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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Seminole Pumpkin Pancakes



The husband stated these are KEEPERS.

Seminole Pumpkin Pancakes

Bowl one mix
3/4 Cup flour
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1.5 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
small handful of chocolate chips

Bowl two mix
1 egg
2 HEAPING HEAPING Tablespoons of cooked Seminole pumpkin
1/4 Cup Milk


Slowly add bowl one to bowl two.

If mix is not pour-able, add milk a Tablespoon at a time.

Makes three full sized pancakes. 

More on growing Seminole Pumpkins here: https://growagardener.blogspot.com/search?q=seminole

Upcoming classes to mark on your calendar

Upcoming classes 



Lee County Master Gardeners Present
YOUTH SUMMER GARDENING CAMP DAY

LIMITED to 30 participants.

Lee County Master Gardeners, Lee County 4-H, and Lee Parks and Recreation are hosting a Youth Gardening Camp Day on Thursday, July 12th from 9am–3pm at the Lee County 4-H Building located at 2000 N Recreation Park Way in North Fort Myers. The 4-H Building is located on the property between the football fields. The workshop is open to youth ages 9-18 and 4-H membership is not required. COST: $10. The camp fee includes all supplies plus pizza lunch.

This year's theme will be INSECTS in the garden including bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and fire ants. In addition, each youth will make an origami seed packet, seed tape, melon seed craft, newspaper pots, and more.

Sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/youth-summer-gardening-camp-day-tickets-43827467134

For more information contact Lee County 4-H Agent Cathy Suggs at 239.850.4175 or Lee County Master Gardener Karen Harty at 610.530.8883.

If you are an adult and would like this same camp for a day, please contact Karen Harty at 610.530.8883. 



CITRUS CLASS 

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. I will be teaching 4-H youth and parent Citrus how-to for SWFL Fair on Saturday, September 29th 2018 at Veterans Park Rec Center in Lehigh from 10am to 3pm. This is a Master Gardener level class in an easy-to-understand presentation filled with tons of information on growing citrus in SWFL. There were about 50 youth participants and 50 adult attendees to this class last year.

Adult NON-4H attendees: REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Suggested donation is $20 for the class only. Trees will be available for purchase directly from a nurseryman (cash only). Bring your own lunch.



TOMATO CLASS 

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. I will be teaching 4-H youth and parent Tomato how-to for SWFL Fair on Saturday, November 10th 2018 at Veterans Park Rec Center in Lehigh from 12pm to 3pm. This is a Master Gardener level class in an easy-to-understand presentation filled with tons of information on growing tomatoes in SWFL. This is our first year.

Adult NON-4H attendees: REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Suggested donation is $10 for the class only.



Friday, June 15, 2018

Choosing a Yam to Grow


Boy are there lots of varieties of yam. Some are edible. Some have edible leaves. Some are only used for medicine.

Below I am chatting about C variety Dioscorea polystachya
  • "Just like Rambo movies, there is Yam A, Yam B and, yes, a Yam C, the Chinese Wild Yam or the Cinnamon Vine yam, either way we get Yam C, botanical name,  Dioscorea polystachya aka D. oppositifolia (Dye-os-KOH-ree-uh or in Greek thee-oh-skor-REE-uh)   [op-os-i-ti-FOH- lee-uh].  Dioscorea oppositifolia only grows in India, where I presume it is eaten. D. polystachya is the one growing in North America. D. oppositifolia is called by some websites D. batata. Regardless, the accepted name for now for the Chinese Yam is Dioscorea polystachya." (quoted from Eattheweeds.com)
I purchased a "ñame" Yam C variety tuber at Walmart to try. Cutting off the thick, woody peel left me with a slippery tuber (yams are slippery when cut) that I cut into pieces and tossed into water so it did not brown. It was sauteed with a blend of other root vegetables and sausage. The taste was similar to Irish potato with a very dry and fluffy texture. This variety would be perfect for mashed "potato" or soup. I am going to try several varieties of Yam C before making my decision on which to grow in my garden. 

Based on research and not on personal experience (yet) here are my findings...

Do NOT eat raw.

Growing: Probably best to grow in pots where it can be contained. Yam C can become invasive if aerial tubers are not harvested.

Parts to eat: Underground and aerial tubers.

Propagation: Cut and plant the ends of the yam (with at least two inches), plant aerial tubers, vine cuttings.

Ready to eat: Tubers ready in 4 to 6 months. If left in the ground tubers can grow massive.

NOTE: I did not find any notations of sweet potato weevils or root knot nematode damage however the ñame I purchased appeared to have minor root knot nematode damage.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Pumpkin Dessert Recipe



Pumpkin Dessert Recipe

In a large bowl mix:
2 cups roasted pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I add nutmeg and allspice too)
Pour into a 9x13 pan that is lightly coated

Mix in another large bowl:
1.5 cup sugar
1.5 cup flour (I use white Whole Wheat)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons corn starch
Sprinkle this evenly on top

Melt in a bowl:
2 sticks butter (I nuke the sticks on high for one minute then stir them up until fully melted. If using a glass pan, put a cookie sheet under the pan before putting in oven.

Bake
325º for one hour and 10 minutes. If using a glass pan, put a cookie sheet under the pan. Check that the very center has set and is not wet. If it is wet, add another 5 minutes.

Remove. Allow to cool to warm. Serve with ice cream.

This recipe is a real hit with my husband! 

More on growing Seminole Pumpkins here: https://growagardener.blogspot.com/search?q=seminole

Friday, June 1, 2018

Harvesting and Storing Pigeon Peas

 

There are small insects that love pigeon peas. I grow a bush version both the ground and in pots but must keep an eye on the pods for holes to know if the bugs got into them. Certain times of the year, I can lose the entire harvest. This fall, winter, and spring have been great for my pigeon peas. This bush version can take quite a hair cut when the get leggy and usually produce at least a second time before dying off. 

Watch the pods for the color change right before they turn dark brown and harvest then. Most of them will contain peas that are not dried or fully dried. Personally I let the pods dry on the counter so they are easier to open, then collect all the peas, if needed I dry them more on the counter, then bag and freeze them for a few days before adding to my storage jar. This prevents hidden insects from chowing down inside my jar of peas without my knowledge. 

My favorite recipe for pigeon peas is to add them to rice. Using a large, wide pot, soak long grain rice with pigeon peas before cooking. Add a bit more water than the volume of rice and peas. Example: 1/2 cup pigeon peas, 3/4 cup rice, a bit more than 1-1/4 cup water. Soak for at least an hour but I have soaked for 6 hours too. Bring to a boil. If there is not enough water to do this, add just enough to bring to a boil. Cover and do not open until you serve rice. Turn heat down to simmer for 15 minutes then turn off heat completely and allow pan to sit on the warm burner for at least 20 minutes. This works great when you are not sure when you will be eating dinner. Last night it sat for 2 hours while I waited for my husband to wake up. He likes his rice/pigeon peas with any kind of sauce. My favorite is to add lentils to the pea/rice mix then after cooking stir in hot taco sauce and cheese.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Updated EASY Veggie/Fruit Breads

After making batch after batch of these breads, this has become my standard for making fruit/veggie bread. I love easy...

Preheat oven to 350º

Mix well in bowl 1:
About 2 cups mashed or grated garden item such as bananas, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin. They can be raw or cooked.
Dash molasses (I use blackstrap)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
dash vanilla

Mix well in bowl 2:
1.25 cups sugar
2 cups flour (I use King Arthur WHITE Whole Wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 

I mix "bowl 2" in bulk. Each recipe fits perfectly into a 24 oz, wide mouth canning jar. That way I can just pull a jar from my pantry and add the wet ingredients.


Bread addition ideas:
Cinnamon (I use up to 2 teaspoons per batch)
Allspice (just a tad)
Nutmeg (just a tad)
Chocolate chips (1-2 handfuls)
Chopped nuts (1-2 handfuls to mix or sprinkled on top)
Raisins (1-2 handfuls)
Edible seeds (1-2 handfuls)

Mix dry into wet
Mix should be glossy. If not, add water (I use potato water) a tablespoon at a time until there is a gloss. My carrot version consistently needs water added.

Spray nonstick, then fill pan(s)

Times are approximate:
350º for 60 minutes in one bread loaf
350º for 45 minutes for two bread loaves
350º for 30 minutes for cupcakes



If you don't have a cupcake tin, use narrow mouth canning jar screw lid rims.  These are carrot and raisin muffins ready for the oven.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Processing tomatoes for juice and sauces

Photos are below. 
To date, this is the easiest method for processing tomatoes.
  1. Prep tomatoes by rinsing and cutting in half (and veggies if you like a V8 kind of juice and sauce).
  2. Put in crock pot on high until clear liquid is visible and veggies are cooked tender.
  3. Prep containers for tomato juice. I use wide mouth canning jars because you can throw these in the freezer.
  4. Place a canning funnel on top of one container and place a sieve on top of the canning funnel. My FAVORITE sieve is one that the handle broke off because it does not fall out of the funnel.
  5. Remove the clear liquid with a solid food measuring cup and run liquid through sieve and funnel to fill containers. This is your juice. You can add salt, lemon, sugar... then chill.
  6. When you cannot remove any more liquid, cool the solids by removing the crock from the crock pot and placing on a cooling rack.
  7. Process cooled solids through a food mill. Scoop out with the same measuring cup used for the juice to save on dishes. Use these solids are tomato sauce. 

Personal note: In my lifetime I have owned a very expensive Kitchen Aide mixer with all the attachments plus an expensive Squeezo, however I have sold them because I love my $50.00 OXO Good Grips Food Mill so much.

This mill does take some getting used to how it latches and the order things go, but it far surpasses everything I have owned so far:
  • My Kitchen Aide I had to stand on a ladder to get high enough to put items in and the "pusher" sent tomatoes everywhere in the kitchen. 
  • The Squeezo leaked at every joint and I still had to stand on a step to reach the hopper comfortably.
I use my OXO Good Grips Food Mill by placing it in my sink over a large bowl. It is easy to add solids to and work the crank working from above. You will need to do small batches, but it is worth it. To top all this off, IT IS DISHWASHER SAFE. Crank it in both directions to get the most out of your solids. Remember to compost the remains!



 

 




 





 

Blackberries below. 



 

Parts of the food mill. 










Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Veggie Casserole





 

Start with a layer of rye bread. It really does make a difference in how this tastes. I forgot to take a photo. Add layers of veggies you have on hand: tomatoes, onions, peppers, baby pumpkins, carrots, eggplant, I threw in some canned mushrooms. Bake until fork comes out tender then sprinkle with cheese and serve. Soy sauce is my condiment of choice for this dish. 

Passion and Peaches


 

 More good, bad, and ugly.

Again, my passion vine died. Literally rotted at the soil line with the help of insects. I don't think I will do passion again unless I grow from seed. It is disappointing when you buy a plant every couple of years and only get one harvest. Plus that harvest was early, they didn't fully ripen. 

Peaches are in full swing. Florida peaches are smaller than the northern variety but they taste the same. The birds must have decided my tomatoes were better to eat so they are leaving the peaches. I do have insects inside so I am picking them when they just turn pink, cutting off the flesh and removing any dark spots, then nuking for a few minutes before freezing in snack bags for smoothies. If you let them ripen on the counter, they are unusable if you have worms inside. Next year I will work on a spray program or just do this again.