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Strawberry Crunch Muffins

I am so glad it is the beginning of Strawberry season.  Strawberries are so fun and delicious.  They are low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamin C.  This week’s recipe features this berry delicious fruit in a nutritious whole grain muffin.  Your family will not even know that they are eating something so good for them!

Makes: 12 muffins

1 cup of fat free plain or vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup fat free milk

2 eggs

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup low fat granola

2 tablespoons wheat germ

2 tablespoons oat bran

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line muffin pan with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine yogurt, applesauce, milk and eggs; blend well.

In medium bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, granola, wheat germ, oat bran, baking soda and salt.  Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in strawberries.

Fill each muffin cup about three-fourths full.  Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown or until a wooden pick inserted into center come out clean.

Nutrition Information: 166 calories, 5 g protein, 34g carb, 3 g fiber, 2 g fat, 36 g chol, 108 pg folate, 2 mg iron, 459 sodium.

Chilean Flan

A few weeks ago I spent a week in Santiago, Chile, South America.  It was part of a capstone project to complete my masters degree.  While in Chile (pronounced – Chee-lay) I experienced some amazing flan. Just thinking of it with its caramel and vanilla goodness, made my mouth water.  It is light easy and oh so good!  I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Caramel Custard (Flan)

4 servings

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 can  (13 oz) evaporated milk [1 2/3 cups}

1/3 cup of sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla ( I also add a pinch of vanilla bean powder too!)

1/8 teaspoon salt

Heat 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and golden brown.  Divide syrup among 4- 6 oz custard cups; rotate cups to coat bottoms.  Allow syrup to harden in the cups about 5 minutes.

Mix remaining ingredients; pour into custard cups.  Place cups in a square pan, 9 x 9 x 2 inches, on oven rack.  Pour very hot water into pan to within 1/2 inch of tops of cups.  Bake in 350 degree oven until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.  Immediately remove from water.  Serve warm, or refrigerate and unmold at serving time if desired.  

I like to garnish mine with fresh raspberries, strawberries or other berries and a small dollop of whip cream on the plate .  It looks decadent, but oh so easy! 

Friday PhotoEssay

Herb Day is tomorrow, so come on out and buy your herbs for the summer, eat some good food, and attend seminars on herbs and pollinators.

I continue t be amazed by how many strawberries are on the plants this spring. I almost think the plants might have too many berries. We’ll have to make sure to give them a little fertilizer in mid-summer when the fruiting slows down.

The black raspberries are also in the process of blooming. It is really easy to miss the fact that they’re blooming, because the flowers aren’t all that big and showy. They are even smaller than red raspberry flowers. Of course, the fruit tend to be smaller too.

The potatoes in the Family of 4 Garden are growing quite rapidly. It’s not quite a potato jungle yet, but I think it could get there by the time they are full grown.

I know I’ve posted at least one cabbage picture every week now, but the blue-green leaves are so pretty and the pointed heads are just too cool.

The grafted tomatoes are finally big enough that the clips are starting to come off. Can you tell where this plant was grafted? I’m not sure you would notice if you didn’t know to look for it.

These four lettuces are looking great. I really like the contrast of colors and textures.

Have a great weekend!

Late Berry Pruning

We are late getting our berries pruned this year, because I wanted to use them for the workshop last Saturday. I pruned most of the raspberries on Saturday, but we still had to do some cleanup and then prune up the currants and gooseberries.

Pruning and some good old fashioned TLC has done wonders for this black raspberry. 2 years ago, I was determined that it would get one last chance before getting torn out. It had about 6 berries in 2008. With some fertilizer and pruning, it was fairly productive in 2009, and then last year…

Yeah, I can’t wait for summer either! It was definitely vigorous last year, and we had to prune out lots of canes that were trying to root themselves all over the place.

We pruned out all of the old, diseased red raspberry canes, leaving just these new shoots to become this year’s primocanes. Because of the problems last year, if we see any signs of disease this year on these berries, I think we will remove the plants.

We also pruned out some dead canes in the currant and gooseberry bushes. They are already blooming, which is a bit late to be pruning, really. I checked last year, and I took pictures of the currant and gooseberry blooms on April 4th, so we’re apparently running about the same as last year. (I think we might be a hair behind right now, the flowers aren’t open quite as much.)

Fun Fact: Studying the timing of when certain plants bloom, etc from year to year is called phenology.

Thinking About Fruit

We are thinking about putting in a fruit display garden/orchard here at the Extension Office. It’s not a sure thing whether or not we’re going to do it. We are just in the exploration and pre-planning stages.

One of the most important factors is determining if the spot we have available can actually grow fruit! My best estimate right now is that the soil is classified as a Sandy Clay…not exactly what we’re looking for in a fruit garden. We could probably make it better by incorporating a whole bunch of compost, but it still won’t have great drainage like many fruits require. I’ve also taken a soil test from the area to see if the pH is anywhere close to reasonable. (You have no idea how shocked and excited I’ll be if the pH test comes back as anything below 7.5!)

One of the reasons for growing fruit in a small home garden that we discussed during Master Gardener class last week is that you can grow fruits that are unusual or not easy to find in the grocery store.

Of course, I had to bribe everyone to see my point of view by feeding them – Red Currant Scones and this yummy Red Currant Pie. I had frozen 4 cups of currants back in June when the single Red Currant bush in the Demo Garden was loaded. When’s the last time you saw fresh (or even frozen) red currants in a grocery store in Kansas? That’s right…pretty much never!

So, that being said, which fruit would you like to see planted in a fruit display garden?