gardening

Easy To Make Homemade French Fries

Easy To Make Homemade French Fries

Homemade French Fries

During this time of year grilling and picnic season is just starting to take which means hamburgers, chicken and other forms of meat will be grilled and what goes better than a big plate of French fries.

Stores are stocking up on bags of frozen French fries but nothing taste better than good ole homemade fries. Store bought fries have all sorts of chemicals and additives added to the potatoes in order to make them last while sitting in the freezer waiting to be purchased. Wouldn’t you rather know what your family is eating and take a few extra minutes and make your own French fries. For my family we love going out to the garden and dig up some fresh potatoes and slice them into our own homemade fries.

What potatoes work best?

This is an age old question that has been kicked around for generations. For many people they use the classic russet potato while others prefer to use the popular red potatoes. For us we like using the Yukon Gold potatoes for making our own fries. Another option to try that I love is using sweet potatoes, these make wonderful tasting French fries.

Bake or deep fry?

Another question that gets bounced around is, what is best baked or deep fried French Fries. I personally love eating fries that I have just pulled out of the deep fryer but my body does not like this. I am over weight and have high cholesterol and high blood pressure so for my I only eat French fries that are baked. Baked fries are healthier and they are tasty and crispy just like fried fries but they are not dripping with grease.

Cooking and Seasoning Fries

After you either have bought the potatoes or dug them out of the garden all you really need to do is wash them thoroughly and slice them with a potato slicer. Once this is done either put them in hot grease or oil that is preheated to 375 degrees and cook them till they are golden brown. Or layer the sliced fries on a cookie sheet and brush them with oil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bake for around 20 minutes. Once you take them out of the fryer or oven season them with salt or if you have some special mixture of seasoning then this is the best time to season the fries.

Conclusion

French Fries are an all American tradition especially when we have backyard BBQ’s and parties. Nothing can beat the taste of all natural homemade French fries that are served with your favorite cut of meat.

Do you and your family make your own French fries or do you still purchase them frozen from the store? We would love to hear from you.

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Posted by Tom in Recipes
Growing Sweet Potatoes For Year Around Harvest

Growing Sweet Potatoes For Year Around Harvest

Growing sweet potatoes year around

Either in a garden or in a pot on your patio sweet potatoes are a wonderful tasting tuber that also adds beauty to your landscape with it’s foliage and flowers.

Sweet potatoes are grown in sunny locations in a garden with other vegetables or grow easily in a container. Sweet potatoes are grown worldwide and sometimes they are called yams This lovely root is full of rich and nutritious vitamins A and C and also contains many rich minerals that are good for your health. The type grown in most urban gardens is the Centennial or Georgia Jet variety.

 

There are many uses for sweet potatoes, of course they are very popular in fall for Thanksgiving Dinner. But there are hundreds of wonderful recipes on the web for this wonderful tasting and healthy tuber. At the bottom of this page I have listed a few web sites that will direct you to some of my favorite recipes.

Here is a great website that will help you in growing your own sweet potatoes: Click Here

Recipes

Here are a couple of web sites for great sweet potato recipes:

25 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

32 Wonderful Country Sweet Potato Recipes

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Posted by Tom in gardening, Recipes
Some Of The Easiest Vegetables To Grow In A Container / Pot

Some Of The Easiest Vegetables To Grow In A Container / Pot

Vegetable Gardening in a Pot

For many people that live in cities they are limited to the amount of space where they can grow a vegetable garden. A great alternative to this dilemma would be to grow vegetables in containers on your deck or patio. There are several types of vegetables that are easy to grow and in this post we will offer our suggestions to what grows the best in containers.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes plants can produce an abundance of great tasting fruit without much care or space. The tomato plants require about 5 to 6 hours of sunlight. Depending on the type of tomatoes you would like to grow will determine the size of the container you will grow them in. One of my favorite tomatoes to grow which produce an abundant crop are cherry tomatoes.

Beans

Beans can be very easy to grow and do very well even if grown when they are gown in containers. The key is when you purchase the beans to grow find out if they are bush style or if they are climbers. If you purchase beans that climb then you will need a trellis or place the container by a wall or fence so the beans can climb. Beans do like to have sunshine and the pot that you will use needs to be about 14 – 16 inches in depth. Beans will produce from spring till frost and are a lot of fun to watch them grow.

Lettuce

Lettuce is one of those vegetables that you can harvest multiple times in a season and lettuce grows very fast but it prefers to be grown in cooler temperatures. For us in Florida winter is the best time to grow lettuce. If you are growing lettuce that only produces leaves and not heads it is best to use a wide planter with about 4 -6 inches between the plants. For lettuce that produces heads it should be spaced farther apart. It is best to keep the soil moist but make sure that the soil does drain properly.

Peppers

Both chili peppers and regular peppers are very easy to grow and a lot of fun to watch. Both types of peppers produce abundant amount of vegetables and they grow well in sunny warm areas. Keep the soil moist and well fertilized and grow in pots that are deep. Large pots that are more than 10 inches deep are best.

Carrots

Carrots grow fine in large pots and produce good yields, but they do grow better in cooler weather and they love to stay moist. It is best to plant them in deep pots so they have room to grow large.

Eggplant

Eggplant is not everyone favorite food but it is fairly easy to grow. They love the heat so temperatures here in Florida and anywhere in the south are ideal for growing eggplant. Here in Florida we grow eggplants year around. Eggplants do better in containers than they do in large gardens.

Mustard Greens

Here in Florida and the southern states mustard greens are loved by many. These greens are do not do well in the colder weather but thrive in sunny hot conditions. This wonderful vegetable is easy to grow and it does not require much attention. Mustard greens are great for salads and are rich in vitamins and nutrients.

Garlic

One of the more healthiest herb / vegetable to eat and it adds a lot of flavor to many recipes is garlic.  Garlic is easy to grow in containers, just make sure that the pot is 6 – 10 inches deep and good and wide. Space the bulbs while planting about six inches apart to get the best return on your yield.

Rhubarb

This brings back memories of when I was kid and my parents harvesting rhubarb for making pies and sauce. This plant is grows great in pots and you can receive multiple yields for years from each container you grow. Growing rhubarb can be grown both in the south and in the north even where winter can be fierce.

Okra

Another great vegetable to grow is Okra. This vegetable does wonderful in the warm summer season with plenty of sun and fertilizer and moisture. Here in Florida Okra is loved by almost everyone, when we go out to dinner we always order an appetizer of fried okra. Okra is easy to grow especially in containers but it would be better to grow the dwarf variety in containers since the plants do not grow so large.

 

Posted by Tom in gardening
Start A Lifestyle Change And Become A Urban Homesteader

Start A Lifestyle Change And Become A Urban Homesteader

Who says that homesteading or living off the grid is a fad? I hear this from time to time but in reality being a homesteader is a growing trend and has been growing since the 1960’s. More and more people are turning to homesteading in order to separate themselves from growing government corruption, corporate America, wanting to live a similar life style and then there are some folks that are turning to homesteading in order to reduce the carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

If you are one of these people that is looking to start a new way of life then you have come to the right place. Learning how and where to start can be very frustrating and confusing. Many people including myself have jumped into projects head first and learnt the hard and expensive way and wasted a lot of hard earned money. Here we are going to take things slow in order to process the transition into living as an urban homesteader. By doing things slow the lifestyle change and the cost will not be an overwhelming experience for you and it will help you from failing.

Getting Started To Be A Homesteader

One of the things that most urban homesteading families will start with is gardening. Most people do not have an acre or two to start a garden. I highly recommend starting with a raised garden about 4ft x 8ft or 6ft x 10ft if you have the space. Don’t try growing all the food you need for a year right from the beginning, try just growing a few items and then when you’re comfortable growing these vegetables then expand and make your garden larger so you can add more items. Great resource for the Backyard Gardener .

Preserve Food

You have grown your food, you are enjoying eating what you have grown. Now you need to store some of this food for the future. One way to do this is by canning. Many people are afraid of the idea of canning. In this article: Water-Bath Canning I explain how easy it is to get started with canning what you have grown.

Form Partnerships

Many of us are not skilled at everything and some people have knowledge in one or two fields of expertise. This may be hard for many of us including me, but we need to talk to our neighbors and get to know them and find out what they are good at. Back many years ago before technology many of us knew our neighbors and we made friends with people around us. But today we may simply wave to our neighbors and I bet most of us do not even know our neighbors name. We need to break out of this mold and build some friendships and partnerships with the people that live around us. These friendships and partnerships will come in handy when disaster comes and we cannot rely on technology to save us.

Lay Your Own Eggs

Now this may sound far-fetched but have you ever considered having your own chickens in your backyard?  Many homesteaders have chickens in their backyards for supplying many things that homesteaders need to have. There are many advantages to raising your own chickens. My wife and I started about four years ago raising chickens. We started by having five baby chickens that were about a week old, we made sure that they all were hens and no roosters. In about six months we started having fresh eggs from our girls. Now besides fresh eggs we also have fresh nitrogen rich soil from our girls that we use in our garden. We give the chickens our food scraps and they just love when we bring out these treats for them. These recycling machines turn our food scraps into great compost for our raised gardens. Chickens are fun to raise and the grand kids love coming over and playing with these feathered girls of ours. In an upcoming post we will talk in depth about raising chickens and making a chicken coop.

Store Water

Living here in Central Florida one of the things we do every spring is stock-up on water. Living on a well is great for having great tasting water but when we lose power we lose the use of our well. Besides hurricanes that knock out our power we get a tremendous amount of thunderstorms that knocks out the power grid. All it takes is a lightning strike or a tree to fall and there goes the power and our water source. We could be without power for an hour or we could be without power for days, ether way you want to make sure that you have water stored for these times. The nice thing is water is cheap and easy to store. Depending on the size of your family will determine how much water you will need to have on hand. For my wife and I we will usually pick up about six to cases of bottled water each spring for the upcoming summer. Water is very important when you are considering being a homesteader.

Conclusion

Now this is not everything that you will need to be a homesteader but it will get you started in the right direction. In upcoming post we will start digging deeper into what it takes to be a homesteader or living off the grid. This post should help you get started and get you thinking of what you may need to get yourself started down the road of changing your lifestyle.

 

 

Posted by Tom in Urban Homesteader