Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Corning Beef & WHAT A Week In The Garden!!!

Dear Folks,

What a week!  We went from a record "low" high - meaning the high for the day on February 22nd broke a 122 year old record.  We were 45 degrees for the high that day- check out the picture of some of our beloved doves huddled on a rain dripping peach tree that day, wet, cold and miserable.

This coming Wednesday, March 6th we are supposed to top out at 80 degrees for the day!  We sent from winter to spring in 1 week!!  And, while that seems just too amazing, our desert climate is known for galloping from a balmy 70s at the beginning of March to close to 100 by the end of the month.  We just do not usually see the transition so quickly.  Granted we will be seeing the usually roller coaster temps as the soil warms and the plants respond.  AND do not put your frost covers away quite yet.  With rain possibilities continuing for the next several weeks, off and on, we can have hail.

Then there is our Johnny Jump-UP Lawn with what I refer to as mini "hold my beer" moment right after the last freeze!  Each year the re-seeded viola family member brings a gorgeous display to our backyard.

Not to be out done, our Katy Apricot is in full flower and literally the most we have seen in years on this 19 year old tree.  Our Gold Kist is just now getting into bud - amazing all this global weirding!

Our lovely Hyacinth is usually hidden in the foliage of our Fragrant Gladiolas.  So I snapped a picture and then cut the stem to bring inside so we can enjoy the lovely flowers and fragrance on our kitchen table.

Now that the flowering is finished on our Florida Prince peach tree (she is about 21 years old and hanging in there), we have baby peaches.  We need to consider if thinning is needed, were fruit closer than 6 inches to each other is removed to give more room to get larger fruit.  I have a short youtube video showing how to thin fruit.  Click here.

Finally from the garden, harvest of greens and edible flowers and, of course, sugar peas.

I have so many sugar pea blossoms and they are so lovely and tasty I sacrificed a future pod to add some to this greens mix, along with Nasturtium flowers and leaves.

I use greens, flowers and sugar peas not only in salads, but I also add them to soups and pastas.

Even with the frost and freezing temperatures these winter garden stalwarts produce and produce throughout the winter and into early spring. I expect to keep cutting these into April, then they quietly start showing their age.  I let many of them go to seed and capture to re-sow next year.

I also harvest the sugar peas as shelling types as they plump more and then for re-sowing as they dry in the pods.

If you need a better handle on when to plant all of our great tasting edibles, check out my calendar and book - you can have the monthly planting tips and more at your finger tips.

My Calendar and Books.

Now to Corning!

You need a container big enough to hold the meat with depth, and you also need a glass plate or similar to hold it under the liquid, when you put the cover on it. Spices rubbed in, cooled sugar/salt liquid poured around and over, weight applied, covered and put in the frig.

For the last, or 5 or so years, I have been Corning Beef for St. Patrick's Day dinner.  This has turned out to be a fun and great way to 1) control the ingredients (I choose NOT to use nitrates - it is not necessary, unless you want PINK meat), and 2) I get to choose the cut of beef - it does not have to be brisket.

This year I chose a choice chuck roast.  NOTE:  the less fatty the meat, the less time to cook ultimately.  If you are use to using really fatty/connective tissue brisket, and go with a leaner cut, you need to monitor cooking time.  I use a slower cooked and a couple of years ago, I checked at about the 3.5 - 4 hour point (in the past it took 6-7 hours) and it was a good thing I did as if I had let it go that much longer I would have shredded SOUP!

If you are not familiar with the origin of corning - it means 'grains' in Old English and referred to the spices. You are actually using a brine with spices to tenderize and flavor the meat.  I use organic sugar, kosher salt, mustard and coriander seed, black whole peppercorns, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.   You can find my recipe on my original post on it back in 2012.  You need between 10-14 days to brine fully.

That year I did a commercial version also to compare. We won't ever go back to the commercial, chemically-ladened version.

That is it for now folks. I hope you have a great time in your garden and kitchen!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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