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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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