15 Tips for Bringing in the Harvest

For gardeners, the harvest is the sweet reward of our labors. Here are 15 tips to help ensure a bountiful harvest.

As a gardener, the harvest is the sweet reward of my labor. Night after night we enjoy a meal that includes vegetables that are as fresh as they get, fully ripe, and delicious.

I make harvesting a daily habit. Each morning during harvest season I walk through the garden with a basket, scissors, and a knife. Many vegetables are at their  best when still young. Harvesting every day assures that my zucchini and cucumbers don’t get huge and seedy, that my beans are crisp and tender,  my broccoli hasn’t begun to flower, and my tomatoes don’t over ripen.Continue Reading

Lacto-fermented Green Beans

Fermented green beans are tasty, still raw, and more nourishing after months in the refrigerator than the day they were harvested. Hard to beat that, isn't it?

August is such an amazing time in the garden. Barely a day goes by that I’m not able to harvest a nice basketful of fresh vegetables.

Green beans are no exception, and they really benefit from daily harvesting. If beans are left on the plant too long, the plant will think it’s time to produce seed and will stop producing the flowers that turn into crisp, delicious green beans.Continue Reading

Lacto-fermented Blueberries

Fermenting fruit is a little more challenging than fermenting vegetables. Because of its high sugar content, fruit ferments much more quickly than vegetables, and can quickly turn to alcohol. Using whey helps to steer fruit towards lacto-fermentation, rather than an alcohol ferment. In addition, a short fermentation period is used.

If I had to name one food that most reminds me of my childhood, it would have to be wild blueberries. Growing up, we spent every summer at a mountain lake, and that mountain was covered in blueberries.

We would run out to the yard in the morning to pick just enough berries for mom to use in blueberry pancakes. And blueberry pie and blueberry buckle were frequent desserts.

That mountain home is still in our family and blueberries are still a yearly treat. Continue Reading

Five Ways to Make an Herb Infused Oil

You use herbs everyday. They are wonderful for adding flavor to our foods, and can also have great value as home medicine. Making medicinal teas is one way to consume herbs but sometimes an herb is needed externally to relieve itch, soothe a rash, or provide pain relief.  By steeping herbs in oil many of its chemical components can be extracted and preserved for future use in healing salves and balms.

Why Make an Herb Infused Oil?

You use herbs everyday. They are wonderful for adding flavor to our foods, and can also have great value as home medicine. Making medicinal teas is one way to consume herbs but sometimes an herb is needed externally to relieve itch, soothe a rash, or provide pain relief.

By steeping herbs in oil many of its chemical components can be extracted and preserved for future use in healing salves and balms.Continue Reading