We used the Bull's Blood beets that our CSA members had in their baskets last week. They are huge. A lot of them are as big as my fist- perfect for beet chips. Aren't the beets beautiful?
Beets are super good for you. They are packed with many nutrients including: potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, and folic acid. Perhaps frying them isn't the healthiest way to eat beets but they are a good splurge.
Be sure to use a "clean" cooking oil. Most oils are processed with chemicals to get a neutral flavor. Even worse, a lot of oils contain GMOs. Stay clear of canola oil and vegetable oils. Vegetable oils usually contain any combination of soy, corn, and canola. Soy, corn, and canola are two of the most common genetically modified crops. "About 90 percent of the U.S. canola crop is genetically modified" and "93 percent of soy is genetically modified." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margie-kelly/genetically-modified-food_b_2039455.html. 92% of the corn planted in 2016 was Genetically modified. We don't want to contaminate our heirloom, pesticide and chemical free beets with GMOs and counter act all those nutritional qualities! In our house we use organic extra virgin and first cold pressed olive oil. And just in case your wondering, for baking we use organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil or homemade butter from our fresh cow's milk. If you want to learn more about GMOs visit our GMO page here.
Now back to the beets. These are so easy to make. Just clean and peel the beets then slice them about as thin as you can. It can be done this way and I make homemade potato chips for my family like this but beets are harder than potatoes. For beets I like to use my food processor with the slicing attachment. Maybe you have something similar or some other fancy gadget, like a mandoline slicer, that will slice them for you.
I use a Kitchen Aid food processor. I have had it for almost ten years and the motor is still going strong. I think it actually runs better then my professional grade Kitchen Aid mixer. It has multiple attachments for slicing, shredding, and juicing. If you are looking for a food processor invest in the best one you can buy it really will save you money in the long run. If you don't want to make that big of a commitment then go ahead with the mandoline slicer. It will still work great and the one below even cuts fries. I think I would like it just for that. I cut a lot of fries all by hand. The mandoline could really speed things up for me.
And here is what you get. Perfectly sliced beets. The right tools really make all the difference. With them you are a lot more willing to do the task. Don't they look so nice?
Heat your oil up to 350 degrees. I usually turn my burner to high then once it warms up I turn it down to med-high. When the oil is heated carefully drop individual slices into the oil. They will shrink a lot so it is fine to overlap a little just stir it a few times to make sure they don't stick together.
They will have some brown on them when they are done. If you don't cook them all the way the center will be soft and mushy. You want them to cook longer than this so that the sugars begin to caramelize. They should be a little crispy and a little chewy. That may not sound great for chip but trust me it is. You can cook them until they are completely crispy but they always seem to brown and/or burn. We are happy with the chewy/crispy texture. My husband actually enjoys them. Twelve years of marriage and I can finally get him to eat beets. That says something.
I don't like to use paper towels. It seems like such a waste to me so I have a different method for draining the excess oil from the finished chips. I place my stainless steel cooling rack over a cookie sheet. When the chips are placed on the cooling rack the oil can drain down onto the cookie sheet. No wasted paper!
If you are so brave to try beet leaves, if the thought of perfectly crisp (the leaves do fry to a perfect light crisp) is something you can't brush off, then I have a very important tip for you: DON"T WASH THE LEAVES. Yes, you heard that right, don't wash the leaves. Well, on second thought maybe you should. I don't know where you got them from. But if you got them from our farm there is no chemicals, insecticides, or herbicides on them and frying them will kill anything else. But seriously, we eat straight from the garden all the time. From the plant to the mouth. Never been sick from it once. Simply brush off the leaves with a cloth and make sure nothing is on them then go ahead and fry them. If you do wash them it will be pretty much impossible to dry them 100% and the oil will splatter even more. I don't know what the deal is but even when we fried them without washing the leaves, and they were absolutely perfectly dry, they still splattered. They didn't splatter as much but they still splattered so much so that I think I only did one for each person. Mommy can only take so much oil splattering at her and burning her. So she sucked it up enough for everyone to enjoy one cause she loves her family. They love her enough to understand she doesn't want to be splattered with hot oil. They also have super full bellies from all the beet chips so they don't really have much room for beet green fries. See, just make more fries and everyone will be happy and forget about the greens.
Happy, healthy, clean eating,
Yippy! The gardens are recovering and have started to really produce after all the hail! Yes, it put us behind but we are grateful for what has recovered and so are our CSA members!
More to Come!
We are also looking forward to the celery. It is so tender and crisp. It looks a bit funny all bundled up for blanching. I'll be posting on that process soon.
Thanks be to God!
Our tomatoes in the green house are growing like crazy. Most of them are taller than me at 5'4". We've got trellises going everywhere. I'm pretty happy about their size at this point. They were planted late because we had to wait for the green house to be finished. We waited quite some time for some supplies that were on order. The tomatoes weren't planted until about a week into June. Next year we should be able to start them by May and they will be much further along this time next year. We did pick the first ripe tomato on Sunday and more are starting to ripen. Yeah!
So what does this have to do with instant tomato plants? Well we had some room for some more plants in the green house. It is just way to late to start any from seed. What is one to do? Take tomato cuttings.
One thing that you have to be careful about when you transplant them is the temperature. If it is really hot it is going to be hard on them while they are getting adjusted in their new home. Green houses are hot but the Lord blessed us with a few cool days in a row so we took the opportunity.
I planted them the evening before the run of cooler days. They did pretty good but we did lose a few on the third day when the temps went up again.
They all had blooms on them when I took the cuttings but I snipped them off so they would focus their energy on their root system. Now, two and a half weeks later, some of them are getting blooms on them again. That is pretty quick. They are in the green house so they still have plenty of time to grow and produce fruit.
Starting tomato plants from cuttings can save you money on seeds and space during seed starting time. Maybe your friend has a variety you would like to try, just take a cutting and you are on your way.
I did this with plants that were already producing fruit but you can do them with small plants as well. Remember that they do need their leaves to absorb light and produce food so don't go overboard with taking cutting from a plant. The smaller the plant the less you can take.
Happy tomato eating!
Have you ever seen a tomato horn worm? They are actually caterpillars and they are GIANT. I hadn't seen any since I lived in Colorado growing up. They were quite common there. I was just fine with that too because they are darn good at devouring tomato plants.
I just found out that they are also good at devouring grape vines. My husband spotted the first one when we were walking through the herb garden. We have two grapevine growing up an arbor at the entrance to the herb garden. Thankfully they weren't in the vineyard.
Tomato Horn worms can grow to be up to 4 inches long. They get their name from their horn like tail.
When they are full grown they drop off the plant and burrow into the ground to pupate. They emerge as a Hummingbird moth, also known as a Hawk or Sphinx moth. They are said to prefer tomato plants and to only feed on plant in the nightshade family-tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, and potatoes. I guess they need to add grapevines to the list.
I think that the kids found between ten and fifteen on our poor grape vines. Actually the grapevines are recovering really well and you wouldn't even notice now. Thank you LORD!
It was fun for the kids to see. They were amazed at the size of them.
Hand picking them is the most effective way to get rid of them organically. They make a perfect snack for any birds you might have. Trust me, it beats squishing them. You are sure to have it all over you if you go that route. They are just to big for that. If you don't have birds then you can always drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
I'm not sure why the one on the bottom is flesh colored. I've never seen that before. It kind of creeps me out. It looks like a finger. You can see their horn-like tails in the picture on the right. They are such a pretty color don't you think?
May all your plants be free of tomato horn worms!
Garlic is one of my favorite things to grow. Every spring when it comes up it reminds me that summer is not far off and I'll be outside planting soon. It also seems to withstand hail pretty well. Aren't we happy about that! The stem got beet up pretty bad but the bulb was safe and sound several inches underground.
I started my garlic 4 years ago and have been building it up since then. Each year saving more and more back to plant and thus increasing my stock.
After the garlic is pulled it has to sit out of sun and rain for a few days to a week. When they are done curing then the roots and tops are trimmed. They are then ready for storage. In the fall we will bring out the some of the bulbs to plant for next summer.
In North Dakota it is best to grow a hard-neck variety. This is a long day type. Long day refers to how many hours of sunlight the garlic need. Long day type need more sunlight hours so they work great in the northern parts of the country where summer days are long. Short day is just the opposite and need fewer hours to thrive. They are grown in the southern stated.
The hard-neck refers to the top or stem. It is indeed very hard. It must be cut off with sharp knife or kitchen shears. Hard-neck garlic can not be braided like soft-neck garlic for this very reason.
A few weeks ago we harvested the garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the blooms of the garlic. They are very funny looking things. The stem grows up several feet then curls over and around with the bloom on the end. You cut them off about eight inches below the bloom and that is your garlic scape. It can be used just like garlic or you can pickle it like we like to do. It is absolutely delicious spread on a sandwich.
They look like miniature garlic cloves don't they. We are excited to grow garlic from these tiny little bubils!
Happy garlic eating!
P.S. If you are looking for the post on the hail damage you can find it after the post on multiplier onions. Just keep scrolling down.
Hello, I'm Jaci. I love gardening and being outside in God's amazing creation. I'm passionate about whole foods and clean eating. I look forward to sharing my farming adventures and helping you reach your gardening goals!