Gardening in the Blind


Harvesting the biggest raddish yet!
June 27, 2011, 6:42 am
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, Farming, outdoor gardening

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I had mentioned some time back that I was trying a new radish this year – Black Spanish Radish.  Well, I have to say it is the largest radish I have ever grown.  I needed to pull them as it was looking like it was going to bolt, so I started with the largest of them.  It was a little hard to pull, so I started digging around it.  I ended up with a radish the size of a tennis ball.  Amazed at this, I ran inside to show Deron. 

It amazes me that even after the three years doing this blog, I still get excited to find something to harvest.  It is my favorite time of year!  Deron and I have been eating mustard greens in stir frys lately.  I need to make pasta again.  Not only do I have almost 2 dozen eggs again, I am harvesting garlic scapes which I love lightly sauteed with tomatoes and placed on top of pasta…mmmmmm.

Let me try to help you think of just how many garlic scapes I have.  For every garlic I planted (200) I get a scape that needs to be picked so it will start forming the bulb.  I have harvested about half of them.  Although right now I only have about 50 in the refrigerator.  Lots to make stuff with.  So, I see pasta, potatoe salad, garden salads and much more for the next couple of weeks.

I have a lot of green tomatoes on the plants.  I am betting the first I write about is Matt’s Wild Cherry.  I should be shortly!



Making Bresaola
June 17, 2011, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying

I have to say, I have been pretty busy. Between making rhubarb wine, aging a wheel of cheese and gardening, I still found time to expand my homesteading skills in making Bresaola. This is something Deron and I used to have a lot when we lived in the North End, Boston.

Bresaola waiting to be sliced for lunch!

Bresaola is an air-dried, salted beef that is thinly sliced.  I love to cut it into thin succulent, almost translucent ruby-red slices and serve with olive oil, lemon juice and just a touch of Parmesan cheese.  My mouth is watering just typing this.  Yesterday I took it down, washed it with red wine vinegar and tried it.  Deron would not touch it until he found that I was not sick (24 hours after eating it).  It is such a yummy good thing.  Below is the recipe I adapted from “Forgotten Skills of Cooking” by Darina Allen (I highly recommend this book.  It is fantastic!):

1 beef rump roast tied tightly with string

cheesecloth for hanging

red wine vinegar for washing

For the Marinade

2 cups red wine

2 teaspoons red chili powder

6 garlic cloves, crushed

8 bay leaves

3+ cups coarse salt

2+ tablespoons coarsely ground pepper

15 sprigs of rosemary roughly bruised

10 sprigs of thyme roughly bruised 

3 tablespoons sugar

Mix all the marinade ingredients together.  Put the beef into a large container.  Pour marinade over it.  Make sure the salt fully coats the sides.  Cover and leave in the refrigerator for a week, turning it daily.  This ensures that the curing will be even.  After a week, brush the marinade off the beef and wrap it in the clean cheesecloth.  Hang it in a dry cool place for one month.  It will drip for a day or two, so put a plate or bowl underneath.  When the meat is firm to the touch, the bresaola will have matured.  When ready, wash it with red wine vinegar, then dry it with a clean cloth.  You can then store it in the fridge, preferably in a covered container for up to one month.

It is mmmm,mmmmm, good!



Trying something new
June 11, 2011, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, local eating

Rhubarb Wine in the Primary

Our neighbors grow rhubarb for us.  They don’t like it, but they leave it by the shed for us.  So this year, Deron went over and picked a lot at once.  That left me having a little over 5 pounds of rhubarb sitting in the refrigerator.  After trying a rhubarb upside down cake (which was delicious, but only took 3 stalks) I decided I needed to see that else I could find.  One thing led to another and before I really realized just what I was doing I spent $15 and got everything I was missing to make rhubarb ginger wine. 

Today I started the wine making process.  Now keep in mind this is the first time we have attempted to make wine.  We have made beer – well mainly Deron – but never wine.  I will keep you updated as it goes.  It is a slow process which starts with 5 pounds rhubarb chopped, bruised ginger, 2 pounds of sugar and one crushed camdon tablet.   It will need to sit for about three days stirring everyday.  After that is the yeast and nutrient among other things.  If it turns out, I will post the entire recipe for you to try next year when the rhubarb is in season.

Here is to keeping your fingers crossed I have a great wine!



Weather and seedlings
June 4, 2011, 8:25 pm
Filed under: animals, chickens, outdoor gardening

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This has been very bizarre weather we are getting here in Massachusetts.  I never thought I would be watching tv to here that I needed to move to the basement immediately.  Lucky for me, I open that basement door and both the cats and dogs go running down.  So, after they went down, I went outside and placed the girls inside which they were not happy with. 
I got downstairs in enough time to save the cheese.  Gus was about to chomp on it!
As chaotic as it was, it was a good exercise for me.
Anyway, my luck appeared as it shifted slightly south, hitting the next town over.  But I did manage to get larger size hail, which was not good. 
I was surprised to find the squash ok.  I thought that would have been the first fatality, but all the squash appeared healthy, as did most of the tomatoes.  What didn’t survive was the swiss chard.  It is not all gone, but a lot of it is.  It could have been much worse!
The picture is full of seedlings that survived the storm.



Tomato count 2011
June 3, 2011, 7:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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It hasn’t been a record year, I decided to cut back a bit after my husband last year asked me to do less.  Then, the season started, and he wanted more tomatoes then last year.  Go figure.
I think so far on the posts, I have covered two beds, four pots and seven in the Victory garden.  So let’s continue from there.
I planted a third bed of tomatoes, planting less beans.  That brings the number up to 41.  I really just wanted to make it a nice round number, so 9 pots later I find I have 50.  I’m still not done planting, I know atleast three more will be planted.  I don’t even have much duplication in the plants.  That is the sad part.
As the tomatoes ripen, I will talk about each type.  They promise to be so different!