Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

12 Days of Christmas - 10th Day of Christmas

10th Day of Christmas - January 3rd


If you are going to prune citrus trees, it needs to be done before they start flowering in late January or early February, BUT, consider the real necessity of doing citrus pruning. Many of the commercial citrus growers do not prune out all dead wood because those branches support the fruit ladened branches.

If you have a choice, do not pick your citrus until you are ready to use it — all citrus becomes sweeter the longer it stays on the tree, and the tree is storing it for you, instead of taking up refrigerator or counter space. I have picked my lemons and grapefruit into May with no deterioration in quality, and no reduction in next year's fruit setting.

By the way, that citrus fruit-drop many gardeners see in late spring or early summer is a naturally occurring ‘instinct' of the trees to ‘self-prune.'

If you have not already planted Nasturtiums, get some seeds in the ground for a great spring garden and table treat.

"Nasty" Tips: The hard, rough-surfaced seed of the nasturtium is designed to keep sprouting controlled in irregular conditions. First take a nailfile and gentle nick the seed, being careful to keep from getting too deep. Next soak the seed overnight.

Plant these seeds by burying them their seed depth in a well-draining, sunny location, water in. Unlike many seeds, nasturtiums need darkness to germinate (hollyhock seeds are the opposite they need sunlight to germinate).

You can sow seeds for nasturtiums as early as September by burying them under the edges of summer edibles because the overhead leaves will give them some heat protection when they get started.

Nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible with a nice peppery bite. The seeds can be pickled for a caper substitute — but use sparingly in meals.


Use some of that wonderful fresh citrus to make this great appetizer or salad topper.
Who doesn't need another appetizer - when I go to parties, friends/family ask me to bring this dish.
Make this at least 3-4 hours ahead of time or the day before and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

2 cups green olives (can be stuffed)
2 cups kalamata olives
2 cups medium sized black olives
(You can choose to leave pits in, but warn folks!)
1 orange, zest and juice
1 lime (or lemon), zest and juice
1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped mixed herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, oregano, marjoram, dill, chives, etc. - use at least 3 different kinds - leaves, no stems)
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced or finely shredded
Optional: 1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
Olive oil to cover

Drain olives of any water, but reserve oil if oil packed.

Mix olives, citrus zest and juice, herbs, ginger and garlic, tossing to mix well. Let sit for 1/2 hour, tossing periodically to coat.

Place this mixture in an attractive tall lidded jar, making sure to scrape in all herbs and juices. Use reserved olive packing oil and fresh olive oil to almost completely cover the olives. Cap tightly and turn (up-end) every 1/2 hour or so to keep mixture coating the olives. Serve and enjoy. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 weeks — oil will solidify, so bring what you wish to use to room temperature before serving.

Serving tip: Use an edible bowl (seeded cucumber or squash 'boats', bread bowls, seeded- sweet peppers etc.) to serve the olives in. The bread bowl can be cut up at the end and nibbled on, and if the veggie bowls are still fresh, can be used in a salad later that day.


Do you have an old friend or acquaintance that you think of sometimes, but you don't have a lot of regular contact with? They are the one you think of when a problem comes up because they have answers and help when asked?

That is the way I think of the Red Cross organization. They are always there in the background ready to help and they have been doing it since 1881!

By the way, if you ever heard or read the totally false story that the RC folks require recipients to reimburse the RC for help given — it is NOT true. Apparently that story has been around so long, even some of my friends and I had heard it decades ago. See snopes page for some history on the allegations.

When I was a child (somewhere around 1959/1960 don't remember exactly when), I decided to hold a show to raise money for a Charity (my bad memory says I did it for the Red Cross, but it may have been for the Heart Association). I charged my neighborhood pals a nickel each and my girlfriend and I put on a show in her backyard (more room) and raised .76 cents, which with my mom's help I mailed off to the charity. I got a note back from them that I remember I was so impressed with thanking me for the money. (I was kind of imitating the Little Rascals with the show idea, but it worked!)

My little story is by way of saying anyone, in anyway, can find a way to give something to any worthwhile group. I have no idea what my .76 would be worth in today's money, but I did what I could with what I/we had to work with, and it felt great!

You can donate on line as little as $10.00 - add a buck extra to offset processing fees.

Old Time Radio:

Before Spider Man, old time radio had its share of heroes: Superman, Green Hornet, Captain Midnight, Buck Rogers, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, Magic Island, Sgt Preston, Sky King, Speed Gibson, Terry and the Pirates, and Tom Mix.

From 1936-52, the "Flight of the Bumblebee" signaled another episode of the Green Hornet. The Green Hornet's saved the life of Kato somewhere during his travels in the Far East and Kato became a loyal friend. Listen free to this episode "Torpedo on Wheels."

Merry 10th Day of Christmas!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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