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Seed Saving

May 28th, 2010

 

One of the greatest joys to be had from growing your own herbs and vegetables is seed saving. Seed saving is one aspect of sustainable living and old as mankind; it’s the traditional way gardens were maintained. The cyclical process of planting | harvesting | planting not only saves you money in the long run, but also offers wonderful rewards.

Whether you may be interested in seed saving as a hobby, to preserve 50+ years of outstanding heirloom varieties, for self reliance, or to provide your family with nutrient-rich foods of outstanding quality, seed saving is an important art form that honors the true taste and texture of our favorite foods. From generation to generation, seeds have provided civilization with a diversity of plants that nourish and sustain. It’s seems only fair that we nourish precious plants back, via seed saving.

If you’re new to seed saving, consider saving seeds from beans, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes, as they offer the greatest chance for successful seed saving. Once you get basic seed saving techniques mastered you can try your hand at saving those vegetables that require more seed saving care.

For seed saving techniques, visit Humble Seed then click on ‘our products’ then ‘Seed List and Details.’

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Corn on the Cob: A Summertime Tradition

May 24th, 2010

 

Juicy and sweet corn on the cob is nothing short of spectacular. Whether you enjoy corn on the cob simply with butter, salt and pepper or enhanced with your favorite flavors—see our Grilled Corn with Hot Paper Lantern and Mango Butter recipe—this popular vegetable is a must-have for the table throughout spring and summer. From barbecues to clambakes, corn on the cob is guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds and inspire you in the kitchen.

The Organic Double Standard Corn found in The Producer offers delicious corn taste and is ideal for seed-saving enthusiasts. Plant seeds directly in soil. The Double Standard Corn is an early maturing corn that provides ears with an average size of 7”, with 12-14 rows of white and yellow kernels (some ears with yellow kernels only). Nutritionally, corn is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium.

Here is an easy clambake recipe that offers traditional New England clambake flavor.

Easy Clambake

Ingredients

  • 5 quarts plus 1 cup water, divided
  • 2 (1 ½ pounds each) live lobsters
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, cleaned and quartered
  • 20 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 20 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 6 ounces kielbasa, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 ears Double Standard Corn, cleaned then cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 sweet onions, peeled then cut into 8 wedges
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 4 lemon wedges

Preparation

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Place 5 quarts of water in an 8-quart stockpot; bring to a boil. Plunge each lobster, headfirst, into water. Return water to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer lobsters for 2 minutes. Drain. Prepare potatoes by placing them in a saucepan and covering them with cold water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Place potatoes in a large roasting pan. Add clams, mussels, kielbasa, corn, onions, thyme, parsley, lemon juice and remaining 1 cup water to roasting pan. Set lobsters atop ingredients in roasting pan then sprinkle ingredients with seasoning. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil. Set roasting pan on grill rack and cook until clams and mussels open, about 15 to 18 minutes. Discard any unopened shells. Serve with lemon wedges. SERVES 4

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Memorial Day Week Long Sale

May 23rd, 2010

Use Code “GONAVY” to get 35% off on any of our seed kits! Jim served ten years in the navy and would like to honor all those who have served by offering this awesome discount to everyone. Offer ends June 1st.

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Slowing Down

May 17th, 2010

 

Today, it’s not easy to slow down. Between working, taking kids to and from activities, laundry, house cleaning, grocery shopping, yard work, etc., etc., etc., it’s hard to find the time to truly relax. And, getting the whole family to relax together can be an even bigger accomplishment. Perhaps that’s why vacations were created so families can get away from home, and into a setting where they are not in their day-to-day routines.

However, there is one activity that most families partake in together that should create a sense of relaxation: mealtime. While breakfast and lunch can be hurried or difficult meals for gathering the whole family because of school schedules and work, dinner is a great opportunity to unwind, build family quality time, and appreciate food, which is our sustenance to life. One way to incorporate a sense of relaxation and appreciation around the dinner table is to embrace the Slow Food movement.

The Slow Food movement began with Carlo Petrini in Bra, Italy, in 1980. While Carlo’s colorful and very interesting story is one that should be learned it is too long to include in this blog post. We recommend that you read The Pleasures of Slow Food: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors and Recipes by Corby Kummer, with Preface by Carlo Petrini and Foreward by Eric Schlosser.

In a nutshell, in December 1989, delegates from 15 countries created the Slow Food manifesto and approved the movement’s symbol: the snail, a tiny, slow moving creature that calmly eats its way through life. Slow Food is all about helping people grow, produce, and consume the right kind of food; food that is good-tasting, produced in a sustainable way, and fair, whereby producers receive fair compensation for their hard work. Slow Food also believes that consuming food should be a pleasurable experience, whether you’re eating alone or with family or friends. Slow Food pays tribute to an unhurried life that begins at the table, differentiating itself from fast food values.

With more than 100,000 members in 132 countries, this international movement—which started with a very small group of passionate people—has proven, and continues to prove, its dedication to the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

To learn more about the Slow Food lifestyle visit Slow Food Usa™ and Slow Food®.

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Hot Paper Lantern: Some Like It Hot

May 14th, 2010

 

While some people do not like hot foods others cannot get enough of them, taking on the mantra, “The hotter the better!” If you’re one of those people that like to turn up the heat in the kitchen then consider planting the Hot Paper Lantern in your garden or container gardening scheme. You’ll be able to create hot and flavorful dishes that will put your taste buds to the heat test—the Hot Paper Lantern offers habanero-like qualities, from the flavor to the blistering heat. If cooking and preparing hot pepper dishes is new to you here is a great tip: If your mouth is on fire after eating a hot pepper dish drink milk. Casein, a substance found in dairy products, helps disrupt the burning sensation.

The high-yielding Hot Paper Lantern grows tall and puts on a colorful show in the garden, turning from bright lime green to shades of orange and scarlet red. The slightly wrinkled peppers grow 3-4” long, and this pepper is characterized by its eye-catching, elongated shape. It’s a beauty!

Grilled Corn with Hot Paper Lantern and Mango Butter

Ingredients

  • ¼ to ½ hot paper lantern pepper, trimmed and seeded
  • 1 small mango, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup mango nectar
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ears of corn

Preparation

Add the pepper, mango, mango nectar, and honey to a small saucepan; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until mango is very soft. Transfer mixture to a food processor; puree until smooth. Strain into a small bowl and allow puree to cool for 30 minutes.

Clean out food processor then add the pepper-mango puree back into processor. Add cilantro, softened butter and salt to food processor then puree ingredients until smooth. Spoon pepper-mango butter into a small bowl then cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until chilled.

Prepare grill for moderate heat. To prepare corn, pull husks back to the base of the stalks, leaving husks attached. Remove corn silk then pull husks back over corn. Tie husks shut with butcher string. Place corn in a large bowl then add cold water. Submerge corn for 10 minutes. Note: Use a plate to keep corn submerged in water.

Drain corn, but do not pat dry. Place corn on the grill and cook for about 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until corn is tender. Transfer to plates, spread with pepper-mango butter and serve. YIELDS 8

If you would like planting information for the Hot Paper Lantern, check out our seed listings then scroll down to Hot Paper Lantern, and for more information about wonderful chile peppers visit The Chile Pepper Institute (CPI).

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Waste Not, Want Not

May 11th, 2010

 

How many times has this happened to you? You have a recipe that you want to make that calls for an ingredient that you do not have on hand. You buy the smallest package of said ingredient that you can find only to discover later that the rest has gone bad before you could use it all. In addition to leftover prepared foods, cheeses, fruits, herbs, and vegetables each make up a large portion of foods that end up going to waste while sitting on the counter or in the fridge. When you’re trying to stay within a budget, it’s easy to see how wasted food is wasted money. As hard as many of us attempt to pre-plan meals using what’s on hand or take advantage of our freezers it’s sometimes easier said than done.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans waste 30 percent of all edible food produced, bought, and sold in the U.S., and scientists at the University of Arizona and the National Institute of Health (NIH) estimate 40 percent or more. To add to this unfortunate situation, Environmental Protection Agency data suggests that rotting food may be responsible for about one-tenth of all anthropogenic (caused by humans) methane emissions. When rotting food decomposes in landfills a by-product is methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.

While throwing out a few salad greens here and there may seem harmless, in the long run, every bit of food-gone-bad adds up to a lot of wasted food and global warming woes.

One way that people can help reduce food waste is by growing their own herbs and vegetables. When you grow your own foods not only will you be able to enjoy foods free of pesticides and fertilizer, but you will also be able to use what is needed, when needed. Another positive side to this is that if a food grower has more, say, vegetables than they can use during the growing season, there is the opportunity to share the bounty with friends and neighbors. It’s a much better feeling than the one you get when you spend your hard-earned money at the grocery store just to have foods go bad.

For more in-depth information on food waste and easy-to-embrace solutions, read How to Wage War on Food Waste, from OnEarth, the award-winning environmental magazine.

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The Five Ws of Humble Seed

May 7th, 2010

Since the launch of Humble Seed, we’ve met some great folks who are passionate about seeds, and we’re honored to be a part of such a wonderful community. If you’re a new follower to the Humble Seed Blog, here is one of our press releases, to give you some insight into who we are.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jim Mitchell, co-owner/operator

877-956-SEED (7333)

jmitchell@humbleseed.com

Feed Your Inner Gardener with ‘Humble Seed’

Scottsdale, Ariz. (April 14, 2010) – Humble Seed cultivates the gardener within all of us with irresistible “seed that feeds” kits. Each kit features premium seed packets for an array of edible plants. First-time entrepreneurs Jim and Kristen Mitchell, who launched the online business today, aim to inspire would-be growers by making seed selection easier while enhancing variety, flavor, and nutritional value.

Instead of sifting through piles of paper envelopes vulnerable to heat and humidity, www.HumbleSeed.com customers pick from themed gardens in a kit: Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles; The Producer; Uncle Herb’s Favorites; and Veggin’ Out.

Every kit contains at least 10 premium packets of seeds for environmentally conscious growers offering higher seed counts than similar products. Seeds are packaged in re-sealable Mylar bags for ultimate protection, allowing growers to plant now or later. For those seeking a survival seed bank, The Producer is a bulk fruit-and-vegetable kit that is packaged within an FDA-approved container for long-term food storage.

Humble Seed is a labor of love. After relocating to the Valley from the Midwest one year ago, Jim left his career as an energy trader to follow his heart. He poured his energy and savings into Humble Seed, an entirely self-funded venture.

“My whole life I’ve been trying to find one calling, one passion that would help people,” Jim says. “I really connected to growing my own food. There are so many health, financial and environmental benefits and creating a stable, healthy food supply reduces our reliance on other economies.”

The Scottsdale husband-and-wife team share a passion for making a difference. We are extremely excited that we’re helping empower people in a down economy,” says Kristen. “Families can now get fresh food at a fraction of the cost found at your local produce section.”

Humble Seed is dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to conscientious gardeners who choose to start from seed. Hobbyists, retirement communities, survival gardeners, schools and restaurants can buy the kits at www.HumbleSeed.com. The website also features books, recipes and seed-growing tips.  Kits start at $21.95.

More information and interviews: 877-956-7333; jmitchell@humbleseed.com; www.humbleseed.com. Become a friend of Humble Seed on Facebook.

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The Moveable Garden

May 6th, 2010

 

It’s hard to believe that container gardening has been around as far back as 600 BC, but King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon created one of the most spectacular gardens of all times. Considered one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have fascinated everyone from archaeologists to the common gardener.

Whether you’re limited with a small balcony, patio or roof or you want to add more color, coziness and patterns to your outdoor living space, container gardening is an easy, popular way to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables. And, if you’ve never grown your own plants before, container gardening is a great place to begin your green thumb adventures.

Three of the most appealing benefits of container gardening include easy accessibility to plants, the ability to move plants around during bad weather and excessive temperatures, and the opportunity to enjoy an extended growing season.

Common containers include hanging baskets, planters and pots, and creative gardeners use everything from old enamel pots, tires, and even old, worn work books to house a variety of flowers and plants. When it comes to container gardening, it can be as fun and whimsical as you want it to be!

If you would like more information and guidance on container gardening success visit Vegetable Gardening in Containers.

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In Search of True Tomato Taste?

May 3rd, 2010

Available in a wide range of bright, beautiful colors and unique shapes, heirloom tomatoes, also known as heritage tomatoes, offer incredible, distinct flavors that surpass those of genetically modified tomatoes that are oftentimes tasteless.

Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated tomatoes that help preserve agricultural traditions of days gone by, and they offer us the pure taste of nature. Open pollinated tomato plants are pollinated by birds, insects, wind, or other natural means. Under these conditions the plant will produce seeds naturally. Traditionally passed down from one generation to another, heirloom tomatoes are varieties 50 to 100 years old.

If you’re a tomato lover but have never experienced heirloom tomatoes we cannot recommend enough that you give them a try. Garden fresh and full of true tomato taste, you will love each and every heirloom tomato eating experience.

Our Amish heirloom Rose tomato variety, from New Holland, PA, provides healthy, strong plants that resist disease. There is also little cracking from this wonderful variety that provides luscious taste. Plant seeds indoors, 6-10 weeks before setting outside. Before planting in the garden, harden off the plant by placing in the shade for about a week, bringing it inside at night. This will help strengthen the plant for the garden. When transplanting seedlings, cover the roots and stem up to the first set of leaves. Curve the stem above the ground to an upright position. The stem will sprout roots and develop a strong root system. Give your tomatoes TLC by providing sufficient moisture, warmth and drainage.

You can find our organic, heirloom Rose tomato in our Veggin’ Out and The Producer seed kits.

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