Gardener's Grapevine 2013.02.06

Written by David Green.

Super Bowl Sunday. Oh, goody, where’s the television? That was sarcasm if you don’t know me. I finally understand football after many years of avoiding it, however, unless my good friends’ son Zack is playing I just don’t put it at the top of my gotta do or see list. My husband, however, has been cooking all afternoon to get ready for the game and it’s just us going to be here. I won’t have to cook all week, that’s something I can get excited over.

I’m not much of a cook and that’s putting it very lightly. I’d rather push mow the entire lawn on a hot day than cook one meal. Art, however, is an excellent cook and loves it—you go, big guy. As we wandered around the store gathering the items he needed, I looked over the selection of produce displayed. Produce at this time of year is grossly overpriced for the quality and you have to search  for the best offerings. It makes one salivate thinking of the beautiful fruit and vegetables that come from our own well-planned gardens and fruit trees.

One of the items on his list was crushed tomatoes. Really? When we have jar after jar of canned red goodness, no way is that going in our cart. Next item, please. 

After looking at the price of cilantro and coriander I am so glad we harvest our own. Coriander is the seed that forms on the cilantro plant. First, you harvest the plant, dry it, strip the leaves, crush them and place it in a  jar. I like to store it in the freezer, but once it’s dried it can go on the shelf just as well.

Coriander forms on the plant later in its life cycle. It is the seed of the plant, and it starts out green. As it dries it turns a light brown color. I harvest it, which takes some work unless you cut the entire plant and put it on a drying mat in the food dehydrator for 12 hours to make sure it’s good and dry. Your home will smell like cilantro, so if you don’t like the smell, do it in the garage. I love the smell. It smells so fresh and green to me. After the dehydrator, you can store it whole or grind it. I store it the same way as the cilantro, in a glass jar in the freezer. I use the freezer because it seems to seal in the flavor and glass does not pull the flavor out like plastic does.

If I buy herbs and spices I try to avoid plastic containers as they tend to rob the flavor from the spice or herb. Why spend cold hard earned money on something that’s only partially there? I use the same process above for my pesto, also. If I’m pressed for time and the basil needs harvesting I will cut it and dehydrate it and make the pesto up later or as needed. I love fresh basil pesto any time of the year thrown over hot pasta with some chicken tossed in or maybe shrimp. Now that’s fresh. Hope your team won.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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