Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Home Grown Goodies and Kiddos

So you've prepared the soil, planted your garden, weeded and watered, and now you are reaping what you sow, bearing the fruits of your effort, and harvesting.  Great!  Read more to see how it can be great for your kiddos too!  Here is today's harvest for me:

Home grown produce takes a little more effort in not just the planning and growing stages, but also in the food preparation step.  Things need a little more culling and a little more washing and scrubbing than produce you buy in the store or even at the farmer's market.

In the photo above, the sugar snap peas are at the end of their harvest.  I actually pulled out the plants today.  The peas will need sorting, small tender ones to have in a salad, in their pods, raw and thick, more mature ones to shell and enjoy as cooked green peas. Sorting is a great math skills task for little children.  I had mentioned that peas are good to grow with kiddos, as the seeds are large and easy to sow.  They are also rewarding for kiddos, as tender, sugar snap peas are definitely something they can eat right off the vine while they are working with you in the garden.

My preferred method for cleaning garden fresh lettuce, spinach and other small greens is soaking.  Rinse the greens, and put them in a large bowl 2/3 full with water to soak.  The dirt falls to the bottom.  A little science project for the kiddos?  Do this at least twice.  Greens harvested after heavy rain will require extra rinsing and soaking as the rain causes the dirt to splash up onto the leaves.  Yes, a little more work than bagged lettuce but without all the headlining risks associated with bagged greens.  And this lettuce will be enjoyed for dinner tonight within 6 hours of harvesting - super fresh!

Hand digging for potatoes is more fun than an Easter egg hunt!  Try it with your kids-they will love it!  Potatoes need a good rinse with the garden hose or in a deep sink before bringing into the kitchen sink for the final rinsing and scrubbing.  Home grown, promptly harvested potatoes have much thinner skin than store bought so they are easier to clean and they have no eyes as they are so fresh.

The zucchini just started coming in - thank goodness for blogs and the Internet for recipe ideas for what to do with all that zucchini!

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