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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Easy Candied Ginger Recipe and Fall Garden Treasures

This is truly a belated post given that my plan was to do this last week, but here I am and ready to share and document my recent adventures in the back yard. 
 Whats up rutabaga?!! If you haven't tried some before, grab some at the grocery store or grow them because they taste like potatoes and are easy to grow in the colder months when bugs are slowed down by frost. My skeptical wife was pleasantly surprised by how good they tasted. The smell of  chopping rutubagas is unique and I could only describe it as soapy and familiar. There are recipes out there for cooking the rutabaga greens which resemble smooth German kale. Their similar appearance can be explained by their shared genus brassica, which are part of the mustard family.
The lemon seedlings have grown considerably large in their first year given they all started from seed. I plan on taking these babies with me to whatever home we move to in the future as I fully intend on cherishing them as long as they are around. They most likely won't bear fruit until year 4 or 5. The smallest one made a full recovery after some critter ate every last leaf off of the plant. In facing growing challenges with plants I have learned patience, hope, nature does the hard work, and long term investments pay off.
I know......
I had to take a picture of this haunting scene.
All poor St. Francis wanted to do was take care of the birds and animals. I have no idea what earthly creation turned him bright white in some spots. St. Francis and the chicken run were both covered in crawling cherry tomato plants. The early morning frosts had finished off most of the tomato plants resulting in sour rotting cherry tomatoes everywhere. The chickens don't mind a sour cherry tomato, but I do.

How can you not love this photo? Fluffy chicken looking for grub.

Batman made a special visit to help me pick out rutabagas and to make sure the chicken pest control team was doing a good job. There is nothing funnier than hearing your son shout out from the other side of the yard every time he digs up a worm "Dad, I got a squishy worm!", which was about every 45 seconds and every time without hesitation I said, "Awesome son, keep digging!" This went on for about 15 minutes which is a long time in 4 year old minutes, a lot of worms, and concluded to making 5 chickens grateful and happy.. Is it bad that a part of me felt bad for the worms because they were earthworms and they are pretty much free miniature farmers that tend the earth which = THE BOMB.COM
Time was spent on trimming the perennial herbs so that they would grow back strong next spring and they were simply covered with a leaf mulch. I will be using leaf mulch to feed all the plants all throughout the garden and I fully intend on filling the leaf compost area back up with this Fall's leaves. I've read that leaf compost is pretty amazing when it comes to feeding your plants. The amount of decomposition that occurs is evident by looking at the before and after picture below.

 One of the newest tricks I've borrowed from other social media websites was using tarps for collecting loot from potted vegetables and herbs. It came in handy for my first home grown ginger.
Pour your excess dirt back in the pot and wash or brush off the dirt from your crop. These bunches of ginger look promising.
One of the ginger plants that grew much larger was cut back up and placed back into the original pot plus two other pots for next growing season. They are slow to grow, but are easy-peezy. You know it is ready to pull up when the leaves start to die back, as you can see the yellowing of the leaves in the pictures, hence the huge ginger root below and a happy gardener plotting what to do with his loot.
Candied Ginger Recipe

1) Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a pan lined with parchment.

2) Peel 1 lb of fresh ginger root which takes a hot minute.

3) Slice the ginger root into 1/8 inch thick slices using a mandoline slicer. You can use a knife, it just takes a while.
4) Place sliced ginger into a 4-quart saucepan with 5 cups of water over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
5) Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. 
6) Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
7) Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. 
8) Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. 
9) Once they are cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top cookies, ice cream, or sweeten coffee.
Chickens are such a joy!

Happy Fall Harvests!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great tutorial on making candied Ginger...sounds like the perfect winter project. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick