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Mulberry Crumble Bars

Mulberry Crumb Bars

Mulberries are a surprise luxury that many people overlook.

Don’t be too distracted with the birds making a mess of the mulberries in your yard to realize that they are a wonderful resource for jams and delicious baked goods like these mulberry crumble bars.

When mulberries are ripe they will fall easily into your hand as you grab them. Many people harvest mulberries by laying a sheet out on the ground and shaking the branches of the tree to let the ripe berries fall.

Unlike thimble-shaped raspberries, mulberries retain their small stem. You do not need to worry about removing the stem, you can eat it just like you can eat the seeds of mulberries and raspberries.

If you prefer, you can use a food mill to remove the seeds and stems, but you will need significantly more berries.

Crumble bars are a favorite treat we like to make with raspberries, but mulberries are a great berry to use in crumb bars instead when they are in abundance.

mulberry crumble Ingredients

Begin by macerating the mulberries. This means mixing them with sugar to bring out some of the juices. We will also add corn starch and flour to thicken the juices as they cook.

If you have previously made some, you can substitute this set of ingredients with mulberry jam.

mulberry crumble ingredients

Next, make the crumble base by cutting the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.

Press two-thirds of the crumble mixture into the base of a 9×13 pan. set the remaining one-third aside.

Spread out the berry mixture over the bottom crust. Crumble the remaining dry mixture over the top. Bake, cool, and enjoy!

mulberry crumble bars

I grew up in the southwest and was not familiar with mulberry trees, but my husband knew them and we would forage for them.

Our new farm has a number of large mulberry trees, but there are also small sprouted trees all over our property. we have moved a bunch to make a windbreak. So we will be in the mulberries for a long time into our farm’s future!

mulberry dessert

Mulberry Crumble Bars

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Dessert
By Jeanette Merrill
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • Mulberry Filling
  • 3 Cups fresh mulberries
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • juice of one lemon
  • Crumble Layer
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups melted butter
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (loosely packed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2

Place mulberries in a medium bowl, mix berries with sugar, flour, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Set aside.

3

Mix the flour, butter, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a crumbly mixture. Press two thirds of the crumble into the bottom of a 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper.

4

Pour the mulberries and accumulated juices over the bottom crust. Spread into a single layer. Sprinkle the top with remaining crumble mixture. Bake for 40 minutes.

5

Cool before slicing into bars.

Notes

Store up to one week in airtight container. Mulberries may be replaced with raspberries or any berry combination.

Beverages

Homemade Chai Bubble Milk “Tea” Recipe (Tea-Free)

Chai milk boba bubble tea

I love fun drinks. When I heard of bubble tea, or boba tea I was definitely intrigued. But I don’t drink tea made from tea leaves, so I knew I would have to make a homemade version if I wanted to try it.

I’m using chai spiced milk in place of the milk tea. Essentially I use all the spices in chai infused in milk, but I don’t add any tea leaves or tea powder. This chai spiced milk is also awesome for making hot cocoa as well, by the way.

The “bubbles” or boba are actually made from large pearl tapioca (amazon affiliate link-I may earn a small commission). Mine are large pearl, with the only ingredient being tapioca. If you find something different use the instructions for cooking on your particular package.

Large pearl tapioca

If you can only find small pearl tapioca you can still use it. You just don’t need the extra large milkshake or smoothie straws (amazon affiliate link–I may earn a small commission). You will be able to drink it with normal sized straws.

Start by getting your tapioca cooking. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and let sit 30 minutes . Then rinse. Test the boba to see if they are done. If you have extra-large tapioca you may need to repeat this boiling a second time. The boba should be chewy, not mushy and they do not have to be clear all the way through to be “done.”

Make brown sugar syrup and stir the boba into it to sit an absorbent flavor and dark color.

brown sugar syrup tapioca

Crush chai spices to infuse better. Or you can use powdered spices if you want. Split vanilla bean. Add to 2 cups water and simmer 15 minutes. Add 2 C milk and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Allow to cool.

chai spices

Split boba between cups. Swirl boba syrup around in the cups up the sides. This will create a swirly design on the sides of the cup when you add the milk. It’s what they do at bubble milk tea shops!

pouring chai milk bubble tea

Add a scoop of ice. Pour in milk.

Serve immediately with a milkshake straw. You can cut the tip of the straw at an angle to allow the boba to slide into the straw easier. Enjoy!

The tapioca, once-cooked, is best used the same day for the best texture.

Make the chai-spiced milk early enough in advance to cool it down before layering your drink.

Chai Bubble Milk Tea Recipe (No Tea)

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Beverages
Serves: 8
Total Time: 1.5 hour

Bubble tea is a fun drink from Taiwan that gives you the experience of chewy bubbles in your drink.

Ingredients

  • Brown Sugar Bobas
  • 1 C white pearl tapioca
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • Chai-Spiced Milk
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2-inch piece of crystallized ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole allspice
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ vanilla bean, sliced down the middle
  • dash nutmeg
  • ½ pinch of fennel seeds
  • 2 C milk
  • 1/2 C sugar

Instructions

1

Cook tapioca in 16 Cups water for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and let sit 30 minutes. Rinse. Test the "boba" to see if they are done. If you have extra-large tapioca you may need to repeat this boiling a second time. The boba should be chewy, not mushy and they do not have to be clear all the way through to be "done."

2

Make brown sugar syrup by mixing 2 tablespoons water with the brown sugar and molasses and stir the boba into it. Set aside to absorb flavor and dark color.

3

Crush chai spices to infuse better. Split vanilla bean. Add to 2 cups water and simmer 15 minutes. Add milk and sugar and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Allow to cool.

4

Split boba between 8 8-oz cups. Swirl boba syrup around in the cups up the sides. This will create a swirly design on the sides of the cup when you add the milk.

5

Add a scoop of ice. Pour in milk--divide between the 8 cups.

6

Serve immediately with a milkshake straw. Enjoy!

Notes

You can cut the tip of the straw at an angle to allow the boba to slide into the straw easier. You can use powdered spices if you want.

Dessert/ Recipes

Chewy Molasses Cookies with Molasses Buttercream

Fall has arrived in our neck of the woods. So we love to make our favorite fall cookies.

I love pumpkin spice as much as the next girl. But molasses is another fall flavor that is great to really lean into this time of year.

These molasses cookies have crisp edges, but are nice and chewy on the inside. The creamy molasses buttercream frosting is a great addition to take these cookies to the next level, but is not strictly necessary.

Enjoy these cookies with a steaming mug of spiced cider and enjoy the best of what the fall season has to offer.

Molasses Cookies with Molasses Buttercream

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dessert
By Jeanette Serves: 3 doz
Prep Time: 15 Cooking Time: 11-13 mins

Chewy molasses cookies with crispy edges, chewy middle and creamy molasses buttercream frosting on top.

Ingredients

  • COOKIE
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup light unsulfured molasses
  • FROSTING
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons light unsulfured molasses
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter together. Beat in egg, then molasses, until smooth.

3

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

4

Gradually add flour mixture until a nice dough forms.

5

Drop by tablespoonful onto baking sheets covered in parchment. Leave plenty of space between as cookies will spread in the oven.

6

Bake until edges start to darken, 11 to 13 minutes

7

Make molasses buttercream by beating butter with molasses until they are combined. Gradually add in powdered sugar, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Notes

If you don't have any brown sugar, just substitute with white sugar and add one more tablespoon molasses to the dough. The cookies are delicious on their own without the buttercream as well.

Condiments/ Edible Flowers/ Recipes

Wild Violet Jelly Recipe

Sometimes when I see or read an idea, I know instantly: I will do that.  I latch on to it and become determined to make it happen.  That’s how it was for me when I first heard of wildflower jelly.

Last year I made dandelion jelly first, but was sad to have missed the wild violet season. This year I was determined to make the violet jelly, so I did that first.

I have a growing collection of edible flower recipes which I will share this summer as the flowers come in season.

The jelly has a sweet floral fragrance and taste. Not very strong. But very beautiful.

The common blue violet has grown as a “weed” in our lawns in Utah, Kansas, and Indiana. The leaves are dark green, heart-shaped and toothed. There are five violet-colored petals that are irregular in a group of two and three. The blossom hangs off of a crook at the top of the stem.

Make sure you are confident in identifying the common blue violet before picking some blossoms. Always make sure you are harvesting from an area that is not sprayed or treated with any chemicals.

Gather 2 cups of blue violets. Pour 2 cups boiling water over the blossoms to steep them like tea. Steep blossoms in water overnight. 

Strain the blossoms out by pouring water into a second container through a floursack towel to keep out all the dirt. (See what got left behind?)

The violet water is a deep blue color, but when you add lemon juice (the acidity is necessary to preserve the jelly) it turns a bright fuchsia color.

Add water if needed to make 2 cups.  Add lemon juice. 

Follow directions for your pectin. For example my directions stated: Add pectin to juice.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve.  Add sugar, return to rolling boil, and boil for one minute exactly.  Ladle into jars and process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.  (Makes 12 4oz jars)

Wild Violet Jelly

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A sweet fuchsia-colored jelly made from wild common blue violet blossoms.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups violet blossoms, stems removed
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 package pectin (I used sure-jel for these)
  • 4 cups sugar

Instructions

1

Steep blossoms in water overnight. Strain out the blossoms. Add water if needed to make 2 cups. Add lemon juice. Follow directions for your pectin–my instructions were: Add pectin to juice. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Add sugar, return to rolling boil, and boil for one minute exactly. Ladle into jars and process in water bath canner for 10 minutes. (Makes 12 4oz jars)

Honey Sweetened Violet Jelly

I experimented with using honey instead of white sugar to make the jelly.  I use Pomona’s Pectin. I used one cup of the violet water and followed the directions in Pomona’s for a basic jelly.  It was 1T lemon juice; 1/4 cup honey; 1 tsp of the calcium water (that comes with the Pomona’s Pectin); and 1 tsp of pectin. (Makes 3 4oz jars)

Next time I will use a little bit more pectin because it was a pretty loose set, and I may add a bit more honey–it was a very mellow jelly.  It definitely has some floral hints to it and I could taste the honey.  Obviously the jelly was more cloudy from the honey.

Main Dish/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Ham Fried Rice

My kids always eat fried rice and never complain about it. It comes together really quickly and easily for a fast weeknight dinner. And you can actually switch out the meat and vegetables to use the things you have on hand.

Fried rice can be made vegetarian without any meat. It can also be made including almost any kind of meat–fresh or preserved. Ham or shrimp are common, but chicken and beef are popular as well. Fried rice is traditionally made with leftover vegetables. It almost always includes onions, but can also include peas, mushrooms, carrots or many other vegetables.

I intentionally buy a ham larger than our family needs for one meal, so that I can use the leftovers for recipes like this.

I like to make fried rice using the leftover chunk of ham on the end of the ham bone that was not spiral sliced so I get nice cubes of ham. But you could use ham slices chopped up as well. (If you want to know what to do with the ham bone, check out this recipe!).

Slice ham into half inch cubes.

Slice 2-3 green onions into quarter inch slices. (Have you ever tried regrowing green onions from the root ends? It actually works pretty well.)

Set aside the green slices for garnish.

Crack four eggs into a bowl. Whisk eggs.

Add 2 tbs olive oil in the pan and 2tsp toasted sesame seed oil to wok or cast-iron skillet. Heat up until oil shimmers.

Add the ham and the onion to the skillet along with frozen peas and sauté those up for a minute. Next add the rice.

It’s best to use cooked and cooled rice. If it isn’t fully cooled down then fried rice will end up a little more gummy. But in a pinch you can still use it.

Then then I add a splash of soy sauce for a little salty flavor.

Finally, pour in the egg. Immediately start stirring the rice. The idea is to get every grain of rice coated with a little bit of egg. After stirring, let it sit for a minute to cook on the bottom and then stir it again.

When there is no more uncooked egg, remove from heat. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and with some green onions.

Serve along with potstickers or just enjoy fried rice as a main dish itself. 

Ham Fried Rice

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Main Dish
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 40 Cooking Time: 20 Total Time: 1 hour

A delicious family-friendly recipe to use up extra ham.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup cubed ham
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Instructions

1

Cook rice your preferred way. Fluff rice, allow to cool.

2

Slice ham into half inch cubes. Slice green onions into quarter inch slices. Set aside the green slices for garnish. Crack eggs into a bowl. Whisk eggs.

3

Add olive oil and toasted sesame seed oil into wok or cast iron skillet. Heat up until oil shimmers. Add the ham and the onion for the skillet along with frozen peas and sauté those up for a few minutes until the onions soften. Next add the rice. Then pour soy sauce over the rice, stir.

4

Finally, pour in the egg. Immediately start stirring the rice. After stirring, let it sit for a minute to cook on the bottom and then stir it again. When there is no more uncooked egg, remove from heat.

5

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and with some green onions.

Notes

Serve along with potstickers or just enjoy fried rice as a main dish itself.

Main Dish/ Recipes/ Side Dish

Ham Bone Beans

At one point in my life I would have thrown away my ham bone.  I would have looked at the bone left over from a spiral sliced ham and I would have seen that there was still meat on it, but not really known how to best use that. 

As I’ve tried to gain more homesteading skills I’ve looked for ways to use more of  the animal than I would have in the past.  Because one day, this could be the ham bone from a pig I raised on my own homestead.   

I love this recipe for ham beans because it uses every last bit of goodness that the leftover ham bone has to offer.

Begin by rinsing and sorting 1 lb of pinto beans. You used to occasionally find small rocks mixed in with dried beans but I think the mechanical sorting process has gotten better so I rarely see that any more.

If you want to pre soak your beans the cooking will go faster, but it’s not necessary.  Add your ham bone to a 5 or 6 quart dutch oven then add in the beans. 

If you plan ahead when you cook the ham you can save any juices leftover in the roasting pan.  Adding these juices will make the flavor of the beans even better.  And any collagen and fat help the texture and mouthfeel of the beans to be silky smooth.  

Slice an onion into small pieces. Mince a clove of garlic. 

If you like spicy beans, dice one jalapeno.  This will cook for a long time and mellow the heat, so my kids are usually ok with it in this recipe.  

Add vegetables to the dutch oven.

Fill the dutch oven with water to cover the beans.  Start the dutch oven on a medium heat with the lid on and leave it to begin boiling.  Once it comes to a boil turn down the heat to a nice bubbling simmer.  

I’ll come back and check on the pot periodically and make sure that the beans are still covered with water.  My 5 quart dutch oven is a little small for this recipe, so I add water once or twice while the beans are cooking to keep the beans covered. 

After a few hours all the little ham pieces of cooked and separated from the hand bone so at this point you can remove the ham bone. 

Take out those pieces of ham and chop them into small chunks. This way when you mix it in there’s bits of ham all through the beans.  

Serve with some homemade cornbread on the side.

Tips

If you plan ahead when you cook the ham you can save any juices leftover in the roasting pan. Adding these juices to the cooking water will make the flavor of the beans even better. And any collagen and fat help the texture and mouthfeel of the beans to be silky smooth.

If you soak dry beans in water at room temperature for a few hours, up to overnight, you will reduce the cooking time needed. You can either drain off excess soaking water or use it to cook the beans in.

If you don’t have a leftover ham bone you can substitute a smoked ham hock. These are available in the meat department of most grocery stores.

Ham Beans

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Main Dish, Side Dish
Serves: 10
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 3 hours Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Meaty and delicious use for the leftover spiral ham bone to get every last bit of goodness from it.

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover ham bone (or ham hock)
  • 1 lb dry pinto beans
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jalapeño (optional)

Instructions

1

Rinse and sort 1 lb of pinto beans.

2

Add your ham bone to a 5 or 6 quart dutch oven then add in the beans. Add juices leftover from cooking ham (optional).

3

Dice an onion into small pieces. Mince a clove of garlic. Dice one jalapeño (optional). Add vegetables to dutch oven

4

Fill the dutch oven with water to cover the beans with two inches of water. Start the dutch oven on a medium heat with the lid on and leave it to begin boiling. Once it comes to a boil turn down the heat to a nice bubbling simmer.

5

Check on the beans periodically and make sure that the beans are still covered with water. Add water, if needed, to keep the beans covered.

6

After three hours all the little ham pieces of cooked and separated from the ham bone so at this point you can remove the bone. Take out those pieces of ham and chop them into small chunks. Return to pot and test the beans to see if they are soft all the way through the middle. Cook up to an hour more to soften the beans. Test flavor, add salt if needed.

7

Serve with homemade cornbread on the side.

Notes

If you want to pre soak your beans the cooking will go faster, but it's not necessary.

Condiments/ Recipes

Pickled Radish Taco Topping

When we lived in Texas one of our favorite restaurants to go to was Torchy’s Tacos.  I was partial to a “trashy” Trailer Park taco. (But I would often add a deep fried avocado slice from my son’s kids meal.)  We liked to try the taco of the month as well.

The great thing about Torchy’s is all the combinations of sauces and toppings on their tacos.  I grew up eating a very basic prescribed tacoTorchy’s Tacos taught us a better way.

The first easy fix was learning what the crumbly white “cotija cheese” was, and that it’s readily available in mainstream grocery stores. But we also needed to get a little bit more adventurous with our taco toppings. 

Pickled vegetables make great taco toppings, and these pickled radishes with cilantro and carrots are a fun recipe to make from the spring garden. 

Tips for Garden Fresh Ingredients

Many people think of cilantro as a summer salsa ingredient. But cilantro is actually a cool season crop. It does not like the heat and tends to “bolt”, or go to seed, quickly.  There are a few ways you can try to get a longer harvest from your cilantro in the summer: plant in partial shade, succession plant, plant a slow-bolt variety.

Cilantro can grow in partial shade.  Crops grown for their leaves need the least amount of sunlight, which is around 3-5 hours of direct sun.  It would be best if this was morning or afternoon sun, avoiding direct sun during the hottest time of the day.  Planting cilantro in partial shade will help it grow longer in the summer without bolting. 

Another thing you can do is succession plant cilantro.  Basically this means to plant cilantro a number of times a week or two apart.  This way you you have cilantro getting ready to harvest in succession.  Just plan on harvesting the whole first crop before going on to the next.  Hopefully you can use it before it bolts. 

If it does get away from you and starts to bloom, just move on to harvesting the next crop.  You can succession plant next to the first planting or you can gow successive crops different places in your garden. 

One more thing you can try is to grow a “slow-bolt” variety of cilantro that has been cultivated to tolerate heat better than standard varieties.  I received some slow-bolt seeds from a seed swap this year and will be trying them this year. 

Radishes are an easy spring crop and are ready to harvest at the same time as cilantro and lettuces. 

Radishes and lettuces are also both good things to succession plant to extend their harvest.  (See the second row of radish sprouts popping up in the foreground?)

Everyone needs to grow radishes, though. They come in the most beautiful colors, and they are ready to harvest so quickly, it gives you a real gardening confidence-booster at the beginning of gardening season. 

If you don’t like the heat or spice of radishes, don’t worry.  The pickling process of this recipe actually takes the heat down quite a few notches.  You could use homegrown carrots in this recipe, but I did not have any ready at this time. 

Recipe Instructions

Begin by making a basic salt water brine.  Combine 2 cups of water with a tablespoon of pickling salt.  This brine can be used to pickle any hard vegetables.  (Soft vegetables like cabbage create their own brine simply from adding salt).

I like to prepare my vegetables with a mandolin.  It makes it very easy to create consistently thin slices and matchsticks. 

Slice the carrots into matchsticks.

Slice the radishes into rounds. You could also slice them into matchsticks like the carrots, but I liked the contrasting shapes.

Chop up cilantro. 

Toss all the ingredients to combine. 

Then just appreciate those beautiful colors for a minute!

Pack veggies it into a mason jar. 

Cover the vegetables with a salt water brine. 

I like to put a little jar on top to keep oxygen out but it will bubble and spit as it ferments so set it on top of a plate to catch that bubbling over.  You can buy a specialty fermenting lid, but I don’t have any yet.  

Leave it on the counter for about two weeks.  Then taste test it to see if it’s fermented enough.  If the flavor is not very strong yet you could let it ferment longer. 

In the middle of summer temperatures you want to ferment it in a cooler location in your home, and it may only take a week and a half before it has fermented enough.  At that point you can store it in the fridge.  Add it to your favorite tacos!

Pickled Radish Taco Topping

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Condiments
Serves: 16
Prep Time: 20 Total Time: 20

Pickled vegetables make great taco toppings, and these pickled radishes with cilantro and carrots are a fun recipe to make from the spring garden. 

Ingredients

  • 1 C carrots
  • 1 C radishes
  • 1/2 C cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbls pickling salt
  • 2 C water

Instructions

1

Begin by making a basic salt water brine. Combine 2 cups of hot water with one tablespoon of pickling salt.

2

Slice carrots into 1 inch matchsticks. Slice radishes into matchsticks or thin slices. Roughly chop cilantro.

3

Toss all the ingredients to combine. Pack into a mason jar.

4

Cover the vegetables with salt water brine.

5

Cover with a fermenting weight and lid. Or use a little jar on top to keep oxygen out. The jar will bubble and spit as it ferments so set it on top of a plate to catch that liquid.

6

Leave it on the counter for about two weeks. Then taste test it to see if it's fermented enough.

7

If the flavor is not very strong yet you could let it ferment longer. Ambient temperature affects the fermentation process. It could take as little as one and a half weeks in warm summer, or up to three weeks when very cool.

8

Store in the fridge. Add it to your favorite tacos!

Condiments/ Gardening/ Herb Garden/ Recipes

3 Things to do with Chives and Chive Blossoms–Chive and Onion Dip Recipe

When you plant an herb like chives you are setting yourself up to have years and years of more fresh herbs than you even know what to do with–that is the right kind of problem to have!

Chives is perennial herb in the allium or onion family. Chives have a zesty flavor similar to onions but that is milder, not quite so sharp. To retain their bright flavor chives are most often used raw.

I want to share with you three ideas of how to use your home-grown chives–each at a different stage of the plant.

  • chive and onion dip
  • chive blossom vinegar
  • harvesting chive seeds

Chive and Onion Dip

Harvest a small bunch of chives by snipping them low on the plant, about an inch above the base.

Mince 3 tablespoons of chives. (Printable recipe at the bottom.)

It is quick and easy to mince chives by using scissors or nippers to cut 1/4 inch slices of a whole bunch at once.

Measure 1 teaspoon each of salt, onion powder, and dried, minced onion.

Stir the spices and chives into 16 ounces of sour cream, reserving about 1/2 tablespoon of chives. Sprinkle remaining chives on top for garnish.

Serve with chips or with sliced vegetables like carrot, celery, and sweet pepper sticks for dipping.

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chives produce beautiful purple flowers that are edible. Chive blossoms have a very similar taste to the the chives, mildly spicy and onion-flavored.

Why do your chives not have blossoms? Chives begin flowering their second spring in the garden, and continue to spread.

Here’s the size comparison of my chives their second and third Springs in the garden.

The blossoms make a great edible garnish for soups or salads.

Chive-blossom vinegar is a well-known product that sounds gourmet, but couldn’t be simpler to make.

To harvest, snip or pinch chive blossoms from the end of their stems.

At this point you can trim back that stem to an inch above the base. If you leave the stem it will dry out hard and brown in the center of the chives.

Collect enough blossoms to fill a jar of your choosing.

Fill jar with chive blossoms and cover completely with white vinegar.

Store jar in a dark cupboard for two weeks. The vinegar will become infused with the oniony flavor and amazing color of the chive blossoms.

Strain out the chive blossoms and store the vinegar in a clean jar.

Chive blossom vinegar is great to use in salad dressings or marinades.

Harvesting Chive Seeds

If you do not harvest the chive blossoms they will dry up and produce seeds.

You should remove these dry heads if you do not want your chives spreading any faster than they will simply from the bulbs underground.

But the seeds are easy to harvest and plant.

Rub the dried flowers between your hands to break up the blossoms and release the seeds.

You can separate the seeds from the chaff a bit, but really don’t need to. Sprinkle the seeds on top of potting mix and spray well with a spray bottle. Cover with a sandwich bag to keep in the humidity.

Keep moist for 1-2 weeks and keep indoors or in a semi-shady area outside, until you see about half the seeds sprouting. Then remove the plastic. Let the chives “harden off” in a semi shady area outside for a few days, then move to a semi-sunny area for a few days before planting out.

Why would I want more chives?

LOL! A pot of chives makes a great gift for someone to keep on their kitchen windowsill.

Chives are a great pest-deterrent in a vegetable garden or around fruit trees.

A group of chives has a beautiful spiky form with dark green shoots and showy purple flowers in the spring that make them an excellent specimen for cottage gardens or formal planting borders alike.

Chive and Onion Dip

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Condiments
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes

This classic dip is great served with chips or sliced vegetables like carrot, celery, and sweet pepper sticks for dipping.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbls fresh chives, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried, minced onion
  • 16oz sour cream

Instructions

1

Mince chives. It is quick and easy to mince chives by using scissors or nippers to cut 1/4 inch slices of the whole bunch at once.

2

Reserve about 1/2 tablespoon of chives to sprinkle on top for garnish. Stir the spices and remaining chives into sour cream until well-incorporated.

3

Garnish and serve with potato chips or sliced vegetables like carrot, celery, and sweet pepper sticks for dipping.

Condiments/ Recipes

Tips For Thick Homemade Mayonnaise

The emulsion needed to make a thick spreadable homemade mayonnaise is about as close to witchcraft as cooking gets.

An emulsion is created when the oil droplets are suspended completely evenly through the mixture. But since we all know that oil and water “don’t mix” this is a challenging task.

Thick homemade mayonnaise is made by properly emulsifying the oil called for in the recipe with the remaining ingredients. For guaranteed success follow these three tips:

  • Begin by slowly adding oil with a dropper
  • Add additional oil to make consistency thicker
  • Re-emulsiphy a failed batch by starting with a fresh egg

These three tips will guarantee you don’t spend another moment wondering if you should have waited until the next full moon to try making homemade mayonnaise again.

Begin by Slowly Adding Oil With a Dropper

The first bit of the oil is the most crucial when mixing an emulsion. If you dump the oil all at once, or even a few glugs of it before you start mixing, you run a high chance of a failed batch where the oil never mixes in no matter how long you blend it.

I like to use a dropper to start slowly dripping the oil in as I mix because we basically have to slowly sneak it in when “no one” is looking!

The mustard and egg yolk both help with the suspension and once the emulsion process gets going (after adding about a quarter of the oil) we can speed up how quickly we are adding in the oil.

Mixing quickly helps as well. I like to use an immersion blender. But you could use a full-size blender, or just a whisk if you want a really good workout.

Add additional Oil to Make Consistency Thicker

I like how this recipe turns out. But if you try a different recipe and you do succeed in creating an emulsion (with no oil separating out)but the mayonnaise is still not as thick and spreadable as you would like, just continue adding more oil.

It seems counter-intuitive that adding more of a liquid oil would thicken the consistency of something, but that’s how this type of emulsion works.

Pour oil in a thin, steady stream while mixing until it looks thick enough for your tastes.

Mayonnaise Recipe

Re-emulsify a Failed Batch by Starting With a Fresh Egg

All is not lost if your mayo doesn’t work out your first try. If you tried to make a batch without understanding how crucial the slow start is–or if you tried to go slow but still ended up with major oil separation–don’t despair!

Start over with a fresh egg, start mixing, and just drip the failed batch in one drop at a time (as if it were just the oil) to get it to emulsify.

I wish we would have know that was possible the first time we tried (and failed) making homemade mayonnaise!

I hope these tips are helpful. Let me know if it works for you, or if you have any other helpful mayo hacks!

Mayonnaise

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Condiments
By Jeanette Serves: 9
Prep Time: 10 min Total Time: 10 min

Basic recipe for the classic mayonnaise flavor

Ingredients

  • 1 egg*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbl white wine vinegar
  • 1 C salad oil**

Instructions

1

In a pint glass jar or narrow bowl use an immersion blender or a whisk to mix together egg and dry ingredients. Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl. Mix half into the egg mixture. Start blender, then begin adding the oil a few drops at a time while mixing until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit, (once you have added about 1/4 cup of the oil). Add more oil in a thin stream. Once half the oil is in, add the remaining lemon juice mixture.

2

Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated or the mayonnaise is your desired consistency. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Notes

*Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness. **Extra virgin olive oil is too strong for this recipe. I sometimes use half pure (light-colored) olive oil mixed in with another kind. But feel free to experiment.