I’m always looking for ways to keep myself up and running during the summer time when it’s hot an I’m dragging. Out back I grow a little patch of Stinging Nettle. It’s not the friendliest plant (hence it’s name), but it has many uses to give it home here at our little farm. Remember, this is stinging nettle and it can cause skin irritation. So harvesting with tongs or gloves is a good idea!
This plant has deep green leaves, which indicates “energy”. Put a handful of fresh nettle leaves or 1 oz of dried in a teapot of 2-3 cups of boiling water, turn off heat and let it steep for at least 4 hours. Strain. Use within 36 hours. Sweeten with honey, agave or even a few leaves of stevia plant if desired.
I drink this daily when I need an energy boost without wiring my nerves.
Ayurvedic medicine uses an infusion of nettle tea as a spring tonic and rejuvenator.
For more information on Stinging Nettle Click HERE
Using your own pumpkins will make the best tasting pumpkin pies! It’s super easy and it produces a fresher-tasting pie. Use 2 medium sugar pie or other eating pumpkins. Field (Jack o’ Lantern) pumpkins don’t make the best pies, but Casper or Cinderella pumpkins will work fine. Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Cut out the stem, quarter the pumpkin lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Bake the quarters cut side down in a shallow roasting pan with a little water in the bottom, until tender, about an hour. Let cool, then scrape the flesh from the skin and run it through a food mill for a nice puree. Use puree in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Freeze any left over puree for up to 2 months.
Tip: Pumpkin pie is at its best baked the day it is served without ever being refrigerated. Schedule your baking so that you can take the pie out of the oven just as you slide the turkey in. Enjoy!
When summers bounty is at its peak, I seem to get the urge to create my own concoctions. Whether it be preserving my harvest a little different then last year or just trying something new for the dinner table. Flavored vinegars are always on the to-do list to add a distinctive flavor to foods from prosciutto salad to bulgar wheat.
You can buy some pretty bottles or reuse old vinegar or small neck bottles to keep you vinegars in.
Raspberry vinegar is probably one of our favorite flavors. We use it as a salad dressing when mixed with a little olive oil. It’s also very delish when used with pomegranate salad. Use either red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar for best flavor. Combine 1 1/2 pints of wine vinegar, 4 T sugar and 1 cup of raspberries. Simmer for 15 minutes. Can be reduced to intensify the flavor. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and pour hot into a sterilized bottle.
Herb vinegars are probably the most popular. You can pick any herbs fresh from your garden. Herb vinegars release all their stored aromas. Bring 4 cups of cider vinegar to a simmer and add a handful of chosen herbs. T
urn off heat right after adding clean dry herbs and leave to cool and then strain and pour into a sterile bottle.
Have you ever thought about using lavender or nasturtiums to make flavored vinegar? Prepare the same way as making herb vinegars.
If you are looking for something special to liven up a melon and prosciutto salad, try making rose-hip vinegar. Not only is it beautiful on the counter, but it adds a great zing. Heat 4 cups of cider vinegar, and 4 T of sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool. Thread rose-hips and orange peel pieces onto a skewer alternating. Place skewer into a sterile bottle and pour in the vinegar. Cap off and let sit for at least two to three weeks for flavor to become infused.
These vinegars should be used within a year of making. Just in time for a new season and preserving!
We plant hundreds of onions, all around the perimeters of our raised beds, perhaps, too many onions, but none the less they do get used almost daily with a little creativity. I am not one that can take a bite of a whole onion, but a whole roasted onion is another story! Yellow onions are perfect for roasting. Walla Walla, Sweet Spanish, Cippolini are among my favorites.
Roasted Walla Walla Onion
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, Roast whole, unpeeled onions on a baking sheet for an hour or longer, until the skins are deep golden brown and blistered and the flesh is very tender throughout when pierced with a knife. Slit across the top of each onion with a sharp knife and insert a pat of butter and/or a spoonful of creme fraiche. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Creme fraiche is not available at our local grocery stores, so I make our own very easily by whisking 1 tablespoon buttermilk with 1/2 cup heavy cream, preferably non-pasteurized. Cover and leave it out on the counter for 24 to 48 hours, until it thickens. A bit of clear liquid will separate, just pour that off and whisk again before serving. Creme fraiche will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.