
“You just start to roll it up like a burrito,” Wagner said. “Roll in your end first, tuck in your sides, and you’re going to continue to roll them up and the rice paper kind of stick to itself.”
Wagner said, traditionally spring rolls are served with peanut sauce, which is basically hot water with peanut butter, garlic and ginger. A basic recipe was handed out and Wagner encouraged the group to make it their own by adding things such as sesame oil or soy sauce.
Next, the group started rolling up their creations and trying different variations of sauces, and fillings.
Wagner’s Grown and Gathered Heirloom Farm offers fresh ingredients to St. Louis area restaurants as well as farm to table options.
“We’re super excited to host an event list this and wanted to tell you about how we’re able to fund it,” Suzette Spitzmiller said. “We received a $10,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to put on a summer library program.”
Spitzmiller said, the grant has helped pay for the supplies needed for programs like the Local Farm Spring Roll class, but it also helped purchase new books and supplies for the library.
“We have a really great current collection at Ozark Regional Library of cookbooks,” Spitzmiller said. “We do have a cookbook series, you may have seen it on our Instagram account, we will occasionally highlight a cookbook and prepare a dish that we have seen.”
Spitzmiller said, she loves food programs and thinks everyone has fun joining in on the cooking and the eating.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at email@example.com