Category Archives: Recipes

Pickling Almost Anything

A reader with a boatload of cucumbers asked for some recipes to help preserve the bounty. As it happens, I have an abundance of cucumbers as well, and spent a happy morning turning them into snappy garlic dills. While I was at it, I also pickled several other things, because I love the contrast a piquant pickle provides to a rich or lean meal. Spicy, savory or sweet, pickles can be made with fruit or vegetables and sometimes combine both. Back in the day, our ancestors pickled lemons, onions, and watermelon rind, and enjoyed garden-based concoctions like chow-chow, piccalilli and relishes. Before refrigeration, pickling was an easy way to preserve fruits and vegetables well into winter. Every well-stocked larder boasted rows of pickled beans, pickled peaches, pickled lemons, and even pickled eggs. Whether tart-sweet or savory, pickles graced American tables nearly every day of the year. Continue reading

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Singing With the Bees

As I thinned the vigorous stems, I found tomatoes ripening on every plant. As always, I interplanted annuals and a few perennials with my edibles and am happy to see them alive with bees and other pollinators. While tomatoes are self-fertile and pollinated mainly by wind or vibration, it turns out that fruit set is greatly increased by the presence of certain bees, who vibrate their wings to the tone of middle C. In this case, the beneficial bees are not European honeybees but native bumbles and mud bees as well as various other native pollinators. To encourage the bees, I’m planting lots of annuals, and to encourage great tomato set, I’m humming favorite songs. Fortunately, the key of C is nearly universal; you can sing almost anything in C, as lots of folk songs demonstrate. Can’t sing? Use a middle C tuning fork to help tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and blueberries shed way more pollen by vibration, aka buzz pollination. Isn’t that so amazingly marvelous? Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Care & Feeding, Early Crops, Grafted Plants, Pollinators, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kitchen Cures For Climate Change

Print PDFSeeking Higher Ground! Helping Our Planet Plate By Plate It’s getting more obvious each year that climate change is occurring faster than many people hoped. If of us are in a position to actively change the world, we can … Continue reading

Posted in Climate Change, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Savoring The First Strawberries

Although nothing beats eating sun-warm strawberries straight from the garden, these enticing fruits lend themselves to a wide range of treatments, from sweet to savory. After eating a few day’s worth of naked berries, I’m ready for a few classics. For many years, my family has celebrated the start of local strawberry season by enjoying strawberry shortcake for dinner. There are, of course, many versions to try, but after a fair amount of playful experimentation, I’ve plumped for these light, flaky, slimmed down shortcakes, which gain flavor, fragrance, and a tender crumb from whole wheat pastry flour.

Perfect Strawberry Shortcake

Berries:
6 cups strawberries, hulled & quartered
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup

Combine in a bowl and set aside to macerate for at least 15 minutes.

Cream:
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1-2 teaspoons sugar or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Whip cream to soft peaks, add sugar and vanilla and whip for 10-15 seconds more. Set aside.

Shortcakes:
2 cups whole wheat (or any) pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon cardamom or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter OR coconut oil
3/4 cup milk (almond if not cow)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and blend for 5 seconds. Add butter and process for 10 seconds or until evenly distributed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in milk, starting with 1/2 cup, adding just enough for the dough to form a ball (not too sticky). Pat into four rounds 1/2 inch high and bake at 450 until golden (12-15 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes, then split in half like a bun, using a fork, and fill with berries and cream. Serves at least one. Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Gardening With Children, Growing Berry Crops, Planting & Transplanting, preserving food, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment