The Joy of Garlic!!

I finally processed the hardneck garlic. A lot of clean up to do. The work is well worth the effort!

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I started by trimming the stalks and roots. Finally, there is the process of removing excess garlic skins and grading.

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Last but not least, I put the garlic in net bags. Now I get to eat the fruit of my labor. This garlic is far superior to what you get at the store!

Papa

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The Amazing Chili de árbol!!

The Chile de árbol grows into a small tree. In a greenhouse the pepper trees grow more than 10 feet. The Tree Chili is originally from Mexico and is a staple for cooking and seasoning. They are presently growing in my hoop house reaching 6 feet!

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The plants have started to flower as the temperature is a little cooler. I am starting to see fruit set. This variety is a Capsicum anuum type of pepper. The degree of heat is 50,000 to 65,000 *Scoville Units. They may be substituted for Cayenne peppers, with similar flavor and heat.

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When dried the peppers (also called bird’s beak or rat tail chili) hold their beautiful red color which makes them ideal for wreaths.

I will publish again when the trees are full of chilies.

Papa

*Scoville Units – The idea was to dilute an alcohol-based extract made with the given pepper until it no longer tasted hot to a group of taste testers. The degree of dilution translates to the SHU. In other words, according to the Scoville scale, you would need as many as 5,000 cups of water to dilute 1 cup of tobacco sauce enough to no longer taste the heat.   Smithsonian Magazine

Okra Loves Heat!!!!

I am growing 3 different varieties of okra in my hoop house and they are thriving in 100° heat!!! The varieties are Eagle Pass, Jing Orange and Roberie. The production is impressive. By leaving the side vents open I get adequate insect pollination.

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Our favorite way to enjoy our okra is by pickling. I prefer my pickled okra with dill, garlic, pickling spice, hot pepper, red pepper flakes, pickling salt and apple cider vinegar.

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Enjoy! Yum!!!

Papa

The Time is Now for Kimchi!!!

The “Hilton” Chinese Cabbage is in the house! It’s Kimchi time!!

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The big cabbage is 18 inches wide and 16 inches tall. They are gorgeous! Check out this cross section!

WP_20150617_20_42_02_ProNow the fun begins!!

First cut the cabbage width wise in 2 inch strips.

Next, cut the strips into bite size pieces.

Place bite size pieces in a large, non-corrosive bowl.

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Add Kosher/pickling salt to warm water and pour over the cabbage. This brine wilts the cabbage and starts the fermentation process.

The covered bowl sits for 12 hours prior to rinsing with water.

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Prior to rinsing the cabbage, it is wise to prepare the additional ingredients.

Pare green onions to 1 1/2″ to 2″ lengths and place aside.

Mince several tablespoons of garlic and place aside.

Mince a few tablespoons of fresh ginger and place aside.

Pare Daikon radish into 2″ match stick size pieces and place aside.

Combine green onions, garlic, fresh ginger and Daikon radish with the rinsed cabbage in a non-corrosive bowl.

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Add warm water to chili flakes and make into a paste.

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I strongly recommend you wear latex or nitrile gloves prior to mixing chili paste with the cabbage. Otherwise, your hands will become glowing hot!!

Mix the chili paste with the cabbage, green onion, garlic, fresh ginger and Daikon radish. Mix thoroughly!!

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Add fish sauce, shrimp paste and sugar to the cabbage mixture.

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Mix thoroughly!

Place cabbage mixture into sterilized glass jars, packing tightly, leaving a 2″ head space.

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Here is the finished product!

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Let rest for 24 hours at room temperature.

Refrigerate up to 30 days. Enjoy with rice, in soup, stir fry or as a side dish.

Bon Appetit!!

Papa

For Great Kimchi You Need Chinese Cabbage!

I can hardly wait to make a batch of Kimchi (fermented Chinese cabbage and vegetables). The “Hilton” Chinese cabbage is ready to harvest. A few more ingredients and I’ll be ready to go.

WP_20150612_18_29_28_ProThe seedlings were started in early March.  They were transplanted into the hoop house the first week of April. Look at the results above! This Chinese cabbage is gorgeous!!!

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Brassica rapa sub. Pekinensis is the famed Napa cabbage used for stir fry, saute and Kimchi. Kimchi in its varied forms is a favorite of Korean cuisine. This spicy, highly seasoned fermented cabbage is a staple of the Korean diet. Plus, fermented foods are bursting with beneficial bacteria to boost digestive health.

The “Hilton” Chinese cabbage is an open pollinated variety. My observations of this Chinese cabbage indicate a vigorous growth similar to hybrids. It performs well in warm/hot weather. Other open pollinated varieties would have bolted (gone to flower) by now. It is truly a remarkable variety!!

“Hilton” Chinese cabbage may be obtained at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. http://www.rareseeds.com/chinese-cabbage-hilton/

Enjoy!!

Papa