Cherry Plum Jam

8 Comments

Cherry Plum Jam ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“It is as healthy to enjoy sentiment as to enjoy jam.”Gilbert K. Chesterton

If you have access to any fruit trees in your neighborhood then I highly encourage you to try your hand at canning some jams and jellies. Jam is easy to make, and very inexpensive when the fruit is picked from the tree for free. :) If you don’t have any canning jars you can always use recycled, store-bought nut butter or jam jars.

Homegrown, homemade jam makes nice gift with a little bow tied around the jar. How often do you receive homemade goodies these days? I think people appreciate receiving something that you made yourself, that took some time to prepare, and that comes from the heart.

There are a ton of great jam and jelly recipes on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

Jam Fact: The average American consumes about 5 pounds of jam per year, so why not make your own?

Purple Passion Fruit

16 Comments

Passion Fruit ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Sometimes you’ve just got to grab an apple – or grapes, or strawberries. Something that’s healthy but maybe a little bit more adventurous, if you can see fruit as adventurous.”LL Cool J

When I found some beautiful, fragrant purple passion fruits at my local grocery store I just had to try them. I’ve never eaten passion fruit before and the smell was intoxicating, like perfumed fruit punch. I later learned that they smelled of Kool-Aid to me because passion fruit is often used in juice mixes to enhance their aroma.

I had no idea what these little gems were going to look like when I cut them open, and boy was I was surprised by what I found. The peels are full of orange gel-encased seeds. To eat passion fruit, you scoop the seeds out with a spoon (leaving the white rind behind) and swallow them whole. Apparently this is because the seeds are bitter when chewed. Although sweet-smelling, these were surprisingly tart. This wasn’t a bad thing though, as they tasted magical and marvelous!

If you think passion fruit is interesting-looking, check out passion flowers!

Homegrown Baked Potato Bar

12 Comments

Baked Potato Bar ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”A.A. Milne

Maybe it has something to do with my Irish roots, but I LOVE potatoes! My husband Keith and I decided to put our homegrown red potatoes to the test via a vegan baked potato bar, and they definitely passed!

We baked our potatoes, broiled some Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds on top and added dairy-free butter, roasted broccoli, fried smoky tempeh bacon, ground black pepper, and my favorite sour cream substitute, Joanne Stepaniak’s Sour Dressing recipe from Vegan Deli, page 123.

Keith claimed he’d already had more than his share of baked potatoes during his college years, since as a vegetarian that’s about all he had to choose from at his school’s cafeteria, but he couldn’t get enough of our baked potato bar!

Potato Facts: The potato is was first domesticated by the Andeans of South America at around 500 B.C., and the Inca grew thousands of varieties of potatoes.

Rustic Italian Soup

10 Comments

Rustic Italian Soup ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“I was offered a free villa in Hollywood, but I said no thank you, I prefer to live in Italy.”Ennio Morricone

I love to make wholesome vegetable soups like this one to have for lunch throughout the week because they are chock full of energy-and-health-promoting vitamins and minerals. When you make soup yourself instead of buying it in cans you are eating fresher, more nutrient-dense foods and you know exactly what ingredients you are putting into that pot of soup. When you cook your soup from scratch you can ensure that it contains no industrial chemicals, pesticides, and weird food additives, and if you’ve made too much you can always freeze it for later. Here’s a great article called The Truth About Canned Soup, from Rodale News. I  realize that most people take advantage of the convenience of canned foods sometimes, myself included. I just try to cook from scratch as much as possible. It is also very economical to cook your own soups at home. It seriously costs pennies on the dollar compared to the canned stuff. Continue Reading »

Potato Tire Harvest

7 Comments

Potato Tire Harvest ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”Marcus Tullius Cicero

I found the idea for planting potato tires in the excellent book The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. Their potato tire instructions are also available here.

Planting potato tires in your garden is great for a lot of reasons. For one, you are putting old tires to good use and keeping them out of the landfill. Secondly, you are growing some of your own food, which is a rewarding and educational experience. I didn’t even know what a potato plant looked like until I planted potatoes myself! Thirdly, potato tires allow you to grow a lot of potatoes in a small space. And finally, since you are planting the potatoes above ground in tires, when it comes time to harvest you won’t have to break your back digging into the ground to pick your potatoes. Instead, you can just pull off the topmost tire and sift through the soil to find your yummy taters.

This is a low-cost, low-maintenance project which can be undertaken almost anywhere with adequate sunlight. We hid our stack of tires in the hedges in our front yard… on a city street! We had a bountiful harvest from our single, three tire stack. We were able to make plenty of homemade, homegrown mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and oven fries, and I must admit that these fresh potatoes were the best I’ve ever eaten.

Potato Fact: An Englishman named Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of potatoes from a single plant in 1974.