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Posts Tagged ‘Junior Chefs’

Green Tomatoes in November

In Recipes on November 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

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Inevitably, gardeners are faced with the “green tomatoes in November” dilemma and inevitably the majority will attempt to defy the Laws of Nature (and in this case, those of a zone 7 climate) and hold on for them to ripen, but just as inevitably the first hard freeze, in November, will quash any sense of green-thumb megalomania and render the possibilities merely fantasy, or… with a sprinkling of corn meal, we can Bobby Flay them!

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With the formation of the Junior Chefs this year, harvesting green tomatoes for the creation of salsas, pickles, and relish nudged us away from the temptation to hope for a warming spell and provided us with plenty of healthy, yet unripe, fruit to use, especially with many of the herbs still available.

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Green Heirloom Tomato Relish

6 cups green heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tabasco peppers, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup (2 stalks) celery, coarsely chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. thai basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp. African blue basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp. salad burnet, finely chopped
1 tbsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp. celery seed
1 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. winter savory, very finely chopped
2 tsp. freshly grated turmeric
1 tsp. lavender leaves, very finely chopped

Following the standard pickling procedure, everything goes into a non-reactive pot, is brought to the boil, simmered for 5, then jarred!

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The question still remains as to how to dispose of the old vines. There is some debate concerning how to get rid of old, and possibly diseased tomato vines, with burning and trashing considered better choices than composting, however even though our heirloom vines probably do have the range of fungal diseases prevalent in tomatoes (septoria, alternaria, anthracnose, fusarium, verticilium, and phytophthera all common to mid-Atlantic farming), as we have a strict crop rotation plan, we’ve decided to follow our minimal-till protocol and use the old vines, well-chopped, as a compost layer knowing that we’ll not be planting any solanaceous crops in the same field for another 5 years.

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This Season’s Pumpkins: Inside the Numbers

In Kids on the Farm, Recipes on October 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

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90 pumpkins curing, two dozen still on the vine, and 87 Pre-schoolers and Pre-kindergarters anticipating our Harvest Day Parade in 10 days’ time… I think we have it covered!

Following advice from the University of Illinois Agricultural Extension Service, we’ve harvested the majority of our pumpkins and are curing them inside the Growing Room. Ideal curing should be at 80-85°F with 80-85 percent relative humidity for 10 days. This is done to prolong the post harvest life of the pumpkin fruit because during this process the fruit skin hardens, wounds heal and immature fruit ripens.

A few more numbers: we used Charisma F1 hybrids this year, a selection from Johnny’s Seeds which was developed by Johnny’s in conjunction with Cornell University to be a PMT variety (powdery mildew tolerant); 250 seeds for $10.95; average weight 14-18lbs; 1.5 fruits per reduced-length vine; maturing in 98 days; so at 5 seeds per mound, and 25 mounds in total, planted July 14th… our 3 and 4 year-olds will continue the tradition on October 31st!

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But the math also means that we’ll have some left over for our Junior Chefs to have a go at making these delicious Pumpkin Cheesecakes following a recipe by food-blogger and Iron Chef America judge, Pim Techamuanvivit!

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Fig & Almond Preserves

In Recipes on October 6, 2013 at 2:07 am

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We are just a few weeks away from making Fig & Almond preserves with the Junior Chefs club!

The recipe ingredients: 4lbs ‘Celeste’ figs, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup amaretto (yes, I did say 1/4 CUP!), slivered almonds, lo-sugar pectin, so only 4 1/2 cups sugar (instead of 7), a touch of cardamom syrup, and cinnamon to taste ~ perfect with brie, Ile de France, or cambozola!

Kale-Banana-Strawberry Smoothies

In Recipes on October 5, 2013 at 2:03 am

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Another creation by the  Junior Chefs at Walker Jones: kale-banana-strawberry smoothies made with organic soy milk and sweetened with honey!

Three of our student Junior Chefs- Nasir, Rasheed, and Fred (all 8th graders), created this nutritious breakfast for our 4th grade class, utilising organic kale from the Farm as well as our own Walker Jones honey harvested by some of our Junior Beekeepers- Kenneth, Ralanda, Yasmine P., Yasmine T., and Trevon.

The recipe: a handful of torn kale, one banana, a handful of quartered strawberries, 1 tbsp honey, enough soy milk to fill a blender halfway up the dry ingredients, a touch of vanilla, et voilà! (total fat 4g, sat fat 0.5g, sodium 90mg, total carbs 12g, fiber 20%, sugars 10g, potassium 25%, vit A 12%, calcium 30%, vit B12 50%, vit C 100%, vit K 40%)

Early Morning Okra!

In Kids on the Farm, Recipes on September 18, 2013 at 3:28 am

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One of the easiest crops to grow here in DC is okra. Yes, Robin Williams’ comedy might represent the thoughts of a few past okra consumers – “Okra is the closest thing to nylon I’ve ever eaten. It’s like they bred cotton with a green bean. Okra, tastes like snot. The more you cook it, the more it turns into string!” – but when freshly picked, even eaten raw straight off the plant, okra gladdens the heart in stews, soups, and when dusted with corn meal and quickly sautéed!

Okra is very good source of Dietary Fiber (13%), Vitamin A (7%), Vitamin C (50%), Vitamin K (66%), Thiamin (13%), Vitamin B6 (11%), Folate (22%), as well as the minerals Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.

Related to both cotton and hibiscus, once the edible flowers are pollinated, it only takes about 4 days for the seed pod to form. We are growing 5 varieties this season: ‘Millionaire’, which produces high yields of dark green 5-point pods; ‘Clemson Spineless’, light green 5 to 8-point pods and the standard variety grown in the southern US; ‘Jambalaya’, a high-yielding early season pod; ‘Carmine Splendor’, a fast-maturing, deep red late season pod; and an heirloom variety from Jamaica, mailed to us from one of our friends in Kingston!

In October this crop will be the featured vegetable when our Junior Chefs learn all about pickling!

The recipe ingredients: fresh okra, garlic, lemon, cider vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, celery seeds, and black peppercorns (the okra, garlic, coriander, and fennel seed all harvested from our Farm)