Tag Archives: garlic

Plant Garlic This Fall


The best time to plant garlic is in the Fall, 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes.  Netted packages of both types of garlic are now in stock in the store.  Below are the basic types of garlic available and simple planting instructions.

Hard Neck Garlic:

We have a nice assortment of garlic for Fall planting in the store.

We have a nice assortment of garlic for Fall planting in the store.

  • Sharper flavor
  • Produces stiff stem through the center
  • Hardier – best survival during a cold winter
  • Somewhat shorter shelf life

 Soft Neck Garlic:

  • Relatively mild flavor
  • Best choice for garlic braids

garlicplantingPlanting Guidelines:

  • Plant garlic in our area 4-6 weeks before the the ground freezes.  In our area that would be mid-to-late October.
  • If you are replanting garlic you grew this year, choose the largest heads, the bigger you plant, the bigger you will harvest.
  • Loosen the soil, add organic compost, and plant 8 inches apart.

Harvesting and Curing:

  • Garlic will be ready to harvest in late July, when some leaves are beginning to yellow.
  • Be sure to cure the garlic properly for storage, by shaking off most of the dirt, layout on a sheet, not touching each bulb to one-another.  Be sure there is no direct sun on the drying garlic.
  • When the stems are completely dry and papery, exterior has tightened around the clove, remove stems, leaving a 1″ stem.
  • Trim the roots
  • Store in a dry dark place.

    Plant garlic in mid-to late October

    Plant garlic in mid-to late October.  What a great way to get a headstart on next years garden!


Heidi’s Tomato Salad


Harvesting delicious home grown vegetables makes the foundation of the hot season supper. Whether you like pesto or basil infused tomato salad or both, the combination of the two layered onto toasted French bread makes an extraordinary, punch of flavor for a summertime appetizer.  Now that tomatoes are starting to come in, Heidi’s tomato salad is sure to please everyone in the family or dinner guests as a side dish or appetizer.

You will love this recipe for the ingredients are listed and you just get to eye-ball how much to use based on what you have and what you like.  Use all the listed ingredients or just the ones you like or have.  Suggested proportions are in parentheses.

Heidi’s Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad with Platter of toasted baguette slices

Tomato Salad with Platter of toasted baguette slices

Tomatoes, chopped or sliced (4 cups)
Onion chopped (1/2 cup)
Chopped basil (1/4-1/2 cup)
Garlic (3-4 minced)
Honey, oil, vinegar vinaigrette to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the toasted slices of French Bread, brush olive oil on 1/4 -1/2″ slices of mini-sized baguette or French Bread placed on a large cookie sheet and toast under the broiler for 5-7 minutes.  Keep an eye on the bread or it will blacken quickly.  Spread pesto over the baguette if desired.  Top with tomato salad.  AMAZING!

Basil will succeed best when started in the garden

Basil will succeed best when started in the garden


Herbal Vinegar Basics

French tarragon is used for culinary purposes.

French tarragon is used for culinary purposes.

Tarragon or other herb flavored vinegars are easy and inexpensive to make and provide a simple, appetizing way to add flavor to salad dressings, marinades, and every day meals. Tasty, distinctive, flavored vinegars can also be added to roasted vegetables, drizzled over fish, splashed into a soup, stew or stir-fry for added flavor, or to baste chicken while it bakes.

The process requires few ingredients, basic equipment, and very little time. Homemade vinegars make a special and unique gift for any occasion. If you don’t have tarragon, try basil, Rosemary, thyme, dill, sage or parsley in an herbal vinegar.  Or try several different versions.

Fill jar with fresh herbs

Fill jar with fresh herbs


  • 1-2 cups of French tarragon leaves, fresh and loosely packed – more herbs, more flavor
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, optional

(Additional herb sprig for decoration when bottling)


1. Wash tarragon (or herbs) the night before, if needed, so herbs, freshly harvested in the morning, will maintain maximum flavor. Gather herbs in the morning, after the dew has dried. Bruise tarragon or herbs with the back of a chef knife, with a mortar and pestle or crumple herbs by hand to release maximum flavor.
2. Fill a dry sterilized  jar with tarragon or herbs of choice. (A quick run through the dishwasher
herbal+vinegars3. Pack a one quart jar with the herbs and pour the vinegar over the herbs. Cover the container with a plastic lid and leave for 2—3 weeks. This will draw out the flavor of the tarragon into the vinegar.  (Two-piece lids will work, but be aware vinegar will react with the metal screw bands)
4. Line a fine wire-mesh strainer with a paper coffee filter or cheese cloth. Pour vinegar mixture through the strainer into a large measuring cup, discarding the herbs.
5. Fill dry, attractive sterilized glass bottles with a fresh herb sprig, and add strained vinegar. Tightly seal the bottles with nonmetallic lids or corks; store the herbal vinegar in a cool dark place.

Dress fresh salad greens with herbal vinaigraitte

Dress fresh salad greens with vinaigrette



3 Tbsp. tarragon vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 Cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon or 1 tbsp. dried, crumbled

In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, salt, and pepper; add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Stir in tarragon. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Options for Pairing Vinegars and Herbs

White wine vinegar goes well with many herbs and is perfect for herbs or flower petals that produce color. Dill, basil, tarragon, chervil, mints, and lemon balm are well-suited to white wine vinegar.

Red wine vinegar adds a rich flavor and pairs well with sage, thyme, parsley and bay leaves.

Be creative:  mix and match herbs and garlic according to taste!

Bottles for herbal vinegars are available at Paonia Farm and Home

Bottles for herbal vinegars are available at Paonia Farm and Home

Make Your Own Pickling Spice Blends

Make Your Own Blend Suggestions

Make Your Own Blend Suggestions- Read on for details and Recipes

Without herbs and spices, a pickle would be a bland shadow of the fresh cucumber it started out to be. The myriad nuances and complexities provided by the herbs and spices used in the pickling process are what give pickles their signature flavors.  Bulk spices for making pickle spice mixes are available at the Trading Post.  Pre-packaged pickle spice mixes are available at Paonia Farm and Home Supply. 

It’s easy and fun to create your own signature pickling blend according to your taste preferences. Begin with a basic, multi-functional seasoning blend for the brine, then experiment with additional spices to strike a balance that makes the perfect pickle.

Note: The information below refers to cucumber pickles, but just about any vegetable, from Italian giardiniera to onions and radishes, can be pickled using your own customized seasoned brine.

Step 1: Understand the basic elements of a pickling spice blend

Salt, sugar, turmeric, garlic, onion, peppers and dill seed are essential to any basic pickling spice blend for the role they each play in creating a balanced, effective brine.

  • Salt: Helps create the brine and draws out moisture from the raw cucumber so that it can be replaced by the flavors of the seasoned brine.
  • Sugar: Helps to counterbalance the salty tartness of the vinegar brine. Sugar is especially necessary for sweet pickles like bread-n-butters.
  • Turmeric: Adds an unmistakable earthy richness and produces the vivid yellow brine necessary in many finished pickle jars.
  • Garlic and onion: Add aromatic, flavor-enhancing depth to what would otherwise be bland, one-note cucumbers.
  • Chili peppers and black peppercorns: Add heat.
  • Dill seed: Gives dill pickles their signature taste.

Basic Pickling Spice Blend

Use Your Creativity to Customize Your Own Spice Blends

Use Your Creativity to Customize Your Own Spice Blends

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric root powder

Step 2: Experiment with additional spices

Once you’ve covered the basics, adding more spices to your blend will give it a unique character based on your tastes and preferences. The following spices make good additions to the basic blend above.

  • Allspice: mild, clove and cinnamon depthspices
  • Cinnamon: spicy, hot sweetness
  • Celery: fresh, green vegetal flavors
  • Mustard seed: aromatic spiciness
  • Coriander seed: floral, fruity spiciness resembling lime or orange
  • Bay leaf: warm, soft, aromatic spice flavor
  • Ginger: lemony, warm
  • Fennel seed: fruity, vegetal, warm
  • Fenugreek seed: rich, slightly nutty

To start, add a pinch to 1/2 teaspoon of one or more spices from this list to your basic pickling spice blend.

Step 3: Create your signature recipe

Classic pickles such as dill, bread-n-butter and sweet gherkin have their own pickling spice blends that may vary slightly from recipe to recipe. Likewise, you can add specific flavor profiles to the basic blend to create your own signature recipes.

  • Chipotle pepper: Hot, smoky
  • Curry powder featuring red chilies, paprika and cumin: fiery, exotic
  • Star anise: sweet, mild
  • Onion flakes and garlic granules: flavor boosting
  • Cardamom pods/seeds: aromatic, penetrating

Step 4: Make pickles!

Following a trusted recipe and safe canning processes, put your customized pickling spice blend to the test! Leave spices whole in the jar or strain them out of the brine before the pickles are jarred.

For basic cucumber pickles, try your blend in the recipe below.

Homemade Cucumber Pickles


  • 3 cups water
  • 2 ¾ cups vinegar
  • ¼ cup non-iodized sea or Kosher salt
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons pickling spice
  • Approximately 4 pounds fresh pickling cucumbers, sliced and blossom ends removed


  • Pack cucumbers into sterile glass jars.
  • In a large saucepan, combine pickling spice blend and brine ingredients. Heat and stir until salt is dissolved.
  • Strain spices (optional).
  • Pour brine over jarred pickles. Following safe canning processes recommended by the Ball Blue Book, process in a water bath or store in the refrigerator.
Sweet or Dill Pickles Preserve the Summer Bounty

Sweet or Dill Pickles Preserve the Summer Bounty

The above information is adapted from Frontier Coop