All Posts In In Season

Spring Fling: Strawberries

by in In Season, Recipes, June 1st, 2011

strawberries

We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Spring Fling 2011, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Recently, we dove into the world of rhubarb and artichokes — today, we’re exploring strawberries.

Strawberries are the season’s eye catching bounty that so many people wait for — they’re juicy, flavorful and can be eaten plain, roasted, grilled and more. When buying, choose brightly colored, plump berries that still have their green caps attached. Do not wash them until ready to use them, and store (preferably in a single layer on a paper towel) in a moisture-proof container in the refrigerator for two to three days.

While strawberries vary in size, if you see European Alpine strawberries, which are much smaller than American and Chilean varieties, don’t hesitate to pick them up. They are exquisitely sweet and are considered by many to be the “queen of strawberries.”

This week, we’re going beyond chocolate-covered strawberries and strawberry shortcake with these five new recipes for spring and summer:

Breakfast: Giada’s Strawberry Strata

Lunch: Rachael’s Romaine Hearts with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Browse our dinner, dessert and drink picks after the jump »

Watermelon Works

by in In Season, Recipes, May 20th, 2011

watermelon
It’s almost summer and high time to take advantage of the season’s most succulent fruit: fresh watermelon. Ruby red, juicy and naturally sweet, this jumbo superfruit can be sliced and diced in a salad, grilled over an open flame or pureed and frozen. Our recipes boast welcomed ease and summer comfort and, best of all, they won’t leave you stressing over a single seed.

Food.com’s recipe for Marinated Grilled Chicken With Watermelon Salsa is an easy summer meal that celebrates the classic flavors of the outdoors.  Herb-Chicken is grilled and served with a heaping scoop of fruit and veggie salsa. Also great atop grilled seafood, this salsa will become a summer staple in your recipe box.

Looking to cool off after a day in the sun? Whip up a batch of Cooking Channel’s recipe for Watermelon Vodka Gazpacho. This chilled soup is packed with watermelon and fresh garden vegetables. No need to reheat this dish, so save some to bring to work tomorrow.

Browse more delicious watermelon recipes »

Spring Fling: Artichokes

by in In Season, Recipes, May 18th, 2011

baby artichokes
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Spring Fling 2011, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Recently, we dove into the world of asparagus and rhubarb — today, we’re exploring artichokes.

An edible thistle, artichokes are one of those veggies that is easiest used from a jar or frozen. But if you’re going to pick one time of year to actually carve into an artichoke, spring is the time to do it, when fresh artichokes are at their peak. Don’t be intimidated by all those leaves and the inedible “choke” hiding inside – just follow the lead of Food Network chefs.

Start with this easy recipe for Steamed Artichokes (in the microwave) from Food Network Magazine, along with their step-by-step guide to cutting up baby artichokes.

Find out how to prep and cook artichokes »

Spring Fling: Rhubarb

by in Holidays, In Season, May 4th, 2011

rhubarb
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Spring Fling 2011, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Recently, we dove into the world of asparagus — today, we’re exploring rhubarb.

Rhubarb is a large reddish, celery-like stalk with large green leaves. Even though rhubarb is commonly paired with strawberries to create tarts, cobblers and pies, this lengthy root is a vegetable. It tends to be tart, needing the addition of ample sweeteners like sugar and additional fruits.

Here’s how to incorporate rhubarb in your Mother’s Day menu »

Spring Fling: Asparagus

by in In Season, Recipes, April 20th, 2011

roasted asparagus bundles
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Spring Fling 2011, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market.

While asparagus may be available year-round in your local supermarket, it peaks in April, making it ideal to serve on Easter Sunday. Our taste-buds spring into action when asparagus is roasted, sautéed or just stir-fried — each cooking method bringing out a subtle, nutty flavor.

Asparagus recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner »

Cold Frame

by in In Season, September 3rd, 2009

This summer, my garden was my saving grace, offering the daily promise of adventures outside despite a busy work schedule. It’s also what inspires my next meal, and what keeps me moving between them. So, at the end of the summer, I’m incredibly reluctant to let the fun end, even though today’s unseasonably cool breeze reminded me that there’s a big chill in my future.

Last winter, my friends in my community garden built a cold frame, and I watched them munch on mustard greens in March while I was still waiting for final frost. Too much hassle, I thought, too much work. But this year, after visiting Sean Conway and his glorious year-round green houses on his set of Cultivating Life, and getting my hands on his how-to guide by the same name, which gives easy steps for building a cold frame, I’m singing a different tune. I’m not going to let cool weather be an excuse for me or my greens to hibernate.

If your wood-working skills are lacking, you can buy a ready-made cold frame here that will keep your green thumb working even with woolen gloves. But if you’re up for a DIY challenge, reclaim some salvaged wood and make your own cold frame with these easy steps.

Here’s to hoping we’re still swapping our harvests for months to come.

Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens spokesperson

Late-Season Success

by in In Season, August 27th, 2009

Around here, temperatures creep above 80 degrees well into late September, making it difficult to think about cool weather food like beets and kohlrabi. But since gardeners are always planning ahead, it’s time to start thinking about planting late-harvest crops and returning seed to the soil for yet another round of delicious rewards.

The same wonderful vegetables (like radishes, lettuces and beans) that appreciate spring’s cooler evenings will thrive when planted in late August to early September, keeping your garden in business past pumpkin season. And consider planting hardy cold-weather vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, beets, turnips, kale, mustards, spinach and Swiss chard, as well as bulbs like garlic and onions, which will survive even longer.

For the most successful fall garden, try to identify the average date of the first hard frost in your area, and count backwards, planting only seeds whose “days until harvest” fall within this time frame. If temperatures drop quickly in your area, consider planting in raised beds and pots, where the ground stays warmer longer, and can be moved inside in the event of an early frost.

But we don’t have to worry about frost just yet, so get out there and keep digging.

Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens Spokesperson

One Old Potato

by in In Season, August 20th, 2009

my-uncle-harvesting-potatoes

My mother, who was blessed with a green thumb, has always loved to garden and grow plants and herbs of all kinds. As a child, I always remember her saving the pits of almost anything, sticking some toothpicks in them and placing them in water to see if they would root.

This season she tried her hand at potted terrace grown potatoes with fantastic results. She is so proud of her potatoes, and with good reason. They cook up creamy and sweet, with all the fresh potato goodness that you get from a good farmers’ market potato.

My co-workers, many of them who are urban gardeners as well, were very impressed and wanted to know more about growing your own potatoes, so I decided to ask mom some questions and get some tips that I could pass along.

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Seed Saving

by in In Season, August 14th, 2009

Now is a great time to start thinking about saving seeds for next season, which will make next year’s crop an even bigger bargain. It’s also one of the smartest ways to encourage an increasingly healthy and abundant garden year after year, since seeds you save from this season are naturally engineered toward your distinct climate and soil.

Different seeds have different needs (for example, tomato seeds need special processing), but here are a few basic tips to help you get started:

  • Chose fully ripe, healthy, blue ribbon veggies from your garden as seed saving candidates. Save seeds from peppers that have reached their final color, squash that is fully grown, healthy, and ripe, and mature, evenly-shaped beans.
  • Separate seeds from the fruit or pulp if necessary, and rinse well in a strainer. Lay the seeds out in a single layer to dry completely for two to three days. A fully dried seed should crack in half easily (discard broken seeds). Beans can be dried in their pods on the plant. Then pick, open, and drop seeds into a pouch.
  • Save seeds in an envelope in a dry, cool place, well-labeled with instructions for the next season.

Use your seeds within one year for best results, and swap them with your friends and neighbors for an even more diverse garden next season.

For a plant-by-plant guide for best seed saving practices, visit the International Seed Saving Institute at SeedSave.org.

Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens Spokesperson

Feeling Peachy

by in In Season, August 6th, 2009

Thou shalt not covet. I know this. But lately I’ve been feeling peachy, making it very hard not to envy my neighbor in our community garden who had the good foresight to plant a peach tree last year.

So I’m using my neighbor’s peaches as inspiration to plot my own mini-orchard. If you’re similarly inspired, now is the time to start thinking about what fruit trees you might want to plant this fall, or next spring. Spring (in cooler climates) and fall (in warmer) are the best times to put fruit trees in the ground.

What? You don’t have room for fruit trees? Oh, but you do. Some fruit-loving geniuses have cultivated small-space, high-yielding dwarf and semi-dwarf trees that have helped many a small-space gardener get one step closer to their dream of having an orchard. What you do need is a little help from a local expert (from your local nursery, garden center or farmers’ market) who can tell you what varieties will grow best in your soil and climate.

If you have the good fortune to have a peach tree or two of your own already (or an orchard or farmers’ market nearby) don’t miss an opportunity to show off the fruits of your labor in a simple Tomato-Peach Salad or a luscious Caramel-Peach Upside Down Cake.

For inspiration and instruction on planting fruit trees at home, I recommend The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden. And befriend a local farmer while you’re at it. They are a wealth of knowledge.

Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens spokesperson