Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Favorite Zucchini Bread Recipe

We have been eating zucchini for weeks now...we love it fried with onions just until it's a little soft Yum! I made my favorite zucchini bread and I thought I would share it with you. Enjoy!

My Favorite Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups of zucchini (shredded)

In large bowl mix the flour, sugar, salt,baking soda,and baking powder. In small bowl add eggs, oil, vanilla and cinnamon. Use a hand mixer and mix together....then add dry ingredients a small amount at a time. Blend in zucchini at the very end...( batter will be a little thick)

This makes two 8-in x 4in x 2 in loaf pans Bake at 350 for about 1 hour.

Don't forget you can add Chocolate chips to this recipe but reduce the flour to 2-3/4 cups.

I have also added Apple pieces....reduce sugar to 1 cup and add 1 cup brown sugar...and replace cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon on nutmeg....Yum!

Happy Gardening....


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Storing Tomatoes Through The Winter....

We are getting tomatoes everyday now...and we will not be able to eat them all. We usually can a few jars of salsa and I like to make spaghetti sauce.....but did you know that you can freeze and dry tomatoes?

Yes you can...... the easiest way to freeze tomatoes is by putting them whole in freezer bags. I usually put tomatoes into two freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Just take them out of the freezer and warm them in some warm water you can use these in Chili on a cold winter day. ( the skins will slip right off if you put them in hot water) You can also puree them and put into freezer bags this is great in pasta sauce. ( always use blemish free tomatoes)

If you have a food dehydrator you can dry can fully dry them and then store them in jars. To dry tomatoes you cut them in half lay them on the drying rack...sprinkle salt on the up turned half. The drying time can take up to a day or longer....remove them when they feel firm and dry.

I love having the fresh taste of a tomatoes in the cold winter months. I know that they don't taste exactly the same but the flavor is still there!

Happy Gardening....


Friday, July 17, 2009

Basil Vinegar

My Basil has been growing like crazy...and it really needs to be cut back. I decided it would be great to have a few bottles of home-made vinegar during the winter monthes. I cut a bunch of my basil and began making my Basil Vinegar....

4 large sprigs of fresh Basil

2 cups of white wine vinegar

I place the basil in a clean canning jar( don't worry about crushing it a bit that will help with the flavor) then pour the vinegar over the basil then screw on lid tightly. I store this in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks. I shake the jar every couple of days to make sure the Basil is mixing into the vinegar.

I love to add this to my salad dressings or even over baked chicken Yum!

I also like to add other flavors to White Wine Vinegar: Blackberries and Lavender flowers this is so Good!

When I use Apple Cider Vinegar I add Chili Peppers, Horseradish and Shallots. Yum!!

Do you make Herb Vinegars? What do you like to add?

Happy Gardening...


Thursday, July 16, 2009

How I Dry Chili Peppers

We have been working in the garden daily. Our peppers are looking great and are about ready to pick. We have decided to try growing another row of green beans...we will have to wait an see if we have planted them to late but it is a chance worth taking if we can.. can a few more jars of green beans.

I thought I would share how we store our chili peppers for the winter months....

If you store your Chili Peppers right you can have them all winter long. One way is using a food dehydrator...these are great if you don't have one you should get can use it for many vegetables and even fruits.

The most simple way to store Chili Peppers is hanging them.... just string a few on a piece of string. I put three together at a time so air can get around each pod. After a few weeks the peppers will get sort of wrinkly I then place them in a glass jar and use when needed.

***** I always wear plastic gloves when working with peppers and take care not to touch your face because just a little bit can really burn your eyes.****

Happy Gardening...


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How Long To Keep Vegetable Seeds?

It is almost time for fall planting. I was going through all of my old seeds and I was thinking about how long I keep seeds before I compost them. I never put my seeds in plastic bags....paper bags are always best. If you can keep your seeds in the refrigerator that would be best. It is okay to buy store bought seeds but always look at the purchased date...the older the seed the less likely it will germinate.

This is how long I keep my seeds before buy new ones....or collect new ones.

Carrots 2 years

Onions 2 years

Beans 3 years

Spinach 3 years

Peas 3 years

Broccoli 4 years

Cabbage 4 years

Pumpkins 4 years

Cucumbers 6 years

Tomatoes 6 years

Happy Gardening...


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cucumber Jam?

We love cucumbers in my family..and the best thing about cucumbers when they are ready to pick you can get a bunch off of one bush. We usually pick and wrap them in clear plastic wrap. They will last a few weeks in the refrigerator.

Since we can't freeze cucumbers we try to eat as many fresh or we make my famous bread-n-butter pickles. I found this great cucumber jam recipe and I thought I would share it with you. Enjoy!!!

Cucumber Jam

2 lbs Cucumbers (peeled)

2 lbs sugar

2 tablespoons water

Juice of two lemons

Dice cucumbers and simmer in water until soft, add lemon juice and sugar, stir and boil...keep boiling until setting point (it becomes thick)

Jar and seal

Happy Gardening...


Monday, July 6, 2009

How To Store Onions...

Well it is time to start getting my onions ready to be stored through the winter months. The easiest way to store onions is by hanging them and letting them dry.

On a nice warm sunny day after my onion tops have died all the way to the ground..I then lift them up out of the ground and let them dry for a week or two it is good to have them lay on something so you can bring them out of the rain. Placing them on a wood board or plastic seed tray work great!

When your onions have dried you can place them on a strong string (or cord)...I take four onions and tie the stalks together..I then tie the knotted stalks to a piece of string (or cord).... then I add more onions by tying the stalks around the piece of string (or cord) just slide them down to meet the others. After I have a few on a string (or cord)... I keep them hanging in my basement so air can get to all sides and I keep them away from moisture.

Freezing Onions?

I place small onions in freezer bags. I always peel them and make sure they are clean.

I cut onions into small pieces and place in freezer when they are rock hard. I then place them in freezer bags. I use them in sauces and they taste fresh all winter long!

Happy Gardening....


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Some Ways To Use Basil

Basil is one of my favorite herbs...I don't know why I don't grow it.... I always buy it at the farmers market. I bought a big bunch of it this weekend and I am going to make my favorite Pesto Sauce.

There are other ways to use Basil such as...

1. You can grow it in a pot on your windowsill it is suppose to keep flies away.

2. You can crush its leaves and rub the juice on your skin as a mosquito repellent.

3. You can crush some in a tissue an inhale it to keep mental fatigue away.

4 It also adds some zing to a hot refreshing bath.

or...... how about making my favorite Pesto!

1 tablespoon pine nuts

4 tablespoons chopped basil leaves (fresh is best)

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

3 oz Parmesan cheese (grated)

6 tablespoons olive oil

Blend together pine nuts, basil, and chopped garlic until smooth...then add olive oil slowly to the mixture until you have a thick paste. Stir sauce into hot pasta and then sprinkle with cheese. Yum! This will keep at least a week in a good sealed container...although I doubt you will have any left-overs!

Happy Gardening...


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting Rid of Whiteflies

These tiny pests can do a lot of damage to flowers and fruit trees. Whiteflies suck all the juice out the leaves of flowers, flower buds and stems. I don't know how may times I have reached for a piece of fruit off one of our fruit trees and had a bunch start flying around my head.

Signs that you might have whiteflies:

Weak or stunned plants

Sticky coating on leaves and fruit ...we sometimes get this on the bark of our peach trees.

Yellow eggs the size of tiny pinpoints on the underside of leaves.

When we get them really bad we have to cut down a tree or pull up a flower bush. I hate to do that but when you have them really bad that is what you have to do. Here is one way that I have tried to get rid of them:

I just found this recipe that I am going to try:

Whitefly recipe:

1 cup sour milk

2 tablespoons flour

1 quart water

mix together and spray of infected areas.

I really hope this helps kill our whiteflies. I will let you know!

Happy Gardening...