On Friday, Ed Stagg from Radio Leicester, rang and spoke to me regarding ‘The Good Life’, as the wonderful Richard Briers had recently passed away and he was discussing ‘living the good life’, on his Saturday program.
This week Ed Stagg was joined by a model, a cook and a happiness expert. They had quite an interesting discussion after Ed had played my phone call and if you have a bit of time spare, have a listen and tell me what you think.
You can hear the discussion here (approximately 1 hour 38 minutes into the program).
Over the weekend I have been busy freezing my Celeriac, Turnips and the Jerusalem Artichokes that I picked last week
If you have never used Jerusalem Artichokes before, this is how you prepare them and freeze them:
Scrub each of the Jerusalem Artichokes to remove the soil
Chop the ends off each one and remove any damaged areas.
Chop into ‘roasting’ sized pieces
You can then roast them in olive oil (approximately 45 minutes, Gas mark 6) or freeze them (to roast from frozen another time).
To freeze, all you need to do is blanch them for two minutes.
What is blanching?
….Boil a pan of water, then put the Jerusalem Artichokes into it. Bring the water to boiling point again and then time it for 2 minutes and then drain. Immediately plunge the vegetables into very cold water, to stop the cooking process.
Lay the Jerusalem Artichokes onto a tray in a single layer and freeze. When they are frozen, put them in a bag. By freezing them in a single layer on a tray, they won’t all stick together and it will be easy to take out just the required amount that you need.
How to prepare and freeze Celeriac:
Celeriac is a bit easier to prepare as you just need to remove the skin, wash and chop into usable sized chunks. Again, I freeze mine at this time of year, so we are never without them.
To freeze, blanch for two minutes, exactly the same way as the Jerusalem Artichokes.
I use the turnips in a different way to roasting, I use them to make a cheesy gratin as a side dish with meals. I’ll show you how I make it another day.
I left the turnips a little bit too long in the ground and the biggest weighed 1.9kg!
I froze it exactly the same as the Celeriac and the Jerusalem Artichokes above, only this time I blanched it for just one minute.
On Friday I promised to show you how I make newspaper pots. My shallots are sitting happily in my cold greenhouse in the pots I made.
Newspaper pots are great to make as they are extremely cheap and environmetally friendly to use, as the recycled materials decompose when you put them in the ground. This also helps the plants that do not like root disturbance, e.g. swedes, that can be sown in the pots and then planted a few weeks later, still in the newspaper pots.
The plants find it easy to grow their roots through the damp pots when they are in the ground.
You can actually buy a ‘Newspaper Pot Maker’, it costs about £10, but I prefer to make them using either a baked bean tin, or a soya sauce bottle, depending on the size of pot that you require. This is how I make them:
How To Make Newspaper Pots:
You need a newspaper, some masking tape and a soya sauce bottle for small pots
Fold one sheet of newspaper in half and then into thirds
Roll the paper around the bottle, so the newspaper is over lapping the base of the bottle
Ensure you don’t roll the newspaper too tightly, or it will be hard to remove the paper from the bottle.
Use a small piece of masking tape to secure the paper at the top and then fold in the newspaper over the bottom of the bottle.
Secure the bottom of the pot with a small piece of masking tape.
You can use different sized tins and bottles depending on the size of pot required. For example, I use a baked bean tin to make pots ready for when I ‘prick out’ my tomato plants.
I find it’s best to make the pots and use them straight away, as sometimes the masking tape becomes ‘unstuck’ if you make them too far in advance.
Also, when your plant is ready to go into the ground, make sure all of the newspaper is under the soil, or the paper will act like a wick and dry the compost out.
I love newspaper pots.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.
I’ll be back on Friday at approximately 6 pm.