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Everything posted by Wayne

  1. I think the Grumpy Gardener should do a little more research. Individual zucchini plants are monoecious, as are other squash, and have both male and female flowers and require a pollinating agent. There is a condition, first-fruit dominance, where male flowers dominate due to developing fruit suppressing subsequent female flower development. I have noticed a decreased production this season and have also noticed a decline in the number of bees. In the early season there were a lot of bees to the extent that when I went out to harvest early morning most flowers had a bee. Not the case anymore.
  2. @Thanks for the Crepes Thanks! I'll have to think about starting a fishing thread. I've only got one more in the works for late September early October and that's it for the season as I've never been a fan of ice fishing (three times as boring as sitting in a boat waiting for a hit while trolling). There was a thread on curing fish and I intend on posting in the near future.
  3. Ongoing lacto-fermentations: Left is day 2 of a 4:1:1 mix of Portugal hot, Cherry Bomb and Habanero peppers in a 6% w/v brine with some garlic. Right is day 14 of a 1:1:1 mash of Portugal hot, Cherry Bomb and Habanero peppers with garlic, palm sugar and coriander. I`ll more then likely finish with fresh peaches when this is further processed into a hot sauce.
  4. I've been having a very busy summer and as a consequence haven't allocated as much time to the garden as I should have. Good thing it doesn't need a lot of maintenance this time of year but still needs some before I post any photos. Got back from fishing (too bad we don't have a fishing thread) to find the following: Tomatoes, habaneros, aji limos and a few jalapenos and Fish (All of the portugals and cherry bombs went into a ferment. The habs are going into a mash for a ferment later today). Lots of beans. I had someone do some picking while I was gone. Dilly beans? I should have said something about the yard long beans as they weren't picked so a lot overgrew. Next year's seeds. Lots of cukes, kale, collards, chard and zucchini (including this seed bag). I'll have to get a lot of the kale and collards into the freezer. I came home with about 60 lbs. of Chinook and Steelhead fillets. I'll be curing and smoking the 'tails' (fillet past the body cavity) and preserving produce so it should be a busy and productive few days. Nice to see everyone else's progress but only have time to quickly skim through for now.
  5. Okay. I'll lead off with the caveat that my methods satisfy my requirements. I make smaller batches due to lack of storage space and my interest in experimenting with different or new ingredients and flavours. It's also well suited for a small home garden. You'll also need a dark spot with a temperature range between 60-75 F. however 65-70 F. is ideal (15.5-24 C. and 18-21 C.). Not shown below is the need for a means of de-chlorinating if you use typical municipally supplied water and a kitchen scale if you're formulating brines. The ceramic crock is an insert from an old slow cooker good for doing a large batch of kosher dills. I only really only use it as a second choice. Next is a 2.5 L. Mason type jar. I do most of the ferments in the two of these I own. The lid and metal fittings are removable since contact with the brined contents would quickly corrode them. I like glass as it is non-reactive and I can monitor the progress of the fermentation. 1 L. standard Mason jar. Great for doing hot pepper mashes for fermented hot sauces. Since I'll be making 5-6 types I don't want large quantities of any. Next is a set of ceramic pie weights. I use them because I have them. Cleaned pebbles would work equally well. These are used if it's necessary to weight down the follower. I've only used these 2-3 times. And last: food grade plastic bags. These are classed as 5 lb. food bags and can be usually be found in 100 count boxes. Easy to find substitutes. I use these as followers. They also function quite well as airlocks. I got the idea from an old Good Eats episode on making kosher dills. Here's an old photo of the follower in place over a fermenting batch of kimchi. Hope this gives you some ideas.
  6. Cheers. You don't really need any specialized equipment to produce lacto-fermented foods. If interested I can post what I use and why.
  7. @sartoric At the risk of giving advice half a world away: Fish out a piece of cabbage and feel it. Is it slimy? Taste it (you can always spit it out). Does it taste salty, sour with a clean taste? Your photo doesn't indicate any mold growth. Although this is very subjective are there any off odours? What is the temperature of the fermentation? If over 24 C is where you start getting problems. I assume it's undergoing fermentation in a dark location. Otherwise all I can say is the top layer seems not very tightly packed and the bottom layer is. Whenever I do these, be it kimchi or sauerkraut, the follower should be just a fraction smaller diameter than the interior diameter of the fermentation vessel and weighted down to compress all the contents. That's really all I can say just viewing the photo. Bon chance.
  8. Starting from the upper left: The bicolour is Aviuri (when fully/overripe the green striping is completely gold). Next is Black Magic (it should be round however all the later fruit look more as expected but still tasted great). The two red round fruit are Canadian Heart. Next is Red Pear. The last is Blueberries which is an indigo strain developed by Brad Gates. It's my experimental tomato for the season. Still awaiting harvesting are Pink Brandywine, Striped German and Dix Doights de Naples (a roma type). Tomatoes are smaller than expected this season as we are experiencing a severe drought in southern Ontario. The silver lining is that the tomatoes are intensely flavourful.
  9. Does look like a couple of okra pods. It's two Portugal Hot peppers. Forgot to mention them with the other ingredients. This is a "catch all" pickle for stuff that's not going to be used up in the next few days. These pickles always turn out well as long as the brine constituents are weighted and they're provided with the right fermentation conditions. At this time of the year it's great not having to unnecessarily heat something.
  10. This morning's pickage: Clockwise from top left: collards, kale, basil, cherry bomb and jalapeno peppers, the start of another run of bush beans, pickling cucumbers and a few radishes that self-seeded. It's also first tomato day. Some didn't make it into the house.
  11. Started this lacto-fermentation 3 days ago. Pickling cucumbers and baby zucchini flavoured with jalapenos, garlic, mustard seed, black peppercorns and garlic in a 6% w/v brine. Should be ready in another 7-11 days.
  12. With respect to the above discussion concerning blossom end rot I'll have to side with @DiggingDogFarm in that it is a physiological condition and the best way to deal with it is by preventive practices. I'm unsure what Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) can contribute except Mg++ is essential for chlorophyll synthesis and may contribute to the overall ability of the plant to uptake and transport Ca++. I'll have to consult one of my old textbooks on whether Ca++ and Mg++ uptake are codependent. You've given me a brain worm .
  13. The salting/rinsing/draining step is also very beneficial before pickling zucchini. It firms them and they retain a nice crunch.
  14. @Shelby Sometimes it's amazing how nature can bounce back from a major setback. Your plants look very healthy (especially that eggplant). Good luck for the remainder of the season.
  15. The squash in the pickage photo are cocozelle zucchini. They look very similar to costata romanesco. The defining difference is the costata have prominent lengthwise ribs and the cocozelle are smooth otherwise the colouration and shape are very similar. I have to admit these are the best tasting summer squash I've ever grown and are a keeper.
  16. Wayne

    Food Funnies

    Viewing @sartoric Lunch post of Beef and Guinness pies made this pop to mind: Clever marketing.
  17. I agree with you that they're best picked 4-6 inches long (as were these) and checking the plants first thing in the morning and again in the early evening. I've got two plants and that gives me plenty of steady production for immediate consumption and making pickles that will hopefully last until next season. This morning's flowers ended up in an omelette. That said some get missed as I'm not about to give up any fishing time just to watch the zucchini grow .
  18. A few recent pickles: White onions in cider vinegar with a few allspice berries. Zucchini and kohlrabi with garlic, ginger and allspice berries.
  19. This morning's 'pickage': Clockwise from left: the last of the lettuce (pleasantly surprised I've been able to keep it going this long), Portugal Hot peppers, pickling cucumbers, Jalapeno peppers, Cocozelle zucchini and mixed bush beans (I do a new planting every two weeks so I'll be harvesting them until first frost). Still pining for that first tomato.
  20. @KennethT Been off the grid for a few days and just caught up on your China trip. Thanks for the vicarious travel I've been enjoying. China is one of the places I always wanted to visit however it never worked out. Really like the combination of place and meals experienced.
  21. Agree wholeheartedly. I started growing it many years ago as a substitute for spinach (which bolts too readily) and now prefer it to spinach. I suggest giving it a try. It's planted as soon as I can work the soil in early spring and I harvest it as you would kale by taking the outer leaves over the course of the summer. I'm in a 7a growing zone and it doesn't seem to mind the heat here. Zucchini makes great pickles.
  22. This time of the season is, for me, transition time. Changing some beds over and starting to plan for fall crops. This bed, which was all garlic, has been reworked with compost and replanted with bush beans (left side) and beets (upper right). It's still too early to plant daikon, watermelon radish and radicchio. Still waiting for the first tomato however it may be soon. As for hot peppers. Lots of herbs: mint, sage and thyme, Also dill, coriander, tarragon, flat leaf parsley, garlic chives, chives, oregano, rosemary and basil. And the Thai basil. And finally today's 'pickage' (I'll adopt that term). Swiss chard, zucchini, mixed bush beans and romaine.
  23. @shain If I was your neighbor you'd have serious competition for those figs .
  24. I have finished both The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meat and The Elements of Pizza: Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home with strong opinions on both. Both books were borrowed from our local public library. I much prefer to pre-read and evaluate books before purchasing. 'The Wurst of Lucky Peach': Reminded me of a website in style and content. Disjoint and unfocused despite the title. Not a keeper. 'Elements of Pizza' by Ken Forkish: Excellent. I'll be ordering my copy soon.
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