Monday, August 24, 2009

Preserving Green Beans

How do you preserve all the green beans, string beans, snap beans that are waiting on the vine for you to harvest? The fruits of the gardener's labors have come to fruition. Some years are better than others, but if you are lucky enough, you will have oodles of beans to eat and preserve. I found an article in Dave's Garden weekly newsletter on Preserving Beans: Canning versus Freezing by Angela Carson. It lays out clearly the equipment, the process, and storage for canned beans and frozen beans.

An individual's preference in taste and texture determines which method to use. The frozen beans remain a bit crispy even after cooking and they keep a brighter green color. The canned beans are cooked more thoroughly and lose their color. Try both methods and see what you think.

Dave's Garden Article on preserving beans.

Dave's Garden website is packed full of information for gardeners. Check it out and sign up for the newsletter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Video--Vegetable Stir Fry

This is a good video to help you make an easy stir fry. Substitute your garden veggies.

Recipe--Green Beans with Bacon

Our green beans are producing now! I promised I would try some new-recipes-to me and share them with you. Here is the one I made the other night with fresh green beans. The recipe suggests canned or frozen, but not during the height of the green bean harvest! I just boiled the fresh beans till tender, then substituted them for the canned or frozen. (If you freeze beans, I bet this would be a great recipe to try.)

Green Beans with Bacon from Southern Food, Diana Rattray

2 cans (16 oz each) cut green beans, drained, or 16- 20 oz. frozen green beans, cooked and drained
5 slices bacon
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. cold water
1 T. vinegar
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon til crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels, leave 1 T. drippings in the skillet. In remaining drippings, cook onion till just tender. In a measuring cup, combine water and vinegar, stir in cornstarch. Add sugar, salt, and pepper, then pour liquid in skillet. Cook, stirring, till thick and bubbly. Add drained beans, stir to coat beans with sauce. Heat through. Transfer green beans to serving dish. Top beans with crumbled bacon. Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kitchen Garden Day

Kitchen Garden Day is being promoted by Kitchen Gardeners International. They suggest on Sunday, August 23, to open your garden gate wide to allow people to tour your vegetable garden. No matter how large or how small, even if it is a few pots of vegetable plants on your back porch or patio, share your excitement about gardening with your friends, family, the neighborhood, the county. Well, you get the idea. This initiative promotes the idea of growing healthy food, saving money and energy (such as fuel, not your own It also hopes to encourage a new generation of gardeners and to re-kindle a flame in those who have dug in the dirt in the past. Besides, it would be fun just to get together for an afternoon.

According to the KGI newsletter "The United Nations has estimated that we will need to increase world production by 70% by the year 2050 if we are to keep up with population growth. Put in another, more sobering way, we will need to grow more food over the course of the next 40 years than we have produced over the course of the past 10,000 years combined." Having an edible garden will help to supply food to this growing world population.

For more information about the Kitchen Gardeners International go to

I know most of you plant a garden as a hobby. Perhaps now you will realize that your hobby is an important contribution to your health, the greening of America, and to society in general.

If it is too late to make plans for a garden tour this year, put it on your calendar for next year.

Friday, August 14, 2009

National Community Gardening Week

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack proclaimed August 23-29 National Community Gardening Week. A community garden is an opportunity to educate everyone about where food comes from, either a Farmers Market or a garden. This exposure to growing our own food is important to generations of healthy eaters.

The People's Garden is located on the grounds of the USDA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. It is the nation's demonstration plot that puts into action the gardening concepts that the USDA emphasizes--providing healthy food, air, water quality. The plot offers the opportunity to teach environmentally responsible practices and offers exhibits for the public. Read more about it at The People's Garden site at

Perhaps it would be a good time to look around your community to establish a community garden next year. We have several active, thriving farmers markets in our county, but I am not aware of a community garden.

Do you have any experience with community gardens? If so, perhaps you can share here and give us some info on how this works. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Amish Gardens

Candy onions at the market

Farmers bringing in the hay.
Last week we camped in Shipshewana, IN in the heart of Amish country. Every Amish/Mennonite household has a garden it seemed. We enjoyed our drive through the countryside observing a completely different way of life compared to ours. The Amish are friendly and always waved to us.
This is just one of the enormous homes with lovely garden.