March 9, 2017
Check Out These Recipes for Delicious Themed Edible Gardens
Take some time to determine what will work well in your particular site. If your garden is small or shady, salad greens are your friend. A big, sunny yard, meanwhile, will allow you to plant just about anything — but only if you have enough time, resources and water to keep things going. Here are some themed gardens to try.
Try growing a mesclun mix offered by a local seed company; a single packet contains several types of seeds. In addition to the usual lettuce, mesclun mixes often contain less-familiar items like spicy mustard greens, baby kales and mâche. Experiment with different varieties and see what you like the best. Be open to the bold flavors of homegrown greens, but don’t make yourself eat something you truly don’t like. Mild baby lettuce is always a great standby.
If you love pasta, the combination above will give you all the ingredients you need to make an amazing sauce. Enjoy it fresh, or consider canning or freezing some for a bite of summer during the cold, rainy months. For bonus points, grow some zucchini in a separate bed. It will ripen at the same time as your tomatoes and can be sliced thin using a mandoline or spiralizer for a low-calorie alternative to traditional pasta.
To truly bring out the flavors in your pickles, be sure to devote some space in your garden to garlic and dill. Dill a companion plant to cabbage but not to cucumber, so plan your beds accordingly.
In some cases, you may need to adjust the specific varieties you grow to freeze more successfully. Chard freezes well, but it’s best to choose a silver rib variety rather than the more familiar rainbow-stemmed types. Silver rib chard doesn’t look as spectacular in the garden, but once your harvest comes out of the freezer, you’ll find that this less colorful variety looks a lot more appetizing than its vibrant cousins.
Prepare crops for freezing by washing them thoroughly and then blanching them, a process that involves briefly immersing the item in boiling water and then immersing it in ice water before drying and storing. This process “shocks” the plant into suspended animation, deactivating enzymes that could make the plants degrade in the freezer. Be sure to portion and label everything before freezing. For a value-added option, try preparing freezer-friendly foods, like spinach and feta pie, soups and even pesto. It’s a lot of work up front, but so worth it in the middle of winter when you get to enjoy your own homegrown convenience foods.
Vegetables and annual fruits like beets, carrots, zucchini and pumpkins are great for baking as well. Try including them in muffins, cakes and bread for a moist, delicious treat.