Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Potatoes from Old Potatoes

I just harvested my little potato patch this morning. These potatoes were from store-bought potatoes that were rotting in the cellar in the Spring. I cut off the rotten parts and put the remaining pieces in 2 short rows in my lemon balm garden. I basically ignored them except for watering them a few times when it was dry. After a few weeks I realized I hadn't planted them deeply enough so I weeded around them and used the weeds as a mulch to keep the tubers cool. (potatoes need to be planted deeply because they won't grow properly when the tubers are close to sun-warmed soil)

We won't cure them, just eat them over the next few weeks. I'll use the potato cooking water for gluten-free sourdough pancakes.

Now I'm having dreams of fingerlings and creamers for next year.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hot Summer Tips for Fermenting

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Zucchini Ferment

Just a few quick tips for fermenting in the heat of summer:

Avoid fermenting during a heat wave:
Fermenting during a heat wave is difficult at best unless you have an area that consistently stays below 70 degrees for that first 3 day fermentation period. The last time I tried it, my kitchen was in the 80's, way too hot for the first fermentation period. I moved everything to the basement, which was significantly cooler but apparently I was too late or it wasn't cool enough. The cukes became moldy and slimy.

Usually the cukes are coming fast during a heat wave and it seems the best time to be processing them. We often have to harvest twice a day during that wonderful high summer heat. Now, I store the cukes in the fridge until the heat wave breaks and then I ferment.

Avoid using the cukes that form during heavy summer rains:
These cukes are full of water and won't ferment well. My experience is that extra water seems to upset the salt/water balance.

Use onions with your cukes and summer squash ferments:
To avoid mushy cukes and summer squash ferments, add a little onion to each jar.