Monday, September 24, 2012

Banana Melon

So, I finally had a ripe Banana Melon in the garden. This is the first time I have ever grown them. I purchased the seeds from my favorite seed company, Baker Heirloom Seed Company.

This is how they describe it on their website:
     90 days. Banana-shaped fruit, smooth yellow skin and sweet, spicy salmon flesh. 16-24 inches long, 5-8 lbs. It was listed in 1885 by J. H. Gregory’s Catalogue, which said, “When ripe it reminds one of a large, overgrown banana... It smells like one, having a remarkably powerful and delicious fragrance.” This is one of my all- time favorites, being very sweet and great for specialty markets. 

The first one was a small one, 3.668 lbs.

Me holding the Banana Melon.

Cut into the melon.
It tastes a lot like cantaloupe and is very sweet and juicy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Let Your Garden Make You Dinner Tonight!

I know that fall is just about here and most gardening is coming towards the end of the season. But I wanted to share something about gardening. I want to encourage everyone to start thinking about next year's garden and what you are going to grow. I always have my basics.. Tomatoes, Onions, Eggplant, Zucchini, etc. That is a given. But think about trying a couple new veggies. Maybe plant a couple things you've either never had or something you've never thought about growing. Just plant a couple and see how it turns out. Sometimes you stumble upon something you love and just never thought to try. Over the years I have planted many different crops and some I love and still plant, others I will probably never plant again.

I remember planting Kidney Beans one year. It was interesting. I learned a ton of facts about them because I tried to grow them. They turned out great. One fact I did not know... Kidney Beans, if not cooked all the way, will make you ill. They contain a toxin that is present until fully cooked. Even partially cooked will make you sick. They were great but they were just too much work and hassle to harvest and store. It is well worth the cheap price at the supermarket to buy them rather than do all that work. But it was rewarding to be able to say, "I grew the beans in this Chili!!".

Other plants, I cannot wait to grow again. I found these carrots one year that had 4 different colors/varieties in it. I figured, what the heck. The white ones were SO sweet and absolutely amazing! I ended up buying that particular variety for the garden this year!

But the ultimate reward from gardening is to be able to, at a moment's notice, go out and pick something for dinner. Tonight was a great example. You don't always need a recipe to make something great. Just use what you have on hand and let your garden inspire whatever comes to mind. We took a Chicken Breast out of the freezer before I left for work, but didn't have any idea what we would do with it. So at work, I thought, how about a Lemon Chicken Pasta. So I marinated the chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano. I went out in the garden and picked an Eggplant, and a handful of grape tomatoes. So I sauteed the eggplant, a shallot, and then the chicken. Tossed in some white wine, and pasta water. Then tomatoes, cut in half. And I found some feta in the fridge. Threw in the Penne and voila! I had created a sort of Greek Lemon Chicken Pasta. I let the garden tell me what was for dinner! Didn't have to go out and buy all kinds of ingredients.

Moral of this blog... You don't always need a recipe to create a great dinner. Just use your imagination and whatever you have in your garden. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to try something different. If it tastes bad, you can always call a delivery place and get dinner. But at least you tried!