Tag Archives: garden

Canning our garden harvest

15 May

My husband and I have been busy bees trying to keep up with our garden. With over 10 tomatilla plants and 20 tomato plants and dozens of a varieties of pepper plants we certainly have our hands full.

We started canning for the first time last year. Neither one of us really had any idea how to do this. I didn’t exactly have any warm and fuzzy memories of parents or grandparents doing any such thing. So, through a little trial and error we started off with a couple of simple recipes from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving. We bought the necessary pots and tools, burned a few fingers in the process, forgot to sterilize lids and promptly had to start all over. Trust me, you only forget once! Now that we’re ‘pros’, canning has become much easier and more routine and we work well as a team.

Here are some of the things we’ve been canning this season.

1) Tomatilla salsa, mild and spicy

2) Jalapeno salsa

3) Pickled banana peppers

4) Pickled zucchini spears

5) Dill pickles

Advertisements

Eggplant Caponata

3 May

I’m always looking for different recipes to utilize our over abundance of eggplants. One person can only eat so much Baba Ganoush. This particular dish is our favorite. I hope you enjoy it as  much as we do.

This fabulous recipe was borrowed from the Food Network, courtesy of Mario Batali.

Recipe

1/2 cup olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

2 tbs pine nuts (we substitute sunflower seeds)

3 tbs currants (we substitute sweetened cranberries)

1 tbs hot chili flakes

4 cups diced eggplant

2 tbs sugar (or any substitute)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa or cacao  powder

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe to follow

****the recipe calls for 1/4 cup, we add the entire batch of tomato sauce to the recipe. We found the Caponata to be too dry with only 1/4 cup of sauce.

Directions

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat oil, add onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Add eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.

Tomato Sauce Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

3 tbs fresh thyme leaves

1/2 medium carrot, grated

2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain

salt

Tomato Sauce In a 3 qt pain, heat olive oil, add onion and garlic, and saute, for 8 minutes. Add thyme and carrot and cook for 5 minutes more, until carrot is soft. Add tomatoes and juice, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with toasted baguettes.

 

Garden pictures April 2012

24 Apr

Just a few pictures on how our garden is coming along.

We have a lot of canning, dehydrating, and food sharing in our near future.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What zucchini harvest?

19 Apr

I have to laugh and giggle at these different gardening blogs I keep coming across….what to do with all your zucchini….too much zucchini? Here’s a fun recipe to try…..

Really?

Reeeeeally?

Too MUCH zucchini? They clearly do NOT live in Florida, home of mold, fungus and waaaaaay to much humidity. Not exactly the best environment for zucchini.

Every year we struggle to grow zucchini and summer squash every season. We’re lucky if we get a handful. So if you have any brilliant ideas on how to grow zucchini in Florida, please enlighten us.

Our weather this year has been very mild and dry. Not typical Florida weather. Who named it the Sunshine state by the way?

Say hello to our little flying saucers…..

We have harvested about twice this amount so far this season. We are mainly using the zucchini for juicing. The flying saucer zucchini also works really well in sauteed dishes. It has a great texture and hold up well with heat.

Kale nutrition and facts

17 Apr

Kale….the ‘other’ dark green leafy vegetable.

What’s so wonderful about kale? It’s just a garnish right? I can honestly say, for the majority of my life, I didn’t even know kale existed. And, I certainly didn’t know the curly green leaves used as decorations at salad bars were even edible. What!!! You can eat the garnish? Yuck!

Kale belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and brussels sprouts.

Kale contains nearly twice the amount of Vitamin A as most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables.

Kale has cholesterol-lowering benefits when cooked by steaming.

Kale has over 45 different flavonoids in kale, including carotenoids and quercetin. These flavonoids have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits which decreases chronic inflammation  and oxidative stress.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

1 c cooked

Calories                 36

Calcium                 9% RDA

Vitamin A             354% RDA

Vitamin K             1328% RDA

Iron                        6%

Folate                     4% RDA

Kale can be used to replace any dish that contains spinach, collard greens, cabbage, turnip greens, etc.

Over the next 7 days, I’m going to provide recipe examples on how to use kale in a dish.

7 Days of Kale…..

Our queen bee died

10 Apr

My husband tried capturing a wild bee hive a few months ago. With the help of his brother, they built a beehive to capture and trap the bees living in an oak tree one block from our house. After a few months, multiple bee stings, and no luck, he decided to visit a local apiary instead, and bought a hive with a queen bee.

This was the maiden voyage home:

Unfortunately 10 days later, the queen bee died for unknown reasons. There are no signs of new eggs or larvae in the hive. We have approximately one to two weeks to replace another queen or the entire hive will die. This was really disappointing. We’ve been looking forward to warm weather and finally having our own bees in the yard to pollinate the garden. Hopefully, the next queen we buy will survive and our garden will continue to flourish.

Dr Oz, you are NOT smarter than an Okinawa Sweet Potato

24 Mar

I’ve been told many a time I have strange eating habits. Huh, what’s so weird about eating purple sweet potatoes?

My husband and I instantly fell in love with these potatoes while on our honeymoon in Hawaii last year. The yummy Okinawa Purple Sweet potato. Wow, babe, we could grow these in our Florida climate!!  So when we returned home, we searched endlessly. We tried California, local Oriental Food Markets, Hawaii, and yes, Japan, but no luck. What the heck? We finally discovered Hawaii has a little problem. They are called weevils. These weevils tirelessly decimate their crops. Hawaii’s answer to the weevil? Irradiate the crops. Well, darn it, you can’t sprout a sweet potato that’s been irradiated. And Hawaii has strict regulations about importing and exporting foods. It’s impossible to grow this sweet potato outside of Hawaii.

Apparently, Dr Oz, in all his brilliance, isn’t aware of this either. The Okinawan Sweet Potato: A Purple Powerhouse of Nutrition | Down to Earth. Thank you for the tease Dr Oz! Well I hope the Hawaiian’s are enjoying their new ‘superfood’. What about the rest of America?

Well, we found another purple sweet potato, the Stoke’s Purple Sweet Potato. (well, technically its a yam, but no one needs to know, shhhhhhh)   Purple Sweet Potatoes (Purple Yam) – Home of the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato – Stokes Foods, Inc..

So, if you’re invited to our house, and you’re served this for dinner…

know that a lot of time, hard labor, sweat, love, and patience, went into this fabulous tasting potato.

And no more making fun of me, Dr Oz thinks I’m cool for eating a superfood! 🙂

For more info Sweetpotato Production Guides for Hawaii.

Garden critter

21 Mar

Look who my husband found sneaking around in our garden his morning:0 A little baby gopher turtle.

He’s so tiny, he could fit right in the palm of my hand.

Onion Thrips

14 Mar

Our first garden pest of the new season.

Our onion and scallions easily survived our mild winter this year.

However, we were noticing discoloration on the leaves, but couldn’t find any bugs.

Thrips gather on the leaves, leaving white blothces, eating away the chlorophyll.

We treated the leaves with Pyrethrin, an oraganic compound that paralyzes the insect.

Is it safe for human consumption? If you trust the goverment, the USDA says “it is probably the safest of all insecticides for use in food plants”.

Kale Chips

11 Mar

Hello. Welcome to my blog.  My first real attempt at blogging failed…. so here we go again.

The following are the details in which I make my Kale Chip Recipe.

First of all, I’m proud to say the kale comes straight from my garden, right outside our front door.  Say hello to my future Kale Chips:)

Continue reading