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Our Top Cucumber Recipes (In 10 Min. Or Less!)

August 30th, 2014

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In case you missed it on Facebook, our cucumbers are producing on our Tower Garden like crazy. This means we’ve had to get clever when it comes to recipes (because really, how many side salads with sliced cucumbers can you serve before your toddler starts pitching it). Here are our top Organic Marketmore Cucumber food and drink recipes we’ve enjoyed with our family – kid approved! BONUS: These recipes can thrown together in less than 10 minutes.

Cucumber Raita (pronounced ry-ta)

Traditionally found as an accompaniment to Indian meals— raita is served on the side to cool off the main course, and adds a nice fresh element. 

1 medium sized Marketmore Cucumber

1 cup plain yogurt

salt to taste

Santo Cilantro for garnish

1 tsp roasted cumin seed (optional)

Wash and peel the cucumber. Grate the cucumber or chop finely. Add to yogurt along with salt to taste, and cilantro for garnish.

(serves 4)

Israeli Salad 

We love this salad as a main course, or as a side to lamb and veggie kabobs. 

1 cup Washington Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half

1 medium sized Marketmore Cucumber, cubed

4 Purly Chives, finely sliced

3 tablespoons Titan Parsley, finely minced

Juice a half a lemon

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Crumbled feta 

Toss together all of the vegetables and the feta in one large bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and mix well. Serve chilled.

Berry, Lime, Cucumber and Basil Water

The perfect cool treat for this weekend. Ps- it’s kid approved. 

1 cup berries, sliced (blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries work well)

1 cup Marketmore Cucumber, finely sliced

2 limes, finely sliced 

3 tablespoons fresh Superbo basil

ice cubes

2 quarts filtered water

In a 2 quart pitcher, layer the berries, cucumber slices, lime slices, basil leaves and ice cubes. Fill pitcher with water, and let chill for 10 minutes before serving. 

Apple Carrot Cucumber Ginger Juice

Cucumbers are one of the most alkalizing vegetables out there, plus it yields a good amount of juice and has a mild flavor. We find this juice combination particularly refreshing and energizing. 

4 apples

8 Scarlet Nantes Carrots

1 Marketmore Cucumber

1-2 inches ginger root

Clean vegetables and chop into small chunks. Juice all of the produce and the ginger root, we suggest juicing the cucumber last to acquire the most juice. Refrigerate and enjoy.

***Friends, what are your favorite easy recipes using cucumbers?***

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed. We’re also proud to say we have taken the Safe Seed Pledge!!

Does starting your first garden seem too overwhelming or you simply don’t have the space? The Tower Garden (www.myveggiestand.com) may be the answer for you!  Passionate about gardening and healthy living, or looking to expand your current health-based business? Consider becoming a Tower Garden distributor! Email info@humbleseed for more information.

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Let’s all give thanks to the parsnip!

November 19th, 2013

Parsnips

Are we the only ones who love root vegetables in the fall? While we all enjoy our standby potatoes and carrots – we are having a love affair with parsnips lately. Who can deny their sweet flavor and versatility? Here are eleven facts we found pretty darn interesting about our beloved Lancer Parsnips (and here’s where to find them).

1. Cultivated in Europe since ancient times and a relative of the carrot, the ivory-colored, fibrous parsnip offers sweet, nutty flavor and celery-like fragrance.

2. It can be harvested through the end of November, and if you wait until after the first frost of the year, you’ll find that they are delightfully sweeter, because cold temperatures turn the parsnip’s starch into sugar.

3. Because parsnips are so fibrous, they’re generally cooked before eating. Parsnips are the sweetest of all the root vegetables and easy to prepare.

4. Parsnips are chocked full of vitamin C, which is essential for building healthy connective tissues, teeth, gums, and the immune system.

5.  The parsnip is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. It is also rich in vitamin K, folate, and manganese.

6. Prior to planting, soak parsnip seeds in water for 24 hours for optimal germination.

7. Starting the parsnip seed outside is recommended. Plant in late spring or early summer about four months before the first frost. Harvest anytime between June and late November.

8. They can be sliced up or left whole when baked or boiled, and mashed with butter and cream. Try slicing parsnips into big chunks and steam like carrots.

9. These root vegetables are a delicious addition to roasts, soups and stews.

10. Flavors that complement this root vegetable include: allspice, brown sugar, chives, cinnamon, ginger, maple syrup, nutmeg, rosemary, and sage, to name a few.

11. Parsnips are especially wonderful when mashed with butter, cream, and spices – feel free to include potatoes in the mash too. This side dish is perfect for pairing with roasted meats:

Mashed Parsnips

(Serves 4)

  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Place parsnips in a large saucepan then cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt to the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat then simmer for about 12 minutes or until parsnips are very tender. Drain parsnips then place in a food processor. Add butter nutmeg, cream, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt; Process ingredients until smooth.

 

Roasted Parsnips with Cinnamon & Parsley

10 medium parsnips (appx. 1 – 1.5 lbs)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. sea salt, or more, if desired

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 TBS. chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Peel the parsnips and cut each into 1-inch pieces crosswise, then cut the thicker pieces into halves or quarters to get chunks of roughly equal size. If the core seems pithy or tough, cut it out. You’ll have about 4 cups.

Arrange the parsnips in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Combine the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to mix. Sprinkle the spices evenly over the parsnip slices and toss until well coated.

Roast until tender and lightly browned on the edges, appx. 35 to 45 min., stirring once or twice during cooking. Sprinkle with the parsley and lemon juice and toss well. Taste and season if necessary before serving.

 

Readers…we’re curious how your parsnips did this year? What are your favorite ways to use them? 

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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The Versatility of Swiss Chard

November 9th, 2011

                                                          The Versatility of Swiss Chard

When we envision Swiss chard, we may associate it with Switzerland.  Instead, we should picture this vitamin rich, green leafy vegetable devoured by those that live in the Mediterranean.  Places like Spain, France, Monaco, Italy and Greece all consider Swiss chard a staple.  And it is no wonder why it is so loved in there region; it is rich in calcium, potassium, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and carotenoids – a pigment that studies show helps prevent against degenerative eye problems.  This leafy green has also been linked to helping balance blood sugar levels, and those with Alzheimer’s. Looking to include more minerals in your diet? Swiss Chard has a whole host of them, including copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.  It is not a mere coincidence that those living in the Mediterranean region are some of the healthiest people in the world! It is clear that this leafy green vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients just waiting to be served up for a healthy family meal.

When choosing seeds to grow, it is easy to pass up the Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard for a leafy green we are all familiar with leaf lettuces and cabbages.  But we at Humble Seed find Swiss chard to be just as versatile due to its soft leaves and subtle flavor. Many also find it tastes less bitter than Collard, Kale and Mustard greens.  So what are you waiting for? The Producer features Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, and is just one of our premium seed kits that offer heirloom, certified organic, non-GMO, and non-hybrid seeds to choose from.

Planting Guide

Season: Swiss chard does not grow well in the heat, making it a cool weather vegetable.  Grow these leafy greens at the end of summer, fall and spring.  These plants grow best at temperatures never above 75 degrees F, and not below 32 degrees F. Therefore, avoid winter planting, and cover plants during cold frosts. Also, keep in mind that the maturity rate of the plant ought to be at least 2-3 weeks before the first snow.

Soil: Fertile soils that drain well work best for Swiss chard.  To prepare the soil just prior to planting, add well-composted organic matter, an all purpose fertilizer, and/or a cow manure tea to ensure the soil is nutrient rich.

Placement & Planting: Be sure to find an area exposed to direct sunlight before planting.  For container gardening, plant seed ½ – 1 inch deep in fertile, well-drained soil. When transplanting (plants should have 3-4 true leaves) or growing Swiss chard in a larger garden, plant 6 inches apart, and leave a foot between each row.

Watering: Provide 1 inch of water a week, or 2 inches during warmer days.  If you notice any flowers appearing, this means the plant is getting too hot.  If this occurs, prune the flower stalks to prolong the harvest and provide more water.

Harvesting: When the moment of truth arrives, harvest when leaves are about 5-6 inches in length. Leave 2-3 inches of stalk in the soil, and trim away any unwanted leaves that may be impeding the growth of any new growth. Store the leaves in the refrigerator for as long as 2 weeks.

Recipes:
Looking for some fresh ways to use Swiss chard? Your taste buds will do a happy dance once they taste these recipes!

*The Basics: As Fraulein Maria says in the Sound of Music, “Let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to start.” With that in mind, the whole Swiss chard plant is edible, and you can enjoy it raw, sautéed, braised, steamed, or in soup. However, many prefer to eat just the tender leaves over the crisp stalk. Therefore, remove the stalk and any ribs if you are looking for less crunch.

Stuffed Shells with Oyster Mushrooms and Swiss Chard
This is an absolutely delicious dish with brain boosting oyster mushrooms and nutrient rich Swiss chard.  Bonus: the calories and fat normally found in stuffed shells do a disappearing act!  View how-to pictures here.  
(Serves 4-5)

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
8 large oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch of Swiss chard, chopped
1 pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 large lemon, juiced
1 package pasta shells
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1-2 T vegan Parmesan cheese
1-2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil for cooking

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta shells for approximately 10-15 minutes in boiling water and a little olive oil.  Allow pasta shells to boil until el dente. Drain water and carefully set pasta shells aside. Heat a skillet on medium high heat with olive oil and add onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt.  Once the onions are translucent, add the oyster mushrooms and another pinch of salt.  Allow the oysters to soften (about 4-5 minutes). Stir in the Swiss chard, a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes, and the nutmeg.  Allow mixture to simmer until the chard is wilted (about 5-6 minutes). Stir in pine nuts and lemon juice.

Pour 1/4 of the tomato sauce into the large casserole dish.  Carefully stuff each shell with the vegetable mixture, and set each shell in the dish.  Neatly line up the shells until you have used up the vegetable mixture. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the shells, and place tomato slices (about 6 needed) on top of the shells.

Lightly place tin foil over the casserole dish, and bake for 20 min.  Once done, take off tin foil, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  This will give your dish a nice rustic appeal.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Serve immediately.

Swiss Chard Salad With Garlicky Pommes De Terre

(Serves 4 )Take a mini-mental vacation to France and make this delicious and unique salad.  When we visited France, we saw Parisians in cafes just about everywhere devouring this salad.  View how-to pictures here.

Ingredients:
5-6 stalks Swiss chard, de-ribbed and chopped well
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 avocados, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Yukon Gold potatoes (or other small potatoes)
5 cloves garlic
4 slices smokey Tempeh bacon
parsley for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette, sliced

Miso and Herb Vinaigrette

¼ cup red wine vineger
¼ cup chopped basil
¼ cup fresh parsley
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. mellow white miso paste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
cracked pepper
salt

Method:
Arrange your Swiss chard, tomatoes and avocados on a plate. Heat a large skillet on medium high and add the olive oil.  Stir in potatoes and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté the potatoes for at least 10 – 15 minutes, or until browned and tender. When potatoes are almost finished cooking, add garlic and a touch more olive oil. Sauté the garlic and potatoes for the remaining few minutes.

While potatoes are simmering, make your dressing and brown the tempeh bacon.  For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  The end result is purposely a little chunky from the herbs.

Assemble the salad by adding the browned tempeh bacon to the Swiss chard, and pile the potatoes high on top.  Add the freshly chopped parsley, and dressing.  Slice the baguette and offer it on the side of the salad.  The French never go without a side of baguette!

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Summer Reading: Gardening Style

July 12th, 2011

During the dog days of summer, when it’s just too hot to completely enjoy the great outdoors—otherwise known as “your yard”—there’s nothing like being indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. It’s during these hazy, lazy days when relaxation is a true treat, like picking up a gardening book and curling up on the couch. From The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader to The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener’s Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking by Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland to a cookbook overflowing with tempting recipes using summer’s finest vegetables, books are inspirational, thought-provoking and hard to put down!

If you love gardening and have yet to pick up a book this summer, here are some great picks to help you get you started on the road to relaxation:

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader

Product Description

Remember how grandmother’s cellar shelves were packed with jars of tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes, pickled beets and cauliflower, and pickles both sweet and dill? Learn how to save a summer day – in batches – from the classic primer, now updated and rejacketed. Use the latest inexpensive, time-saving techniques for drying, freezing, canning, and pickling. Anyone can capture the delicate flavors of fresh foods for year-round enjoyment and create a well-stocked pantry of fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats, flavored vinegars, and seasonings. The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest introduces the basic technique for all preserving methods, with step-by-step illustration, informative charts and tips throughout, and more than 150 recipes for the new or experienced home preserver. Among the step-by-step tested recipes: Green Chile Salsa, Tomato Leather, Spiced Pear Butter, Eggplant Caviar, Blueberry Marmalade, Yellow Tomato Jam, Cranberry-Lime Curd, Preserved Lemons, Chicken Liver Pate, and more.

The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener’s Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking by Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland

Product Description

Chile peppers are hot — in every sense of the word. They add culinary fire to thousands of dishes from a variety of cuisines and inspire near-fanatical devotion in those who have succumbed to their incendiary charms.

In this comprehensive book, world chile experts Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland have assembled all the information that anyone with an interest in chile peppers could ever hope to find. Detailed profiles of the 100 most popular chile varieties include information on how to grow chiles; how to diagnose and remedy problems, pests, and diseases; and post-harvest processing and preservation. The book culminates in 85 mouth-watering recipes that make brilliant use of both the characteristic heat of chile peppers and of their more subtle flavor qualities.

Want to know what the hottest chile pepper in the world is? You’ll find it in the fascinating story of ‘Bhut Jolokia’, acknowledged by Guinness World Records as the fieriest chile on earth. Confused about the identity of those chile peppers you bought? The authors’ clear photographs and precise descriptions will clear up the mystery.

The Complete Chile Pepper Book is the only guide to chiles you’ll ever need. It’s a scorcher.

Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series) by Steve Solomon

Product Description

The decline of cheap oil is inspiring increasing numbers of North Americans to achieve some measure of backyard food self-sufficiency. In hard times, the family can be greatly helped by growing a highly productive food garden, requiring little cash outlay or watering.

Currently popular intensive vegetable gardening methods are largely inappropriate to this new circumstance. Crowded raised beds require high inputs of water, fertility and organic matter, and demand large amounts of human time and effort. But, except for labor, these inputs depend on the price of oil. Prior to the 1970s, North American home food growing used more land with less labor, with wider plant spacing, with less or no irrigation, and all done with sharp hand tools. But these sustainable systems have been largely forgotten. Gardening When It Counts helps readers rediscover traditional low-input gardening methods to produce healthy food.

Designed for readers with no experience and applicable to most areas in the English-speaking world except the tropics and hot deserts, this book shows that any family with access to 3-5,000 sq. ft. of garden land can halve their food costs using a growing system requiring just the odd bucketful of household waste water, perhaps two hundred dollars worth of hand tools, and about the same amount spent on supplies — working an average of two hours a day during the growing season.

Steve Solomon is a well-known west coast gardener and author of five previous books, including Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades which has appeared in five editions.

The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman

Product Description

What to do with a basketful of luscious tomatoes? How to prepare an armload of summer squash? Where to turn for new sweet corn preparations? These are the questions vegetable-lovers grapple with as they pick fresh-from-the-garden produce in their own backyards or from the ever-expanding farmers’ markets. Garden-fresh vegetables are so beautiful, yet their freshness so fleeting.

Andrea Chesman is a cook and gardener who knows what it’s like to be staring down pounds of vegetables and panicking about how to use them all before it’s too late. Simple. Delicious. Planned to fit the season. That’s the approach Chesman brings to the 175 recipes she’s developed for The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook.

The vegetables are organized seasonally by crop-readiness, with attention paid to combining vegetables that ripen together. All the favorites — spring salad greens, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, peas, potatoes, and more — are included, along with the more unusual — artichokes, endive, rutabagas, and edamame, to name a few. Popular techniques such as roasting and grilling accentuate the flavor in recipes such as Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad, Soy- Sesame Grilled Eggplant, and Maple Roasted Carrots. There are many vegetarian options, but even when combined with meat, vegetables get top billing. From Egg Rolls to Borscht, Caponata to Sweet Potato Pie, The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook has dishes destined to please every palate.

To address those nights when the mounds of vegetables are just too overwhelming to try a whole new recipe, Chesman includes fourteen master recipes for simple preparation techniques that can accommodate whatever is in the vegetable basket. Readers need only to learn the basics of preparing a creamy quiche, a bubbly gratin, a basic stir-fry, or a zesty lo mein, and then it’s easy to create new meals every month around the freshest assortments of seasonal vegetables.

The Garden-Fresh Vegetable Cookbook is sure to become a favorite for everyone who wants to enjoy their vegetables fresh, local, seasonal, and simple.

What garden-related books have you read this summer?

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Guest Video Blog: Power Reasons to Grow Power Food

July 10th, 2010

Adam Hart is a nutritional coach, whole foods chef, speaker and author. He been a nutritional researcher for 10 years, studying the ideal foods for attaining optimal health. Make sure to check out Adam’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages.  A ton of great information!
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Become a Humble Seed Facebook Fan

April 5th, 2010

As Humble Seed takes root, we want to make sure that you know about all of the great happenings taking place in our company. To stay in the know, become a fan of our Humble Seed Facebook page. Not only will we be able to interact and share stories, but you’ll also be able to enjoy fun contests, promotions, and the opportunity to save even more on our garden seed kits.

Right now, for a limited time, we’re offering the Facebook Fan Pack, featuring Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles, Uncle Herb’s Favorites, and Veggin’ Out for $58.00. If you were to buy each of these seed kits individually it would cost you a total of $79.95. With this offer, you’ll be saving $21.95, equivalent to Uncle Herb’s Favorites. To get this special offer, become a Facebook fan of Humble Seed then go to ‘Our Products’ tab and scroll down to get your coupon code.

To follow us on Facebook just click the Facebook icon located on the Humble Seed home page.

And, check out our ‘other links’ section on our home page, where you’ll find great books, recipes, and Humble Seed swag.

Cheers …

from the Humble Seed crew!

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Hello, from Humble Seed!

March 28th, 2010

Hello, and welcome to the Humble Seed blog. We are a family run garden seed kit business that provides premium heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to various individuals and organizations, ranging from gardening hobbyists to preppers and nursing homes to schools. Our top-quality seeds are bundled and themed into eye-catching garden seed kits—Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles, Uncle Herb’s Favorites, Veggin’ Out, and The Producer.
 
We’re blogging because we’re passionate about the many benefits that come from growing your own foods. We’re also interested in food and societal trends—as we know many of you are—and we’re excited to share what we know and learn. From specific seed varieties to food recalls that are taking place and why, and great recipes to hot topics in the garden seed world, you’ll be able to find informative and interesting information here at Humble Seed’s blog.
 
So, bookmark this blog, and forward it on to your gardening friends and colleagues then come back soon.
 
Happy gardening!

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