Thursday, June 30, 2016

Red Onion Marmalade

Red Onion Marmalade
Here are red onions from my garden.  What to do with these?  Red Onion Marmalade from Ball's Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Sweet marmalade that has a taste of onion dip, very tasty on a cracker with a dab of cream cheese. To my taste palate, this marmalade is addictive.

Yield: about 5 half-pints
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced, halved, peeled red onions
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 package powdered pectin
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3 cups bottled unsweetened apple juice
4 cups granulated sugar

Saute onions, cranberries, brown sugar and cider vinegar in a skillet over medium heat, until onions are transparent.  Combine onion mixture, powdered pectin, orange peel and apple juice in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add granulated sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Eight Ball Zucchini 2016

Possibly my favorite zucchini variety on the planet.  I grow these from seed with great success; when conditions are just right, this plant gives forth a bountiful harvest; the fruit is tender with a delicate flavor; however, not the best for zucchini bread in my experience. As fruit formed this season, my squash balls would wither with blossom-end rot at about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in size.  Easy remedy...calcium deficiency in the soil. Purchased a good calcium-enriched vegetable plant food/fertilizer with immediate results.
Eight Ball Zucchini - 2016 harvest

From this plant my round zucchini grow


Here's how I grow basil in the hot Temecula sun.  This paper umbrella shades the basil enough to protect it from hot burning rays.  All I add is water and plant food when needed.  Last week our temperatures soared to above 100 F plus, but my basil survived. Beautiful basil but in truth, we're not big basil eaters, although I have already made pesto from this crop.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Almost springtime...2016

Flat-leaf parsley, white violas, German thyme, and a white Icelandic poppy.  Our fierce Temecula sun bakes the hard-pan dirt that's in my garden and amending the soil is quite labor intensive; thus I do a lot of container gardening.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

2016 Winter Planting

Living in this temperate climate in Temecula, at the northern border of San Diego County, the weather variances are mild at best, although we do get a very small period of chill time.  This past winter, I've been holed up in the house entertaining guests during the holidays, as well as sewing, quilting and baking bread.  I thought I might have lost all interest in digging dirt, but my little garden beckons and with Spring in mind, I had to visit the nursery to buy those things that I grow every year about this time, here at the Casita:

  1. Walla walla onion sets
  2. Winterbor curly-leaf kale
  3. Cheerful violas and delicate poppies
  4. Bulbs that are already sprouted (daffodil and hyacinth)
  5. Flat-leaf parsley, cilantro and German thyme
The onions and kale are planted, and the rest will go in this week.  As for the rest of the garden, my ultra-dwarf apple and peach trees, now in their second or third season, are pruned and now waiting for the miracle of spring.

Daffodils and violas
kale and onion sprouts

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer harvest 2015; container gardening

"Eight Ball" Zucchini
I do believe plants do better grown in the ground if possible; however, My garden is small and I grow my veggies in raised beds or containers.  Why?  Poor soil, limited space, for better control, those kinds of things.  Here's the best of the 2015 summer garden, grown from seed, at Paz Casita.  These are Eight Ball Zucchini and Little Price Eggplant.  Both varieties purchased from Renee's Garden online; both varieties are great for container gardening.  As you can see, success!

Eight Ball Zucchini  These round-shaped zucchini are firm and have excellent flavor.  I have had great success in cooking them on the grill, marinated in Italian dressing; frying them after dusting with flour (I used Mochiko sweet rice flour) and then dipping in an egg batter; and also grated for zucchini bread.  Next I'll be putting up some zucchini relish.  Must say that I still have a whole refrigerator drawer full of zucchini; they just keep coming.

Little Prince Eggplant  It's mid-August and the fruit of this eggplant variety are now setting.  Pictured are two plants in a container purchased from Home Depot, which measures about 24" x 30" and about 14" deep.  There are lots of blossoms and I'm thinking there will be a bountiful harvest to come.  These eggplant are supposed to  reach about 3" in size; so far, mine are about 1-1/2".  I'm leaving them hanging to see how large they will grow before becoming too seedy

Friday, April 3, 2015

Gnomes, gnomes, gnomes

See what I mean?  It has gotten out that this is a gnome-friendly abode.  They are tucked in here, there and everywhere.