If you want to grow the healthiest and most delicious tomatoes you possibly can this gardening season, take some pointers from the pros. There are a few very easy ways to implement, and therefore consistently grow a rich harvest of tasty, lush, mouthwatering tomatoes.
Why not try out the following organic gardening tips and see for yourself the biggest and healthiest yield your tomato plants can give you.
Whether growing in containers or in the ground, make sure you select a location that will give your plants 6 to 8 hours of natural sunlight. Also, make sure you have enough room between your tomato plants to not only provide for adequate air circulation, but it also assures adequate room for the plants to grow not only upwards, but for extending their stems.
If you are buying plants to transplant, make sure you plant deep for the best possible results.
Burying the stem of a tomato allows the plant to sprout new roots which will help improve strength and vitality of the plant.
This also provides better absorption of the nutrients your tomato plants need to grow faster and healthier.
To do this, remove the bottom sets of leaves and bury the stem up to just below the bottom of the remaining leaves.
Experimenting with the above description for transplanting tomato plants to the first true leaf, when compared to just covering the root ball has shown to increase tomato yields by 18% and up to 26% percent for every 25 pounds of fruit at first harvest, according to Dr. Charles Vavrina at the Southwest Florida Research & Education Center.
Rodale’s Organic Life writes, that the secret to great tomatoes is all in the roots. Plants with big root systems need less water and can stand up to summer storms.
To encourage your tomatoes to put down robust roots, start by taking a look at the stems of your tomato seedlings. The fine “hairs” lining the stem develop into roots when they come into contact with moist soil. Burying a large portion of the stem at planting time effectively doubles the size of the plant’s root system and encourages productive plants.
This tip is crucial to planting, growing, and harvesting an abundant of tomatoes. Test your soil. Why? Tomatoes grow and produce well in soil that is more acidic, between 6.0 – 6.8 pH.
You can take a sample of your soil to the horticultural department of your local collage or University for lab testing, or you purchase a pH level testing kit.
After you have discerned your garden soils alkaline and acidity levels, you can add the appropriate organic soil amendments to reach the recommended 6.0 – 6.8 pH for tomatoes. Most garden centers can tell you just what you need to do to get your soil perfect.
Trick your tomatoes into being stronger by plucking the first flowers that appear. This allows your tomato plants to grow more extensive root systems, as well as a mature and developed leaf canopy, before any fruit is produced.
You should also prune any suckers, which are the little offshoots of the main stem below your first fruit-producing branch.
Fine Gardening says that doing so will allow most of the sugar produced in the first 30 days after transplanting, to be directed to the developing fruit, since the only competition is a single growing tip.
Use tomato cages or supports to grow your tomatoes vertically. When you allow tomato vines to lay on the ground, your plants are much more susceptible to pests and diseases.
When you provide vertical support, these garden dangers have a harder time attacking your plants. Sprawling vines also take up valuable space in your garden.
Southwest Gardener says to fertilize your tomato plants once a month for in-ground tomatoes, and every three weeks for tomatoes in containers.
Adding organic compost, either your own or store bought will also help to encourage healthy growth and a bigger harvest.
Scratch compost into the ground around the stem, and at the same time, trim a few of the upper leaves on each plant.
Whether you decide to plant determinate or indeterminate varieties, consider planting new tomatoes three weeks after your original plants are planted. This will extend your growing season and guarantees that if you run into any weather or pest problems, you are still sure to enjoy multiple, healthy harvests. This means you won’t need to harvest and use your entire crop at once.
Are you wondering about fennel? Well, fennel is a bulb shaped vegetable with tall, thin, wispy, fronds that have the appearance of dill.
Though the two are from different plant spices. Dill is from the celery family, and fennel is from the carrot family.
Apart from the crunchy rather spicy vegetable, the fronds can be used in salads as well.
Fennel is a firm and crunchy vegetable, and has a flavor much like licorice and anise. Sometimes in the market, the produce worker will refer to fennel as anise, though it is not. Just like comparing yams and sweet potatoes, also very different from one another.
Now for our featured recipe: – Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad – and here is what you will need.
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, remove leaves from stems
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and pith removed, cut segments into 3’s
1 large navel orange, peeled and pith removed, cut segments into 3’s
1 fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced, reserve fronds (optional)
4 cups arugula
1 ripe avocado peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
Mix first six ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside.
Prepare fruit, fennel, leaving avocado last so flesh doesn’t brown.
Using a knife remove peel from both the orange and grape fruit. Be careful while cutting away at the peel, so as to remove as little of the fruit as be possible.
Next slice away any white pith, again removing as little fruit as possible.
Add the arugula and fennel to the vinaigrette and mix until well coated.
On individual plate’s spoon salad mix and top with 1/3 cup grapefruit segments and 1/3 cup orange segments. Next add 4 to 6 chunks of avocado. Before serving add a few cut fronds to the plated salad. Prepares about 4 salad plates.
1/4 cup pomegranate dressing (can be purchased at your local Whole foods Market)
1/3 cup pecan pieces
First add the dressing to a large mixing bowl. You can add more than 1/4 cup of the dressing if you wish.
Prepare the the produce, and add to the mixing bowl. After shredding the beet, and apple mix it right away with the dressing, as it contains vinegar, which will coat the produce and stop it from browning to fast. Isn’t that amazing how the chioggia beet looks so much like a candy cane?
Mix the shredded beet and apple together until it is well coated with the dressing. Next add the pecan pieces and mix in.
Next spoon the slaw into a salad serving bowl.
Plate and serve over a piece of Boston lettuce leaf, and your favorite meat dish.
This side salad can make a great addition to your “Turkey Dinner” this coming Thanksgiving (November 26th) or Christmas (December 25th).
Squash is a low carbohydrate food, including a low glycemic index food, between 0 and 35. The low number indicates no spiking of insulin in the blood stream. Most squash have small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, and including the B-vitamins. They also contain trace minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper.
Squash is great for heart health and every muscle of the body. Magnesium is great to help the muscles relax, preventing what is called charlie-horse or cramping of the muscles.
As for potassium, one half cup serving of Grey Squash as an example has 603 mg, raw zucchini has 459 mg, cooked has 194 mg, and baked Butternut squash has 289 mg.
The squash we are using in our featured recipe is a hybrid of the zucchini squash, and is referred to in Mexico as the Mexican squash or the grey squash.
The grey squash has the same texture and flavor as the zucchini. Unlike the zucchini when harvested at a larger size, the grey squash tends to still have a tender skin.
Now for our featured recipe: Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce. The recipe is simple and easy, as it contains 3 ingredients as follows…
You can use any type of spaghetti sauce, but we chose to use a tomato base with cream and vodka included, 2 cups.
One pound of organic pork chorizo, which we purchased on sale at the Whole Foods Market, and 3 Mexican squash, which will make about 2 to 3 servings. Here we have a larger harvested Mexican squash given to us from a friends organic home garden.
Using a julienne peeler, run it from top to bottom all around the squash until you arrive to the seeds in the center. Set the squash pasta aside.
Heat a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of pastured unsalted butter, and when melted add the pork, and cook until done, about 10 minutes. remove from heat, and set aside.
In a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When heated, add the stringed squash and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the oil to cling to the squash strings. If the oil clings then in turn the spaghetti sauce will cling to the squash pasta. Do not over cook the squash, you want a little crunch, and at the same time you want a fork to twirl it, the same as is done with traditional pasta.
Remove skillet from heat and transfer squash past to a serving platter. Return the skillet to the heat and add the spaghetti sauce and cooked pork chorizo, and mix together. Allow the heat to warm the meat sauce.
Remove meat sauce from heat and pour it over the squash pasta arranged on a serving platter. Serve with grated Italian cheese, and enjoy.
Autumn gives way to cold days and nights. Just about all colors in nature have faded and plant life has gone dormant. But colors of nature are always at work, and they can be found in the foods we consume through the winter months.
Like Belgian endive, which peaks in late November and is generally available through early spring. Also available year round, are Brussels sprouts, which normally peak in the fall to early winter.
Through the winter we can obtain artichoke, bok choy, snow peas, and water cress. Of course most of that produce is green in color.
If you want to see color then feast your eyes on the red beets as well as green and red apples, including green and red pears.
There is also oranges, blood oranges with its sweet red colored flesh, red pomegranates, and yellowish parsnips.
Not to forget cream skinned butternut squash with a deep orange hue colored flesh, and that brings us to our feature recipe: Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad.
Here at Splendid recipes and More we keep the health conscience in mind who not only wish to eat healthy, but also wish to know the nutrient value of the food they consume.
Butternut squash has folate which helps to build a strong heart and prevent a heart attack. The function of folate is to work against compounds that compromise the structure of the blood vessels. A correlation between consuming foods that contain folate and reduced incidences of colon cancer.
Researchers have found that a vitamin A deficiency, caused by A carcinogen in cigarette smoke, contributes to a vitamin-A deficiency, which leads to the debilitating disease of emphysema. Any winter squash including butternut squash, are rich in vitamin-A, which research suggests could protect against emphysema.
It would be ideal to stop smoking, a diet rich in vitamin A and beta-cryptoxanthin may protect lung health if a person choose not to quit or is daily exposed to cigarette smoke.
Now for the recipe, and here is what you will need.
1 lb. chicken breast, fat trimmed
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, sliced 2 to 3 inches long by ½ inch wide
Arrange chicken breasts onto a glass baking dish, and sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder according to taste. Place into a 350 degree oven and roast 10 minutes. Turn breast over and reapply salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and roast another 10 minutes. Check internal temperature of meat, if it is at least 160 degrees remove meat and set aside.
Prepare butternut squash and place into a large bowl, but only after spooning in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven on 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes or just until squash is baked but not soft. Remove from oven and set aside.
Using four dinner plates, plate each with 2 cups of spinach.
Top with sliced chicken breast (about 4 to 5 slices) and 5 to 6 slices of roasted squash.
Top with pecans, and cheese, then pour on the Carrot and Ginger dressing (purchased at Whole foods Market). Serve and enjoy!
Salad can be eaten warm or cold, and served with fresh sourdough bread and real butter.
Do you have a garden? Maybe you have a lot of vegetables that you are giving away to family, friends, and neighbors through the growing season.
Usually when the season comes to an end, a gardener with a medium to large vegetable garden will still have an abundance of vegetables, and after giving them away all summer, the receivers are all “vegetated out”, so to speak. So what do you do with all that extra produce you have harvested? Why not blanch and freeze them?
The blanching of vegetables or a termed use for this process is “to whiten”, is an easy technique of boiling vegetables for а short while and then immediately chilling them in ice-cold water.
Blanching can also be used to remove strong flavors from foods like onions as an example. What is being “whitened” or blanched out is the unpleasant flavor of tannins found in onions.
Wikipedia says that McDonald’s Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina in the early 1960’s, used a process on the potatoes called ‘blanching.’ The potatoes were first mechanically peeled and then manually pushed through a slicer producing raw French fries, they were batch-soaked in room-temperature water for 3–5 minutes to remove starch, and after this process the sliced potatoes were declared as having been blanched.
Fill а large pot with water, add sea salt or Himalayan salt and bring іt tо а raped boil. Add еnоugh salt ѕо thаt the water tastes salty.
Whіle thе water іѕ heating to a boil, fill а large bowl with three quarters оf ice аnd add еnоugh cold water.
Add thе vegetables іn small amounts tо the boiling pot to ensure thаt the water dоеѕn’t loses іtѕ boil.
Boil thе vegetables untіl thеу аrе barely cooked but still tender. To test this, remove а small piece of vegetable with а spoon, dip іt іn tо ice water аnd eat іt. If it is tender, but not soft, it is considered done.
Once thе vegetables аrе done, remove thеm аѕ fast аѕ уоu саn аnd drown thеm іn ice-cold water. Remove vegetables frоm ice-cold water, аѕ soon аѕ thеу get cold.
Tо cook thе vegetables again, уоu саn uѕе аnу cooking method уоu want, like sauteing, boiling аnd grilling. If уоu want tо reheat thе vegetables, it is recommened to steam them, taking care nоt tо cook thеm again.
Blanching the Vegetables
Thіѕ іѕ а great question, as blanching the vegetables could be over blanched or under blanched..
Following іѕ a list оf vegetables аnd how muсh time thеу ѕhоuld bе blanched іn boiling water.
Bundle the frozen vegetables іn groups or singlely іntо freezer bags or containers suitable for using in the freezer. Label thе bags оr container wіth contents аnd date. Uѕе thеm whеnеvеr уоu like, keeping most frozen vegetables up to 8 months.
It іѕ advised tо bag the frozen vegetables іn small amounts, rаthеr than іn а big batch.
Here are some articles that have good reading about vegetables:
Whether it is just a fad or a trend that is here to stay, juicing is extremely popular among health conscious individuals. As more and more people experience the amazing results associated with this healthylifestyle choice, its popularity is expected to grow.
Without question, juicing can be incorporated into your daily life to increase your overall health and vitality. By increasing your daily intake of healthy fruits and vegetables, you’ll be giving your body the essential building blocks it needs. To get the most benefit out of juicing, you’ll want to educate yourself on some of the basics before you get started. You’ll find a wealth of information on these topics in the pages that follow.
If you are new to juicing, you may find the process to be a bit of a hassle. However, once you start to see and experience the many benefits associated with juicing, you may wonder how you ever got along without it. So commit to testing out your new lifestyle for at least several weeks before deciding if it is for you or not.
Important Tip: Making your own fresh juice drinks is better than buying ready-made juice products as they have to be treated and processed to extend shelf life. Therefore, homemade juices are fresher, plus you have more control over what you are putting into your body.
When making your own homemade juices, however, it is important to consume the juice product as soon as it is ready. Exposure to air degrades the nutrients in your juice, so the sooner you drink it, the better.
It should also be noted that although fresh fruit juices are delicious and refreshing, be aware that many fruits are naturally high in sugar which can lead to unwanted weight gain and other unintended health issues. A better alternative is to combine complementary fruits and vegetables together to create healthy and delicious concoctions. Combining vegetable-based juices with a healthy balanced diet will help you achieve the results you desire.
Benefits of Healthy Juicing
One of the main benefits of juicing is that it is a lot easier to drink a single glass of nutrient-rich juice than it is to consume a comparable amount of whole fruits and vegetables. People are busy and most simply won’t sit down and eat that much produce at one time. Instead, they’ll reach for more convenient, but less healthy options.
There are many advantages associated with juicing. As mentioned, juicing makes it easier to give your body the important nutrients, enzymes, vitamins and minerals it needs. In addition, some argue that juicing offers a more efficient way for your body to absorb nutrients without placing undue pressure on your digestive system.
Juicing is also a great alternative for those who dislike vegetables and avoid eating them whenever possible. For these individuals, a glass of delicious juice lightly sweetened with a bit of pineapple or pear is a welcome alternative to a plate of steamed veggies.
There are tons of recipes available online to help you make delicious and creative juicing concoctions your whole family will love. When creating a collection of juice recipes you want to try, look for combinations that include both fruits and vegetables for the greatest health benefits.
Be aware that most juicing recipes include parts of the fruits and vegetables you would normally discard. With juicing, you’ll often be advised to include leafy plant tops, rinds, skins, seeds and other parts that normally end up in the trash or compost pile. This is a real shame, because these items are often full of the essential nutrients your body needs.
When you start juicing, you will want to invest in a juicer powerful enough to handle the types of fruits and vegetables you plan to use. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank or make a huge financial commitment to test out your new lifestyle. There are a number of really good entry-level centrifugal juicers on the market for around $50 or $60. These models don’t offer all the bells and whistles of higher end units, but they are certainly worthy of your consideration.
Regardless of what kind of juicer you choose, consider it an investment in your long-term health. Making your own juices at home is infinitely better for you than picking up processed juices in your local grocery store. Those processed juices usually require some heating process to extend their shelf life, which can kill off valuable enzymes and nutrients. By making your own juice at home, you can keep the integrity of juice blends intact.
Eating vegetables is very beneficial for your health in several different ways, one most important is keeping your blood pressure low. Adding the most amounts of vegetables to your diet as you can protects you from other diseases like certain types of cancers, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
Vegetables are packed with nutrients and vitamins that can give you an added boost of energy. On top of it all, being healthy inside can make look younger, healthier and more attractive on the outside, and who doesn’t want that?
The recommended amount of vegetables to eat daily is 3-5 servings, and sadly enough, better than 70% of people do not eat enough of these healthy and nutritious food sources. Too many, eating vegetables is a chore, and they simple don’t take the time to prepare them for consumption.
Eating vegetables, an essential part of the meal can be really delightful and gratifying, in what way? Consider the following.
Vegetables can be cooked and prepared in a variety of ways, from steaming to roasting.
We prepared this guide to help you learn the best techniques in cooking healthy and sumptuous vegetables. You might say you already knew this, than please consider this guide a reminder.
A good sign that vegetables are properly cooked is by looking for a very bright and vibrant color. When the color is dull or dark, as can be the case with canned green beans or Asparagus, it’s a sign that they are over cooked. When vegetables are over cooked, they have little to no nutritional value. Over cooking your vegetables, or buying them in a can is really wasting your hard earned money.
Now your guide for healthy ways to cook vegetables without sacrificing flavor, including necessary vitamins and minerals:
These cooking methods can create appetizing and healthy vegetable dishes.
Boiling the vegetables is the easiest and most convenient way of preparing a vegetable dish. In this cooking method, all you need is a cooking pot filled with water. But it isn’t ideal as boiling your vegetables strip the essential nutrients while cooking. What’s more, it saps flavor from the vegetables.
Steaming your vegetables can allow you to cook them without losing their nutrients, and it helps the vegetables retain their natural flavor.
To steam vegetables, you just need a good and reliable steamer. But if you do not have a steamer, you may use a pot with a steaming basket.
There are some vegetables that can retain more antioxidants, flavor, and nutrients when roasted. Peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, beets, and asparagus, to name a few, are healthier and more delicious when they are prepared with this method.
Keep in mind, even though the oven is at 350 degrees, and if you are roasting the vegetables for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the vegetable) the internal temperature of the vegetables will normally be about 165 degrees.
40 to 60 percent of the nutrients are still intact at this temperature. Vitamins and minerals begin to waste away at temperatures of 185 degrees and above (internal temperature not the temperature of the stove).
Sautéing also referred to as stir-frying, is no doubt one of the healthiest ways to prepare a vegetable. When sautéing the vegetables, they are being cooked in a pan over very high temperatures. Since the vegetables are cooked in a high temperature, sautéing quickly cooks your vegetables and reduces the loss of nutrients and vitamins.
But keep in mind, cutting your vegetables in thin slices is the best way to sauté or stir-fry them, doing so cooks them quickly and they are not exposed to the high heat very long, and therefore retain their nutrients.
As far as the taste goes, sautéing won’t compromise the vegetables flavors. Sautéing can retain the natural flavors even better than steaming them. Sautéing them can even add flavor, as this cooking method is done by adding in other flavors like herbs and spices.
It is worthy to note, that sautéing requires keeping an eye on the pan of vegetables at all times, as the vegetables can burn quickly or over cook, losing their flavor and essential nutrients.
Almost any vegetable can be cooked on a grill. The best vegetables to use though, are those with a low water content, like corn on the cob, zucchini, potatoes, mushrooms, and artichokes to name a few. Coat the vegetables with avocado oil or coconut oil (high smoke point oils) before placing on the grill.
You can also grill vegetables using a foil pouch. Make a pouch with aluminum foil, add a little water and they can be steamed, or add some butter, herbs and spices instead to add some flavor.
Most vegetables on the grill cook in 3 to 5 minutes. Harder vegetables like potatoes will take longer. Be sure the grill is nice and hot, so that they are on the grill no longer than 3 to 5 minutes, so that they do not lose their nutrients.
Check out our search with the key word “Vegetables” here at Splendid Recipes and More for recipes using the methods in this article, for cooking vegetables. —–Link Here—–