I made up a batch of these green tomato pickles to use up some of the unripe tomatoes knocked off the vines during our recent hail storm. We picked all the storm damaged fruit, and trimmed off the spoiled bits, saving the undamaged parts for preserving. I found a number of green tomato recipes, but pickled green tomatoes seemed most likely to appeal to my family. (The crew groaned out loud at the green tomato mincemeat recipe.) We like dill pickles, so why not dilly tomatoes? [Read more…]
This week were were hit by a hail storm while my son and I were running errands. As we were pulling away from our home, I looked over at the garden and noticed how big and healthy the squash patch was looking, and how glad I was that we were expecting much needed rain. While we were driving around, the rain started pouring in buckets, but I wasn't concerned. Then the hail started, but it was spotty, so I still wasn't concerned. It was only when I turned onto the last stretch of road to our home that my heart dropped.
The road was filled with fallen leaves. As I pulled up to our home, I saw the squash patch – leveled to the ground with hail damage. The rest of the garden had plenty of weather damage, too – damaged fruit, damaged flowers, shredded and stripped leaves – it was pretty awful. Damaged crops are a given. How bad it will be remains to be seen. I can't unmake the storm, but I can share our strategies for dealing with the weather damage in the garden, and options to help prevent hail damage. [Read more…]
A lot of us are trying to stretch our food budgets by growing our own or purchasing in bulk. Many are also joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, which provide them with produce (and sometimes other items) throughout the growing season. To take full advantage of local food sources, we need to find ways to store food after harvest. This post will give you a brief overview of different home food preservation methods, and direct you to addition resources. Then you can decide which methods works best for you.
Welcome to the Weekly Weeder series, where we help you identify wild plants and how to use them. Today's featured plant is Butter and eggs, Linaria vulgaris.
Butter and eggs is also know as yellow toadflax, wild snapdragon, flaxweed, bread and butter, false flax, brideweed, bridewort, Jacob's-ladder, rabbit flower, imprudent lawyer, pennywort and a host of other names.
The name “snapdragon” originates from the “popping” or “snapping” sound that is made when you squeeze the flower. According to Wildflowers of Wisconsin, the other common name, toadflax, is based on how the flower opens wide like a frog or toad's mouth when squeezed. (I wonder if the name “imprudent lawyer” is linked to that wide open mouth, too?)
A European import, it has now naturalized over most of North America, including inside my greenhouse. Though less commonly used than many other herbs, it does have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. [Read more…]
Back when I worked catering, we were required by the health department to use plastic cutting boards because “they were more sanitary”. Like so many well-intentioned government agencies, they were wrong. This post explains why wooden cutting boards are better than plastic or glass and why I only use wood cutting boards in my kitchen. [Read more…]