Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures

Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures - learning about gardening up north.

Monday, August 29, 2011

That's what it's all about...

Burgers for supper tonight with fresh sliced Early Girl tomato and garden lettuce.

Soy-Veggie Burger Recipe:

2 Cups Prepared Veg Broth
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet Liquid seasoning 
1 can Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cups dry TVP granules
1 Cup quick oats or bread crumbs
1/4 Cup ground Flax seed
1/2 onion finely minced
1 green pepper finely minced
1 tsp each garlic granules and smoked paprika

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine prepared broth, Kitchen Bouquet, tomato paste, and TVP. Let stand until liquid is absorbed.

3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

4. I covered 1/2 cup portions of burger mix with plastic wrap and used a plastic burger press to form patties.

Place patties on a oiled sheet pan and bake about 20 minutes - turn once to get even browning. Served on toasted multi-grain sandwich thins with sliced tomato, lettuce, optional Soy Cheese slice and your choice of condiments.

Recipe makes 8 - 1/2 lb patties.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Berry Season 2011

My raspberries are finally getting ripe. I picked my first batch a few day ago and decided to make some Raspberry - Rhubarb Jam. 

I had several packages of frozen rhubarb in the deep freeze that needed to be used. I also recently purchased a new duel purpose canning kettle. This kettle can be used as a conventional water-bath canner or as a steam canner. A steam canner is used in the same manner as a water-bath canner - but uses about 10% as much water. You only fill the pot to about 3 inches deep and it takes much less time and fuel to heat. The kettle fills with steam and the steam heats the jars in the same manner as boiling water.

This Victorio brand canner has the added feature of a thermometer in the lid to indicate when the steam temperature has reached the proper level for process timing to begin. I made enough jam to fill 4 pint jars and 6 half pint jars. I was able to fit all of the jars into the canner in one batch. Processing time was 15 minutes once the gauge indicated the internal temperature was correct. My recipe for Razzybarb Jam was:

2 Quarts fresh Raspberries
2 lbs chopped Rhubarb
1 T lemon juice
6 cups white sugar
1 pkg pectin

Crush raspberries and add chopped rhubarb, lemon juice and pectin. Heat to a rolling boil and stir in sugar. Return to a boil stirring constantly. Boil 1-2 minutes. Fill sterile jars and add lids. Process in a water-bath canner or steam canner for indicated times. Allow to cool and check that lids have sealed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sweet Pickles

My first Alaska cucumber has been pickled. I made sweet cucumber chunks with raisins, cloves, onion, and celery seed for flavor. It made 2 full pints of pickles from one large cucumber. I used the quick hot brine method and these will be refrigerator pickles as I did not process the jars for storage. I will let them mellow in the fridge for several weeks before I try them. Yum!

Sweet cucumber chunks

Some Facebook friends asked for my recipe:

1/2" thick sliced cucumber
Sliced Onion
pickling salt
Soak in salted water for 3 hours.

3 cups cider vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
whole cloves
(adjust amounts for more cucumbers)

Bring to a boil in stainless steel pot. Drain cucumbers and onions and rinse. Add to cooking liquid. Return to boil and simmer 5 minutes. Pack into sterile jars and top with hot cooking liquid. Add lids and rings. Allow to cool and lids to pop. Store in fridge. Wait at least 2 weeks before tasting.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My First Alaska Cucumber

Yesterday I picked my first Grow Bucket cucumber along with my first King of the North peppers and Millionaire eggplant. The new Grow Bucket design seems to be working as good as I hoped. 

The other veggies came from my hoop tunnel and they are doing much better this year then in the past few summers. The weather has been better this year with far fewer cloudy rainy days. As I have said before, without clear sunny days we just don't get the warmth needed for some veggies. Cloudy days rarely get above 60 - 65 degrees and hoop tunnels and greenhouses need direct sun for solar gain to produce the higher temperatures that some plants prefer. My greenhouse and hoop tunnel tomatoes are full of green fruit and it is just a matter of ripening. I did try a new fertilizer this year and it probably was too high in nitrogen that resulted in excessive foliage growth. I had to do some extreme pruning inside the greenhouse yesterday as many of the tomato plants were running out of room. They are all still producing blossoms that probably won't have time left in this growing season to develop into ripe fruit.