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Category Archives: Gardening

When life gives you broccoli, freeze it!

Fresh Picked BroccoliBroccoli fresh from the family backyard garden!

There was something that caught in my chest as I froze this broccoli today.  Back in March when I planted my broccoli seeds I had a really hard time imagining that I would get anything out of it other than leaves and the trouble of watering it daily.  I had the same feeling in June too!  It took nearly 2 months out in the garden before these stinkers even gave me a dime sized head of a broccoli.

Now, fast forward 7 weeks later!  The broccoli was staring me in the face as I went out to pick some tomatoes and estimate the amount of green beans there are to can (that post looks like it will be coming early next week!)  I came inside and armed myself with the best knowledge available of how to make sure that my persistence of keeping these plants alive was rewarded with a worthwhile result in October as I make my first batch of broccoli, potato, cheese soup (that recipe will come in October!)

So, here is the result of 5 months of work (minus 2 heads that I used last week for broccoli beef)!

Before we officially start here is a list of needed items!

 Broccoli (as fresh as possible!)

2 LARGE bowls

1 small strainer

1 large strainer

1 large pot of water 2/3 full of water

Zipper Freezer bags

One straw

The first step after bringing in your broccoli should be a no brainer!

Wash it!  Wash it in cool water (don’t start the cooking process yet!)

Break the heads up into usable sizes (not to big) and remove leaves.

Toss the pieces into a brining solution (1 gallon water to 4 tsp. salt) to remove any pest still lurkin’.  Keep them in the brine for half an hour.

Give that broccoli a good rinse!

Now pretend you see a picture of these florets in a big pot of boiling water!

Isn’t that an incredible sight!  Wow!

Set the timer for 3 minutes. Cover with the lid!  While the florets blanch, fill a large bowl with ice water (extra ice)Use a small strainer to transfer all the broccoli from the boiling water into your LARGE bowl of ice water.  Let it chill for the same amount of time it was boiling. 3 minutes.

Drain that broccoli again!  No rinsing!  Let it drip dry for a bit (1-2 minutes).

While you are waiting, pre-label your zipper freezer bags with what is in it and a date! (Almost all green things in the freezer look the same, have you noticed or is it just me?)

Divide up the treasure into your baggies (in portions you are likely to use all at the same time, I used quart sized)

See that straw?  That comes next!

Before you close your bags all the way, slip the straw into the corner and suck out the excess air!  This will keep your hard work in tastier condition longer!

Here is the awesome result!  Toss it in your freezer on the quick freeze setting if you have it.

With the 7 “normal” sized heads I started out with, I ended up with 6 quart sized bags most of the way full.  In my deep freeze it will keep fresh tasting for at least a year (if it would last that long).

You know that thing (ya know, the thing that caught in my chest)?  I think it was joy from knowing that the hard work had paid off.  That my family will be blessed with healthy meals during the winter with broccoli that came from a $1 package of seed and persistence!  You can do it too!  I promise!

Happy Freezing!

Thank you pickyourown.org for the great wealth of knowledge!

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Oh Asparagus! How I love thee, let me count the ways!

WHO absolutely LOVES Asparagus?  Raise your hands!  Oh look at all of you!  So exciting to see the many fans of this delectable vegetable!  I myself did not have a clue 5 years ago that this vegetable was so great, then that changed when my sister bought me a bundle which I eventually (after much discussion with the DH) made into a tasty side dish which turned me into my current fanatic state of this odd looking veggie!

So, Asparagus.  As I was debating what was going to make it into my garden it wasn’t hard to make the decision to making this vegetable would be in my garden so I could go out and pick some every Spring and be the happiest woman in the world while doing it.  So I ordered 20 crowns from a reputable company online, it arrived on my doorstep, and it promptly went into my cheese drawer in my fridge to keep cool until planting.  That was about… April.  So what happened is I ran into the instructions on the internet on how to plant said veggie.  It was not a hard process, but it was hard for me to process that I wouldn’t be able to go out and cut me up some fresh from the garden Asparagus for 2 years!  That’s right! Zippo, nada until the spring of 2014.  I saw this as a BIG commitment from my self and the lovely raised bed my DH had built me just for it.

Fast forward 4 months later. I still have the crowns in my cheese drawer, I still have an empty raised bed, I still really love the stuff.  So yesterday I soaked the crowns for several hours and headed out to the corner of the yard.

Asparagus trench I turned my soil (3 parts topsoil to 1 part compost) and dug 2 lovely trenches.   Just like so!

Jersey KnightThen I placed my crowns 6″ apart over a little rounded mound on the bottom of the trench. Like so.

After placing them just so, (they remind me of Octopi sitting in dirt) I covered them in 2 inches of dirt. Approximately anyhow.

Can you see it or is it just me?

Now the waiting is upon me.  When will I get to sample the wonderfully delicious self-grown asparagus?  It looks like a high possibility of picking some up at the store this week!

This is my own fallout version of planting Asparagus.  Many of the people I have spoken to, or read about on the subject recommend at least a foot (12″) between crowns, which I deemed a bit much even though I am an amateur gardener.  I was taught as a child that you make decisions and you have to reap the consequences.  So if I am out in my garden in 3 years replanting my over grown Asparagus because I planted it to close, I will have learned my dear lesson.