Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How To Split Hostas

Did you know that there's a wealth of free plants right outside your own door? Many established plants can be divided and relocated to new locations within the yard; all at no cost or time spent driving to the garden center. And who wouldn't love that?

Dividing hostas is a great introduction to splitting plants for a variety of landscape designs. Spread your plants around to meet your needs, share a portion of the plant with a friend, or if you get several plants in your next purchased pot, you can divide the plants with this simple tutorial.

You can divide your hostas in either spring and fall. I personally like to do this task in the fall. Then the plant does not have a cut in half appearance for the next growth season as it might in the spring.

Here is how to split or divide hostas:

Dig up the plant you are planting to divide.
Shake any excess dirt from the roots.

Place the hosta on a firm surface or lay the plant down on the ground.
Using a straight spaded shovel, make your cut straight down the roots.

Now you are ready to plant your newly divided hostas. Make sure you place the plant at the same depth that they were prior to dividing. If you would like to add any compost to the soil, this is the time to do so. After you have planted your hosta, don't forget to water the new plant well. Watering also helps to remove air pockets and provides a much needed drink for your new plant.

Be aware that if you divide your hostas way back, you can set back the growth rate by a few years as you are disrupting the root system. So dividing should only be done every few years to keep your hostas healthy.

Happy Planting!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dill Relish

Nothing quite encompasses Americana like a hot dog on a sunny summer day. Dress up your next backyard BBQ with this homemade dill relish which uses homegrown cucumbers, freshly picked from the garden.

Dill Relish
10 cups cucumber, shredded
1 summer squash, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 small onion, shredded
1/2 cup pickling / canning salt

4 cups of water
4 cups of vinegar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Hot water canner
Large sauce pan or soup pot
Jar Lifter
Jars, lids, rims

Shred cucumbers, squash, onion and carrot. Sprinkle shredded vegetables with pickling salt. Stir well. Cover and let sit for at least 4 hour or even overnight if you wish. You can simply leave the vegetables unrefrigerated.

Rinse vegetables with cold water and drain well.

Get your jars ready. Jars should be clean. You can run them through the dishwasher or wash in hot soapy water.

In a medium saucepan; bring water, vinegar and seasonings to a boil. This is the brine or the liquid for pickling. Add vegetable mixture to the brine and boil for 30 minutes.
Fill jars with hot vegetables, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

If you are new to Boiling-Water Bath Canning, I recommend reading my tutorial on this type of canning.

Wipe rims of jars clean with warm wash cloth. Place hot lids on jars and tighten with rims.

Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars with jar remover carefully. Place hot jars on level surface. I cover my counter top with a double layered kitchen towel and place jars on top. Using a hot pad or glove, check that the rims are tightened.

As the jars cool, you will hear a "ping" when the lid seals.  (My favorite part!) Make sure all of your jars have sealed. They are sealed if the button in the middle of the lid in depressed. If you have any jars that have not sealed, you can reprocess them or store the jar in the refrigerator for use.

Makes 9 pints.

Please check with your local extension office for any changes due to altitude for times or temperatures.

Above instructions are for elevation 1000 feet or below.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pickled Beets

Pickled beets... it is one of those foods that you love or hate. I thought I was a hater but to be honest I can't recall when I last ate a beet. I was very surprised to find that I really like them. Thanks to my friend, Jessie, we received a few beets in her CSA that she let us have when she was out of town. And the rest is history.

So, I gave the following recipe a go. I love the spice and zip of the vinegar. Plus they are a super food! They are packed full of vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins A, B, and C. And also contain potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and iron. Delicious and healthy!

Pickled Beets
3 pounds beets
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 cups sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

Try this delicious classic comfort food recipe, perfect for weather that is turning cooler. Chicken pot pie is a complete meal that includes chicken, vegetables, rich white sauce and a flaky pie crust.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 pie crusts, softened

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup onion, chopped 
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups chicken; cooked and shredded
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie pan.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk, cooking and stirring until bubbly and thickened.

Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat. Spoon chicken mixture into crust-lined pan.

Top with second crust and seal edge. Cut several slits in the top of the crust.

Bake 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven and place strips of foil around the edges to prevent excessive browning. Bake for another 15 - 20 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blender Salsa

Salsa and chips might just be my favorite snack... ever! There is nothing that compares to freshly made salsa. You can make restaurant quality salsa in just a few minutes at home.

Blender Salsa
10 cups tomato, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeds removed and chopped
1/4 cup green pepper
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Add ingredients to food processor and blend. Yes that is it!
You can enjoy your salsa now, but the flavor is improved with allowing the salsa to chill for 1 hour.

We had to combine the blended ingredients in a bowl as our food processor is not huge.
  • This recipe makes a HOT salsa!!!
  • For MEDIUM use only one jalapeño. 
  • For MILD use 2 cans green chiles instead of jalapeños.
 Keep chilled and eat within one week.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Our garden has exploded with cucumbers. I probably should have picked them a few days ago but camping was calling our family's name. I love smell of fresh cucumbers. Combining these cool cucumber with this salad's creamy sauce, will help you cool off after a warm summer day.

Creamy Cucumber Salad
4 cups cucumber (about 3 large cucumbers)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dill
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
white pepper, to taste

Select cucumbers that are firm from your garden or grocery store. This will ensure that your cucumbers will be crisp.

Peel the cucumber, optional.

Slice into 1/4 inch pieces and place into a bowl.

Add salt and toss. Let cucumbers sit refrigerated for 15 minutes.

Drain liquid from cucumbers.

Mix together sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, vinegar, and sugar.

Toss dressing with cucumbers. Stir well to coat.

Chill for one hour prior to serving. Stir prior to serving. Sprinkle with white pepper, if desired.