Sunday, April 25, 2010

Learn how to do Canning at Home

To preserve foods by canning two things must be done. First, sufficient heat must be provided to destroy all microscopic life that will cause spoilage in food; and second a perfect seal must be made which will prevent the re-entrance of microorganisms. These problems of preventing spoilage have been practically solved by the improved methods of canning which are explained below.

Only the freshest of fruits and vegetables should be canned. Canning does not improve the taste of the product; it only preserves it for future use.

Methods of Canning

Open Kettle: This method involves cooking the product completely and pouring it into sterilized jars, using sterilized equipment throughout. The jars are then sealed and stored. The open kettle method is recommended only for preserves, pickles, and foods canned in thick syrup. For other foods use the following methods.

Cold Pack: Cold, raw foods are put into jars and covered with boiling-hot syrup, juice of water. (Tomatoes are pressed down in the jar so they are covered with their own juice.) Jars are partially or completely sealed, following manufactures directions. Jars are then processed in boiling water or in steam to simultaneously cook the food and sterilize the jars.

Hot Pack: Fruits and vegetables are preheated before packing causing shrinkage before food goes into jars. This is the preferred method as preheating the food before packing prevents “floating”, (especially with fruits) and assures a full pack. Processing time is also lessened when food is hot-packed.

To learn how to do this Click Here

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wonderful Beans

Man has cultivated edible beans for thousands of years. They are widely planted and useful for home gardens. Early varieties were tough and required string removal and long cooking to soften them. Before the late 19th century, most beans were raised for shelled, dried beans, and not for fresh green beans.

The snap bean originated in tropical regions of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica. In the late 1800s, breeders began selective breeding for improved flavor and disease resistance. Calvin Keeney, the "father of the Stringless Bean" bred Burpee's Stringless Green Pod in 1898. It was the most popular variety until Tendergreen arrived in 1925. Bush Blue Lake, developed in 1962, was a major breakthrough in bean varieties. The Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean, introduced in 1877 by Ferry-Morse Seed Company and is still a very popular variety today.

Snap beans have tender, fleshy pods with little fiber. They may be green, yellow, or purple.

Common beans include the French or European beans that produce very narrow, sometimes pencil-thin, pods. Italians prefer the thicker, flatter Romano beans. Wax beans are long and narrow with yellow pods and a waxy appearance. Purple beans such as Royal Burgundy, add color to the garden but the pods change to green when boiled. They are produced both as ornamentals and as edible vegetables.

Ornamental beans like scarlet runner beans produce striking, bright red blooms followed by beans that are edible while young. Blue hyacinth beans produce deep lilac-blue flowers which produce maroon bean pods. Ornamental beans are usually planted for their attractive flowers rather than for consumption. They grow quickly up to beautifully cover fences, trellises and arbors.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Where to Put Your Container Vegetable Garden

Once you have taken care of the basics, you’ll have to decide where to place your container garden. You want to situate the containers in an area that is close to a water source with sufficient sunlight, usually, at least five hours. Excessive wind can quickly dry container plants out, so you should consider this factor as well when choosing a site.

Set the larger pots furthest back or in the center, if your design permits, with the medium-sized containers placed in front or around the larger ones. Always place the smallest containers in the very front.

With containers, there is also the option of growing vegetables in windowsills or hanging baskets that can be placed right on the porch or balcony. Ornamental peppers and cherry tomatoes look good in hanging baskets as do trailing plants such as the sweet potato vine. Keep them watered daily, however, since hanging baskets are more prone to drying out, especially during hot spells.