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  • Ready or Not: Garlic Time in the Fall

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Planting garlic in the fall is the last garden chores of the season. A small amount of preparation at planting time will give you an abundant garlic harvest without much effort. Garlic is one of the easiest crops you can grow in your garden. It is a long season crop with a unique growing pattern compared to other garden crops. Garlic is planted in fall in order to give it a head start and enough time to produce a larger bulb. How to Plant Garlic in the Fall Planting garlic in the fall allows the roots to begin growing. When winter arrives and the ground freezes, the plants go dormant. Once the soil warms up in the spring, the garlic will start growing again right where it left off. Prepare Your Growing Bed Garlic thrives in full sun and loose soil. Choose a garden bed that has not grown anything in the onion family in the past two years and one that receives an average of at least six hours of sunlight each day. Remove weeds and spread some slow-release organic fertilizer according to the package direction. Add about 2-inches of finished compost and work it in the top 4-6 inches of soil. Plot out your growing bed 4-6 inches in all directions. Dig your holes about 4-inches deep. If you are using the square foot gardening method, plot 6 cloves per square. Divide Your Garlic Seed When you purchase garlic seed, you are actually getting heads of garlic. Garlic is grown from individual cloves. Each clove will grow into a bulb of garlic. Separate your cloves right before planting. Sort out your largest and healthiest looking cloves for planting. If you plant the largest cloves, you will grow larger heads of garlic for next year. Save the smaller and damaged cloves for cooking. Plant Your Garlic Cloves Plant a garlic clove into each hole, with the flat side down and the pointy end up. Cover and firm the soil. Mulch Your Garlic Bed Water the garlic bed well after planting and cover with a light layer of mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves. Aim for about 2-3 inches of mulch to keep the weeds down until the ground freezes. After the ground freezes, add another layer of 2-3 inches of mulch to insulate the soil. This helps prevent the garlic roots from being heaved out of the ground by alternate freezing and thawing. Once the soil warms in spring, you will see green garlic shoots growing through the mulch. If you used an all-purpose organic fertilizer at planting time, your garlic is off to a great start. Water the garlic bed during dry spells when the soil feels dry an inch beneath the surface. Feed with organic fish emulsion fertilizer if the foliage shows signs of stress (yellow tips). Follow the directions on the bottle. If you planted hardneck garlic, you will have an opportunity to harvest garlic scapes a few weeks before the garlic bulb is finished growing. These tender, mildly garlic flavored shoots are delicious.

  • Ready or Not #95: Storing Vegetables

    I was talking to a friend about the soon to be released A Prepared Home food storage calculator and how it was going to be such a big help to figure out what you need in your food storage. She said that she and her daughter sat down and picked out their favorite recipes and started figuring out what food they needed to buy. After a while, she stopped because most everything she loved to cook and to feed her family involved large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Obviously, she can’t store a years’ worth of fresh vegetables; sometimes you are lucky if you can store a week’s worth of fresh vegetables. We talked about alternative storage ideas for vegetables, and these were the best ideas. First, I would suggest buying frozen vegetables. I am a really big fan of frozen vegetables; it doesn’t matter to me if you freeze them yourself or if you buy them frozen. Of course, you will need to consider what you are buying to make sure that it is healthy. If you buy frozen vegetables that are slathered in a delectable, yet unhealthy, sauce you might want to reconsider. But for the most part, frozen vegetables are far superior to canned veggies. The frozen vegetables are processed and frozen within hours after they have been picked so they actually retain more of their nutrients than do the fresh vegetables that have been picked, processed, trucked, and sit on the shelves at the store – slowly deteriorating. I also like the idea that all of the work has already been done and all you have to do is open the bag and pour out the amount that you need, saving the rest in the freezer for a later date – never once worrying about them going bad. I buy my frozen vegetables at Sam’s Club or Costco because they sell them in very large bags. It makes it affordable and convenient. A second alternative is the canned vegetable. I really don’t like canned vegetables very much, but there are some acceptable things about storing canned veggies. Most canned vegetables taste okay and can be eaten without much preparation, except for peas – there should be a law against canned peas. The real upside to canned vegetables is that you can store them for a very long time; you don’t need refrigeration until after you have opened the can and you can transport them the easiest out of all of the alternatives. I especially like to store canned corn, beans, potatoes, mushrooms (I consider the mushrooms a vegetable when it is in a can) and I keep canned carrots on hand for times when I might be desperate enough to use them. A third alternative is sprouting. It is always a good idea to keep seeds on hand for sprouting or growing a garden. Don’t forget to rotate your seeds because they can get old and not work and make sure to always buy good quality seeds. Since it is important to eat fresh food for certain types of nutrients, sprouting can offer you a quick and easy way to get the fresh nutrients in literally days instead of weeks. You will also find that sprouts have more nutritious value than their full-grown counterparts. For example, the broccoli sprout is much more nutritious than the mature broccoli and that is pretty hard to do since broccoli is the most perfect vegetable on the face of the earth. It would be a good thing for you to try sprouting some seeds to see how it is done. There are a lot of instructions on the internet and plenty of books that explain the best way to do it. I will bet that you will fall in love with sprouting and incorporate it into your everyday eating. Remember that there are a whole lot of seeds that can be sprouted – not just alfalfa seeds! Here is a tip for sprouting – use a metal grease splatter shield to sprout your seeds. Just wet the seeds down and spread them on to the shield. Lay it on top of moist paper towels next to the sink. When they start to sprout and are clinging to the metal screen, you can just wet them down and let them drain all while perched over the sink. The sprouts are easy to detach and eat and the shield can be thrown into the dishwasher when you’re done. Too easy. Dried vegetables are also an acceptable way of storing vegetables, but before you go out and buy a bunch, try them out first. I found that some brands taste really good and some would be better used as fertilizer to grow the fresh stuff. Make sure that the money you spend to purchase and store your vegetables is money put to good use, that of buying high quality food for the good health of your family.

  • Ready or Not #94: Re-assess Food Storage

    My daughter gave me a cookbook by Zonya Foco, of “Zonya’s Health Bites” on PBS, for Christmas and I have been reading it, yes reading it, and I have really enjoyed it. (I have to say that I haven’t really read my Better Homes and Garden cookbook – I mostly just leaf through it). The reason that I like this cookbook so much is that she likes to cook like me – only she does it healthier. She isn’t into slaving over the stove for hours, but she is into presenting well-balanced meals that are appealing, healthy and quick. But the most important thing about how she cooks is that it is food storage friendly, very food storage friendly. In fact, at the back of the book there is a shopping list of foods that she suggests you have on hand at all times so that you can cook her meals quickly. She has one minute meals, five minute meals, 30 minute meals and slow cooker feasts. Basically, she has done all of your work for you; she gives you a shopping list, point by point on how to cook each meal and she doesn’t make you slave over the stove day and night – I really like her! This is such a good time of year to evaluate (or re-evaluate) your food storage because there aren’t any major holidays looming ahead. You now have time to analyze what you need to do to bring your food storage up to standard – one year’s supply of food and dry good sundry – including clothes and such. If you are going to make this work, then you are going to have to make specific plans. There are several ways that you can decide to take this on. One really quick way is to take your top 15 favorite recipes, multiply all of the ingredients by two and then again by 12 – then go buy however much your calculations say to buy. Remember, you don’t have to purchase it all at once. Wait for sales or just pick up a case here and there, whenever you go grocery shopping, and let it add up – it will add up quicker than you expect. Make sure that you have your 15 favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes – unless you only want to eat one meal a day. Another way to decide on what to store is to get online and download a list of what different agencies have determined to be the items that you need to survive for a year. After you get those items stored, you can spice your storage up by purchasing additional foodstuffs (e.g., mushrooms, olives, spices, and more) to make the meals that you create a little more fun and inviting. Remember, you want to build your food storage in such a way that you and your family will enjoy it when you use it – which should be an ongoing everyday thing. This is a really good time to talk about rotation. Remember that you should be using what you buy and then replacing it, always making sure that your food storage will be fresh, usable, and palatable. Remember – R&R, rotate and replenish. We will soon have A Prepared Home food storage calculator that will be extremely useful in managing and maintaining your storage. Good luck with your re-assessing endeavor!

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Other Pages (399)

  • Bread, rolls, tortillas

    Breads-Rolls-Tortillas Beginner Gluten Free Sourdough Starter Add tangy zest to your breads and other baked treats with this gluten-free sourdough starter. Just a few ingredients and a week or so of nurturing bring you this exciting addition to your gluten-free baking world. Note: While we normally caution against using our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour in recipes involving yeast, this starter recipe has been developed specifically for that flour and works just fine. That said, we don’t recommend substituting Measure for Measure in your own yeast bread or sourdough recipes. Beginner Grandma’s Zucchini Bread This zucchini bread is really, really good and moist — my kids eat it as quickly as I can make it! This recipe makes two loaves but it freezes well and will keep in the refrigerator for weeks. Beginner Naan Bread Naan - easy naan bread recipe using a cast-iron skillet. Soft, puffy with brown blisters just like Indian restaurants. This is the best recipe online! Beginner Lighter Than Air Hush Puppies A delicious, deep south recipe that will tickle your palate! Beginner Cornmeal Popovers Quick and easy alternative to cornbread. So easy to take on the go too! Beginner Mom’s Cornbread I love this cornbread recipe! It is moist and yummy. Slathered in butter and drizzled in honey, it is a true tastebud treat! Beginner Grandma’s Best White Bread This is absolutely the best, no-fail, easy to make, homemade white bread that you will ever taste! This bread is definately a family favorite. Beginner Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread Fabulous appetizer or side Beginner Homemade Egg Noodles Homemade noodles are easy, cheap, and oh sooo very yummy! Beginner Tortilla (wheat or white) These really are the best ever homemade flour tortillas, no one can believe how easy and delicious they are! They're perfect for enchiladas, soft tacos, burritos, quesadillas, wraps... Beginner Mile High Biscuits These biscuits make the ultimate biscuits and gravy or better yet, they go really good with homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Who says that eating food storage is yucky? I’m thinking that it is nothing but yummmmmy! Beginner 5 Minute Bread Easy fast homemade bread!

  • Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

    < Back Gluten Free Sourdough Starter Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: NA Serves: 1 ¼ cups starter Level: Beginner About the Recipe ​ Ingredients 1 cup (120g) King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (128g) cool water Preparation Day 1: Mix together the flour and water in a medium-sized bowl, stirring until thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl, and let the mixture rest overnight at room temperature. Day 2: Discard half the starter, and feed the remainder with 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (128g) cool water and 1 cup (121g) Measure for Measure flour. Days 3, 4, 5... Repeat the process from Day 2. Sometime between days 5 and 10, you'll notice that within several hours after feeding the starter will have grown in size to between 2 1/4 and 2 3/4 cups. At this point it's ready to use in your recipe. If it takes longer than this, simply keep repeating the once-a-day feeding process until it matures fully; bubbling nicely, and doubling in size within several hours after feeding. Previous Next

  • Chinese Goose Leg Noodle Soup

    < Back Chinese Goose Leg Noodle Soup Prep Time: 2 Hours Cook Time: 6 Hours Serves: 4 Level: Beginner About the Recipe ​ Ingredients For the Goose Legs 4 goose legs, skin on Kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorn 1 tablespoon oil or goose fat 3 thick slices ginger 3 peeled cloves garlic 3 scallions, trimmed 1 star anise OR 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice powder 1 dried chili 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine 2 cups water OR goose stock 1 tablespoon oyster sauce 2 tablespoons light soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil For the Soup 1 gallon (4L) chicken stock, game stock, or goose wing broth 2 bok choy 1 package fresh or dried chow mein noodles 2 scallions, thinly sliced 1 cup preserved mustard green, chopped (optional) Preparation 1. Sprinkle goose legs with salt and Sichuan peppercorn. Let sit, uncovered, in the fridge for a couple of hours up to overnight. 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the oil or goose fat in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add goose legs skin side down to sear. After 2 minutes, reduce heat to medium. Sear for 5 minutes then flip. Cook for another 5 minutes, pour off the fat (keep for other recipes), then add the rest of the Goose Legs ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then transfer uncovered to the oven. Roast 3-6 hours until tender (cooking time will vary with the age and type of bird), adding more liquid if necessary and basting with the liquid in the pan every hour or so. 3. Add the goose, game, or chicken stock to a pot and heat it up gently. 4. Fill another pot with water and bring it to a boil. Slice the bok choy in half lengthwise, then add it to the pot. Boil for 1 minute, then transfer to a bowl of cold water. Add the noodles to the pot and boil for 1 minute or per package directions. Drain noodles, then split them between 4 bowls. 5. Put a goose leg, 1 halved bok choy, 1/4 of the mustard greens and a pinch of sliced scallion on top of the noodles. Ladle hot broth over everything, filling the bowl. Serve immediately. 6. Enjoy! Previous Next

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