Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Chick Peas and dumplings



 ¼   cup nutritional yeast flakes or 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

6  Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving

1  medium onion, finely chopped

¾  tsp. ground turmeric, divided

½  tsp. kosher salt, plus more

2  Tbsp. yellow miso

4  garlic cloves, divided

1  15.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas

1  cup chickpea flour

½  tsp. baking powder

½  tsp. cayenne pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

½  cup finely chopped dill

⅓  cup plain Greek yogurt, plus more for serving

2  medium or 3 small celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal

Preparation

Step 1

Place nutritional yeast in a small bowl or measuring cup and pour in ⅔ cup hot water; stir to combine. Set aside.

Step 2

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium in a medium pot. Add onion and ½ tsp. turmeric, season with salt, and cook stirring often, until onion is softened and starting to brown around the edges, 5–7 minutes.

Step 3

Add miso to the pot and finely grate in 3 garlic cloves. Cook, stirring and smashing down on miso constantly until miso starts to darken and stick to the bottom of the pot (similar to tomato paste), about 2 minutes. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Carefully pour in golden liquid that’s floating atop the reserved soaking nutritional yeast, leaving as much of the sediment behind as you can (about ½ cup should remain but don’t stress if little slips in); discard. Add 4 cups of water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so the mixture is at a gentle simmer, cover pot, and cook soup while you make the dumpling batter.

Step 4

Whisk together the chickpea flour, baking powder, cayenne, ½ tsp. salt, and remaining ¼ tsp. turmeric. Season generously with black pepper. Add dill, ⅓ cup yogurt, 4 Tbsp. oil, and 2 tsp. warm water, then finely grate in remaining garlic clove. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until no dry spots remain. Your dough should be thick and sticky.

Step 5

Using damp hands, form dough into 10 balls (the easiest way to do this is to divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 5 pieces); place on a cutting board as you go. Gently drop dumplings into soup, cover pot, and simmer gently, until dumplings puff dramatically and float to the surface (to check for doneness, take 1 out and cut it open; it should be cooked through—the interior should look soft and not too dense), 7–9 minutes. Add celery, being careful not to smush dumplings, and simmer, uncovered, until celery is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Season broth with salt and black pepper.

Step 6

Ladle broth and dumplings into bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt. Drizzle with oil and season with more black pepper.




Friday, March 19, 2021

Hybrids VS. Heirlooms

 

Hybrids versus Heirlooms (and the truth about GMOs)

Where to find the best tomato plants in the Piedmont Triad

For many people, a tomato is a tomato. As long as it meets the three criteria—ripe, round and red—they're happy to place a slice on their favorite sandwich and enjoy. But did you know that Mitchell’s Nursery sells a wide variety of tomato plants? Each has its own benefits. No type is necessarily better. It simply comes down to what the grower is seeking in their crops.

Hybrid Tomatoes

Hybrid tomatoes are the type you’re most likely to find at your local supermarket—although it should be noted that the hybrids you grow in your garden might have a richer flavor than the ones at your nearby store. Hybrids have been crossbred with other tomatoes to have positive characteristics. While savory in their own right, hybrid tomatoes are really bred to resist pests and diseases. They also have a firmer flesh and thicker skin—this is needed when they’re being harvested by machines, so they remain whole instead of becoming sauce in the process. Some people prefer that firmness while slicing tomatoes—plus, the thick skin contains the juice inside better.  If you’re in the mood for a bite-sized treat, we also sell cherry tomato plants.

Hybrid tomato seeds come from cross pollination between two different varieties of tomatoes, which can occur from bees or by hand. If you were to save the seeds from a hybrid tomato and plant them the following year, the tomato plants will differ from the parent plant. In commercial seed operations, they take much care to keep the different varieties separated, so one variety won’t get pollen from the wrong plant. Commercial seed producers will take pollen by hand from the flowers of selected plants and then add it to other plants—similarly to how bees do. This can bring natural disease resistance from one plant to another that already has good flavor or large fruit.

When you look at the tag on a hybrid tomato plant, you’ll notice the info often begins with initials. Those letters represent the diseases that the plant has been bred to resist. Here is a helpful list:

V = Verticillum Wilt


F or FF = Fusarium Wilt

N = Nematodes

T = Tobacco Mosaic Virus

A = Alternaria Leaf Spot

 

Heirloom Tomatoes

By contrast, heirloom tomatoes have been grown without crossbreeding for at least 40 years. If you take the seeds from an heirloom tomato, carefully store them, and then plant them in the spring, their tomatoes will taste just like the previous year’s crop. Another characteristic of heirloom tomatoes is their open-pollination, as pollen is distributed naturally through such items as wind and bees. Again, this differs from commercial hybrids, which are pollinated by hand to ensure the correct combination of traits. If you invest in heirlooms, you might wish to purchase a quality repellant, since they don’t have the natural repellant of hybrids. Heirloom plants also typically produce less fruit than other varieties—but their tomatoes are usually large, and the taste is phenomenal!

Mitchell’s Nursery has an awesome assortment of heirloom plants, including German Johnson, Mr. Stripey, Cherokee Purple, Rutgers, Marglobe, Big Boy, Jubilee, Black Krim, Brandywine, and Mortgage Lifter. All of them produce robust sandwich-slicers.

GMOs

A common question nowadays: Which tomatoes contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? The answer is, none of them! Some of you might recall the Flavr Savr tomato, which was lab engineered to have a longer shelf life in the 1990s. While the Flavr Savr saved flavor, it didn’t save cost. Their production was too expensive and the demand too little. Scientists are continuing to allegedly improve the tomato, as well as find other uses for it—including making them carriers for edible vaccines. However, as of this writing, there are no genetically modified tomatoes available commercially.

Determinate vs. Indeterminate

Maybe you want your tomato plant to reach a certain height—or maybe you’re aiming to set a Guinness World Record for longest vine. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Determinate varieties are exactly what their name suggests. Their characteristics are already determined. They’ll stop growing at a certain. Most of their fruit matures within a few months, appearing at the end of their branches. Determinate tomato plants are popular with folks who want most of their tomatoes at once, such as for canning or making sauce.

Perhaps you prefer to put your plant in the soil and let it grow without limit. Indeterminate varieties continue to grow and produce tomatoes all throughout the season. This is why they need extra-tall supports of at least 5 feet. If you don’t prune them, no harm done—just know that they could eventually take up a lot of space.

Homegrown vs. Supermarket

Of course, there’s the big question: Why grow your own tomatoes when you can drive down the road and purchase them at a supermarket? Fresh garden-to-table produce often provide more nutrients than the fruits and veggies at your local supermarket. Plus, supermarket produce can be picked green and grown in varieties that ship better but don’t necessarily taste better. That’s not to discount our friends at large retailers. If you need a tomato or two for that potluck dish due yesterday, their tomatoes will do fine! But, there is something so satisfying about biting into a plump, juicy, delicious tomato that you grew yourself.

Why do homegrown and farmers market tomatoes have more flavor? For more info on the difference between homegrown and supermarket tomatoes, click here.

Conclusion

So, which tomato plants are right for you? They all share at least one thing in common: deliciousness. Either will taste great on your sandwich or salad. With the right care, any of them will produce fruit sure to please you and those you serve. Come see us at Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse in King, NC. Consider us your local tomato plant provider. We’ll be glad to show you our plants and help you decide which ones best suit your goals.

For more information about our tomato plants and other resources to meet your gardening and landscape needs, visit www.mitchellsnursery.com.

Traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage

 

Ingredients

  • Corned Beef (baked)
  • 3 pounds corned beef (in the package)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup hot sweet honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Mix the cloves, honey, and brown sugar. 
  • Place the corned beef into a baking dish and gently score the top with a knife. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the top.
  • Put into a 400 degree oven in a glass baking dish with a lid or cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Cabbage (sautéed)
  • Extra virgin olive oil and butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large head of cabbage, sliced into 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch wide slices
  • Salt
  • In a large frying pan add all of the ingredients, If your frying pan is not big enough to hold all of the cabbage simply add a little more as it cooks down.
  • Sauté until beginning to get golden. Remove from heat. 
  • In a large serving dish, add cabbage, then place your sliced corned beef on top and serve.



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

5 Reasons Homegrown Produce Tastes Better

 

Five Reasons Why Homegrown Produce Tastes Better

Let’s face it: a homegrown tomato tastes better than one from the supermarket. It’s not simply a state of mind. Put on a blindfold, and take a bite of a store-purchased tomato versus one straight off the vine—you’ll be able to tell which is which, pretty quickly. There are scientific reasons behind the difference in taste, five of which we’re observing today.

1) Supermarket Produce Is Harvested Before Peak Ripeness.

Most produce heading to the supermarket must travel a long distance. Hence, those fruits and vegetables are harvested while still bright green. They never reach their potential size and miss out on peak ripeness.

Some produce will even be artificially ripened during transport. For example, tomatoes receive ethylene gas to ripen them red. Ideally, tomatoes should be left on the vine until the breaker stage, when the tomato is about half green and half pink. Then they can be harvested and ripened off the vine with no loss of flavor, quality or nutrition.

2) Sugars Become Starch Once Harvested.

Have you ever eaten a blueberry immediately after plucking it off the vine? It’s at its peak ripeness and fullest flavor. By contrast, take a bite of a blueberry that was plucked a week ago—not as good, right? The reason is that fruits and vegetables contain sugars that begin turning to starch as soon as they’re harvested.

According to a study from Purdue University, sweet corn loses a whopping 50% of its sugar content in the first 12 hours after being harvested! There’s no telling how long those supermarket fruits and vegetables have been off the vine or plant.

3) Flavor Is Less a Priority in Supermarket Fruits and Veggies.

Supermarkets typically sell hybrid fruits and vegetables. With hybrid plants, breeders combine the desired traits of two plants through cross-pollination. However, the enhancements are typically related to shelf life and transportation—not flavor. A tomato from your local big box store might withstand the machine harvesting and transport, and they might last longer on the store shelf, but we guarantee its flavor won’t have the same pizzazz as if it came straight from your garden.

4) Better Soil, Better Food.

When you use compost and organic materials from natural sources, you’re not only enriching your soil, you’re feeding your plants with exceptional nutrition.

In modern agriculture with its industrialized soil, growers often apply synthetic fertilizers to their crops. Sure, these fertilizers provide essential nutrients, but they lack the micronutrients and soil microbiome that give crops important vitamins and minerals. These fertilizers provide the things that will make fruits and vegetables large, but not necessarily healthier—think of them as junk food for soil. When the soil misses out on nutrition, so do its fruits and vegetables—and so do the food’s consumers.

Besides, healthier produce is tastier produce. Even if you don’t miss those extra vitamins in your diet, you might miss the flavor in your meal.

5) Taste the Pride and Satisfaction.

Okay, so this one actually is more mind over matter. Still, eating a fruit or vegetable you grew yourself only adds to the satisfaction when you bite into it. You’re not only eating healthier, you know the work that went into your snack or meal. Plus, by purchasing your plants from a local supplier—like our very own Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse in King, NC—you’re supporting your community.

Conclusion

Supermarkets do a great job of providing us with produce year around, 7 days a week. They provide us with convenience, but you can’t beat a homegrown tomato for flavor though. Mitchell’s Nursery sells the plants you need and can also answer questions on how to ensure they provide delicious and plentiful fruits and vegetables. If nothing else, you can at least try to grow something and see what happens. You’ll proudly bite into a fruit or veggie you grew yourself that will astound your taste buds.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Roses, Do you know the difference?

 Your Roses are all beautiful. But, do you know the difference?

 You may be familiar with knock-out roses and Drift roses ( a lower growing shrub rose). These roses and other shrub roses are of the floribunda type. These rose bushes will flower throughout their growing season. Tea roses often grow much taller than shrub roses and produce a larger bloom. Both shrub roses and hybrid teas vary in fragrance, some are very fragrant and others only slightly

Knock-Out Rose hedge

Drift Roses These grow to a height of approximately 2ft at the most

Knock out roses and Drift roses resist pests and disease much better than tea roses. In addition to that, they are also easily adapted to more of the USDA growing zones. Knockouts are cold hardy to zone 4  and heat hardy to zone 9. This makes them a perfect addition to any landscape here in zone 7. Knockouts can be trimmed back to 18 inches every winter. or if you would like them to grow larger you can just shape and trim to keep them healthy and growing.

HYBRID TEA ROSE

The closest the average grower will come to the beautiful long-stemmed rose that you get from a florist is a hybrid tea rose. These roses are much more sensitive to weather and temperatures than a shrub rose. Their cold-hardy range is only zones 5 through 9. it is best to put them where they will be sheltered from winds as the stems that hold a heavier bloom may break and this will make the plant more susceptible to disease or pests.

So, when selecting roses for your space keep the differences in mind so that you can make the best choice.

Information is power. Now you have the power to avoid a lot of maintenance or loss. Enjoy your roses!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Rain, Rain, and More Rain

Raindrops keep falling on our heads. Be glad you couldn't hear me sing that as I typed. This winter has been a wet one. Arbor Day is this month. Usually, I would be in spring mode, getting excited and ready to plant my yearly tree. However, my excitement is drowning. Then, I think, wait a minute, the ground is soft, and it's the perfect time to get a hole dug for my beautiful tree. EXCITEMENT has returned!!



It seems we only see the sunshine here about twice per week. People seem gloomy and maybe even grouchy. Take heed, it cannot last forever. All of this bad stuff will eventually be a memory. 

Could you ever imagine all this rain having a positive side? Well, there is, and we really need to focus on that. First of all, it replenishes our water table below ground. The water table is critical for those of us who have wells, to keep them from going dry.

Trees! Think trees. When we are experiencing a particularly wet season, you must think of trees. We all know that holes for trees seem endless to the one digging. However, if it has rained a lot, those holes are much easier to dig. It also cuts down on time spent watering a new plant. Of course, you'll need to water when it dries out — if it ever dries out. Rain can be helpful. it's very hard to see it that way through the gloom.

So now may be the ultimate opportunity if you were planning on adding trees or shrubs to your landscape or home orchard. The ground is soft and we still have enough sunny days to get it done. Unless of course, you plan on waiting for the weekend. We haven't seen a dry weekend in quite some time here in NC, but we are so blessed it has not been snow. 

March brings us ARBOR DAY. Arbor Day in North Carolina was designated as the first Friday following March 15. So, what better way to recognize that day than to plant a tree.

If you are curious about how and when Arbor Day got started, click the link and read more at https://mitchellsnursery.com/2021/03/01/rain-rain-and-more-rain/


Plant a tree and better our environment.

Divide and Conquer

 



Perennials are plants that grow back every year. We love them because of their beauty and they are mostly very low maintenance. However, every few years, we must take time to dig them up and divide the bulbs, tubers, and roots by at least 1/3. This will help the plant to grow and flourish when it's less crowded and not competing for nutrients. 

This simple task will also add more of the same kind of plants to your landscape. Or, if you would rather, you can share them with friends and family.

It is best to do the dividing on an overcast day as the direct sunlight may dry the plants out. This may make them struggle when replanted.

How to divide perennials

  1. Dig up the parent plant using a spade or fork.

  2. Gently lift the plant out of the ground and remove any loose dirt around the roots.

  3. Separate the plant into smaller divisions by any of these methods: 

    • Gently pull or tease the roots apart with your hands; 

    • Cut them with a sharp knife or spade; 

    • Or put two forks into the center of the clump, back to back, and pull the forks apart.

  4. Each division should have three to five vigorous shoots and a healthy supply of roots.

  5. Keep these divisions shaded and moist until they are replanted. Replant as soon as possible.

Divide summer and fall-blooming perennials in the spring because:

  • New growth is emerging and it is easier to see what you are doing.
  • Smaller leaves and shoots will not suffer as much damage as full-grown leaves and stems.
  • Plants have stored up energy in their roots that will aid in their recovery.
  • Rain showers that generally come along with the early season are helpful.
  • Plants divided in spring have the entire growing season to recover before winter.
It can be hard to know what to divide when. Check out this PDF to help you understand what, when, and how.

THINK SPRING!

HAPPY GARDENING!