Friday, January 5, 2018

Clear, Cold Bok Choy Weather & a Soup Recipe to Chase the Chill

 Happy New Year! Just like that, winter blew in with a very cool week!

 Very large agricultural covers protect all our crops from killing frost
 Sweater weather is here and we have all of our veggies snuggled under very large agricultural blankets. I heard there were snow flurries in Pierson but none on our farm. Yesterday I peeked under the covers and saw healthy crops. There could be a little tip burn on leaves that touch the frozen material. Sometimes frost damage is not obvious for a few days.  With crossed fingers we are hoping nothing took a big hit. We experience freezing temperatures every winter, so we take pains to prepare. It is extra work but it can be a difference of having 1-2 diminished  harvests as compared to nothing to cut for weeks. Easy decision there! Once in place and held down with sand bags, most of the work is done. That's what you have to do to have fresh veggies on the table this month! And that leads me to share another seasonal recipe using our winter 2018 veggie hero: Baby Bok Choy.

 A lovely steaming bowl of baby bok choy soup?  I just threw it together 

 Baby Bok Choy Soup Preparation

 Basic Ingredients:
3 large baby bok choy chopped (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup diced onion
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 cups leftover cooked pasta eg spaghetti chopped
1 cup cooked spinach chopped

Putting it together:
Place bok choy, onions and stock in a large pot. The liquid needs to cover the veggies by about an inch. Bring pot to boil uncovered then reduce heat and cook til veggies are tender about 20 minutes on medium heat. Add your optional ingredients and heat through. I love to fry my pasta up first in a little butter. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little melted butter. surely some might want to add a little ginger and wouldn't just about any mushrooms just make it even better?  Find other farm recipes.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Welcome November Greens!

Spring Mix  hand cut &triple rinsed
We have just begun to harvest our fall lettuce & greens mix so get your salad bowls ready all you greens starved southerners!  Our lettuce and greens mix which we have always called "spring mix" is a customers favorite farm product. The harvest window for it generally runs from Thanksgiving through Mother's Day so we are just a bit earlier than usual. How nice! We really enjoy it with a simple dressing made with fresh garlic, oil and lemon juice. For instructions click on our recipe & tips tab at the top of this page. Look for "Mediterranean lemon dresssing"

Some things early, some things late. We just seeded our tatsoi and turnips are still about 30 days away. Peas and radishes are very late as well but the healthy sweet potato vines look promising and we have every hope of having  lots of sweet potatoes in time for thanksgiving feasts.

Hibiscus flowers are tapering off quickly. Last chance to get them may be next week. Still a chance to try them in a southern style "cranberry sauce"( check out our recipe) The beautiful plants yielded generously! Next year we really ought to plan a hibiscus festival to share and expand our knowledge on the many ways to use them.  

The wild beauty berries are drying up on the bushes. The birds will pick at them all winter. We were able to get a nice share already and we can enjoy the syrup we made for many months. You can too! We will have plenty of jars at the farmers market on Friday evenings. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pauline's Lucky Market Garden: T'is Hibiscus Flower Season Again!

Pauline's Lucky Market Garden: T'is Hibiscus Flower Season Again!: Eye catching hibiscus sabdariffa calyces (often called "hibiscus flowers")  PLEASINGLY TART TASTING...WE HAVE HEAPS OF THEM!!!...

T'is Hibiscus Flower Season Again!

Eye catching hibiscus sabdariffa calyces (often called "hibiscus flowers")

These beauties come from the same plant that gave us sour leaves in the summer. You may hear them called Roselles, Rosellas, or Florida Cranberry. In all cases, we are referring to the red crisp and tart tasting calyx, peeled away from the seed pod inside and used in hot and cold teas, jams, jellies, sauces and syrups just to name a few favorite tasty creations.
We highly recommend making jam with them. You can find many recipes on the internet. We used one from an Australian site. No time to make your own jam? You can try ours! Jars available at our farmers market booth. 
Other seasonal farm specialties now at the farmers market: Baby Arugula.....Basil plants.....southern peas....squash blossoms.

Wouldn't you love to try making your own?

20 fresh hibiscus flowers
10 cups water
1-1 1/2 cups sugar

Remove the seed pods and discard.  Place red calyes, sugar and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20minutes. Strain and serve hot or cold

Friday, July 21, 2017

Hibiscus Greens also know as "sour leaves"

The subject of this post is the leaf from the edible Hibiscus sabdariffa. Grown on our farm for 3 years, we are expanding our knowledge of this attractive heat loving bushy crop and its many uses. At first we grew this variety of hibiscus solely to harvest the bright red caylces called hibiscus flowers by many. When I offered some to a friend from India, she mentioned how her mom had cooked the tart tasting leaves in Indian cuisine. We couldn't have been more excited to find out there was a plant with edible summer greens already being grown on our farm in the scorching, humid days of July and August.  I will have to ask my friend if she would share her mom's recipe but I have found it rewarding and interesting searching for different ways to cook with it on my own.  As you can see from our photo, our plants have dark red stems and vibrant green leaves. We sell the leaves in bunches. The stems are too fibrous to use but it is easy to tear or cut the leaves off. They have an intensely tart taste fresh and cooked. Experiment with them by slicing them into ribbons and dropping them into boiling water. Take them out after 7-10 min when they are tender. I like to add them this way in small amounts to my cooked kale or collard greens. Like other greens, the sour leave shrink significantly as they cook but that's ok because you don't eat them on their own in large quantities.

Around the world in tropical areas sour leaves are  known to be key ingredients in special dishes.  People from Senegal cook them into a savory stew with fish, rice, tomato sauce, carrots, cabbage and cassava. It is called "Thieboudienne" and is the national dish in Senegal so you know it must be wonderful! I found a nice recipe by Saveur. Use the sour leaf instead of the flower.  Or try pairing the sour leaves with shrimp in a different popular dish from Burma called "Chin baung kyaw". published an article including a recipe for this exotic side dish which is made with garlic, onions, spicy peppers, turmeric, bamboo shoots and shrimp.

TRY OUR FAVORITE WAY TO EAT THE HIBISCUS LEAVES "Hibiscus Leaves Stuffed with Mushroom Risotto". The recipe (our unique creation) with photos is posted on the Tips and Recipes page.

I hope I have your mouth watering and your fingers ready to surf the internet for more sour greens uses. Let us know how you love to cook it best. We will be happy to provide greens at the farmers market in Artisan Alley Deland FL. You can find us there every Friday from 6-9pm rain or shine!

Friday, December 2, 2016

We have been digging sweet potatoes this week and are bringing them to our  booth at the Artisan Alley Farmers Market in downtown Deland. We have two types: the orange flesh one that most folks are familiar with and another with dark reddish skin and a white flesh that stays firm when cooked (this one is especially good in soups and stews).  Use your sweet potatoes along with your turkey leftovers to make a lovely chowder. Go to our recipes page and scroll down to find our new favorite farm recipe!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Baking with Hibiscus Flowers

It's Hibiscus flower harvest time at our farm, and we are having some more fun with them in our farm kitchen. This time we used them as a cranberry substitute and baked them into this lovely, moist cake. Try it yourself using our recipe. We sell our hibiscus flowers at our farmers market stand at the Artisan Alley Farmers' Market in Deland FL.   It will take a bit over an  hour. Also called "roselle" and  "Florida cranberry" the part we use and call "hibiscus flower" is not truly the flower but actually the seed pod surrounded by tart tasting sepals. These are removed and can be used dried or fresh. We used them fresh in our cake. This delicious cake makes 10 servings

4 cups hibiscus flower sepals (start with about 68 whole fresh flowers ~3/4 lb)
1  1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
zest from 1 orange

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup buttermilk

TO PREPARE YOUR HIBISCUS FLOWERS: simply pull off the red sepals around the seed pod. This is easy and not messy. When you have 4 cups, pulse them quickly in a food processor to chop them coarsely. Place them in a large sauce pan with the 1 1/2 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil on medium high heat stirring then reduce heat to medium cooking 10 more minutes. Remove from heat, stir in orange zest, allow to cool.


PREPARE THE CAKE BATTER:  Melt butter. Using a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, add 1 cup sugar and blend well. Stir in melted butter gradually, mix well. Sift dry ingredients together then add to egg mixture alternating with buttermilk. Stir carefully to combine without over beating.

Oil a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan.  Using a slotted spoon scoop out cooked hibiscus flowers from sauce pan and place in bottom of baking pan. Save the syrup to pour over on the side or decorate plates with later. Carefully pour the cake batter over the flowers. Bake for about 30 minutes. Cake will be golden brown on top when done.  Cool completely. Carefully cut out pieces and plate hibiscus flower side up.