Friday, June 1, 2012

2012 Garden

Today I planted the last of my garden for the year. (Except for the radishes which I will start from time to time all summer.) That's always a great feeling of accomplishment. Now to keep the weeds at bay...
This year Daniel is helping with the green beans and Reagan wants to help with the Strawberries. We'll see how that goes. I think Reagan got the best of the deal :-)
One of my neighbors at the garden (I rent 2 plots from the city) has beautiful onions every year and mine have been... Well they've been less than desirable. Think 1 in. bulb and you have it about right.One of the things he does is he covers them up to help them grow. So here is my little greenhouse that I came up with for my onions. Structurally it's old metal hangers that are holding it up that I took apart and bent. Then simple plastic sheeting from Home Depot which cost me less than $2.50 and I got 2 greenhouses out of it. I'll let you know how it works out. I'm hoping to put them over my green beans as well as they tend to really start producing about the time the frost comes, and if I could get them to grow a little faster I might get a better crop.
This was my first harvest for the year of which I'm very proud! Rhubarb and Chives. I've had two pickings of both of them and I almost have enough dried Chives to last me the year. With the first batch of Rhubarb I decided I had to share with the kids and made them Rhubarb fruit leather. The next batch of Rhubarb is going into a Rhubarb tart for me, which I probably won't share :-)
Should you want to make Rhubarb fruit leather for yourself, here's what I do-
Chop the stalks up into 1 in. pieces or so. Place in a heavy bottomed pan with a little bit of water and cook on low heat until mushy. Stir occasionally. When done place in a blender with 3/4c. sugar. Feel free to play with the amount of sugar. I think this is a good amount to one blender full. Occasionally I also add in a bit of lemon zest. If you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator you can use that for whatever the recommended time is for fruit leather. I don't so I pour it in a cookie sheet with sides (a blender full should fill about two of them) and put it in the oven at the lowest heat I can get which is usually about 175. I prop the door open with a towel so that the moisture can escape. You don't have to do this but it will take longer if you don't. Leave it there for at least 6 hours. I don't like it very sticky to the touch. You can play around with what texture thickness you like. I personally like it a bit tough and crunchy. Rhubarb fruit leather reminds me of the apricot fruit leather my Mom used to make when I was a kid. This never stays in the house long as the kids and I devour it!

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