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Archive for the ‘preserving’ Category

This spinach dish is very easy to whip up and can be served as any main meal; breakfast, lunch or dinner! 

spinach-mushroom-quiche-3
8 Oz Fresh Spinach
1 Small Onion – Diced
1 Clove Garlic – Diced
4 Oz Mushroom – Sliced
1 Cup Egg Substitute
Feta Cheese – Crumbled
2 Tablespoon Dried Tomato – Cut In Small Pieces
1 Teaspoon Dried Jalapeno Pepper – Cut In Small Pieces
Prepared Pie Crust
Saute diced onion and garlic on low heat.  Add mushroom, spinach, dried tomato and  jalapeno pepper. Continue to saute for several minutes.  Add crumbled feta cheese to prepared pie crust – add saute mixture and 1 cup egg substitute.  Blend ingredients gently.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 350
degrees.
Note: The dried tomatoes and jalapeno pepper were fresh from the garden earlier in the year and dehydrated in the Excalibur food dehydrator.  The jalapeno gave this dish just the right kick!!

tomatoes-in-dehydrator 

Tomatoes in the dehydrator before drying

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Since we have a couple inches of snow on the ground this weekend was a good time to start browsing the seed catalogs and make lists of what I plan for next season.  This past year I did notice alot more mention of the words heirloom and heritage and I wondered what the difference was between the two words and what they were all about.  This is how I interpret them = heirloom refers to seeds and plants, growing things, whereas heritage refers to breeds of animals.  Heirloom seeds and Heritage animals.  These are from our ancestors and some are on the verge of extinction.  Many growers have opted for fast producing, mass production varieties and have forgotten about the slower growing, more flavorful and disease resistant types….both with plants and animals.  I am no expert on this subject (yet) – that’s why I do enjoy researching so much, anyways…..I decided that our place down south will grow both Heirloom plants and raise Heritage animals.  The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is a great site that lists heritage animals and where they rate as far as extinction status and I will be starting with chickens and quite possibly the guinea hogs.  I have my heirloom seeds all picked out (many I have grown in the past) and I really am excited about this!  I also created (just yesterday) a Garden Forum board that I hope others will join and share their experiences and this way we can all learn more.  I will be working on that and I am open for Topic suggestions, so please do suggest!  I mentioned in my craft blog that we have been shopping the local Goodwill stores for treasures and after this weekend I think I see a theme.

mug-and-gravy-boat

rooster-mug-and-gravy-boat  chicken-gravy-boat

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All week I have been out trying to clean up the gardens and yard and DANG those mosquitoes are obnoxious!!  Seems they are all out for their last meal and find those exact spots to bite that will annoy me for days … Ugh!  So I did spend some time in the kitchen canning up some Jalapeno peppers and making some Oatmeal cookies ……

   How’s that for a Combo – spicy and hot and sweet and chewy !!  I did grow some Red Mini Peppers again this year and I think they are cute being so tiny, but I am not sure they are worth the space.  Right now I am undecided if they grow again next year.

I bought a smaller pumpkin this year (who knows I may still buy more) AND this bushel gourd … the dude is Huge and heavy!  I plan to create a bowl or something when he dries but that may take a year from what I read.  I do have my mini gourds to practice on – no idea when they will dry and be ready to craft on.  The creation behind the gourd is just a vase of corn stalks and grass for decoration – nothing attached to the gourd.

    The Autumn Sedum Joy is looking Great!

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This is the time of year when we have plenty of tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and whatever else we grew and it did well (how could I forget cucumbers!)  So besides canning and freezing the overload I decided to use the Excalibur dehydrator.  I purchased the dehydrator last year and have used it ALOT – all year long.  There have been plenty times when something is just about ready to be tossed into the compost since no one is eating it or I have purchased produce on sale and I dehydrated!  I have utmost praise for my dehydrator!

   

 Dried tomatoes which are just like sun-dried tomatoes you buy in the grocery store, not a bad snack!   Odd double tomato – twins!

Hey, the blue corn finally turned blue and my fall crop of peas I planted have emerged …

Work on my new website is going well – I am enjoying it!

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Yesterday I decided it was time to pull the corn stalks out of the garden. I was hoping for another harvest of corn from the second set of ears but I can see that is not going to happen – I did save a few mini corns and will let them dry and I may incorporate them into a fall craft. I am still waiting to see what the blue corn I planted is going to do. There are 4-5 small ears on a stalk … thing is – they ain’t Blue, so not sure if they need time to change color?

 Mini corns – blue on top

At the beginning of the season I let one of the first ears of corn dry – I left the kernels on the cob and after about 2 weeks they came right off. I will be saving these as seed for growing next year.

As I was pulling the corn stalks I noticed growing up along one of them was a strand of beans! I had planted 2 rows of beans alongside the corn according to the theory of growing corn, beans and squash together as companion plants. I thought the beans never germinated but I guess there was one strong survivor! So I left him growing on the corn stalk thinking I may keep those bean seeds to plant next year.

 

I am Very Happy to report that the spinach seed I saved earlier in the season has sprouted! I planted a few rows just recently for a fall crop and they are growing!! I will plant a few more where I had the corn and should be all set with spinach!

 Spinach growing from saved seed!!

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Today I pulled the last of the spinach stalks that I had left in the ground with the seeds drying.  I am saving spinach seeds for the first time and thought I would elaborate on what I learned about saving the seed.  I did notice an interest in the picture of the Drying Seeds on my Veggie Blog and since that’s a photo blog there is no explanation.  I know that when I first decided to save the seed I searched the internet and didn’t find too much detailed information.  What had me confused was the first stalks to go to seed were small, very small and I remembered when I planted the spinach the seeds were much larger and dark.  So I searched and watched and waited.  I know one explanation I had read mentioned a female seed stalk and a male seed – so even though this made no sense I thought I would see what happened and sure enough … I did notice two totally different seeds developing on separate stalks. 

Here is the explanation I offer from my observations (I could be way off but at least this makes sense to me!)  The first stalks to go to seed were male and contained the pollen and this I did notice … ALOT of yellow dust when the stalks were moved.  The male seed was doing it’s job of spreading the pollen and when it reached the female stalk, seeds developed which were much larger and this is the seed I knew to be the one to plant in the future.  The drying of the seed I concluded has to take place while the stalks are still in the ground so they can complete their process.  I did pull a stalk and let it air dry in the house and it never turned dark like the others that remained in the ground.  I pulled many stalks today that had not finished the final drying but the cucumber vines needed the space and I have PLENTY of spinach seeds to plant.  Here are some pictures to help clarify what the seeds look like and I regret not having one of the male seed stalks which were present earlier in the season (hm, where did they go?)  I will have to watch them closer next year now that I think I know how the process works!!  If anyone has further knowledge on this subject of saving spinach seed, please comment.  It would be much appreciated!  Now to see if the saved seeds actually Grow … stay tuned

Next is the spinach seed I air dryed in the house and it remained green

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The first thing I had to do after our return from the long weekend trip down south was visit the gardens!  We had a good rain and it definitely made a difference – tomatoes are budding from the flowers, cucumbers are developing, the squashes are doing wonderfully and much more!  I could go on but I will show some pictures I just took.  Tomorrow I will organize the pictures from down south and post about the amazing sights down there!

 Last  harvest of peas and more beets!

 Pearl cucumber looking cool

 

Corn tassles and corn silk ….. first one of the year!

  The spinach seed dried on the stalk – I left all the stalks in the ground after the final harvest of spinach so I could save the seed. 

Before I left I spent 2 days drying with the Excalibur dehydrator – the chives were from the garden and the blueberries and mushrooms were on sale so I bought an overload and dried them for future use.  The beef jerky I dried to take along on the trip for snacks…

  Excalibur loaded with fruit

  Dried chives, beef jerky, blueberries and mushrooms

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