Monthly Archives: December 2010

Persimmon Salsa & Preserved Basil

Not being a Southern girl, persimmons are not in my cooking lexicon. My only experience with them was learning to distinguish between them and tomatoes for a horticulture judging contest in high school. So, when one of our Master Gardeners gave me 2 Fuyu persimmons from her father’s tree in California, it was quite a process to decide what to make! We finally settled on making a salsa to go on top of some pork chops.

Alas, I didn’t get a picture of the persimmons before we peeled and quartered them. Aren’t they a nice, bright orange color? The persimmons were cubed into about 1/2″ pieces.

The salsa recipe also called for a tablespoon of minced fresh basil. Yeah, right. I’m not going to buy basil from the grocery store at any time of the year, let alone in December! Luckily, we had the basil that we had preserved at the end of the summer. I decided to use one of the frozen-in-water cubes of sweet basil. It was pretty coated in ice crystals, and the top basil was kind of brown and discolored. Doesn’t look too tasty, does it?

However, once I melted that ice cube, the basil looks really good! Obviously the water is a little discolored, but the basil itself was a nice green color and fragrant.

So, it is good to know that at least one of the basil preservation methods worked pretty well! I’d say that salsa is a good test, because slimy or off-tasting basil would show up pretty clearly.

The salsa also had a couple teaspoons of minced fresh ginger, a tablespoon of finely minced onion, 1 serrano (seeded and finely chopped), salt, and pepper. It called for mint too, but we didn’t have any mint. (I think I could have scrounged a couple sprigs out of the Demo Garden, but I forgot about it.) Very simple, but I think it turned out pretty good.

Yum! It looks so summery, even though it is December. It was also really tasty on the pork chops.

Friday PhotoEssay & Temperature Data

Only have a couple pictures this week, since all the fun stuff is happening under the row covers!

The larkspur seedlings are more visible now after we harvested most of the lettuce in the open bed. They are doind just fine in the cold weather.

Some of the thyme is actually starting to look better now than it did in the fall. Mmm…thyme!

The oregano is turning a really nice purplish tint with the cold weather.!


This Week’s Temperature Data:


Outside: Min=16, Max=70

Fabric Bed: Min=24, Max=65

Plastic Bed: Min=30, Max=80

12/8/2010 (I was gone for a couple days)

Outside: Min=19, Max=53

Fabric Bed: Min=28, Max=61

Plastic Bed: Min=32, Max=80


Outside:  Min=30, Max=63

Fabric Bed: Min=28, Max=61

Plastic Bed: Min=34, Max=88

So generally we are seeing warmer overnight temperatures under the row covers, which is the point of the exercise! I really want to take the covers off and get a look at the plants rather than just peeking under the covers, but I haven’t had time. I’ll do that either right before I head out for Christmas or after we’re back from Christmas.

Winter Weather

I wasn’t going to post today, but I just went out to read the temperatures from over the weekend (just the overall maximum and minimum since last Friday morning). We got down to 16 degrees last night! Still, some of the lettuces that are outside and unprotected are still looking good.

Like this dark red oakleaf lettuce. I took this picture last week, but it still looks this good today after thawing out from the cold.

It was also nice to see the low temperatures from the two covered beds. The fabric covered bed registered a low of 24 degrees, and the plastic covered bed registered 30 degrees! I’m definitely impressed with how much warmer they are, which is much warmer than I expected.

Friday Update & Temperature Data

We are going from cold to warm and back to cold again like we’re on a fall-winter rollercoaster! Some of the plants are still looking good, others are starting to show some damage from the cold.

Both the plastic and the fabric row covers came off while the wind was howling over Thanksgiving weekend and I was out of town. I ended up pulling some metal t-posts out of the shed to add some extra weight to the row covers. The real key is having things tight enough so that the wind can’t catch a loose spot somewhere and tug it looser and looser.

The fava beans and the mustard greens behind them are less than thrilled with their exposure to temperatures in the low 20s. I’m not sure if the beans have grown enough to tolerate the winter. I guess that’s why they’re experimental!

On the other hand, the spinach is firmly in the “couldn’t care less how cold it was” camp. In fact, the spinach looks pretty darn tasty!

I think the radicchio is also right there with the spinach. It is looking great and even starting to curl up and begin to form heads just a little bit.

Okay, so this isn’t out in the garden. Poinsettias do NOT like cold weather, which makes it incredibly ironic that they are a Christmas plant. This one is a pretty cool newer variety.

This week’s Temperature Data:


Outside: Min = 20, Max = 70

Fabric: Min=20, Max = 82

Plastic: Min=32?, Max = 94


Outside: Min = 26, Max = 49

Fabric: Min=??, Max = ??

Plastic: Min = 31, Max = 94


Outside: Min=21, Max=49

Fabric: Min=28, Max=60

Plastic: Min=32, Max=94


Outside: Min=29, Max=51

Fabric: Min=31, Max=60

Plastic: Min=34, Max=74


Outside: Min=31, Max=63

Fabric: Min=32, Max=71

Plastic: Min=35, Max=85