* You are supposed to plant peppers indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. For zone 9B, that’s now. (We had 2 frost days last year in March). In this video, he will show you EVERYTHING you should know about growing peppers. Pepper Growing Tips – Complete Gardening Guide on How to Grow Peppers They like early morning sun but will get sunscald if the sun is too hot, especially in the afternoon. Two years ago, ALL my peppers got afternoon sun and had really bad sunscald problems. Last year, I put them on the north side of my house and they did much better. Peppers need to be planted 18 inches apart. If you use a container, use a minimum of 5 gallons. Watch the video for more information.
* Want to use a bucket for growing food? This site will tell you how to read the recycle symbol on the bottom of the bucket to find out if it is food-grade. How to Identify Food Grade Buckets: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
LONG TERM FOCUS: Beans
Technically, it’s March and we should be on a new subject…but we only got 3 weeks of beans, so I’m doing one last week before we move on.
* Want an official science experiment? This person experimented with soaking beans in salt brine, baking soda brine, and salt AND soda brine: He did kidney beans and black beans and then posted the results with a lot of fancy words and numbers (ugh…stats). Why You Should Soak Beans in a Salt and Baking Soda Brine Before Cooking His conclusion? Salt AND baking soda work best for softening hard beans.
* How much should you store? 2 1/2 lbs per person per month. One pound = 2.5 cups of dry beans. When you cook beans, they triple in size. If you look up how many cooks that is when the beans are cooked, answers vary from 2-3 cups cooked per pound of dry. Taking an average that anywhere from 6-7 cups per pound. (Stay with me…) 6-7 cups per pound times 2.5 pounds is about 16 cups of beans per person per month. Please consider that this is only about 1/2 c. of beans per day. Assuming that’s all you have to eat, it’s not very much
SHORT TERM FOCUS: Other Condiments
Depending on the recipes you plan on using, maybe pick up an extra bottle of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, whatever. You don’t have to load up on all the sauces, just one or two extra bottles of something you use a lot.
MISC FOCUS: Paper Goods
It wouldn’t hurt to pick up 1-2 packages of paper plates (the really cheap kind that stick together). If the water supply is interrupted, you don’t want to waste precious drinking water to wash dishes. Get cups too. Store them in the garage, or under a tarp in the backyard. LOL
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
It seems that a few weeks ago, I only included “part” of a recipe and then got distracted and never finished the directions. Thanks to an observant reader, who pointed this out, I will try to be more careful in the future. But, I’m including it AGAIN, just in case anyone is actually interested. LOL
Red Beans and Rice
from The Pioneer Cookbook, by Miriam Barton
1 lb dried kidney beans, rinsed well
8 c. water
ham bone (optional, but yummy)
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 green or red chili pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
Place all ingredients in a large stockpot. Cover and cook on medium heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
1 1/2 c. rice – Stir into the pot for the last 40 minutes of cooking. It may be necessary to add more water if it cooks out before the rice is soft.
The beans and rice are done when they are tender. Remove the ham bone before serving.
Yes, you can make your own. This recipe is from cookieandkate.com. It calls for 2 cans of pinto beans. It would be a good idea to practice using canned beans before you cook up a big pot of beans yourself. When my kids were little and I was very poor, I made my own refried beans a lot! It was easy to do, and I liked the taste.
In a medium saucepan (I used to use a frying pan), warm
1 TB olive oil until shimmering.
1/2 c. finely chopped yellow or white onion (about 1/2 small onion) and
1/4 tsp salt. Cook onion and salt until the onions have softened and are turning translucent. About 5-8 minutes.
2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
Cook for about 30 seconds.
2 cans (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained, or c. cups cooked pinto beans
1/2 c. water. Add beans and water. Stir, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and remove the lid. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork (that’s what I did) to mash up about half of the beans, until you reach your desired consistency. Continue to cook the beans, uncovered for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in:
2 TB chopped fresh cilantro (I never did this)
1 TB lime juice, to taste. Add more salt and/or lime juice if necessary. If the beans seem dry, add a very small splash of water and stir to combine. Cover until you’re ready to serve.
from Pantry Cooking: Unlocking Your Pantry’s Potential
2 c. cooked whole wheat. Cooking the wheat in a slow cooker will make it softer and easier to grind or mash.
(Cook wheat like oatmeal: 2 parts water, 1 part wheat. Season with a little salt and cook till water is absorbed)
Put wheat through the finest blade of a food grinder or mash thoroughly. Mix wheat with
1 can refried beans or 2 c. cooked beans, mashed or ground.
Spoon about 1/3 c. of this mixture on a lightly oiled skillet. Flatten lightly. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cook on medium to low until browned. Turn and brown the other side. Serve plain or with chili sauce.