Monday, June 24, 2013

Growing a Garden from Kitchen Waste - Part 2

So many things can be grown from the parts of veggies that we normally throw out. Last week we talked about growing onions from the little bit of root that we cut off when dicing our onions.  This week, we'll talk about potatoes.   You know how when potatoes stay in the pantry for too long, the start sprouting weird looking things out of the eyes?  Each one of those sprouts can grow into a new potato plant that will produce potatoes!!  We plant ours in containers. 

When you find sprouted potatoes in your pantry, fill a container about 1/2 full of potting soil or compost. Cut each of sprouted potatoes into pieces with at least one sprout on each piece. Experts say you should let each piece dry for about a day, but so far I've had excellent success without letting mine dry.   As the plant begins to grow, you can add additional soil along the stem, burying it - the potatoes grow along the stem, so the more you have buried, the more potatoes you may get.   

Potatoes grow well in warm or cool weather, and in the Deep South, we can grow them year round, since we don't usually see many days of freezing temps. 

Once your potatoes have grown for a few months, you can gently brush some of the soil away from the base of the plant and see if you can find a few new potatoes to sneak from the plant and cook for dinner.   Yum!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Freezer Cooking : Cookie Dough

This is a re-run of a post from a few years ago that I posted on my old blog.  It is one of my favorite kitchen tips. I love having cookies in the freezer, ready to bake when surprise guests visit.

Maybe I'm just lazy, but I cannot stand to cook every day. And since we can't afford to eat out several times a week,( nor would I want to) and convenience foods are so filled with trans fats and other yuckies, I do a lot of freezer cooking. The typical way that I fill my freezer is by doubling-up on a recipe when I do cook. Today, we wanted sugar cookies, so I used the Kitchenaid mixer to make 4 batches of sugar cookies - one for today and 3 for later. My intention was to put them in containers in the freezer to defrost later. While the cookies were mixing, I was thinking about those break apart cookies you can find in the refrigerated dough section and wishing they didn't have trans fats. Then I realized I could make them. I used a chop stick to make the "perforations". Now I can't wait to try them out!!

Edited to add: We tried them out today and they worked beautifully! Be sure to break them apart while they are still frozen, as the dough does get softer and sticky once they thaw. It was so fun to have fresh baked cookies in 10 minutes and to be able to pronounce all of the ingredients in them! Have fun!

Growing a Garden From Food Waste - Article 1

Here in Louisiana, in the middle of Cajun Country, every meal begins with a diced onion or two.  Did you know that you can regrow the onions you use in your gumbo and etouffee?  Ive been doing this for a while with really great results.  We haven't purchased onions in about 6 months (well, except a few spring onions from the farmers market a few weeks ago, that I just could not resist) because of this technique.

With food prices soaring, gardening as a hobby and method of saving in the kitchen is becoming quite popular.  Not only are rural residents growing some of their family's food, but suburbanites and even city dwellers are growing some of their groceries!  So, if you don't have a large plot of land in which to garden, do not give up.  You can still garden in small spaces and containers - and onions lend themselves nicely to this, being small plants.

This is how you regrow an onion:

1.When you begin your dice, and you cut off both ends of the onion, put aside the end that has what looks like small, dried out roots - thats exactly what they are.  you can regrow them in a few different ways.

2. If you have a small growing space, you can grow them by putting just the roots in a glass of water (suspend the onion piece with toothpicks or even pebbles in the glass).  It will regrow in the glass, and within a week or so, you will be able to use the green parts as green onions.  Make sure you change the water every few days.

3. You can also put the cut root part, root side down, directly into a container of potting soil or into the soil in the garden (this is how I grow them).  With patience, in a few months, you will have another bulb onion!!  in the mean time, you can enjoy some of the green parts in your meals.  Be sure to water them often at first, to help the plant get established. 

At The City Girl's Market Garden, we garden mostly in containers and raised beds.  We have spot reserved for regrowing onions in one of the raised beds (4 feet by 4 feet) and so we almost always have an onion or two ready to use.  You won't grow rich on the grocery savings from your onion project, but you will save a little that you can put towards something else, and the satisfaction of being self sufficient in this area is priceless,

My plan is to have a weekly article on Growing a Garden from Food Waste, so follow me on Facebook and subscribe to the blog so you don't miss anything!