Pomegranate Harvest

Today while I was feeding the chickens, I noticed that we had a pomegranate split while on the tree. That is usually how I know they are ripe enough to pick.

I had a lot going on today, but I was able to quickly run out and pick them all.

We ended up with 56 pomegranates this year. I believe we had around 20 last year.

Many of them are quite large. I had my nine year old hold a couple near his head to see the size of them.

We have already juiced some of them to use in baking. We are going to make white cupcakes with pomegranate Buttercream frosting and chocolate Bundt cake with pomegranate juice in it.

Pomegranates are very messy when being juiced, and now parts of our kitchen looks like someone has been bleeding there.

We will try to get some cupcake pictures posted later.

-Joshua

Advertisements

Watermelon Sorbet

Coming off the success of the Lemon and Sugar Free Lemon Sorbets I made a week ago, I have been thinking of other fruits to make sorbet with.  Sorbet is so easy that it can be made quickly with little prep time.

After having family over for dinner we had some leftover watermelon.  I knew I had to use it for sorbet.

IMG_4706IMG_4705

I had never juiced watermelon before.  It seemed to me the easiest way would be to chop it into pieces, and then toss it in a blender.  This watermelon didn’t have many seeds, but I did remove them before putting in the blender.  I wouldn’t want seed bits to get into my sorbet.

watermelon in blender

I ran the blender on the “liquefy” setting until I thought all the chunks were broken up. To be safe, I ran the juice through a strainer, however, that was basically unnecessary.  There was very little solids left over and they would probably have been fine in the sorbet. IMG_4690

I had around 2.5 cups of juice, so I adjusted my recipe accordingly.  This is a forgiving recipe to make so it can be adjusted easily to make more or less.

As with the other sorbets I have made, I first made the simple syrup. Place the water and sugar in a small pot.  Over medium heat, boil until the sugar dissolves. How long this takes depends on how much you are making.  Once the sugar is fully incorporated into the water, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool.

After the simple syrup finished cooling, I mixed the watermelon juice into the syrup.  I put the juice mixture into the refrigerator to get cold.  This is something I did to help ice cream freeze better, but I don’t think it is really necessary with the sorbet.  I just do it out of habit.

IMG_4689

Then the juice mixture goes into an ice cream maker, and is churned according to manufacture directions.  It will end up a bit loose and soft even when fully churned.

IMG_4686

Place the churned sorbet into a freezer until fully frozen.

IMG_4709IMG_4708IMG_4710IMG_4711

This is a really sweet sorbet.  Watermelon is rather sweet on its own, and the addition of all the sugar adds to the sweetness.  If you have a raging sweet tooth like I do, then you will like this one.

 

Watermelon Sorbet

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3/4ths cup watermelon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Stir in the watermelon juice. I put mine in the refrigerator to get cold, but this isn’t really necessary.

Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

 

Wednesday in the Garden: 05/24/2017

Our little garden is growing really well right now.  This is a great time in San Diego County for plants.  The sun shines for well over 12 hours a day, and the temperatures are generally mild.  We did have some fairly extreme temperature jumps this week.  Last Wednesday our high was only 67 degrees, but by Sunday it was about 95 degrees.  I had to make sure I kept the soil from drying out and allowing my seedlings to die.

I also had a problem with something digging in my garden beds.  I have some sort of beetle grub that lives in the soil.  The grub seems benign, but occasionally there will be holes dug all over the garden beds when some animal decides grubs are on the menu.  At least I think that is what is going on.  When I find dug up spots, I just attempt to put the dirt back in place and resettle the plants.  Generally, the plants do OK, but I do miss out on seeds sprouting when they are disturbed.

 

Our lemon tree is growing and putting out many lemons.  Three years ago the lemons looked diseased and were inedible, now there are more lemons then we can keep up with.

IMG_4595IMG_4594IMG_4593

I think we might actually get blood oranges for the first time. The fruit seems to have set and is growing larger right now.

IMG_4592IMG_4591

The key lime tree I bought at Costco has blooms all over it.  I planted it near the end of the summer last year, and got a few limes off of blooms that were on it when I bought it.  I think we will get a lot of limes this year.

IMG_4587IMG_4588

My Anna Apple tree is blooming again.  I was surprised to see more flowers on the tree.  It is the first year I have this tree, so I have no idea what to expect from it.

IMG_4586IMG_4585IMG_4584IMG_4583

The almonds continue to look good.  They really don’t look like almonds at all though.  The part we eat is safely protected inside of its large fuzzy shell for now.

IMG_4582IMG_4580IMG_4579

I really hope this plant is an artichoke and not some lesser cousin.  I think the seeds blew in from my neighbors yard, but I haven’t been able to ask them yet.

IMG_4589IMG_4590

This garden bed has a large cauliflower plant in it that I think is finally going to give us something to eat.  There are also green beans, carrots, Desi Squash, Patty Pan Squash, Long Beans, Pok Choy, and Swiss Chard.  I had some Kale plants, but lost them when that part of the bed got dug up.  I might have a couple pepper plants going, the seedlings look like peppers, but I planted the peppers so long ago that I am not sure.

IMG_4577

The large plants you see in the bed are New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins.  We grew this type last year and got 19 pumpkins out this small area.  There are also 3 kinds of peppers in the background, and green beans in the foreground.

IMG_4576

The brown plants in the back of this bed are my garlic.  They look bad, but seem to be growing well.  There are also three types of flowers, mustard greens, kohlrabi, and some kind of cauliflower.

IMG_4575

This is my long bed.  It has a number of things planted in it. Unfortunately, this one got dug up pretty badly twice.  I probably lost the carrots I planted in here and some of the green and wax beans.

IMG_4574

My 7 year old’s garden bed is growing like mad.  Some of his corn plants have corn on the stalks already.  Earlier this week I harvested two of his beets to make room for the other beets.  One of his cauliflowers was eaten by caterpillars so I replaced it with two chard plants that I bought.  His other cauliflower is getting chewed up by caterpillars too, even though I try to look for bugs to kill on it every day.

IMG_4573IMG_4572

My thirteen year old’s garden bed is also growing well.  His corn is also starting to have fruit on it.  His cilantro didn’t like the mid 90s temperatures from the weekend and looks like it wants to bolt.  Cilantro is very heat sensitive, which I find interesting because it seems only be eaten in places where it is warm.  His Black King Pansies have started to bloom a little.

IMG_4569IMG_4568IMG_4567

Here are some pictures of a tomato plant since that is what my mom and my wife really want me to grow.

IMG_4571

There isn’t much growing right now that we can eat, since I didn’t do well in the transition from winter to spring.  There are a few things that I was able to pick.

0524 beets
Chioggia Beets

 

0524 arugula
Arugula (rocket)
IMG_4596
Pok Choy

This afternoon we had a decent sized California Kingsnake on our driveway.  I wasn’t able to get much pictures or video of it since it quickly slithered into our ivy.  There are a number of gopher holes near the snake, so I really hope the snake slaughters some gophers.

 

I hope that everyone that read through all this enjoyed the pictures, and I hope your planting endeavors are doing well.

-Joshua

Wednesday In the Garden: 05/10/2017

May is a crazy month for us. Three of our children were born in May so there is always a lot going on. 

I guess that is why I missed the last two weeks with the Wednesday pictures. I also had a gopher and pill bugs eat some of my plants, so I had less to show anyway. 

Today I only have pictures of the three apples on my Anna Apple tree. I am really surprised by this tree. I just planted it this fall, and it is the only apple tree around. I didn’t expect any fruit at all any time soon, so having three apples is amazing. 

The next group of pictures are not garden related, but they did keep me from taking garden pictures. I spent much of the last two evenings building model rockets with the kids. We are driving 1.5 hours to the desert on Saturday to launch rockets and fly remote control helicopters. If all goes well we will have some videos of the rockets to talk about later. 

-Joshua

Wednesday in the Garden: 04/12/2017

Today there will not be as many pictures as last week. While working in the garden, I had my two oldest come to cull their plants. I wanted them to cut out the extra plants that came up with some scissors. I guess I gave my nine year old bad instructions or he miss understood. His beet seeds produced a few plants per seed. I wanted him to trim each spot where the beets came up to only one plant. He thought I meant every square that he had planted. So he cut most of his beets and many of his carrots down. After I discovered what happened some crying happened, and I now felt like the worst dad in the world. I helped him replant where needed, and now I have to hope his plants still do well before the summer heat kicks in.

So here are the pictures I did get to take.

Our lemon tree is doing well so far this year.  I think Lynn is going to need to do a bunch of baking with lemons in the near future.

The Pomegranate tree continues to put out flowers.  I think we will have many fruits from this tree this year.

I am experimenting with strawberries in one of my raised beds.  There is some fruit on them, but I am mostly hoping they survive the summer.  I want to get runners off the plants and have a raised bed full of strawberries.

This celery plant took a long time to sprout.  I had planted it in the fall, but it took months to finally start to grow.  I like the color of the stalks because they are such a vibrant dark green.  The celery from the store is always so much more pale then this. I wonder if that is because they are a different type of celery or just that the store bought is picked to early.

They pansies that we planted have started to grow.  I never grew these plants from seed before, so I am interested to see how they look as they grow.

img_4390

Our square foot garden raised beds are starting to look really good.  This is such a good way to grow a garden in the urban/suburban setting.

 

Hopefully, next week I won’t have my son kill his garden so there will be more pictures. I hope all of you that read this are having success with your gardens, and that you enjoy many tasty fruits and vegetables.

-Joshua

Save

Dragon Fruit Ice Cream

A few days ago my in-laws neighbor gave them 2 Dragon Fruits, one of which was given to us.  Coincidentally, we bought and received an ice cream maker around the same time.  In my mind, this meant I needed to make dragon fruit ice cream.  Yes, my mind works in odd ways sometimes.  I found that most dragon fruit ice cream recipes called for 2 or 4 dragon fruits.  I was able to talk my in-laws into giving me the other dragon fruit with promises of ice cream.

While looking for recipes for dragon fruit, I learned that there are different colors of dragon fruit.  There are pink, magenta, and white dragon fruit.  The ones we were given were white on the inside.  Many of the ice cream pictures I saw online used the magenta-colored fruit.  Our white fruit is visually less interesting, but I believe the different colored fruits taste much the same.

I wasn’t able to find one recipe that did exactly what I wanted so I combined a few different recipes.  The main ones I used were from Obsessive Cooking and Civilized Caveman Cooking.   The recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking is for a more custard-like ice cream since it used egg yolks.  However, it doesn’t use any sweetener, and I wasn’t sure about unsweetened ice cream.

making-the-custard
Cooking the coconut milk custard
blended-dragon-fruit
Dragon fruit in the blender

This recipe could easily be halved if you want to make a smaller amount. We have a large family so I wanted to make a good amount in case the kids liked the ice cream.

Dragon Fruit Ice Cream


Ingredients

  • 2 dragon fruits
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 2-4 limes
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the dragon fruit in half and scrape out the fruit.
  2. Combine coconut milk, egg yolks, vanilla, honey and sea salt in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  3. Bring to a boil while constantly whisking.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Place dragon fruit in blender or food processor and process down.
  6. Add dragon fruit mixture to cooled coconut milk mixture.
  7. Place in refrigerator to cool at least 2 hours, but can be overnight
  8. Remove from refrigerator and use immediately in ice cream maker using the manufacturer instructions.

ice-cream-in-the-maker
Dragon fruit ice cream in the ice cream maker container
dragon-fruit-ice-cream
Right out of the ice cream maker

Overall, I think the ice cream tasted pretty good.  Only one of our five children liked it, but that didn’t surprise me.  There are many seeds in this ice cream, and I think that automatically turned them off before they tried it.  The  limes do add a tartness to the ice cream, so you could remove them if you do not like tart flavors.  Even with the honey, this wasn’t a sweet ice cream.  You may want to add more sweetener to it if you want it to be sweet.

-Joshua