Category Archives: Garden

Sprouting Seeds for the Chickens and for Salads

I decided to try sprouting seeds for both the chickens and others and for myself.  For the chickens I am sprouting corn (from my garden), wheat and barley.  I also got a mixed groups of seeds to sprout for my own salads.

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Johnny’s seeds came with instructions for sprouting.  I think I went overboard with the number of seeds I added to the ball jars.  Rereading the instructions it says 1 Tablespoon.   IMG_6354

So add your tablespoon of seed to a ball jar and fill the jar 1/2 full with luke warm water and let it soak overnight.  I put cheesecloth over the jar opening and screwed on with the ring part of the lid.  That lets it breath and allows you to add and pour off water.  IMG_6359

In the morning drain off the water.  Rinse the seeds with lukewarm water and let drain.

Put in a dark location that is about 70 degrees with the jars on their sides.  At least twice a day rinse with lukewarm water and drain. IMG_6374 Continue rinsing until seeds have been harvesting.  After they seeds sprout and are about 1 1/2 long and have tiny leaves put them in the light to green up.   These are going back into the cupboard for another day or so.

Gave some to the Hens today.  IMG_6382 IMG_6384

They just loved the sprouts.  I may need to get a grow light to grow these in the winter  But they taste great.

Valenciano Pumpkins a Dud Three Years in a Row

We have had a beautiful garden these past few years.  But we have had one failure three times.

I really wanted to grow Valenciano pumpkins, they are a beautiful white pumpkin with great edible thick orange flesh inside.  Not to stringy, so wonderful for making pies.  Three summers ago we had just bought our home and really did not have a garden but I wanted a Valenciano so bad we planted some in a raised bed very late in the season.  Well in Maine that is a bad idea as frost comes early and Valenciano pumpkins take 110 days to mature.

Year two the soil was to wet and the seedlings failed.

This year we planted the in mid May, they sprouted and started to grow but did not flourish until mid September when they finally set a few little pumpkins.  We were lucky to have a long season this year.  October has been beautiful.  The pumpkins were growing, just not fast enough.  We brought them in yesterday when a hard freeze happened.  I think our biggest one is about 6″ across and clearly not ripe.  So the 110 days until maturity may be a bad estimate for Auburn Maine.

This is a picture of a few of the NE Pie pumpkins and one of the unripe Valencianos

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Luckily we also planted some New England Pie pumpkins as well this year and they did well.

In California and Nevada I could always buy Valenciano pumpkins and they were the best pumpkins for pies and seeds.  White pumpkins are not just for display.  Next year I am going to try starting them indoors to give them a head start.  I have faith that next year I will be successful.

Preparing Fresh Pumpkin for Pies

This is my Mothers method for preparing pumpkin for use in pumpkin pie recipes.

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Her favorite pumpkin variety was  the white pumpkin with lovely orange flesh the Valenciano.  I have not been able to find a Valenciano pumpkin for sale in the market in Maine.  I have asked more than one fruit stand and market to open a bit of a white pumpkin so i could see if the flesh was orange. There are many other white pumpkins with white or green flesh and I tried cooking with one once and realized the are only ornamental.  If you are buying an orange  pumpkin from the store look for ones label for Pies.

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I take off the top as thought I were going to carve the pumpkin,  Then I cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.  I save the seeds for roasting and I give the strings to my chickens.  They really love the seeds but I like them too so we share.

Put the pumpkins flesh side down on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 60 – 90 minutes.  One way to tell when they are done is when the pumpkin shell collapses in the center.  Take them out and let them cool.IMG_6308 (2)

When cool trim off the skin and throw out or save for your critters.  Take the pulp and put it through a ricer to take out any additional strings.  My Mom as she got older tried whirring it up in the food processor but the texture of the pie was not the same.  After you have put it all through the ricer put in a bowl in your refrigerator and put the pumpkin on one side and tip the bowl a bit so the water will collect on the side and remove water with a turkey baster.  Do this for up to two days until the water stops collecting.  Some types o pumpkin have very little water  If so no need to drain.

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Then package the pumpkin in 1 1/2 cup portions stored in zip-lock bag in the freezer until ready to make pies.  they should stay good to use for 1 – 2 years.