Friday, October 26, 2012

Calm and beauty before the predicted storm... Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Click on the photo for best view
Today In Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
October 26, 2012
As we near the end of October, our fall backyard garden continues to produce bright and cheery dahlias, red cannas, tiny blue chia, pink basil, red salvia and even more yellow tomato blooms. Too bad all the hummingbirds have migrated, they love many of these blooms. We're still harvesting potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, rosemary, oregano and nutritious greens like Swiss chard and arugula.
A whole new batch of potato plants have emerged in a raised bed that we "thought" we harvested all the potatoes out of! Gardening is always full of wonderful surprises.

Now, we're preparing for Hurricane Sandy's wrath of heavy rain and winds. We'll see what happens... stay dry and be safe.
Photos Copyright (C) 2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

23% of teens have either pre-diabetes or diabetes according to @AmerAcadPeds

Is Your Teen Overweight?

More and more doctors are referring teenagers to see a Registered Dietitian with their parent(s) for weight management. Most teens I speak with tell me they don’t even want to go, but do so reluctantly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 23% of teens have either pre-diabetes or diabetes. 

Are you an overweight teen? Are you a concerned parent? Participate in physical activities and learn all you can about healthy cooking and eating right. Start your healthier diet and lifestyle today to prevent obesity-related diseases like diabetes.

Related Link
Report of Teen Study by The American Academy of Pediatrics

Friday, October 19, 2012

Time to Harvest Persimmons! South Jersey @EatRight #GardenCuizine @Fruits_Veggies


Persimmons appear ripe and ready-to-eat now in the Fall season. One of my coworkers, the person who brought us the delicious figs I wrote about, brought us our her South Jersey neighbor's latest backyard harvest yesterday - freshly picked persimmons. Have you ever tasted a persimmon?

Persimmons are one of those fruits that many people have yet to try. No one in my family had ever tasted a persimmon before. I only had two fruits to bring home, as luck would have it, I accidentally smashed one getting into my car on the way home from work! The other ripe persimmon made it home to our tasting table. Everyone loved its natural sweet flavor. 
To learn more about persimmons 
and their nutrition profile,
Read my Dave's Gardens article: Have You Tasted A Persimmon?
Photo Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Today in Our Fall Garden #GardenCuizine #gardenchat

Today In Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
October 7, 2012

Fall is in the air! No killing frost yet here in South Jersey. So many colorful blooms continue, including: Cosmos, Mums, Buddleia, Shiso, Salvias, Cannas and Dahlias. At this time of year, look for praying mantis near your porch lights. We found one of these cool creatures sunning on a plant by our front door yesterday. No wonder our Japanese beetle population seemed more in control this year. Mantids are an organic gardeners best friend. Females lay their eggs in the fall.

Our old dog Holly enjoys the cooler air as she waits for Dad to check out the garden. We still have several pounds of "King Harry" potatoes buried beneath the earth waiting to be dug up.

Black Russian Tomatoes Solanum lycopersicum
This year our favorite tomatoes were what I thought were Black Krim heirloom, but it turns out they were Black Russian; both look similar to Cherokee Purple. Black Russian had great flavor! We ate them on sandwiches and used them in cooking and in salsa. The dark green top half color was deceiving, because they were ripe and juicy inside. 

Bay Laurel Laurus nobilis
We harvested bay leaves and noticed that when bay leaves dry, they curl. Store-bought bay leaves must be pressed dry to keep them flat. 

Chiltepin Pepper
Our Chiltepin pepper shrub is producing small, round hot red peppers daily since we took the plant indoors to protect it from cool temperatures. Every morning we harvest another half dozen or so.

Happy and Healthy Cooking and Gardening!

Related Links
Bay Laurel - Grow Your Own in a Container
Photo collage Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Homemade Jersey Tomato fresh Garden Salsa #canning #recipe #GardenCuizine

Homemade Jersey Tomato Salsa
Who had time to blog recipes and photos during peak tomato season? Not I, so save this recipe for next fall harvest season when you have boku tomatoes ripening so fast that you can't possibly eat them all. Salsa also makes good use of affordable, fresh locally grown tomatoes from your farmers market. 

No such thing as too many tomatoes!
  1. Share tomatoes your local food bank
  2. Give away tomatoes to family and friends 
  3. Preserve tomatoes by making pasta sauce, hot sauce, ketchup or salsa.
We decided to make several batches of salsa this year since we were still stocked with several jars of "Harry's Hot Sauce." We've been making homemade salsa for years now. It's always such a treat to have, especially during the Winter and even early Spring, before tomatoes are ready to harvest. Salsa can be enjoyed so many ways - think beyond chips. We like it as a condiment over scrambled eggs, fish, tacos or bruschetta.

This salsa recipe was inspired from a Cooks Illustrated version that uses Lime Juice and Cilantro. Those flavorful ingredients work for us, feel free to change it up to your liking; just remember not to skimp on added acid for food safety reasons.


5.5 lbs (~2,480g) Jersey tomatoes (about 6 large)
2-3 jalapeno peppers or other hot peppers of choice
1/2 cup (116ml) lime juice
1 medium (174g) red onion
1 bunch scallions 
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup (59ml) olive oil 
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
 Putting it all together
  • Chop and let tomatoes drain in a large colander; drink the tomato liquid or use it in soup or other recipes - don't waste it! Water soluble nutrients like vitamin C leech out into the tomato liquid. In our batch the tomato liquid measured 356g; yours will vary depending on how juicy your tomatoes are.
  • Chop 1 cup of cilantro leaves; set aside.
  • Seed and chop the jalapenos or other hot peppers; set aside.
  • Gather up the remaining ingredients. 
  • Add all the remaining ingredients to the chopped, drained tomatoes. Stir to combine - serve immediately or refrigerate for later. 
To preserve by using water process canning method:
  • Stir in 2 teaspoons citric acid powder
  • Heat entire contents and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle hot into sterilized canning jars and process following USDA's Guide to Canning Tomato Salsa (link below).  
  • Recipe yields 5, 8-ounce jars.
GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis coming soon... we know tomatoes are a good source of Lycopene and Vitamins A and C!
Related Links
Time for Tomatoes - Fresh Talk check out my interview with Cheryl Sternman Rule
Canning Salsa Safely
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning Tomato Products

Recipe, photos and blog post Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved. rev 11/1/1

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tucked away from the #FNCE frenzy in Philly; Today in Our Garden #GardenCuizine

 click on the photo to get a full view 
Today In Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
October 7, 2012
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Philadelphia is now underway (October 6-9), drawing more than 10,000 Registered Dietitians - myself included. You can follow updates about the conference on Twitter. Everyone is quite eager to Tweet their updates and as a result several hash-tags have emerged: #FNCE, #FNCE2012 and  #FNCE12. 

I was in Philly before the FNCE frenzy - for a 2 1/2 day Weight Management training certification course, which no doubt benefited my nutrition counseling skills. I was sorry to miss the FNCE food photography class and the excursion to Hershey PA though. Proud to be a qualifying participant in a Hershey cocoa focus group, I look forward to going back to Philly this week.

Philadelphia is in our backyard so to speak; it's not a far drive away. But, what's really in our back yard? A fabulous garden. Backyard gardens provide food, physical activity and fun for the whole family. I highly encourage you and your family to try growing your own vegetables and herbs. And, even if you don't have a backyard - plants can be grown in a neighborhood community garden or grown in pots and put out on a balcony or porch. Here is today's spotlight of a few of our select October blooms and foliage.
Photo clockwise from top left to right:
  • Chiltepin Peppers (Capsicum annuum var. aviculare) - one potted plant produces literally hundreds of tiny round hot peppers; also known as bird peppers. We just took our plant indoors last night. Peppers grow best in warm climates. Chiltepin peppers require a longer growing season than sweet banana peppers or more commonly grown bell peppers. From a culinary perspective, they are well worth the wait. Once red, they can be pulled off the plant and allowed to dry on plates. When dry, the hot peppers can be stored in a spice jar and used as needed in cooking.
  • Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla) - what more can I say about Chard? I've blogged often about Chard's healthy nutrition profile and how easy it is to grow. Chard comes in many vibrant colors and varieties. The Chard in our garden (Northern Lights Mix) has been amazing - producing greens for our family all Summer long and even now into the Fall.
  • Tomatoes are running out of ripening time! Still, so many new flowers with hopes of growing more tomatoes. Knowing how tomatoes dislike cool temperatures - at this time of year, we start picking them green and allowing them to ripen inside on a sunny windowsill.
  • Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) - are now black in color and will be picked and saved as seed or used as beads - a fascinating plant.
  • Garden Mums are ablaze in Fall colors!
  • Purple Beauty Berry (Callicarpa dichotoma) - these berries feed the birds.
  • Inky Fingers Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) - my absolute favorite Soleno. I took cuttings last night and have about a dozen plants started under grow lights indoors for new plants that will be for outdoor garden planters next year. If you find your local garden centers do not offer some of your favorite coleus, this is something you can do to propagate hard-to-find cultivars.
Happy and Healthy Gardening!
And, have fun at FNCE if you're an RD headed to, or in, Philadelphia

Related Links
Backyard Gardening: Grow your own food, Improve your Health 
Related Articles by Diana Wind, RD
Ayurvedic Herb: Coleus forskeolii  
Homemade Ground Pepper Spices
Job's Tears - A Fascinating Plant
Chiltepin Peppers Garden Spotlight
Photo collage Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.