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How does your garden grow??

Do you love gardening? If you’re like us, you love to dig in the dirt and watch things grow. There’s no better feeling than getting outside in the sun and dirt, whether we’re working in large gardens or in a few containers on your front porch.


Personally, I just love the satisfaction of putting dinner on the table with meat we have raised on our farm and vegetables that we grew in our garden. Another part of us having a large garden is being able to enjoy the “fruits of our labors” in the cold of winter.


After two months of weeding and feeding, we are now in the thick of harvest. Right now we are harvesting parsley, basil, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, kale and we just did our first picking of the green beans.


If gardening isn’t your thing, it’s okay - you can still check out the Farmer’s Markets and enjoy the bounties of the season! Below are just a few ideas for using some of these crops.


Flavor Bombs

  • 3 Cups of packed Spinach

  • 2 Cups of packed Kale (can substitute Arugula)

  • 1 Cup of packed Parmasean Cheese or any grated Cheese you would like or you can exclude totally for vegan bombs

  • 6-8 Roasted garlic cloves or garlic scapes

  • 1 Cup of Almonds or Sunflower seeds (Peanuts are not what you are looking for)

  • 1/2 Cup of packed sundried tomatoes

  • 3/4 Cup of sliced scallion greens and whites

  • 1/2 Cup of packed parsley

  • 2 Teaspoons of dried Italian herbs (I used fresh Thyme instead)

  • 1 Teaspoon of lemon juice or a Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

  • ¾ cup to 1 Cup of Olive Oil

  • Be creative - you can really add any flavors you like. I added a little red pepper flakes for some heat.

Put all ingredients in a food processor - turn on and add oil gradually until well blended. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen put in a freezer bag and use all winter!


Ideas where to use your Homemade Flavor Bombs:

  • Add them to your tomato sauce

  • Turn a white cream sauce up a notch

  • They are a fabulous flavor enhancers in soup

  • Stews wake up when you add these

  • Kick up a stir fry or make fabulous sautéd vegetables

  • Add some to plain pasta for a quick lunch

  • They will even make that Blood Mary or Caesar you are serving to your friends tonight taste even yummier!

Freezing Kale

Wash leaves and remove stems. To remove stems, fold leaves in half and tear or cut the central stem away. Roughly tear or chop leaves and put in a large pot.

Add water until about half way up the kale, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Blanch leaves for 2 minutes. Dunk leaves in ice water to stop the cooking process. Use a spider strainer to fish leaves from the water.

Squeeze water from handfuls of kale and quick-freeze individually in a muffin tin. After they’re frozen, place pucks into freezer bags in bulk. Remove as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Good for up to 6 months.

Zuppa Toscana Soup

  • 1 pound Back Home Farms hot Italian ground sausage (sweet Italian also works!)

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 white onion, diced

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 6 cups chicken broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 4/5 yellow potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 teaspoons salt or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 4 cups chopped kale (or as many frozen pucks that you want to add)

  • chopped Back Home Farms bacon and grated Parmesan cheese for topping

Instructions

  1. In a large pot saute sausage 5-6 minutes until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sausage to a plate and set aside.

  2. In the same pot, add butter and saute onions over medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and saute for another minute until fragrant.

  3. Add chicken broth, water, potatoes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are tender. Stir in kale, and heavy cream. Add sausage. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve garnished with grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Freezing Spinach

Wash leaves and remove stems. To remove stems, fold leaves in half and tear or cut the central stem away. Roughly tear or chop leaves and put in a large pot.

Add water until about half way up the spinach, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Blanch leaves for 1 minute. Dunk leaves in ice water to stop the cooking process. Use a spider strainer to fish leaves from the water.

Squeeze water from handfuls of spinach and quick-freeze individually in a muffin tin. After they’re frozen, place pucks into freezer bags in bulk. Remove as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Good for up to 9-14 months.

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