Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just a little bit of green . . .

Like most of you, I am really looking for little signs that spring is on it's way.  I have seen a couple of tiny signs, one being the goldfinches at my feeders beginning to change from their olive drab coats of winter and showing signs of their bright yellow underneath.  The birds also seem to be singing a lot more these days, and I'm hoping that is another sign that spring isn't far away

The plants in the bottles you see below are Cuban oregano that I have kept over the winter in my kitchen/breakfast room window.

They are beyond ready to be potted, so I guess I'll be dragging out some of my pots soon and giving them some soil to grow in; I am sure they would appreciate it.  I do not cook with Cuban oregano, although I am sure you can.  Instead, I love it in pots with flowers such as impatiens and other annuals.  It grows extremely easily and the colors of the foliage range from green to white to a pinkish color.  It also smells wonderful!

And on Monday I took three pots I got at Dollar Tree (3 for $1) and a few packets of herb seeds and started them for summer.

They are (l to r) chives, Italian parsley and sweet basil.  The basil is even showing signs of sprouting.  Within a few weeks I will be able to snip off bits to add to my cooking, and after the danger of frost has passed, I will divide them up and plant them in my yard.  Yum, I can't wait for fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and sliced home grown tomatoes with a touch of salt, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Oh, be still my beating heart and watering taste buds!!!

And speaking of fresh produce, have any of you tried the 'green' bags for storing produce?  Well, I put it off as long as I could, and to be honest I just couldn't see paying $10 for a box of green plastic bags.  But this Brawny brand can be found at Dollar General for considerably less than the other name brand, and you get 18 one gallon  size zippered bags.  I don't remember how much, but I'm thinking less than $8 for a box.  And believe me, they are well worth that price.  I think I am in love!!!

The head of iceberg lettuce in the bag above has been in that same bag for at least three weeks, and it is just as fresh and crisp as the day I brought it home.  It will be cut tonight for a salad for me and tacos for hubby for our dinner.

Above is part of a head of cauliflower, and it's been in there for a week, and is doing just fine!  I'm thinking some cream of cauliflower soup is on my menu one day soon!  And I don't have a recipe to share; it's just one of those things I throw together and it always comes out great.  I will say that chicken broth, a bit of onion, garlic, and heavy cream are the other main ingredients.

Here you can see carrots and a cucumber.  And yes, we eat a LOT of carrots!  They are one of our favorite veggies, and are so versatile!  The bag on the right side are full sized carrots, and I need to put a paper towel in there to absorb some of the moisture.  Other than that, these babies will keep for at least a month.  They won't last that long, but they will keep that long or longer.  The left hand bag holds 3 one pound bags of 'baby' carrots.  Kroger had them on sale this week, so I just emptied all 3 bags into one of the green bags.  I find these don't keep as long as regular carrots, but the bag helps prolong their life.  The cucumber is one of the 'English' or hot house cukes, and I had to cut it in half to get it to fit in the bag.  It will keep at least twice as long in the bag as it would just wrapped in plastic in the crisper.

That up above is a red bell pepper that has been in there about three weeks, cut for at least two of those weeks, and it is still just crisp as can be!  I'm saving that for my Pioneer Woman pizza!  And speaking of pizza, I have found that tomatoes do really well in the bags, too.  I had a few of the 'on the vine' tomatoes in a bag, just sitting on the counter, and they kept for about 2 weeks, which is pretty remarkable.  Right now I have about 2/3 of a pound of grape tomatoes in the original box, and 3 more of the 'on the vine' tomatoes, and they will keep there for a while.

So, I guess what I am saying with all of this is that, although I wasn't too sure that a plastic bag could prolong the life of my produce, I was mistaken!  A green plastic bag CAN and does prolong the life of my produce.  Here is what the box says about how they work:
  • Produce protector bags remove ethylene gas to prolong the life and freshness of the produce.  Most fruit and vegetables release ethylene gas after harvest, exposure to the gas accelerates aging in fruits and vegetables.
  • Unlike ordinary plastic bags, produce protector bags "breathe" so that damaging gases produced by the fresh produce are removed.
  • Produce protctor bags minimize moisture formation and inhibit bacteria growth.
  • Maintains fruit and vegetables at their best.

And I have found the bags last a good long while, too!  I have been washing the emptied bags, sticking them over something to dry, and re-using them to good eftect.  I am sure they will eventually wear out, and you'd better bet I will be hunting up another box or two.  So, what products are you sold on these days???  Blessings folks, Becky


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Some growing going on at your house I see.
Love those bags by the way. They are great for everything but bananas. The rinds stay yellow and you think this is so great until you peel one and it is so over ripe inside. I wondered why the son was not eating them.They were mush. LOL!

aimee said...

ok you have convinced me to give those bags a try :) id love to know what that pizza is made of. sounds yummy.

Ladybug in TN said...

I have been using the ones at walmart but they do not zip, just a tie twist. Therefore, we don't use them correctly because someone in my house never puts things back that HE gets out. I will get some of these or have the housekeeper because she goes to the dollar store often.

I like Lock and Lock for keeping dry items fresh for long periods of time.

My sage is taking over my front flower bed. This spring, I am going to have to get my gardner to move it. JM wants an herb garden. Time will tell. I can plant and did last year and year before last herbs in pots but we have a problem. DOGS

I have a flower box on the front porch I think I will suggest he use and that will solve one problem. Now, to keep the birds out of it. Hmmmmmmm


Marydon Ford said...

Hmmmmm! Going out to get the bags ... TY for the heads up. I never know if it is for real or just a gimmick.

Have a wonderful week.
TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

K-Sue said...

Dollar General is not far from here - I think I will stop by for some green bags - after I toss out that brown-tinged wilty lettuce in the produce drawer. Thank you for the tip.