Thursday, July 1, 2010

cucumber sorbet

It is that time of year where many of us growing cucumbers find ourselves with more than we know what to do with. A couple years back I  decided to try a cucumber sorbet and much to my surprise it was quite a tasty summer treat as it combines salty with sweet and a bit of twang. It is very easy to make and is quite versatile with what you use to make the twang as well as what you use  as a sweetener.This is also a good way to use up those cukes that get a bit too large for other recipes. Some people like to infuse the simple syrup with mint or use it as a garnish. The cucumber  can also be  mixed with avocado  at a 1 to 1 ratio.
cucumber sorbet
4 large cucumber or about 2 lbs-- skinned, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp white vinegar --lime or lemon also work well--use the zest too if you like
2 tbsp water
4 tbsp sugar --honey also works
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp  fresh dill or 1/2 tsp dry dill
Boil together water, vinegar and sugar  until sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Put all ingredients into blender or food processor, blend well  and place in bowl to freeze. Before serving blend again til smooth and serve

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

seed saving-greens

Today I cleaned the seed that I had saved from  all of our winter and early spring greens. These were a mix of greens  of various sorts from Russian kale to turnips and collards, but, since we use them all mixed together I figured I may as well plant them all together. Why make more work for myself when I do not have to I have had them on a rack in the living project room drying for the last several weeks and since they somehow got knocked over yesterday I took it as a sign that I better get them taken care of. Besides, I have some herb seeds to come in this afternoon and needed the room on the rack.

I got  the manthing to hold me a pillow case open  so that I could stuff  the dried  plants into it. I then  closed the end of the pillow  case and walked on it for a few minutes, turning it a few times  to be sure I got all the seed pods broke open. When I was done I opened it up and threw out the stalks and picked out the large pieces of chaff. I then cornered all the seed  in the pillow case and then poured it into a cup and then  set about winnowing it so that I would end up with cleaner seed.
 I used the fan and as you can see I also did this in the shack. For those that live in normal houses, I would suggest doing all of this outside because it is rather messy. Since I didn't feel llike unplugging the fan and taking it out side it was just easier to do in the house. On a windy day this can be  also be done with just the wind.

Once This was done I poured the seeds in to  plastic seed baggies and labeled them.  From the 6 plants that I saved for seed I got about a half cup of seeds. This will go a long way in our gardens in the coming years.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

garden 2010- update-onion harvest

The time came this morning to harvest the onions. They had bolted  so were done growing and were laying over with a good bit of rain forecast in the next few days. Rather than risk losing them we decided to go ahead and get them out of the ground. We pulled the  beds and laid them all  out in  the sun for a couple of hours  and then  laid them in racks under the carport so that they could finish curing under there.
All total we harvested somewhere between 60 and 70 pounds of onions which should be enough to get us through the year or very near to it. A couple dollar purchase of seed, a few hours of  time and  it will now save us  about 50-75 dollars  in the next year so we do not need to purchase them. We had quite a few that stayed very small  and while that is a bit disappointing it gives me a fair bit to dehydrate, freeze and use immediately. I see french onion soup in my future. Most of the onions were a bit smaller than we had wished for but for  a first year attempt at growing bulbing onions it was a pretty good yield. We will plant some more this fall to try and over winter  them and will also have another crop of green onions this fall. Of the three varieties we planted the yellow ones out did the  white and red by far. I think next year we will stay with the yellow variety and see how they do. Once these guys are cured I am going to try braiding some as well as a couple other methods of storage. When that time comes I will do another update on  storage.