Fall Garlic

People all over the world have used garlic for centuries. Garlic is easy to grow and is bothered by few pests. Separate the cloves of garlic just prior to planting. Plant the cloves 4 – 6 inches apart, covering them with 1 – 2 inches of soil. Elephant garlic is planted 6 – 8 inches apart and covered with 4 – 6 inches of soil. Mid-west garlic is best planted by October 15 so it has time to establish a good root system before cold weather settles in. Roots will grow before winter, with little or no top growth. Garlic is very winter hardy, but should be heavily mulched to prevent heaving. The largest cloves will produce the largest bulbs. When spring growth begins, water to keep the soil slightly moist, and fertilize every two weeks until bulbing begins. As harvest approaches, watering should be less frequent to avoid molding or staining. Cut off any flower stems at the top to redirect energy to the bulb.

Garlic should be harvested when 3 – 4 green leaves remain on the stem. Tie the plants in small bundles and dry it in a cool, shaded, well-ventilated location. After about 2 weeks, you can hang the bundles in a cool location, out of any direct sunlight. You can also remove the stems and store the garlic heads in a mesh bag.

Hard-neck garlics have a stiff central stalk surrounded by a circle of large, easy-to-peel cloves. In summer they grow a flower stalk that should be snapped off to increase bulb size.

Soft-neck garlics have pliable leaves which are perfect for braiding. They have small layered cloves and store well.

Both types should be planted between October 1 – 15th.

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The Newlyweds

It was a hot miserable afternoon but we ventured out anyway to take some fresh veggies to Catfish and Mrs. C. Being a gracious host, Catfish offered me a barley pop as we worked up a mighty thirst watching Finley fix the front deck bracket on his mower. As Catfish popped the top on his Schlitz, Mrs. C made a comment that reminded me of this story. The look on Catfish’s face told me he wanted to say something, but knew enough to hold his tongue.

Tom decided to tie the knot with his longtime girlfriend. One evening, after the honeymoon, he was assembling some loads for an upcoming hunt.

His wife was standing there at the bench watching him. After a long period of silence she finally speaks.

“Honey, I’ve been thinking, now that we are married I think it’s time you quit hunting, shooting, hand-loading, and fishing. Maybe you should sell your guns and boat.”

Tom gets this horrified look on his face.

She says, “Darling, what’s wrong?”

“There for a minute you were sounding like my ex-wife.”

“Ex-wife”, she screams, “I didn’t know you were married before!”

“I wasn’t.” Tom said.

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Broccoli Delight Salad

Here is another very good recipe for broccoli and cauliflower. If you have family members who say they don’t like cauliflower, this is a recipe you may use to get them to change their minds.

Broccoli Delight Salad

1 large bunch broccoli, cut in pieces
2 c. cauliflower, cut in pieces
1 c. raisins
1/4 c. red onion, diced
10 strips crisp bacon, crumbled
1 c. sunflower seed (kernels)
3 to 4 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. light mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1 Tbsp. vinegar

Wash and cut vegetables; add raisins, onions, bacon, and sunflower kernels. Cream mayonnaise, sour cream, and vinegar. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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How To Store Spices

Spices must be stored properly to maintain strong, fresh flavor. Heat, light, moisture, and air all speed the loss of flavor and color. Glass or barrier plastic containers are very good. DO  NOT store your spices near a heat source: on top of the stove, dishwasher, refrigerator or microwave, or near the sink or heating vent. The best way to avoid light is to put the spices inside a cupboard or a drawer. If an open spice rack is being used, place it out of direct sun light.

Some folks say that all spices should be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. Whole, crushed and ground chili peppers (including paprika, as well as sesame seed and poppy seed) will stay fresh and colorful longer in cool storage, especially in the summer months. Other than vanilla beans and extract, the flavor of spices will not be damaged by cold. The only problem with spices being stored in the icebox is that they tend to be used less (out of sight, out of mind). It is recommended to keep smaller quantities of spices out in the cooking area and larger backup supplies in the refrigerator or freezer.

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The Missing Music

It was a couple of slow evenings this week for survival/Alaskan/travel/cooking shows, so ended up watching a special on high brow music. The show reminded me of the following story.

During the intermission of a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the conductor grabs his assistant in a panic and tells him that he has noticed that the last few pages of his sheet music are missing. After a few moments of thinking, the assistant realizes that the missing pages were accidentally locked in the storage room. he assures the conductor that by the time they are needed, they’ll be on the conductor’s music stand.

“They’d better be,” says the conductor. “And didn’t I tell you to watch the bass players? I see that they’re over in the corner, drinking again.” With that, he heads back to the stage.

The assistant goes over to the bass players, and pours enough coffee down their throats to get them back to their seats in the orchestra. As the curtain rises for the rest of the symphony, he goes looking for the security guard, who can open the storage room.

With no time to spare, he finds the guard and hurries him to the locked room.

“What’s all the panic about?” asks the guard.

“Well,” says the assistant, “it’s the bottom of the ninth, the score is tied, and the bassists are loaded!”

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Powdered Laundry Detergent

Most craft shows and boutiques have scented bar soaps for sale. I can’t remember any of them having laundry soaps and decided to give up old family recipes. In previous posts I gave you the instructions for liquid laundry soap and heavy duty laundry gel. Here are the instructions for powdered laundry detergent.

Powdered Laundry Detergent

Ingredients
12 cups borax
8 cups baking soda
8 cups washing soda
8 ounce bar soap, finely grated (Fels-Naptha, Zote, or Kirk’s Castile)

Instructions
Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub. Use approximately 1/8 cup of powder per full load. You can adjust this to suit your needs.

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Harvesting Beans

There are several different types of beans. As you probably know, beans take up very little space in your garden, are heavy yielding, and are good for canning and freezing. There are bush beans (snap beans), pole beans, runner beans, shell beans (drying beans), lima beans, soybeans, and fava beans (broad beans) to name a few. Beans will grow at different heights, anywhere from about 16 inches for bush beans to eight feet for pole beans. The type of bean you grow will determine if you need to provide support for the plants.

To get the most tender beans, pick them when they are young. Harvest the beans every few days so that the plant will continue to produce. If you stop picking, the plant will stop producing. For bush beans, harvest when the pods are about 4 to 6 inches long. Fava beans need to be harvested when the pods start to drop with the weight of the developing bean inside. These beans should be shelled and cooked like peas. Harvest pole or runner beans when the pods are 6 to 10 inches long and still flat. If you have dried varieties, harvest them when the pods are fully mature.

Remember, when you harvest the pods, gently pull on the pods while holding the plant with the other hand so you don’t pull the plant out of the ground.

Keep your fork