Saturday, July 31, 2010

We've been so busy ...

Wow, a month has gone by and I haven't taken the time to post to this blog.
Here what's happenin' on the Little Homestead in the Village...

GARLIC
We harvested over 10 pounds of garlic around July 15. I placed the whole plants in a big box that I left on the deck to let the bulbs dry out and mature. It's a little bit of a trick to know when to harvest the bulbs. I wait until the top leaves start to brown. If you harvest them too early the cloves don't fill out. Let if you let it sit in the ground too long, it fills out too much and won't keep well.

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Then on July 22, I cut the bulb from the dried leaves, cut off the beard (the roots), shook off the dried dirt and pulled off an outer layer of paper-like skin if needed. We now have a good sized box of garlic ready to store.

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Before putting garlic away in the root cellar, I will sort it and select the biggest heads to become seed garlic that I will plant in the fall.

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TOMATOES
Harvesting a few tomatoes every day for the past few weeks. We have been slicing tomatoes for salads and sandwiches. We have planted several varieties so far, Big Boy has been the first we picked but that was because we paid extra for a large plant in a 1 gallon container. Our early crop is...

Grape ( average weight 1 oz each)

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pony express (average 4 oz )

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golden rave paste (average 2 oz)

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I have plenty to share but not yet enough to can. I should be able to make sauce for dinner tomorrow. Or... Annie's Salsa!

BEANS
The wood chuck devastated the 4 rows of bush beans, but at least (s)he saved a few for us. I don't have any for freezing or canning, but we have enough for meals. I've even been able to make a few pots of my Bean Stew.

Recipe for Bean Stew.

2 pieces (or more) of pork country ribs with bone
1 or more pound of green beans snapped into pieces
tomato (or tomato product i.e. any kind of canned tomato)
garlic
all spice
olive oil
onion salt

1. Drizzle olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Brown meat use as much as you like. the meat can flavor the beans or larger amounts can be used to satisfy meat eaters.
2. Add onion sauté for a few minutes
3. add a salt, and all spice (at least 1 tsp)
4. add as much tomato as you like. Sometimes I use a 28 oz. can or a quart jar of whole tomatoes that I smush up. Other times I use a small can of tomato paste. Or I peel and seed my garden tomatoes. Add enough water to cover the meat.
5. Simmer until the meat is almost done, remove bones and cut meat into smaller pieces if desired.
6. Put beans on top of meat. Add more water ifs needed. simmer until beans are done.
Serve with rice pilaf, new potatoes or crusty bread and butter.

POTATOES
We have been harvesting small amounts of new potatoes. It's like looking for buried treasure. We reach down under the potato plant and grope around in the soil until we feel one and pull it out. We repeat until we have enough for a meal. This is today's booty.

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GREEN PEPPERS
I've picked a few peppers for adding to stir fry or sauce and have given several pounds of peppers away. Don't you think these are just begging to be picked ?

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GREENS
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About two weeks ago, I did the final thinning on the the swiss chard and the collards. The collards were cooked up using some smoked ham. I did not serve the batch right away, but let it mellow out for a day to let the flavors meld. During WWII collards were a Victory Garden favorite because they are very nutritious.

BROCCOLI

We've been picking broccoli every few days. I did not plant enough to freeze. I did plant varieties that form sideshoots after the main head is picked. This way I always have a bit of broccoli for a stir fry, or for a Broccoli Rice or Noodle side dish or... Broccoli soup!

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BLACKBERRIES

We have picked over 30 pounds of blackberries. What will we do with all those berries? You'll have to wait untill the next post!

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