Collard greens are various leafy greens in the same species that produces cabbage and broccoli. The plant is grown for its large, dark-colored, edible leaves.
Fresh collard leaves can be stored for up to 10 days if refrigerated to just above freezing at high humidity. In domestic refrigerators, fresh collard can be stored for about three days. Once cooked, it can be frozen and stored for greater lengths of time.
Widely considered to be healthy foods, collards are good sources of vitamin C (only when eaten raw, because heat destroys vitamin C) and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Roughly a quarter pound (approx. 100 g) of cooked collards contains 46 calories.
- Prepare the seed bed. Your collard greens will grow best in a light, rich, sandy loam with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Cultivate the soil thoroughly and deeply (at least 10 inches) since collard roots will grow as much as 2 feet deep. Form the soil into raised rows about 8 inches high and 3 feet apart.
- Sprinkle the tops of the planting rows with a 10-20-10 garden fertilizer. Use your garden rake to mix the fertilizer into the top 4 inches of the soil.
- Sow the collard green seeds in early spring for a summer harvest, or in mid summer for a late autumn harvest. Spread the seeds evenly along the top of each row of the seed bed. Ultimately your collard plants will be 18 inches apart, but collard seeds are small and hard to dispense evenly, so spread the collard seeds a little more densely; you will thin them later.
- Cover the seeds with ½ inch of soil.
- Water the planted collard seeds by sprinkling, so as not to disturb the covered seeds. Keep the seed bed slightly moist until germination. The seeds will germinate in 6 to 12 days.
- Continue to water the collards evenly, about 1.5 inches of water every seven to ten days. Drip irrigation works well for home gardens.
- Thin the seedlings to 6 inches apart when they are about 2 inches tall.
- Pull weeds from the collard green bed regularly throughout the growing season.
- Fertilize the collard greens again with a 10-20-10 garden fertilizer if you notice that the plants begin to look pale.
- Thin the plants again, to 18 inches apart, when leaves of adjacent plants touch. The young harvested plants are good for eating or may be transplanted to another area of the garden.
- Harvest the collard greens continuously by cutting the outer leaves when they are about 12 inches tall, leaving the inner three layers of leaves to continue growing. Or harvest the entire plant at the end of the growing season; in this case the tough outer leaves will not be good for eating, so discard them. In frost free climates or climates that have only light frost, collards may produce throughout the entire winter.
- Short Term: Refrigerate in a plastic bag; do not wash until you are ready to use.
- Long Term:
- Wash greens thoroughly.
- Cut off woody stems.
- Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.
- Chill in ice-water for 5 minutes.
- Drain off excess moisture and pat dry.
- Package in air-tight containers or freezer bags.
- Freeze immediately.
- Use within 10-12 months.
Try this yummy recipe:
Collard Greens Braised
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 leek or 1 small onion, chopped
1 bunch collard greens, stemmed and chopped (rinsed well first of course)
½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon mild vinegar: champagne or cider
Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add half of the greens, broth, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Cover and cook until greens are beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining greens and cook, covered, stirring occasionally over med low heat until quite tender, about 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook over med high heat until liquid is almost evaporated, about 5-10 minutes. Off heat, stir in butter, vinegar, and serve.
- Store zucchini for use in the near future without washing it first. The vegetable will spoil much faster if it is bruised or punctured, so the less handling, the better.
- Put whole zucchini in a plastic bag and place in a cool area of the kitchen. If the weather is very hot, keep the zucchini in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days.
- Store zucchini in the freezer for use at a later date or for baking. Be aware that its texture will become softer and mushier after freezing. See below how to properly store in the freezer.
Storing in the freezer:
- Cut slices of zucchini,
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot on the stove.
- Blanch the zucchini slices in the boiling water for three minutes.
- Remove from the boiling water directly into a bowl of ice-water and leave it for 5 minutes.
- Pat dry and freeze in a plastic bag or other airtight container. Make sure you label the container with the contents and date prepared.
- Frozen zucchini can keep for about 4 months before it starts to lose its flavor.
This weekend I was excited to hear from a reader that has an AMAZING garden. Her 1,000+ square feet of garden space is simply beautiful, as evidenced by the beautiful image below. Karina’s garden features the following (plus, I have it on good authority that she also has a “mini” orchard with apples, peaches and pears. Oh Karina, you and your family will be so thankful this winter when you pull from your pantry some wonderfully preserved foods that you yourself worked hard to lovingly prepare.
So, dear readers, feast upon the following list of items Karina is enjoying.
- Snap peas
- Scarlett Runner Beans
- Bush Provider Beans
- Chives ( my first line of defense)
- African blue basil
- Nafal basil
- Red carrots Fennel
- Red cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
- Delicata squash
- Butternut squash
- Peppers both bell n hot
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Pickle cucumbers
- Asparagus year 1 from seed
Karina is new to the art of preserving and storing food and we will be working together to make sure she has success and fun through the entire process. Thus making it even more enjoyable for her next year (as her stress will be gone).
Stay tuned for canning tips, tricks and recipes to use with all of the food listed above.
Kale is a form of cabbage, green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms.
Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and it is considered to be anti-inflammatory.
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium.
Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties.
Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe.
Kale is actually on of the few leafy vegetables that freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to a frost.
Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly-flavoured ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, redpepper flakes, or an Asian-style dressing.
- Plant in full sun.
- Kale can be direct seeded in the garden or started indoors and set out as transplants. Start plants indoors about 6 weeks before your last expected frost date. Kale seeds germinate quickly in warm soil and should be up within 5 – 8 days.
- Cover seeds with about ½ inch of soil and don’t allow the seeds to dry out before germinating. Plants will grow more slowly outdoors than indoors under lights.
- Transplant seedlings after danger of frost. Set plants out with about 16″ spacing between plants. This gives them room to spread out and still allows for air circulation. (Although you want to wait for the winter frost to subside before transplanting a touch of frost will make the Kale sweeter).
- You can harvest very young leaves to use fresh in salads or allow plants to mature and use as a cooked green.
- Harvest older leaves by removing the larger, outer leaves and allowing the center of the plant to continue producing. Kale will be good throughout the summer months.
- Kale prefers cool temperatures and will be sweetened by a touch of frost.
- Optimal soil temperature is 60-65 degrees F.
- Hot weather, will make the Kale bitter.
- Kale plants like to grow in a rich soil, high in organic matter and slightly acidic (5.5 – 6.5 pH). You’re growing it for the foliage, so a high nitrogen content is good.
- Keep your kale plants well watered. Along with cool temperatures, moist soil helps keep kale leaves sweet and crisp, rather than tough and bitter. Side dressing throughout the growing season with compost or feeding with fish emulsion will keep your kale growing. Mulch is important to keep the ground cool.
Note: You can direct seed in cold climates, in the spring, as soon as the soil can be worked and the soil temperature is at least 45 degrees F. Kale matures quickly, in about 2 months or less, so if you prefer you can start your plants later or even plant multiple crops in succession. In warm climates, kale can be direct seeded in late summer / early fall, as well as in the spring. A winter crop of kale in warmer climates can be much sweeter than a summer crop.
- If you need to store picked kale, place it in the refrigerator and keep it moist but not sealed. It can retain it’s crispness this way for a week or two.
- Do not wash it before storing it.
- Kale does not store well long term once picked.
- Kale can be left in the garden to conditions of 10 degrees F. If you mark where in the garden you can leave it planted and dig it up in the snow as needed. Remember a touch of frost sweetens the plants.
My favorite way to eat Kale is as follows:
- Dice 1/2 of a red onion.
- Cut up 3-5 slices of bacon into tiny pieces.
- Sauté the onion and bacon in the bottom of a large skillet.
- Once the bacon is fully cooked and the onion tender add kale until the skillet is “heaped”.
- Place the lid on and simmer until the kale becomes tender, stir occasionally.
- Serve with sliced almonds or peanuts and dried cranberries (cranraisens) or raisins.
Chives are the smallest species of the onion family and are native to Europe, Asia and North America. Chives are also the only species of Allium native to both the New and the Old World and it is a perennial (So that’s why it came up again and I swore I hadn’t planted it again… I’m not going crazy.)
Culinary uses for chives involve shredding its leaves (straws) for use as condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. Because of this, it is a common household herb, frequent in gardens as well as in grocery stores. It also has insect-repelling properties which can be used in gardens to control pests from your other plants. A plus is that they attract bees, a plus if you want your garden well pollinated.
The medical properties of chives are similar to those of garlic, but weaker; the faint effects in comparison with garlic are probably the main reason for its limited use as a medicinal herb. Chives are reported to have a beneficial effect on the circulatory system. As chives are usually served in small amounts and never as the main dish, negative effects are rarely encountered.
Chives are also rich in vitamins A and C,contain trace amounts of sulfur, and are rich in calcium and iron.
Chives thrive in well drained soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 6-7 and full sun.
Chives can be grown from seed and mature in summer, or early the following spring. Typically, chives need to be germinated at a temperature of 15 °C to 20 °C and kept moist. They can also be planted under a cloche or germinated indoors in cooler climates, then planted out later. After at least four weeks, the young shoots should be ready to be planted out.
In cold regions, chives die back to the underground bulbs in winter, with the new leaves appearing in early spring.
Chives starting to look old can be cut back to about 2–5 cm. When harvesting, the needed number of stalks should be cut to the base.During the growing season, the plant will continually regrow leaves, allowing for a continuous harvest.
Chives can be stored multiple ways; Freezing and Dehydrating.
- Wash and pat dry your chives.
- Chop them to the appropriate size that you want them (I chop mine fine, but not so thin that they crumble or that you can’t tell what they are).
- Lay the chives in a thin layer on your dehydrator trays.
- Turn on your dehydrator to the herb setting or the lowest temperature that you have.
- When the chives are done dehydrating transfer them to air tight containers for storage.
Freezing chives is a very easy way to store them and make them seem almost fresh even if it is January when you are using them. Not only is this simple, but it is fun… especially for kids also.
- Wash your chives.
- Cut them into small pieces to fit inside ice cube trays.
- sprinkle the chives into the ice cube trays.
- Fill the trays with water and place them in your freezer.
- When the cube have frozen all the way through, remove the cubes from the trays and place them into freezer safe storage containers or zip-lock bags.
- When you are ready for fresh Chives remove a couple of cubes and thaw them. Your Chives will taste just as fresh as the day you put them in the freezer.
Scarlet Runner beans, and other varieties of runner beans, are easy to grow. It’s fast growing, climbing up to ten feet in a season. Plants will produce a profusion of pretty red and white flowers, amidst a heavy cover of leaves.
The runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus, Fabaceae) is often called the scarlet runner bean since most varieties have red flowers and multicolored seeds. It differs from the common bean in several respects: the cotyledons stay in the ground during germination, and the plant is a perennial vine with tuberous roots (though it is usually treated as an annual).
The green pods are edible whole but in some varieties (the scarlet runner) tend to become fibrous early, and only the seeds within are eaten. The seeds can be used fresh or as dried beans.
Fun Tip: In the UK, the flowers are often ignored, or treated as an attractive bonus to cultivating the plant for the beans, whereas in the US the scarlet runner is widely grown for its attractive flowers by people who would never think of eating it.
Fun Tip 2: The flower is known as a favourite of Hummingbirds.
Fun Tip 3: Scarlet Runner Beans are easy to dry and then use next year in the garden to grow your own plants. Think about growing your own seedlings, this is a great thing, especially if you have kids and you want to show them the entire process of germination all the way to harvesting.
Fun Tip 4: If you have kids a fun thing to do is to use long poles and lean them into a tee-pee fashion, leaving an opening for kids to crawl through. The Scarlet Runner Beans will grow up the poles and create a great summer fort for the kids.
How to Grow and Harvest:
- Scarlet Runner Bean are grown from seeds. Germination is quick. In warm soil, they can emerge in under a week. Sow seeds directly into the garden after the last frost in your area.
- Grow Scarlet Runner Bean in full sun. Plants prefer a rich, soil. Adding compost prior to planting, will help them to grow quickly to their full potential.
- A firm moisture retentive soil is best for growing runner beans. Dig in plenty of organic matter during autumn or winter. Fill trenches one spit deep with garden compost to plant in rows; add in bucket fulls for maypoles or wigwams.
- Soaked newspapers (or leaf mold) layed on the bottom help to retain moisture. Shredded Comfrey leaves can boost flowers and fruit. Gently firm down as you add material.
- Don’t add Nitrogen rich fertilizer e.g. no manure… Nitrogen fixing bacterial grow in root nodules of beans. Some gardeners have achieved very good results from soil inoculating.
- A very small sprinkling of Fish, Blood and Bone fertilizer around each hole will help to establish plants.
- Shallow and dry, usually sandy acidic soils, are not normally ideal, neither are poorly drained sites. But trench composting on well-drained sites and over sandy soil can be followed by growing runner beans.
- Semi-shaded sites are better than full sun. Hot summer days and irregular water content cause fruit set problems and poor development e.g. wilted, waisted or curved pods etc… If you have a seep hose then this could be a convenient place to install it. Bury it several inches. But it won’t make up for poor soil water retention.
- Before planting out double rows thoroughly water and lay a 2 foot wide strip of black polythene mulch to finish. This retains moisture and solves the weed problem.
- Scarlet Runner Beans require something to climb. Plant them along a fence or trellis. Trellises are a great way to display this attractive, flowering ornamental. After the blooming period, the beans will be accessible to harvest right from the trellis. In the vegetable garden, fences and bamboo poles are most often used.
- Add ample amounts of water and fertilizer. The plants need both, to reach maximum growth. Just before the blooming period, apply a fertilizer high in phosphorous, to promote blooms.
- Weed around the plants, especially while bean plants are young. Once they begin to climb, weeds will not block valuable sunlight. But, they will continue to compete for moisture and nutrients. A heavy layer of mulch around the plants will look good, and keep weeds down.
- All bean plants are annuals that are very susceptible to frost. Cover them up whenever cold temperatures are expected.
- After the flowers have bloomed, bean pods will begin to grow. If picked very young, the pods are edible. They get tough and stringy very quickly.
- Most people who grow runner beans for the beans, will eat just the beans. Beans can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be used fresh, dried, or frozen.
- Picking beans continuously, will promote new flowers and more beans!
Insects, Pests, and Disease:
Most varieties of beans are susceptible to a variety of insects, most notably beetles. They can be effectively treated with insecticides.
Bunnies love beans! Rabbits eat the the tender new leaves. If there are rabbits in your area, a rabbit fence is not a nicety, it is a necessity. They will devastate a row of beans in a hurry, eating the tender new leaves. As new ones develop, they will come back for more.
Deer also love to nip leaves of beans. If deer are a problem in your area, they will be a problem with your runner beans. Fencing or pest netting is the most effective control.
Fungus diseases are a frequent problem in wet or humid weather. Use a fungicide as needed. Keeping the leaves dry, and avoiding overcrowding will help to keep disease from getting a start.
Dry bean pods until they are shriveled and hard. Remove the beans from the pods and store them in a cool and dry place, so you can enjoy them the whole year!
Ten years ago, Rhett and I had just graduated from college and we had our first “real life” apartment, versus the campus married housing that we had lived in. We were excited to have a nice little patio and decided that it would be perfect to get some large pots and make our first garden…
So what did we grow you ask? We grew our three favorite things, Roses (pink ones), Tomatoes and Sugar Snap Peas… Yummm.
If you enjoy eating fresh vegetables from your own garden then Sugar Snap Peas is a perfect food to grow. They are delicious and easy to grow. The best thing about them is that if you do not like to have to shell bushels and bushels of pea pods then these are perfect. With these vegetables, you get to eat the entire pea pod with the sweet little peas nestled inside. The pods are sweet, crisp, juicy and have a wonderful crunch.
My favorite way to eat them is fresh, straight from the garden.
Helpful Hint: Sugar Snap Peas have “strings”, much like the ones on celery. To remove them, pinch one tip of the pea to get hold of the string. Pull it up the straight side toward the stem end, then pinch it off.
So, let’s go over how to grow these tasty vegetables.
- Sugar Snap Peas enjoy cool weather growing conditions and can be planted during early spring, with a second crop planted during late summer for a fall harvest.
- Sow the seeds about an inch deep.
- Some recommend that you should treat the seeds with a nitrogen fixing inoculent designed for peas. The inoculent isn’t required but will help improve growth, result in higher yields, and increase the nitrogen levels “fixed” in your garden’s soil. The inoculant contains a natural bacteria and can be purchased at garden centers or organic gardening suppliers and seed companies on the Internet.
- Sugar Snap Peas will grow well in raised beds, the biggest challenge is to space them out evenly. One planting technique is to lay all the seeds out on top of the prepared bed using the desired spacing pattern and the go back and use a finger to press the seeds to the proper depth.
- The peas will quickly germinate and begin growing so you should be prepared to provide some type of support to hold the plants upright as they grow taller. The dwarf varieties that only grow a foot or two in height will do fine without additional support from fencing, stakes, or trellis material.
- Aside from weeding and watering when needed, there’s not much routine maintenance required to raise your crop of Sugar Snap Peas. The pea vines grow very fast and within a few weeks of planting you will notice blossoms that will quickly be followed by the developing pods.
- Harvest the Sugar Snap Peas when the pods are plump and have reached full size but to enjoy the best flavor don’t allow them to over mature or start to shrivel and dry out on the vines.
Sugar Snap Peas are wonderful when they are cooked by steaming or sauteing them. I love them in Stir Fry.
Note: In addition to the pea pods you can also harvest and enjoy eating the flower blossoms and leafy plant tips or pea shoots. Just be sure that you don’t attempt to eat any portion of the varieties of ”sweet peas” that are grown as ornamental flowers and are not edible.
You can store sugar snap peas in a plastic bag for up to three days. Any longer and they begin to dry out and lose some of their flavor.
Long Term Storage: Sugar Snap Peas must be blanched before storing in the freezer. To blanch, add 4 quarts of water to a pot and bring to a boil. While water is heating, prepare the pods by pinching off the ends and pull to remove the strings along the seams of the pods before eating or freezing. Add 2 to 3 cups of pea pods to the boiling water and cover. Time for exactly 2 minutes and remove promptly from heat. Drain off water and place the pea pods immediately in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. Remove from bowl and dry pea pods on paper towels. Place snow peas or sugar snap peas into freezer bags or containers, seal, label and store in freezer.
Hey everyone, it’s me, Living Provident. Today I found this great free program called SendBlaster that is going to save tons of time for me as I send you the periodic newsletter and featured food storage item. There is also a paid version, which I hope to be getting very soon, but for now I am testing the free one.
First of all be aware that I am merging all of your contact information into the new system so you may receive an email to verify that you want to receive mailing from Living Provident. Also, in the future if you wish to unsubscribe from my mailing list you can do so by using the link in the newsletter instead of having to send me an individual email. This will save me tons of time and energy… thereby making your newsletters even better. Of course being one of the great features in SendBlaster that I did not have before.
One of the best things about SendBlaster is that it has some great and fun templates that I can use to make my mailing a little more visually appealing. And, even though you may not care as a subscriber, this system is way better because I can also track how often the emials are opened, or just deleted and what links everyone prefers. Now I will be able to make my newsletters even more useful to you as my reader. If no one is interested in a certain topic I can just stop sending it out. This is great for those of you who ask me to include your company’s product in my newsletter. I can let you know how many people went to your site from my link and whether it was beneficial for you.
I can also advance schedule the mailings so now you can expect them on a certain date and time. Whereas before I would get an e-mail from one of you wondering where I was at with the latest newsletter. In addition, your newsletter will be personalized. I get to now address it directly to each of you with a simple click of a button instead of having it read “Living Provident Reader”. You may not think that is a big deal, but to me it is a fabulous feature that I am excited about.
This new system will also check for duplicate email addresses. That way you do not acceidentally get multiple messages from me. Sorry Melissa S… that pesky duplicate I could never find was found and now you will only get one message. I am sure you are happy about that.
All in all I am excited to use this on a permanent basis. I do not have you all in yet because the free version only allows a limited number of emails to be sent, whereas SendBlaster Pro will let me email to my little hearts content.
I hope to soon be in constant and efficient touch with each and every one of you. Soon you will see a new subscribe button, be sure to check it out.
Camping is one of the most beloved and sought after summer events. People love camping for a variety of reasons, but no matter who you are you must eat while you are out in the wild and untamed wilderness. Camping food is often one of the main reasons people go camping, and I am not talking about he hot dogs and sm’ores. Some campers are A#1 great chefs.
Just take Rhett, for instance, whenever he takes those scouts on a camping trip and they are all supposed to pack their own food the boys end up with Chex Mix and a can of soup, whereas Rhett creates tin foil dinners, dutch oven cobbler, fried eggs and potatoes, beef jerky and all other goodies, not forgetting the smores.
The boys wonder how he does it, and now a few of them have even caught on enough to ask Rhett to help them plan their menus and prepare their own food. But no matter if it is Rhett or one of the youth we always make sure we teach them how to properly store the food to make sure it does not go bad. If they are not willing to do this then we tell them to break out that Chex Mix and canned soup because if not, they will be SICK!
Taking food int he hot summer fun takes some preparation. here are some helpful hints:
- You number one most important item is the cooler. If you are camping by driving your vehicle then this is easier than backpacking with the scouts. Using a cooler do the following:
- Freeze drinks before leaving so that they stay cold longer.
- Separate the drinks that you frequently get in and out of the cooler for from your food items. It will keep the food cold longer.
- Use block ice instead of crushed and cubed ice. It stays cold longer.
- To save money on block ice freeze water in old (cleaned out) milk jugs. They will stay frozen a long time and the water, once melted is mostly contained (except for condensation) so it will not get all over your food.
- If you are hiking and cannot carry a huge cooler you need to make sure your food is precooked and then use insulated individual containers with baggies of ice. Try eating this food first and then resort to Chex Mix and Canned Soup for the duration of the event.
- Separate your food as much as possible, using individual sealable baggies and small airtight storage containers.
Lastly, make sure that you get rid of your garbage on a regular basis if not it will attract animals and rodents.
Have a great time and keep that food safe!