Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Rise of the Shoots

Yesterday, we were outside lamenting the sunny and cool day. A harbinger of what lays ahead of us. My husband began to remove the dried and brown vines from the Earthbox that housed watermelon.

Then I looked down and saw this:





Yep, the third growth cycle of seeds in this Earthbox. It’s sad that this one won’t make it to fruiting because of our already cold season and winter staring down at us. Still it made us smile. We continue to marvel at this gift of nature in the city. A really simple formula of energy (sunlight) + healthy environs (potting mix with organic fertilizer)+ water = the start of food production.


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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Laying down the gauntlet-- Can you eat two fruit and three vegetables daily?

Whoa!  Here we are sitting on bumper crops of vegetables and yet we aren’t average Americans. 




Fruit and vegetable consumption increased significantly in only one state during the past decade, as all 50 states and the District of Columbia continued to fall far short of recommended daily intake, according to a study from the CDC.
Only Idaho had a significant increase in the percentage of residents who consumed at least two servings of fruit and at least three servings of vegetables daily from 2000 to 2009. However, the absolute increases were small -- 27.9% to 32.9% for fruits and 24.7% to 27.8% for vegetables.
At the opposite end of the consumption spectrum, 10 states had small but statistically significant decreases in the proportion of residents who consumed the recommended number of servings of fruit and vegetables, investigators reported in the Sept. 10 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Overall, only about a third of American adults ate at least two servings of vegetables daily in 2009, and about a fourth consumed at least three servings of vegetables a day.
"The findings in this report indicate that 2009 overall and state-specific estimates of the proportions of U.S. adults consuming fruit two or more times per day or vegetables three or more times per day were far short of the targets set by Healthy People 2010," Kirsten A. Grimm, MPH, and co-investigators wrote in the discussion of their findings.
This is worth a rally!  Who is with me for a challenge?   Let's start now and take it through December 31, 2010.   Who says we can’t consume a measly two fruit and three vegetable servings per day?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More bugs in the garden

Earlier this season I posted here about the creepy crawly infestation of our garden.  Yeah, that was a good one wasn't it.  It served as a great lesson in beneficial creepy crawlers.

The other day I was with some friends.  Their kids got to harvest food earlier in the season from the garden. One of the kids was freaked out by a tiny spider spinning a web on the car door.  She couldn't take it and quickly removed her flip flop and smashed it.  I shrieked but it was too late.  She giggled, nervously and blushed.  I told her I couldn't believe she did that to Charlotte.  She said, she knew that spider wasn't Charlotte.  I conceded and then suggested that it could certainly be one of Charlotte's great-great-great grands.  Her mum then chimed in about how I had told them about beneficial bugs when they were gardening.

Funny, because then I saw this on a sunny day on the Santa Fe Chili plants.


I don't think they are beneficial, but I have more than enough peppers.  Plus seeing bugs, even if they are pests, reminds me that I haven't used any pesticides.  I kinda like that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Putting Up Food: What I did for Labor Day was...labor

Our dried Santa Fe Chilis, a clove of garlic, and bay awaiting brine, spices, and cucumbers




It is done. I have a new sweet spot when it comes to sound. The solitary ping of a can sealing. It sounds a lot like what you would imagine a giant kernel of popcorn would sound like trying to escape a covered pop. The funny thing about it is you hear these individual pings but it just doesn't pick up speed like popped corn does.

Summer is definitely coming to an end. Putting up food is a way of saving summer for a blustery Chicago winter night.


Right now these are just pickles


Just when you think you can't take the cold anymore you can spread this peach compote with rosewater over ice cream, buttered toast, or mixed into yogurt. A sweet reminder of what lies ahead in the warmth of the sun.

Oooh, la la! Compote de pĂȘche avec l'eau de rose


There's also the joy of taking the abundance of simple vegetables and pickling them. Jar, after jar that will be eaten as snacks, chopped into salad, and no pun intended, relished.

VoilĂ ! Not-too-sweet Bread & Butter Pickles