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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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