The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “vegetables”

Root Cellars

Here americangamefowl describes many different kinds of root cellar and the technical aspects of effective root cellars. There is really rich information here.:

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Tempeh-making

This video with Jessica Baucom was great because she talks about how to make tempeh (a fermented bean cake) with all kinds of beans (not just soy) and explains in a simple way the critical points in making tempeh.

“Tempeh is a great source of protein (with zero cholesterol!) and easy to digest – it’s also a great meat substitute.”

Here Anna Antaki of the Weeping Duck Farm shows us her commercial tempeh making operation.

Both Anna and Jessica make their tempeh in plastic bags, but you can make it just as easily (without having to deal with plastic touching hot food) in pyrex dishes or cookie sheets. I’ve made it this way before and it came out fine, albeit with thicker white growth on the side of the tempeh not in touch with the dish. Traditionally, in Indonesia, where tempeh first originated they use large leaves, like banana leaves to package the tempeh.

Make A Fridge Root Cellar

Step by step instructions for making a root cellar for under $10 using a worn out refrigerator from Mark and Anna who homestead in Virginia. You can read more about them and their other projects at their blog thewaldeneffect.org.

Building Barrel Root Cellars

DeanLeatherman explains and shows how he built effective root cellars for root vegetables and cabbage from large plastic barrels buried in the ground. He talks a bit fast, but explains his concept and what he did well.

I did wonder whether the plastic would be secure enough storage against any burrowing animals, but he didn’t mention rodent infiltration as a problem he’s experienced so far.

Hakusai tsukemono (Japanese Pickled Cabbage)

Probably most people have heard of kimchee by now, but I’m guessing that fewer of us, unless we have Japanese roots or have lived in Japan know about hakusai tsukemono, Japanese-style pickled cabbage.

Apparently, it’s eaten flavored with perilla leaf (shiso), hot pepper, ginger and/or garlic with soy sauce as an after-fermentation-add-in, as a snack or light meal. Here are two versions:

QUICK

kenjisan makes his hakusai tsukemono which he says his family calls “koko” with chopped cabbage and perilla leaves as the base. After fermentation, to finish it offer, he adds ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Then it’s ready to be eaten with rice as a snack.

LONGER

superscheu shows us how to make pickled cabbage over three days. This version sees large Napa cabbages sectioned in quarters, salted and weighted and salted and drained repeatedly. The cabbage is flavored at the end stages with red chilies.

I don’t know enough about Japanese cuisine to weigh in on which method is more “authentic.” Maybe we can have duelling chefs. Anyway, my guess is that there are all kinds of variations on this pickle, though the differences in the two remind me of whole cabbage kimchee vs. the cut-up cabbage kimchee.

Hunting for Ramps (“Spring Leeks”)

Don King (no, not the boxing promoter) of TheMushroomHunter.com in Ohio shows us how find, recognize and harvest ramps.

Cavan and Tom Patterson of Wild Purveyors, a wholesaler of wild edibles and organic produce sources in and around Pittsburg, emphasize harvesting ramps sustainably. They say that it takes seven years for a ramp to grow from seed to full maturity, so how you harvest them is important.

Freezing Tomatoes Whole

A great quick tip on what to do with your excess tomatoes from Heidi at lightlycrunchy by way of Survival Farm/Town and Country Gardening in Oklahoma.

Tomato photo by Eat More Chips

Vegetable Garden Fact Sheets and Guides from Texas A&M University

This is a treasure trove of information about vegetables and vegetable growing. If you don’t live in Texas you’ll benefit from the general information, if you live in Texas or in the same region you’ll be able to take advantage of the region-specific information they give.

Vegetables covered in detail are artichokes, asparagus, beets, carrots, cilantro, “cole crops” (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), collards, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, melons, okra, onions, peppers, Irish potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips and mustard. There are also guides for fruit and herb growing.

Other topics include composting, disease management, fertilizing, harvesting and handling, insect control and so on. There is a variety selector that divides Texas up into regions and shows you good selections for each area along with days to harvest for each vegetable and variety.

I noticed that they list both conventional and organic insecticides in the insect control documents, though I thought they might have written about methods like companions planting as controls for insects. So, they don’t offer a wealth of info on organic gardening, but if you’re just getting familiar with the plants, this collection is a good starting point.

Oh, don’t want to forget, they offer a link to a journal article by George Washington Carver, the great American horticulturalist, entitled “How the Farmer Can Save His Sweet Potatoes and Ways of Preparing them for the Table.”

These are high quality PDFs that you can download and print, even use to create your own reference binder.

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