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April 4, 2020

Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Have you ever tried to boil a freshly laid egg? Don’t. I have my own chickens and gather eggs daily. I have tried it, don’t do it, it’s a waste of an egg. It’s a big mess with most of the egg non-eatable because it is stuck to the shell. Half your egg will be stuck to the shell. If you are using store-bought eggs most of those eggs are already aged 4 to 6 weeks or older so they are ready to boil. It is best to let the freshly laid egg sit for 4 to 8 weeks. I go with the latter, 8 weeks or older. This will allow the membrane to release from the shell of the egg. A properly boiled and perfectly aged egg is what you need in order to have an easy-peel. Here is the scientific reason behind this. Super fresh eggs are difficult to peel because the pH of the white is low which causes it to adhere to the shell membrane more tightly. So, what can you do? Use aged eggs that have aged 6 to 10 weeks. See my blog on Testing a Rotten Egg. I test my egg as I prepare them to boil. I have tested a lot of methods for boiling fresh eggs for the perfect hard-boiled egg. This one that I share is the tried and true one I use every time.

Start with a pan of cold water. Enough to cover 1 inch from the top of the egg.

Place lid on the pan. Do not remove until the time is up.

When water comes to a boil. Turn off heat.

Start timer! Let the egg sit.

  • 11-13 minutes for small eggs
  • 13-15 for medium eggs
  • 15-18 minutes for large or extra-large eggs

After allowed time pour out hot water. I cover the pan with the lid and potholders and pour out the water.

Add cold water and a lot of ice cubes to cool egg quickly. Shock those eggs cold.

After egg has cooled, shell eggs.

Shells should slide off eggs.

Perfect boil

Notes**That dark gray-green ring around the yellow center of an egg is the sulfur of an over boiled egg. Next time decrease the boil time by one or two minutes, or more if necessary. See how to test an egg that’s boiled.

Remember Hard-boiled eggs are the perfect on the go, for the hubs, or kids. Put them in your kids’ lunch for an easy nutritious meal. Keep them shelled and stored in Tupperware for a meal on the go. You can add them to gravy or make egg salad sandwiches. There are so many things you can do with the wonderful egg.

Posted in In the Kitchen
Nov. 6, 2019

For the Love of Asparagus

     

 

One of my favorite crops to grow and eat is Asparagus. Asparagus will be one of the first crops you will enjoy for your gardening season.  It is easy to maintain and grows until the summer heat sets in.  A good crop can feed the whole family with this high nutrient food.  Low is calories and high in nutrients you can’t go wrong with this awesome crop.  Loaded with vitamin K, C, E, A, B1, B2, B6, folate, copper, selenium, iron, and calcium and many more.  If you need anti-inflammatory asparagus is your food because it provides a truly unique combination of anti-inflammatory nutrients. This crop boast protein and fiber and taste oh so good.  You can steam it, roast it, or put it on the BBQ.  Asparagus is a crop that needs at least one year to take root and will be a major producer the next year. So, pick a spot to grow this wonderful crop.

 

Garden Spot (Preparing your spot for growing)

 

It is important to pick a spot and do not move your crop after planting if possible.   This allows it to take root and grow larger and larger spears every year.  Asparagus will come back for 20 years for your eating enjoyment. To prepare your spot for growing, early spring Asparagus can be started from one-year old crowns.  Clear all weeds from the area.  Before planting I like to till in aged chicken manure 4 to 6 inches deep.  Make trenches about 6 inches wide and at least 12” inches deep, row spacing 6 to 8” apart.  I put a small shovel full of compost mound about 6” apart and place a crown on top of each.  Place the crown over the mound and spread the roots out.  Cover you crown with 4” of dirt and wait till the asparagus comes up.  When you see the spear come up, cover it with more dirt and compost until level with the ground.  I cover my crop with a thick layer of straw to keep out the weeds out all summer long.  Hint: easy crop to grow!

 

First Year of Planting

 

In the first year of planting it is best to just let the crop go to fern.  If you do this, you will have larger asparagus to eat the next year.  If you can’t wait, try not to pick more the 50% of the crop, letting the rest go to fern.  Pick your crop in the cool early morning is best. I store them in a cup of water in the refrigerator until ready to eat. This keeps them crisp until eaten. Or eat them raw; the sweet taste and crisp crunch of fresh asparagus straight out of the garden is sure to please.  Go ahead and try it!  

 

Water, Light, and Dirt….

 

Regular water- keep soil evenly moist, but not wet. I use a drip system in my garden. I water early in the morning giving the soil time to dry out before night.  That is important with asparagus not to leave it wet, so rust does not set into the garden patch.  Asparagus prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade. I have mine in full sun and it loves it. 

 

Spring Preparation

 

It’s time to get your asparagus ready for Spring crop.  Cut down winter ferns.  I use a tree trimmer and cut at the base of the asparagus meets the dirt.  Some like to twist the fern off.  If using this method make sure not to harm the crown of the asparagus.  Asparagus loves phosphorus.  I use composted chicken manure, bone meal and rock phosphorus to amend the soil and keep the levels high in these nutrients.  I do this once in the early spring and again in mid-summer on a cool early morning day and water heavy. It is important to water heavy so that the fertilizer goes down deep to the roots of the Asparagus plant.

 

The Winter's End

At the end of summer let the asparagus go to fern.  This is a good thing because it indicates that photosynthesis is being promoted therefore nutrition production and absorption increases.  During the ferning process most of the energy produced is stored in the roots to give new growth the next year.  Female spears produce green berries that eventually turn red.  These berries are seeds.  I have had them produce new plants.  Most don’t have this happen, but it can happen like it has in my garden.  Of course, these baby plants will not be ready to eat for a couple of years.  But it has been a joy to watch them grow.

 

Preparing for Asparagus Cooking

 

The end of the spear can be woody.  To avoid eating it I hold my asparagus in the middle of the spear and at the end and snap the end of the spear off.  It will snap off where the woody part meets the tender area of the spear, leaving you with the tender part to enjoy.

 

If you have questions regarding growing asparagus leave me a comment and I will answer it as soon as I can.  If room allows for you to grow this crop give it a try, you are sure to enjoy it year after year like my family and I do.  Good luck and happy gardening!!

 

 

 

Posted in Garden Tips
Oct. 29, 2019

Ready Set Winterize

 

Ready Lawn Equipment - fall is a good time to gather yard tools and bring them out of the weather. This includes your patio furniture. Spend some time sharpening or lubricating your tools, and oiling the handles as well. Use a mill file for sharpening edges as this is an inexpensive way to prep your tools for use. By spraying a water-resistant silicon based lubricant or a similar lubricant on tools you will prevent rust and enables tools like hedge shears to open and close easily without sticking.  Apply oil on wood handles to insure they do not splinter. 

Pick up Yard Tools/Store Patio Furniture - bring in hummingbird feeders and hanging baskets out of the weather. Remove dead plants and remove/store dirt for next seasons planting. Store patio furniture out of the weather or put under cover to prolong the life of the furniture. If you are selling your home in the winter putting away patio furniture lets’ buyers know you take care of your items.  

Clean Gutters/Empty&Disconnect Hoses - it’s easy to overlook cleaning your gutters when spring and fall roll around—there are so many other chores to be done!  By cleaning gutters, you will prevent overflows that may lead to rain dripping down your siding or other issues as well. Stay safe from a fall and use one of the many tools you can use from the ground. Some of the tools that can be used to clean your gutters yourself are: Leaf Blower, Wet/Dry Vacuum, Power Washer or your Garden Hose; all have gutter attachments.  Find a local hardware store that sells the above items and you should be able to find the particular attachments. Make sure to disconnect and drain hoses.  This will ensure you will not have frozen hose bibs or a frozen hose. 

Drain Your Lawn-Irrigation System - time to get the air compressor out or call someone who services sprinklers to drain your lawn-irrigation system. This will save you from the headache of broken piping in the spring. 

Don't Prune Trees or Shrubs Until Late-Winter - fall or early spring is a good time to trim most trees and shrubs but not all, check with your local nursery for your specific type of tree or shrub. Trees and shrubs go dormant in the winter months thus making it the best time to make the proper cut. It also gives the plant time to recover  thus making sure that bacteria, fungi, parasites and insects do not invade your plant. 

Purchase deicer/snow shovels - early fall is a good time to stock up on deicer and snow shovels.  Don’t be the last in line during the first snow or ice over.  Please purchase pet friendly deicer for your sweet furry babies. 

Call a Chimney Sweep/Order Firewood - early fall is a good time to schedule your once a year sweep and inspection.  Sweep is to remove soot, blockages and built-up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber and damper. ... Creosote can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency.  Order your firewood, pellets, or refill your propane tank to stay cozy all year long.  If storing firewood, store 25 feet from house or wood buildings.  

Paint, caulk and seal exterior wood - caulking can crack or loosen seal out in the elements. Caulk and seal exterior wood to ensure it can take the winter weather and prevent water damage. Prep, prime, and paint exposed wood.  

Check outdoor lighting - winter months are dark.  Ensure pathways are well-lit to avoid missteps. If using solar lights this is a good time to clean the solar panel with water and vinegar to remove hard water build up from solar panel.  

Change Batteries in Fire Alarm - change batteries and check operability of fire extinguishers and Carbon monoxide detectors. It is always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher or two. Confirm the pressure gauge or indicator is in the operable range or position, and lift the extinguisher to ensure it is still full.  

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans- in the winter, reverse the motor and operate the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction. This produces a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into the occupied space. Remember to adjust your thermostat when using your ceiling fan — additional energy and dollar savings could be realized with this simple step! 

Service Heating System/Change Filters - call your favorite HVAC company to have your filters changed and heating system serviced to make sure it is running with top efficiency.  

 

 

Posted in Seasonal Home Tips