Tag Archives: preservation

My Favorite Urban Farmscaper Gifts

25 Nov

Seriously, haven’t you heard enough about cyber Monday and all the deals that could be out there?  Well, I have…except for the deals I find for my gardening friends! The holiday season is upon us and  honestly, I won’t tolerate another gift that is marketed to gardeners that really has no useful purpose.  Like a Chia Pet for example.  I love plants, and love growing them, but have no desire to have a terra cotta bust of Homer Simpson with chia hair!    So, with that, here are some of my favorites with the links to these awesome gardening products on Amazon  as well as suggested gifts for gardeners.  When you click on a picture it will take you straight to the product.  Don’t forget to come back to My Urban Farmscape!

Happy shopping!  Remember, click on the pic to  send you to Amazon, or a link  like the one here for all of the Cyber Monday Deals.    Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week

My Favorite Urban Farmscaper Gifts!

The Ultimate Urban Farmscaper’s Gift!  Why not have it all in this compact space.  A raised bed with an optional greenhouse to extend your gardening season.  A great idea for a senior or  Farmscaper who has everything…except this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love  this Jewel Coldframe that I mentioned in an earlier post and use at My Urban Farmscape to extend the season.  When you aren’t using it in the garden, it can be broken down for easy storage.

This Earth Box below is great for those of you with little space and with little time tending to garden chores.  Maybe you didn’t find the time, or forgot to water last year?  A perfect gift for the busy Urban Farmscaper.

Some of my favorite pruners to use in the garden for harvesting as well as in the kitchen for cutting fresh herbs.

For indoor growing and seed starting, supplemental lights are a must have.  For quality and compact sizes, here are two of my favorites.

For the garden photographer the right kind of lens or camera can really help to capture the tiny life living in the garden.

Books for Urban Farmscapers that love to grow food in small spaces, and even for those growing in not so small spaces.

Books for preserving and cooking food you grow or buy at the farmers markets.  Great gifts for someone that is trying to eat local and seasonally.

Magazine subscriptions that are full of useful information about gardening, cooking and homesteading.  I keep every issue of mine for reference.

Garden fun and games for farmscapers of all ages and for the future farmscapers.

Indoor Urban Farmscaping  for someone who may have limited indoor growing space.

Make sure you click the pic to go to Amazon! 

Happy Holidays!

Patti and the My Urban Farmscapers Team

Garden Preservation

9 Sep

Labor Day has passed and the gardens are producing at their peak.  I’m sure that you have been enjoying cucumbers, peppers, beans, herbs, tomatoes and egg plants from your urban farmscape.  What a healthy time of year!  Food prices are at their lowest at the market.  It is so easy to buy bushels of fresh seasonal veggies and fruits.  I know that you aren’t thinking about winter, but if you want to enjoy some of these summer pleasures this winter, you should think about food preservation now.

 The three main ways to preserve food are by drying, freezing and canning.  Herbs are easiest in that you can just dry them in a dry shady location and then seal in a jar.  Freezing works best for some fruits and veggies, but canning may be the best method for longer preservation.  For high acid foods, like tomatoes and pickles, you would use a Boiling-Water Canner.  For low acid foods you would need to use a Steam-Pressure Canner. 

 I learned how to can tomatoes by watching my mom.  As the youngest in a family of three, and living in the country, I was usually a helper in the kitchen.  I remember my mom filling the stainless steel sink with fresh picked tomatoes and pouring boiling water over them.  The steam would rise above the bright red orbs and mom would carefully pluck them from the water and while using her paring knife she would remove the core and peel off the skin, quarter the tomato, then drop the pieces into a glass quart jar.  Once full, she would place the long handle of a wooden spoon into the jar of flesh and seeds, moving it around the edges to release the tiny bubbles locked in the bottom of the jar.  She would wipe the rim of the jar and then it was time for my job.  I would carefully measure salt into the worn metal measuring spoon and pour it on top of the tomatoes, watching the crystal substance disappear into the liquid.  Mom would remove the gold lids from a shallow pan of boiling water and after placing them on top of the jar she would  tighten them with a gold metal band.  After placing them into the metal rack lining the inside of the big blue pot, she would lower them into the boiling water and set the timer by pushing in and turning the small black knob that was next to the clock on the stove.  After processing, my mother would lift them out of the boiling pot and place them on a wooden cutting board.  We would begin to hear the lids “pop” as the suction forced them inward to seal.  Mom would say “there goes another one!”  When cooled, we would stock the jars in the cupboard in the basement.  The shelves would be filled with not only tomatoes, but pickles, applesauce, peaches and pears.

If you have never canned before, I would recommend starting with tomatoes.  It is really simple to do.  And in January when the snow is flying, the best meal to make is from your tomatoes.  Those along with using some fresh dried herbs will bring you back to this summer as you harvested and preserved the veggies from your garden, or maybe your visit to the farmers market.  It’s fun when you turn it into a family event, or invite some friends over.   Once you learn the process, you may be on the way to creating your own family secret recipes that you share at the holidays or sell at the market!

To learn more about canning, you just need a book.  I recommend any of these.  Click on them to go right to Amazon.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables

Canning and Preserving For Dummies

Pepper Harvesting and Preservation

12 Aug

One of my favorite crops to grow in My Urban Farmscape is peppers. You can get a lot of bang for your buck out of these compact plants.   Historically, peppers have been used throughout the world to flavor some of our favorite dishes with their crisp, tangy, sweetness or their hot, spicy, heat.  Think about it.  What would chili be without the pepper?  How boring would your veggie trays look at the summer picnic without a bright orange, yellow or green bell pepper?  Would tacos or fajitas exist?

Sweet Peppers

I have started to pick sweet peppers and I’m sure that you will soon if you haven’t started already.  As I begin to get an overabundance, I will share some, but I will also freeze or grill them.  For bell peppers, you harvest them when they are ripe, which is when they reach their mature size.  They will feel heavier and may start to turn color.  As you gently pull, twist the stem.  Or use scissors or pruners and cut the stem about 1/2” from the fruit.  For the colored bell peppers, wait until they turn their color (yellow, orange or red). 

Freezing Bell Peppers

It’s simple.  Slice the pepper in half, stem to blossom end.  Remove the stem and seeds inside.  Wash, and dry.  Place in a freezer bag or freezer container and toss into the freezer.  Use for cooked dishes.  They get soft once frozen so they won’t work well for fresh eating.

Roasting Sweet Peppers

Also easy.  These larger red sweet peppers give just the right flavor to some otherwise boring soups or stews.  Cook these directly on the grill or over an open flame on your gas stove.  You could also use the broiler in your oven. As they cook they will get soft and their skin will char, that is when you know they are done.  Remove from the grill and allow to cool some making it easier to handle when you remove the skin.  After the stems and skin are removed, chop and place in a freezer container what ever you don’t use. Yum!

 Hot Peppers

For hot peppers, most of them can be harvested in the green stages up to their colored stage.  These will be ready for harvest later in the season as they LOVE the heat.  Of course you can use any of the hot peppers fresh however you like.  

Freezing or Jam

You can freeze jalapeno peppers like bell peppers, removing the seeds.  WEAR GLOVES!  One of my favorite things to do with jalapeno peppers is to make pepper jelly.  The recipe I have used is on the Sure-jell box.  I like to spread this over some cream cheese and serve with crackers.  Secret: Want to give it a little more bite?  Leave in the seeds.  Watch out though if you take some for a holiday gathering and grandma tries some.  She might scream out some words you have never heard from her before.  Most grandma’s don’t  like hot spicy foods!

Drying Peppers

You can dry all chili types.  I like these to turn red on the vine.  You can spread them out over a screen, string up on fishing line or heavy thread, or use a dehydrator.  It’s fun to make decorative gifts or ristras.  Once you know they are dry, you can grind them in a coffee grinder, not used for coffee of course, but just for your peppers, and then store in a glass container.  These make nice gifts, and who knows, maybe you could come up with your very own famous chili spice mix!  I love peppers.  How about you?  What is your favorite way to preserve peppers?

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