Archive for March, 2014

Garlic Storage Results

It’s the end of March and I thought I’d check and see how my garlic fared over the winter.  I keep the bulbs in a vegetable storage drawer in a cabinet under the kitchen counter which is on an outside wall.  The space is dark, not too well ventilated and the temperature this morning in the drawer was 60ºF.  I don’t split off the cloves until I need them.  Last July I harvested four varieties, two that were noted for good winter storage (Unadilla Double Coil and Russian Blend ) and two others where that trait wasn’t mentioned (Music and Nirvana Weird ).  I grow only Rocambole (stiff neck or hard stem) types now, as I’ve decided that the soft neck German types do not do well under my garden conditions.

Past experience has taught me that Music starts to deteriorate early so all that has already been used.  Of the remaining types, all three still had many plump, firm cloves although all three varieties also showed some signs of sprouting.  If you find a clove of yours has sprouted, I recommend slitting the clove down the back and easing out the sprout as I find the sprout to be bitter, whereas the rest of the clove is still flavorful.  Here are my results below:

I love this one because it has double coiled scapes and I get lots of garlic scape pesto from it, but some deterioration is evident.  I'll use this variety next.

I love this one because it has double coiled scapes and I get lots of garlic scape pesto from it, but some deterioration is evident. I’ll use this variety next.

The cloves are still plump on this one but it does have significant sprouting.  I can cut out the sprouts and use it, so it will be fine for a while longer but I'll use this after the Double Coil is finished.

The cloves are still plump on this one but it does have significant sprouting. I can cut out the sprouts and use it, so it will be fine for a while longer but I’ll use this after the Double Coil is finished.

This is the best one.  The large cloves are still plump and firm and the sprouting is minimal.  Next fall I'll plant more of this.

This is the best one. The large cloves are still plump and firm and the sprouting is minimal. Next fall I’ll plant more of this.

Advertisements

Comments (1) »

Robins are Struggling to Find Food with Earthworms Buried Deep under the Snow

This was the scene at our American Highbush Cranberry Bush on Monday.

This was the scene at our American Highbush Cranberry Bush on Monday.

These seven Robins and one Cedar Waxwing were a small part of a large flock that stripped our American Highbush Cranberry shrub border clean in a single day.  Many of us are seeing flocks of Robins returning to find the ground snow covered, frozen and the earthworms unreachable far below the surface.  Our Connecticut Birder’s List   has some suggestions as to how we can help them, thanks to the expertise of some of our contributors.  Here are some of the ideas:

  • Water soaked raisins
  • Bluebird Food
  • Mealworms (many on-line sources available)
  • And this from Meredith Sampson, a local wildlife rehabilitator and Director Wild Wings, Inc.:

“I recommend using high protein, low or no carbohydrate dry cat food – kitten food would be better as it’s higher in protein,which most birds need.  Best to use high quality brands usually found at Petsmart or Petco e.g.  Blue Buffalo, Wilderness, Wellness.  Avoid brands sold in supermarkets as they are often loaded with soy (usually GMO), food dyes and other questionable ingredients.  Birds lack the ability to process and assimilate carbohydrates especially those from grains which are often used as cheap fillers in lesser quality pet foods.  Soak the food in hot water to soften, then serve.  Soaking raisins helps to soften them, making them easier to eat and providing some much needed water.  Be sure what you put out for the birds is gone by day’s end to avoid attracting unwanted dinner guests like:  cats, racoons, etc. Happy feeding! ”

These will provide immediate relief but for long term solutions, try and landscape with native bird friendly plants.  For a few suggestions see this previous post: https://naturaliststable.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/birdscaping-a-few-native-plants-appropriate-to-the-northeast/

Leave a comment »

Lemon Cake to Accompany Lemon Curd

Lemon Cake with Ponderosa Lemon Curd Filling

Lemon Cake with Ponderosa Lemon Curd Filling

I thought it might be helpful to give you the recipe for the little lemon cake I made for the lemon curd from the previous post.  This is a small light cake, made in one layer which is then split, into as many layer as you can manage (I can only manage two).  I used a 7″  spring form pan, but an 8″ layer cake pan would be just as good, albeit the cake a little thinner.  Here’s the recipe:

Lemon Cake (adapted from Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Fawcett Publications, NY)

  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. hot water
  • 1/2 C. cake flour (lacking cake flour, I removed 1 Tbsp. flour from 1 C. AP Flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • slight pinch of salt

Beat the egg white until stiff but not dry and set aside.  Beat egg yolk, add lemon juice and beat until pale yellow.  Beat in sugar, one tablespoon at a time.  Add hot water slowly then add dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and fold in the egg white.  Pour into a greased pan (7 or 8 inches in diameter) and bake at 350º for about 18 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool then slice horizontally into at least two layers.  Spread lemon curd between the layers, sift confectioners sugar over the top and serve with an added dollop of lemon curd.

IMG_1881

Comments (1) »

%d bloggers like this: