Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The ULTIMATE Salsa from Scratch Recipe

Everybody loves salsa. Whether it's hot, mild, or somewhere in between, salsa is a versatile dish that's always a hit at parties, snack time, and the dinner table. It transforms all sorts of foods - plain corn chips, cooked vegetables, eggs and all sorts of proprieties - from bland into something you crave. If you've grown tired of store bought salsas and are looking to make your own, this easy recipe is sure to satisfy not only your desire to cook, but your taste buds as well! The best and only true way to make salsa from scratch is to grow the ingredients yourself!

The salsas you buy in stores often contain vegetables and herbs that are exposed to herbicides and pesticides. The long term effects of consuming such foods are unknown, but some studies suggest that they could be harmful to human health and the environment.

Instead of risking the health of yourself and the ecosystem, grow your own salsa vegetables!

The Salsa Garden Heirloom Vegetable Seed Kit comes with everything you need to grow your salsa ingredients for a salsa that is truly from scratch, including Roma Tomatoes, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Rutgers Tomatoes, Yellow Spanish Onions, White Spanish Onions, Anaheim Chile Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, California Bell Peppers, Verde Tomatillos, and Cilantro. None of these seeds are hybridized. This means you cannot only grow these crops in a variety of climate zones, but you can also collect and plant the seeds again and again, for future crops and many salsas to come. These seeds also come specially sealed to ensure quality, and the plants can be replanted and harvested over and over again.

Here is an easy salsa recipe that you can make with the vegetables from the Salsa Garden Heirloom Vegetable Seed Kit. Whip some up and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 minced yellow or white onion
  • 1 seeded and minced jalapeno (use two if you are making an extra spicy salsa)
  • 1/2 Anaheim Chile Pepper
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 diced bell pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp organic sugar

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Place in fridge and marinate for four hours or longer, depending on the kind of flavor you want the salsa to have. The salsa serves 6 to 8 people and will keep in the fridge for about a week. To adjust spiciness, add in jalapeno seeds or even another jalapeno if you like your salsa really hot.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Glass Jar Storage Made Safe and Easy

Home canning can be one of the most rewarding things you can do to help your family to be self-reliant and prepared. Unfortunately, many people hesitate to begin a home canning program because of the hassle and danger associated with the traditional methods of storing and transporting fragile glass canning jars.

If you can remember seeing glass food storage jars in your parents' or grandparents' basement or garage, you are not alone. For generations, people stored their home canned goods in flimsy cardboard boxes or stacked the jars on top of each other on a shelf in a dusty corner of some forgotten room. These inadequate storage methods made the jars vulnerable to breakage or exposure to contamination from rodents or insects, but they were the only methods people knew.

Finally, someone has come up with a real solution.

Designed by a veteran home canning enthusiast to both store and protect fragile glass canning jars, the JarBOX eliminates many of the worst problems associated with home canning. It takes the worry and hassle out of storage and transportation.

The JarBOX canning jar storage container stores and protects up to 12 regular or wide-mouth quart canning jars. It snugly holds each jar in its place and eliminates the need to use wads of newspaper or old tee shirts as padding between the jars. Almost all interior space is taken up by the jars and it is nearly impossible for bugs or mice to find there way in. Unlike an ordinary cardboard box, the JarBOX is not susceptible to decay or damage from damp conditions. It can be safely stored for years in root cellars, basements or other humid areas. Also, if a jar leaks while it is in storage, the JarBOX will hold the spill and keep the mess contained. The semi-transparent plastic of the JarBOX makes jar identification easy without having to move and open box after box.

Precision molded of recycled, BPA-free polypropylene and HDPE, this patent-pending innovation is durable and environmentally friendly. It consists of two identical halves. Each 20" x 14 3/4" x 3 3/4" half can be used separately as a storage and carrying tote or combined to make a stackable box.

Stacking is easy. JarBOXes are designed to lock into place on top of one another securely and firmly. Once snapped together, it is very difficult to push them off of each other. Special half-moon-and-hole features are molded into the edges that allow you to use zip ties, paracord or bungee cords for additional stability and security during transport.

The JarBOX is dishwasher safe and sturdy enough to last season after season. The heavy-duty latches move easily and are designed to last after opening and closing 200 or more times.

When not in use, JarBOX halves can be stacked inside one another for space-saving storage or transport.

The JarBOX is the perfect jar storage solution for home canning enthusiasts, RVers, people interested in self-sufficiency or survival, or anyone who needs to store and transport their glass jars safely and efficiently.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Grow Kitchen Herbs

Growing kitchen herbs is a great way to conveniently procure fresh herbs for more delicious meals as well as an easy way to cut back on the cost of dried spices. Growing fresh herbs in the kitchen or in a small outdoor space is a rising trend among many household cooks and finding supplies for growing herbs is becoming easier than ever.

Here are a few easy tips on how to grow your own kitchen herbs.

Choose Your Kitchen Herbs
First, decide which plants you would use the most. If you make Mexican or Italian food regularly, you’ll probably want a cilantro plant, as well as some thyme and oregano. Basil, sage, thyme, dill, parsley and chives are also popular additions to all kinds of dishes. These plants grow easily in a variety of environments and are hardy plants that grow quickly and are difficult to kill.

Procure Your Herb Seeds
Once you’ve selected out your favorite herbs, it’s time to get planting! You can purchase seeds separately, or buy a packaged set like the Culinary Herb Garden, which features a collection of high quality heirloom herb seeds for cooking herbs including cilantro, sage, basil, thyme, dill, oregano, parsley and more with over 70 seeds of each plant. Each seed has been specially packaged to last and can be grown virtually anywhere. Since your family will be consuming these plants, be sure to choose non-gmo herb seeds.

Pick a Spot for Your Culinary Herb Garden
You’ll need to pick a good spot for your plants, preferably where they’ll get some sun. Either a window or an outdoor space will work. Find a spot safe from pets or kids and set up your space with small pots or a single large container for all of your herbs. Windowsill gardens are especially easy to maintain, since they are partially protected from the elements by being attached to the house and receive sunlight. If you don’t have a spot for your plants that receives sunlight, you can purchase a light to help your plants grow. You should also be sure to acquire containers that have good drainage, since overly damp soil can hurt many varieties of herbs.

Quality Soil for Quality Herbs
When choosing soil, opt for a nutrient-rich soil and avoid overfeeding after you plant. Herbs produce the most flavor in conditions with just enough nutrients to thrive. Over-feeding with extra fertilizer will produce bland herbs, and lack of nutrients will produce a stunted plant. Absolutely avoid all pesticides, since they can be toxic for cooking. Anything that goes onto your plant might eventually make it onto your plate; so if bugs are a problem, choose a low-toxicity formula for edible plants and rinse herbs well before cooking.

Taking Care of Your Kitchen Herbs
Once you’ve planned and planted, it’s time to talk maintenance. Herbs do well when they are regularly trimmed, so make it a priority to periodically trim off dead leaves and stems. Trimming will also encourage the plant to grow in an ideal shape. Pinching stems regularly also encourages herbs to grow. Annual herbs should be harvested before they flower, since that’s when the leaves taste fresh and have the most flavor. When your plants produce seeds that double as spices, dry them and grind them up for cooking later. Remember that dried herbs tend to have more concentrated flavor than fresh herbs. If you set leaves from your plants out to dry, you don’t have to use much to get the seasoning you desire.

Kitchen gardens are a wonderful, easy way to save money and add flavor to all your favorite foods from the comfort of your own home. With a little effort and maintenance, your kitchen garden will be blooming in no time.