Year: 2013

What have UE students been up to in the garden?

In Upper El this semester students planted carrots, turnips, beets, radishes, rutabaga, kale, collards, cabbages, broccoli, Asian greens, lettuces, garlic, Daikon radishes, spinach, and fava beans. They learned a lot and noticed many interesting phenomena in the garden. Students studied seeds, the many ways they grow, and they got hands on experience saving seeds during harvest time. They also harvested and experimented with a special seed/grain, Amaranth. They noticed many of the insects and animals in the garden and the ways that these animals interact with nature, and how much the natural world depends on them. Students were very excited to observe a special guest, Speckles the hen, as she pecked, scratched, fertilized, and ate in the garden. This experience highlighted many of these interconnections between plants, animals, microbes, and insects. Students studied soil and practiced the basics of making good compost. They measured seedlings as they grew and noticed the stages they went through. Students also learned about perennial plants and all of their benefits. They studied one in particular named comfrey and learned …

Amaranth Candy

Alegrías, whose name is derived from the Spanish word for “happy,” are made from the highly nutritious, ancient grain amaranth. The recipe calls for amaranth that has already been toasted or “popped.” You can find popped amaranth in grocery stores, or pop the seeds yourself using an non-oiled heated pan on high (a clear lid is recommended for this). Amaranth had been grown by the Aztecs, Incans, Mayans, and several other ancient cultures until the conquistadors banned it from being grown in order to stop their ceremonies. It was nearly wiped from existence, and only brought back through seed saving by those who had retreated to the remote mountains. Today, it has been brought back, and has been found to have important amino acids, protein, minerals, and vitamins that completed the diet of these ancient peoples. Ingredients: • ¼ pound piloncillo or panela (raw unrefined cane sugar in solid molds sold in international food market grocery stores) • 1 cup water • ½ pound amaranth cereal (“popped” amaranth) • a few drops of lime juice …

Chai Tea

Although these aren’t all local ingredients and herbs, they make a delicious and warming winter tea. This recipe is a favorite with kids and adults because of its sweet spicy flavor. Boil 5 minutes, then steep 10 minutes: 1 Tbsp fennel or anise seed 6 green cardamom pods 12 cloves 1 cinnamon stick 1/4″ ginger root, sliced thin 1/4 tsp black pepper corns 2 bay leaves 7 Cups water Add, bring to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes: 2 Tbsp Darjeeling tea Add:6 Tbsp honey or brown sugar 1 Cup milk or coconut milk

French Onion Soup

We harvested a lot of yellow onions from the garden in early summer this year and cured them for later use. We decided to use them to make a delicious french onion soup for one of our staff munches in the fall. Here is the recipe we used. Bon Appetit! Ingredients 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced. Olive oil 1/4 teaspoon of sugar 2 cloves garlic, minced 8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock) 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine 1 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme Salt and pepper 8 slices of toasted French bread 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese Method 1 In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization. 2 Add …

Harvesting for Market!

This fall and summer the gardening classes on Tuesday got to do a lot of harvesting for the market. We are still harvesting broccoli, carrots, spinach, kale, and lettuce even in the depths of winter thanks to the hoop houses and our frost hardy plants. We  regularly brought a scale with us to class and weighed all of our produce at the end. Peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, oh my! We usually had close to 100 pounds of produce, and sometimes more! Students enjoyed cutting and arranging flowers, snacking as they worked, and doing math to total up our harvests. We harvested okra, ground cherries, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, cucumbers, kiwis, carrots, peppers, herbs, zinnias, cosmos, and much more! Students learned about the variety and bounty of foods growing in the fall garden. We hope that you made it to the market!