Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Garden's Promise of Things To Come!

Dear Folks,

The garden is waking more and I look at our Florida Prince Peach blossoms as the promise of fruit later this spring!  This tree has been a true survivor - planted in 1997 - 20 years later!!  She has had some major issues and some aggressive pruning has re-energized her, still going strong.

The peaches will be forming later on which means thinning.  Always a tough job.  Watch my thinning video to help you understand the process.

There is still time to take my poll on my workshop.  I really want to know your preferences.  Poll closes February 14th.

Did you know you can pickle the baby peaches?  Check out my post on thinning and then pickling the baby peaches.  It is important to get them small - the proper time for thinning - before the pit starts to form.  I would consider lacto-fermenting them as an option to the pickling recipe I share in that post.

The peach-faced love bird is sitting on our Saturn (doughnut) Peach tree which has the first tips of buds just showing.  This tree is ripe about a month after the Florida Prince.

More promise of things to come.  My cinder block bed.  On the left is the potato section.  On the right I have a line up of tomatoes alternating with basils.  While I have recommended, and generally follow, letting the tomato plants sprawl rather than stake or cage them, this year I decided to try a "forest" of tomato and basil plants snugged together.  As they grow I will provide some support for the tomatoes, in addition to the basil plants themselves.  We will see how it "grows."

Pictured is my Pruden's Tomato in its cage - to keep the birds from digging and exploring while the plants get going stronger and bigger.  I started all of these plants in my green house in early to mid December, so they are nice and strong for transplanting now.  I will cover if we have some last minute frosts before the temps move more into the 70s-80s ranges.

BTW there are some nature's markers of when we have had last frosts (damaging kind) in the valley.  When you see consistent ant activity, and when Mesquite go into flower we are usually done with frost danger.

And speaking of fruit, I developed a Jam Bread (quick bread/cake) recipe a while back to take advantage of my canned preserves whether peach, apricot, cranberry or marmalade.

Most of the wonderful nut and fruit "breads" use some form of liquid plus fruit, so I thought why not just use homemade jams/preserves?  The liquid and fruit are already there plus sugar.  (I do add a bit more sugar to these recipes when making the bread, but go with your own taste preferences.)

I am VERY fond of those 5 minute (give or take) cake mug/bowl recipes for the microwave.  They suit us well since most of the time I am only cooking/baking for 2.  So I decided to adjust my original recipe down to a bowl in the microwave.  I think it turned out well. I cooked for 3 minutes, but the next time I will try for 2.5 minutes.  It tasted great but dried out a bit too much for our tastes -- of course real organic butter makes everything taste better -- but a more moist result is what I would like the next time.

My Jam Bread Cake in Microwave

1 egg
dash each (1/8 tsp) salt and baking powder
6 level tablespoons of AP flour
1 teaspoon oil
6 tablespoons of jam
1 tablespoon of sugar
4 tablespoons of chopped nuts

Beat egg.  Add salt and baking powder.  Add oil (use bit of oil to grease bowl).  Beat in flour.  Add jam and nuts and mix well.

Microwave until puffed - about 3 minutes.  Check at about 2.5 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.

Click here for my original loaf version of the Jam Bread.

I hope you have a wonderful week in the garden and the kitchen with your bounty!
-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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