Sunday, September 19, 2021

What Pumpkins are best for eating?

 

I am often asked which pumpkins are best for cooking...

As you can see over the years we have grown quite a few. With that I have done a lot of experimenting and here is my thoughts on the subject. There is a big difference in a carving pumpkin and the heirloom pumpkins. 

Carving pumpkins are bred to be larger, mostly hollow, and flat bottomed. The flesh, does not compare to the pumpkin varieties for eating. Carving pumpkins flesh is watery and bland, the seeds are excellent toasted. 

Pumpkins bred for food offer robust flavor, color, and nutrition. Their flesh is thick and I call it meaty.  These pumpkins are members of the Cucurbit family. 
   
 Cucurbita is a genus of herbaceous vines in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae native to the Andes and Mesoamerica. Five species are grown worldwide for their edible fruit, variously known as squash, pumpkin, or gourd, depending on species, variety, and local parlance, and for their seeds. Wikipedia

I love to grow these edible pumpkins

This means that the types of pumpkins for cooking are really just hard-skinned squash. 

 

Cinderella Heirloom Pumpkin

Cinderella pumpkin – Cinderella pumpkin looks just like the pumpkin that transformed into Cinderella’s coach. It has thick, sweet, custard-like flesh.  

Jarrahdale Pumpkin,
see what I mean about the thick meaty flesh

Jarrahdale pumpkin – Jarrahdale pumpkins hale from Jarrahdale, New Zealand and have a melon-like aroma with firm, bright orange, fairly stringless flesh. 


Peanut Pumpkin

Peanut pumpkin – Peanut pumpkin looks a bit like a peanut with its warty exterior but is actually a squash from France where it is called the Galeux d’Eysines. It has sweet, orange flesh perfect for soups and is an old heirloom variety. I love having these...crazy looking pumpkins. 

New England Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Pie pumpkin - Pie pumpkin encompasses several varieties grown for eating. I prefer the meatier bigger heirlooms. The pie pumpkins are usually smaller and denser than carving pumpkins. I love this size for younger children. It's perfect for a painting pumpkin. 

 It is a cooking pumpkin just not the one's I go to first.

                                                          Warted Pumpkin or Hubbard Squash

Red Warty is a cross between a red Hubbard squash and pie pumpkin with delicious sweet flesh. The lovely reddish hue makes it a beautiful pumpkin used as decoration although the bumpy skin makes it hard to carve. 

        One Two Many (love the name)
                                                         
One-Too-Many pumpkins – One-Too-Many, so named for their resemblances to the red face flush of a chronic drunk, are creamy with pale red veins that darken to a deeper red. They make great pie or can be used for carving or decoration.

Fairy Tale or in France called Musquee de Provence

Musquee de Provence squash, also called the Fairy Tale Pumpkin is one of the only hard squash varieties that can be consumed raw and is known for its long storage capabilities, delicate flesh, and sweet flavor. I love everything about this Pumpkin, size, taste, shape, looks, everything!!!


 I have not grown the pumpkin of choice like Libby's!!! Starting next year I am trying it out...It's actually a cool looking pumpkin.


Dickinson Pumpkin: Fact

Dickinson Pumpkins were brought from Kentucky to Illinois by Elijah Dickinson in 1835. The variety became popular due to its excellent cooking qualities, and was named in his honor. Dickinson Pumpkins are still sought after by bakers hoping to make a truly American classic pumpkin pie. Many high-quality commercial pumpkin pie fillings use Dickinson Pumpkins.


Want to get to know more about types of pumpkins, check out this site...





Monday, August 9, 2021

Apricot Jam and a few other things...


I had the 4 musketeer's (four of my grandcritters) here for one week. During that time the 2 who arrived earlier helped me pit the apricots.
 
It was fun to show them the nut inside the apricot pit...some people don't know this and the delicious small nut is thrown out with the pits. There is a bit of controversy on the nut in the pit so study up on it and decide for yourself.


I keep all of mine and use them in a number of things but mostly just to snack on. We never consume a large amount. There are a number of articles stating people should limit their consumption of apricot kernels because of the risk of cyanide poisoning. Apricot kernels naturally contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide after being eaten.

I usually make apricot puree. Basically I puree the apricots and bottle them much like applesauce. Then when I want to make some jam I pull out a bottle of apricot puree and that's were I start. By pureeing most of my fruits I can use it for desserts like sorbet, granita, or mix it in yogurt, use it to make fruit leather. There are many options. My storage of apricot puree is totally used up. With the few apricots I was given I took advantage of it and made one of my favorite jams...and just a few bottles of puree for storage for when we eat all the jam...AND NEED MORE!!!


I made 2 variations: regular apricot jam and apricot jalapeno jam (for the heat lovers in my family)
I start with washing the apricots, and then I puree them in a food processor. Then I mix the apricot puree with sugar and fresh lemon juice and boil for 30-40 minutes.




INGREDIENTS

Regular Apricot Jam:

  • cups apricot puree
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Apricot Jalapeno Jam:

  • 6 cups apricot puree
  • 3 cups  sugar
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 medium jalapenos

    INSTRUCTIONS

    • Simmer the jars in a large canning pot. Do the same thing with lids and rings in separate pot.
    • In a large pot, combine all the ingredients and simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Stirring constantly, cook the jam for 30-40 minutes, or until it reaches 220°F (104°C).
    • Pour the jam into hot sterile jars. Leave about ¼ inches from the top. Clean the edges of the jars with a damp paper towel. Put the lid on and tighten the ring around them, but not too tight.
    • Place the jars back into the canning pot with hot water. Water should be about 4 inches over the jars. Bring it back to rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes. I prefer a steam processor and I steam mine for 15 minutes.
      It's really good!!!













Monday, June 28, 2021

Garlic Time and Garlic Oil Bread


Today I finished up the garlic braids, and cleaned up the rest of the garlic for using this year until next garden season. Someone asked on a garden post how long garlic last. It pretty much depends on how you use it, and how you store it. Generally around our home about 1 year. I have had some of mine dry out before the next garden season and when they do I make my own garlic power, and garlic salt. 

I recently learned you can actually freeze your garlic. I have not tried that method but if I felt like I was not using my garlic before it went bad freezing it is a good option. 

I am enjoying the look in my kitchen. Check out the hanging garlic braids... 


                                    

This year I am sharing a fun way to do your own garlic bread.  
Olive Oil And Herbs Garlic Bread

What’s the secret to good garlic bread? Garlic. Fresh Garlic. 

I usually make my own bread but (I buy it also) you can use french bread or ciabatta or any bread you like. And you can slice them however you’d like. 

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf sourdough or ciabatta bread
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


  • Instructions


  • Cut the bread into even slices and spread on a baking sheet (or two)

  • In a small jar, mix the olive oil, minced garlic and fresh parsley. Close the jar and shake to blend.

  • Brush or spoon the olive oil garlic mixture generously on the cut side of each slice of bread. Season with fresh cracked black pepper, if desired.

  • Sprinkle each piece with grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Broil in the oven until they are toasted and the cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes.

  • Enjoy immediately.






See my past post on different ways to store garlic. Wow, we have been growing garlic since 2011...

https://mygardnerguy.blogspot.com/search/label/garlic




Sunday, June 20, 2021

Garlic Scapes, and harvesting the garlic...


Lets talk about Garlic Scapes




 What is a garlic scape? 

Garlic scapes are the stalks that grow from the bulbs of hard-neck garlic plants. If left unharvested, the scapes eventually bloom flowers when the garlic plant fully matures. ...

Every year we grow garlic. I'm a bit selfish with my garlic as I use it so much. And then, we learned about garlic scapes...now our garlic goes further extending it's many uses. 
I came across a recipe from Feasting at home that I am excited to try. It's an india scape chutney on grilled naan bread...https://www.feastingathome.com/grilled-naan-with-garlic-scape-chutney/

Eating Scapes
Scapes can be used in cooking anywhere you would use garlic cloves and other alliums like chives. They can be sauteed with olive oil and added to pasta or other veggies, pickled, or they can be pureed into a garlic scape pesto, which I am going to try this year along with adding it to a compound butter recipe. I am excited to be able to just grab some scape butter for garlic bread, baked potatoes, and topping a delicious steak. Tonight I roasted some and also added some to the meat I cooked up for our dinner. We enjoyed my version of a seven layer salad for chips. I believe the opportunities are endless with scapes. 

Grilled Scapes
Garlic Scape Butter

 

                     






Sunday, June 13, 2021

Garden peas a Gardner's candy...



Every year on President's Day my Husband heads out to the garden and plants his row of peas. Regardless if there is snow on the ground he will shovel his way through and plant them
I love garden peas, peas are a good source of vitamins C and E, zinc, and other antioxidants that strengthen your immune system. Other nutrients, such as vitamins A and B and colostrum, they help to reduce inflammation and lower your risk of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. I like just eating the plain pea like candy handfuls at a time!!!
How can you preserve garden peas? 
Well with the amount My Gardener Guy grows I end up freezing some...
I could go into a long detail of how but hey I'm a busy girl and as a Realtor, Wife and Grandma there is only so much time. So I am directing you to a link of how to...
What can you do with peas, the list is long...
Use them as a side dish, purée them into a soup, add them to a stew, or briefly blanch them and toss them in risottos or pastas. When they're small and tender, they're also great raw in salads. Or, my favorite in the palm of my hand I eat them like chips or candy...

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Easy Gardening Tips for your HOME...



I worked all morning into the late after noon on real estate stuff. It's a bit crazy right now, most everything is getting multiple offers and that drives prices up. We are in a supply and demand market, not enough homes.
In my second home I unwind. For many homeowners, gardening provides beauty to their properties as well as fresh produce. It can be a lot of work.

Some Tips to make it a bit easier:

💮 Whether you grow flowers or vegetables, choose your garden size based on your level of commitment you want to put into it. For gardening in small areas, use space-saving techniques for a maximized yield.

💮 Utilize window boxes, containers or raised beds as they require less bending and kneeling to work. They limit encroachment by weeds and even some pest, which means less weeding and less pest control efforts.

💮 Choose native plants to save yourself maintenance work as they are best-suited for your natural climate. Plant those with similar needs together based on light or watering requirements.

💮 Consider using a drip irrigation system or a timer to water your lawn automatically. Drip irrigation is inexpensive to install, and it doesn't need frequent maintenance. Using timers will also save you the worry of forgetting to water the lawn.

Here's what going on in my 2nd home today...


These are going to go on the green house. I'm doing a mixture of herbs and flowers.

The flowers are starting to grow, I am excited to see their progress

I see many homes and from a Realtor's prospective the way a home owner maintains their property outside as well as the inside makes a huge difference. I have seen many buyers pass up a home simply due the un-kept yard and maintenance on the exterior of the home. Yard work, gardening, all of it requires time. Remember to choose things based on your level of commitment you want to put into it.
Did you know that ???

Besides adding appeal to your yard, gardening significantly benefits your mental health...

Great read if you have the time



Sunday, March 21, 2021

The inside of our Greenhouse March 20, 2021


 When I am out and about I see that the nursery sections in the stores are filling up with plants. Theirs are much bigger as we did get a later start on ours. 

It's okay, we are looking pretty darn good in our little 12 x 12 second home. Today I spent a few hours after finishing up some contracts playing around planting more flowers. I am looking forward to creating a garden like back yard. It may take a few years but I am going to enjoy the process. That's part of the beauty of having a home. I planted Dehlia Pom Poms today and sorted through the seeds I have lining them up to get planted. It was a raining day, a great day to spend in the greenhouse.



Our newest toy...well it's what we love!!!

 Our new addition to the family...2021

I'm still thinking of a name...Any suggestions?

It's been a dream for a few years, we finally did it. I have looked at hundred's of green houses. Let me say there are a lot out there. Trying to find something both Brent and I liked and affordable was the challenge. I guess it's much like shopping for a new house. When showing homes to a couple it takes a few showings to find something they both like. I found that same thing in shopping for our greenhouse.


We ordered it as a kit, and the boys (thankful for Sons) helped us put it together...
Then we had to wait out the snow, run power to it and finish the inside...It's been a few months of getting that done. 






Sunday, January 3, 2021

Seed Time, my favorite in 2020 was Pumpkin on the stick!!!



My favorite in the garden 2020...💚💚💚💚
Pumpkin on the stick...yes I saw these seeds and could hardly wait to plant them in 2020. I actually started them in the house and moved them to the garden area. It's grows much like a bush. They are edible, but apparently not too tasty as to what I have read about them.
 This eggplant relative is used in some Asian cuisine, but in this part of the world it’s not grown as an edible, but for its usefulness as an autumnal decoration, or pick them off and fill a bowl. The fruits are naturally glossy and will keep their rich hues throughout the season. In fact, the dried fruits last for years, with their color darkening to a glowing russet-brown. I also used them in some of my Christmas decor (painted them gold). 

(Don’t eat parts of this plant unless you have good advice on how to use them safely. I could not find any resources to help with that.) The plant is safe to handle and doesn’t pose any great danger to children. When picking use some shears and beware they have mean thorns much like roses...

Look for “pumpkin on a stick” in the fall. These offbeat dried eggplants are ideal for dried flower display, and easy to grow in your garden next year. I am doing it again for 2021!!!

 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Ya Mon Soaks - stuff for the tub and now your shower!!!

After a long day...I enjoy a good long soak in the tub!!! Now I have found some cool stuff for the shower...

 

My new favorite bath product company, realtor gifts, and what I got everyone for Christmas. Let me tell you a little about John (Ya Mon) and Brenda. I got the opportunity to introduce their product line. I'm not good in front of the camera. I did some late night research on them and arrived early to their location. I was very curious as I am somewhat of a bath product snob...lol.
They make all their products fresh, no inventory. They use premium essential oils and salts. I personally toured the facility which was amazing, clean, friendly, and the aroma was so great that I bought one of everything. Of course they had to make me some as they make all their products fresh. I used one of their bath balms that evening...I was hooked really hooked. My husband and I have 9 kids and 14 grand kids. So I ordered most of our Christmas gifts from Ya mon soaks...They packaged up everything beautifully. I have since received feedback from most of the family who have tried their product. The verdict was hands down they LOVED IT!!! You can visit them online and they make it easy to order...you will love it!!! yamonsoaks.com


What Pumpkins are best for eating?

  I am often asked which pumpkins are best for cooking... As you can see over the years we have grown quite a few. With that I have done a l...