Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Favorites

Colorful potatoes from the garden make a great potato salad.

 Cherry pitters are kind of amazing. I pitted 2 quarts of cherries yesterday and it was a breeze!
How did I not have one of these before now?

Dinners at home this week have been straight from the garden- here's one from last night. 
Veggies, and sometimes tofu, cooked up in a bit of oil. Simple and delicious.

Ha- look at this cat. What a cute one.

What are you favorite things this Friday?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's Up Wednesday

So many goodies are coming out of the garden these days. Lots of carrots, kale, awesome purple onions, potatoes, and great herbs- thyme, rosemary and oregano have been flavoring all our dishes recently.

Look at that harvest!

 I've started to cure the garlic as I harvest it- by hanging it up on the kitchen wall! 
Pretty fun, huh?

First cucumber- Yeah!!!!

 I just love these cucumber flowers 

 Every day I get about 30 ripe black raspberries- delish!


What's up in your garden this week?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Preserving Fruit- Canning Raspberry Jam

I almost can't believe it, but this summer is my 4th year canning- whoa.

My knowledge on canning has definitely grown since that first summer canning in my sweltering kitchen in the apartment overlooking Michigan Ave in downtown Ypsi. Since then, I've got my own canning supplies, tried my hand at pressure canning, added freezing and dehydrating to my preservation "tool kit", and even taught a few canning classes!

There's several particularly satisfying things about canning; I enjoy the time spent during the process, working with the fruit or veggie or medium of choice. Canning allows me to really focus on that product and feel like I'm truly appreciating it.

Also, as I so articulately said it 3 years ago (ha ha- first blog post ever!), canning makes me feel like a "settler", or a pioneer of sorts. What I mean by that is the feeling of connection to the seasons, to the history of canning and preserving of those that canned before me in my family. Most would say that in 2012, we don't "need" to can at home in order to survive. While I think that's true to a point, canning helps me to live a more season-oriented lifestyle, and to save costs on food year round- not only through gardening in the summer.

The Farmers' Market was overwhelming today, in the best sense possible. There were lots of "new" things to the market this week- firsts for the season. Peaches, blueberries, potatoes, as well as more raspberries and strawberries. I couldn't even let myself look at the peaches- too tempting to buy 6 quarts and go to town canning them up.

I picked 3 pints of blueberries and freeze those. I also got 2 pints of raspberries, and I was going to freeze them, but upon getting them home realized that they were melting into a messy blob.  When you're faced with such a blob, you make jam.

I didn't realize how much I missed canning until I got my first taste of it for the season today! Only 1 pint and 1 half pint of jam done today, but that's ok- there will be more to come. Lots, lots more!

Have you canned yet this summer? If so, what did you make?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Favorites

Today I'm thankful for a lot in the garden: some plants are just starting to come into their prime, and some are on their way out. I've been a lot more relaxed about harvesting and using all the goodies from my garden this year and it's really helped me to appreciate each type of veggie/fruit as it comes into season!

Here are some of my Friday Favorites:

Harvested the last of the garlic scapes this morning- I think I'll chop and freeze them.

Look at these amazing Mountain Rose potatoes- they're so pink!!

Pulled my first garlic of the season to see how they are progressing- woah!

First big harvest from the garden- carrots, onions, scapes, kale, and some basil!

Happy Friday, friends! What are your favorites this Friday?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What's Up Wednesday

I re-seeded more Speckles lettuce. Not sure how it will do in the heat but its growing nicely so far! 

My backyard raspberries are ripening, right on schedule! 

First green tomatoes- Sungold cherry tomatoes, of course. Can't wait for these guys to ripen up! 

Kidney bush beans and Provider green beans are going wild!

It's like a jungle every time I step outside! Potato plants that are 3ft tall, tomatoes growing bigger every day, tall crazy cilantro that's gone to flower.

Each day I enjoy it and each day I'm thankful for it.

What's Up in your Garden this week? Share some pics!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Takehome + Garlic & Lemon Broccoli Recipe

We're moving into summer veggies- each week I'm receiving more substantial root & "fruit" veggies; carrots, onions, zucchini, and less leafy greens. 
This week our share included:

Swiss Chard
Lacinato Kale
3 Kohlrabi
5 green/early Onions
3 heads of Lettuce
2 Zucchini
2 Cucumbers
a bunch of Carrots
large bag of Snap Peas & Snow Peas

Garlic and Lemon Broccoli

  • 2 heads broccoli, separated into florets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees 
  • Toss broccoli (in a large bowl) with the olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. 
  • Spread the broccoli out evenly on a baking sheet.
  • Cook in the oven until broccoli is tender when poked with a fork or knife, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over broccoli
Serve and Enjoy!

Preserving Fruit- Freezing Strawberries

Didn't make it out to pick your own strawberries like you hoped to this June? That doesn't have to stop you from freezing some strawberries for future use in those cold, berry-less months! Pies, smoothies... mmm.

I too meant to get out and pick a whole bunch of strawberries- I had glorious canning plans in mind for Strawberry Basil jam and some other amazing goodies, but alas, my schedule just did not permit a picking trip!

Luckily when I was in Columbus this weekend visiting the fam, I was able to stop by a farm stand and purchase 4 quarts of strawberries grown in Circleville, Ohio.

Because they're a few days old, I decided to freeze these berries, rather than canning them- I was worried I'd run out of time again and end up with gross rotted berries, which is definitely not an effective preservation method in my book.

If you've never frozen fruit at home, it's a breeze! All you need is strawberries, a flat freezable surface (lid, glass baking jar, etc.), a paring knife, and some plastic bags for storage.

Simple steps to freezing Strawberries:

1) Rinse berries well, esp. if commercially-grown
2) Using a small paring knife, cut tops off of berries. Set aside overly-brusied or rotten berries. Cut larger berries into halves or quarters
3) Spread cut berries onto a flat surface, and freeze for 30 minutes per tray
4) Once initial freezing is complete, pour berries into a freezer bag
5) Lay freezer bag flat and spread out berries evenly in bag. Set bag flat in the freezer to fully freeze
6) Once frozen, you can stack multiple bags of berries, or arrange any way you like in the freezer

Not too tough, huh? :)

Now you've preserved a sweet taste of summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The first raspberries of summer

The raspberry bushes out back have been slowly turning redder each day. Every evening when I get home from work I go check on them- I don't want to miss those precious first few ripes raspberries!

Yesterday evening, I found the first ripes berries! I "harvested" them- two to be exact! I ate one, and brought one in to my husband, who loves those raspberries and will probably make like a bear and just go out there and start muching soon. :)

Speaking of berries, I'm still hoping to catch the end of the strawberry season this weekend, and pick at least a few quarts for canning and freezing. If not, I'll just have to buy some from the Farmers' Market and process in a really small batch.

Do you grow any fruit in your backyard or garden plot?

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Potatoes- Harvesting early potatoes from the garden

This is my third year growing potatoes in the garden- they're one of my favorite things to grow. Potatoes are relatively low-maintenance, the plants are surprisingly    pretty, and potatoes are easy to harvest- I'd recommend them for your planting list next year if you haven't grown them before!

I had a few plants that have had yellowing leaves, despite frequent watering. All their neighbor plants look green and healthy, but these two sad individuals were languishing. When this is the case, or when you get a hankering for potatoes, you can harvest some potatoes early- these are called "new potatoes".

It's a pretty good bet that when the plants are flowering, you've got some small new potatoes available to harvest.
I decided to pull out the two yellowing plants, and got 13 very small-smallish potatoes (left). I believe these are little Yukon Golds from last seasons' garden. I'll be using them up quick in some awesome, ultra-local homefries with garden-grown onions and kale tomorrow- can't wait!

I planted a whole lot of potatoes this year- 60 plants!! Each one of these will yield 5-8 potatoes, and that makes for a whole lotta spuds. I don't usually harvest too many new potatoes, because I like to wait until they get bigger, but with a potential harvest of 300-450 potatoes, I think I can afford to pull a few early!

I think my next early harvest will be some of the Mountain Rose potatoes- those are the dark potatoes with pink flesh. The plants are already really beautiful; the flowers are a pinkish-purple, rather than the traditional white flowers that most potato plants have.

I'll post some pictures on my blog facebook page when I harvest the Mountain Rose potatoes, in case you're curious.

In the mean time, off to enjoy this beautiful weather!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Favorites

Some of my favorite things Friday are:

These hostas- aren't they gorgeous? I always admire this specific variety at a 
certain house in my neighborhood- they're like fine art!

 All the herbs in the garden are filling out and looking nice! 
Below are thyme and oregano.

This techincally happened earlier on in the week, but my little sis graduated from High School!!! 
This is us on Tuesday:

This is us in 2005 or 2006,a year or two after we were matched:

So proud to call her my sister :)

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's up Wednesday

The Kidney and Provider bush beans are beginning to bloom!
These Egyptian Walking Onions are forming little bulbs on the tops of their stalks- so cool to see. They bend down to the ground because of their weight, and they can either be harvest and used like a shallot, or they will "re-plant" themselves!

Globe basil-it grows in a nice sort of round shape.

My Cilantro transplants are going to flower- its too bad it's so early in the season, but they're nice to look at! Also, I'll harvest their seeds, called coriander, and use those to flavor lots of delicious meals.

What's Up in your Garden this week?