Monthly Archives: March 2015

Green Garlic: A Springtime Treat

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harvested green garlic

harvested green garlic

Spring is a heady time of year.  Snow is melting.  Temperatures are warming. Flowers are blooming.  But best of all, the garlic you planted in the fall is up and growing.  Those early green stalks hold much more than the promise of a summer harvest, but they also speak to a springtime delicacy… green garlic.

Just what is green garlic you ask? It is immature garlic that is harvested before the bulb fully matures.  In March and April in warmer regions or perhaps June and July in colder areas, it makes its appearance at local farmer’s market, grocery stores, and even from your own garden.  At this stage, it looks similar to green (or spring) onions.  The bulb has not developed into individual cloves, but the bulb has begun to swell.  Personally, if the leaves are less than 8″ tall, I let the garlic grow for another week to 10 days until the green part of the plant is approximately 12″ tall.  Avoid harvesting garlic if the leaves are dry and brown.  The leaves should be green and tender.

green garlic ready to harvest

green garlic ready to harvest

Using your favorite digging tool to harvest.  For me, that means my hori hori.  But if I did not have that option, I would reach for either a sturdy trowel or small spade.  Starting several inches away from the garlic leaves, push the tool straight down into the soil at least 6″.  Then rocking the tool gently back and forth, begin prying upwards.  This action will loosen the roots of the garlic.  Carefully lift the garlic, using the digging tool.  Do not grab the leaves and pull.  This action could result in separating the leaves from the bulb.  For green garlic, both parts are desired.

After washing the green garlic and trimming off the roots, it is now ready to use.  Since harvesting the garlic at an early stage, the flavor is mild, but still garlicky… but minus the bite that some varieties are known for.  Mincing both  white and green parts, add to your favorite savory dishes.  Frittatas?  You bet.  Pesto?  Terrific.  Roasted vegetables?  I am drooling a little.  If you have other dishes that you generally make with garlic cloves, try it with green garlic.

If you grow garlic, consider planting enough that you can harvest green garlic in the spring and then harvest your regular garlic crop in summer.  For those of you that thin your garlic in spring, don’t compost those plants… you have green garlic in your hands.

Go ahead and give green garlic a try.  Its mild garlic flavor enhances savory dishes, evoking a taste of spring.  Not growing garlic?  Check out your local farmer’s market for this verdant beauty.  It may just become a family favorite.

 

 

Remove Wax Easily from a Towel

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Candles are wonderful.   They set the mood at dinner.  They provide light when the power goes out.  And they even provide aroma.  In spite of these attributes, candles can be messy… leaving wax on surfaces.  One such surface…a cloth towel.

If you have ever ended up with wax on a towel, you will understand frustration.  The wax hardens and stiffens the cloth.   It makes it impractical to use the towel for cleaning or drying as you may leave behind a waxy film on a plate if said towel is a dish towel.  The wax also reduces the absorbency of the material (in the areas where the wax is located).  You may be inspired to simply wash the towel, but please know that regardless of the amount of trips through the washing machine will remove all of the wax.

But before you mutter an oath or decide to toss the towel, take a deep breath.  You can salvage that towel.  Believe it or not, you can remove the wax readily.  All it takes are a few items: an iron, paper bag/towel/napkin, and a smooth surface for ironing.  The key is to use paper for this task… an uncoated paper.

To easily remove the wax, select a smooth, solid surface such as an ironing board or a countertop.  Place a paper product such as towel, napkin, or bag directly under the wax spot as well as on top of the wax spot.  Heat up the iron and then place it on top of the paper product.  Move the iron back and forth just as if you are ironing, but keep the iron over the wax area.  Now lift the iron and check the surface of the paper.  (In this case, a napkin was used).  You should see a damp looking spot.  This spot is melted wax from the cloth towel that has been absorbed by the paper napkin.

wax melted from towel to napkin

wax melted from towel to napkin

 

Move both the top and bottom paper napkins so a fresh (non-waxy section) is above and beneath the wax on the towel.  Repeat the iron motion.  The wax melts and transfers to the paper product.

See?  Simple.  Now all you have to do is continue through this process until no more wax appears on the napkins.  This indicates that you have successfully removed all of the wax from the towel.  Please note that it may take several napkins depending on the size of the wax spill on the towel.  As you can see in the image below, there is less wax melting from the towel to the paper napkin.  This means there is less wax on the towel compared to the start of this project.

more wax absorbed by napkin

more wax absorbed by napkin

At this point, you can launder the towel as normal.  No more wax!  You have now successfully de-waxed your towel.

de-waxed towel

de-waxed towel

So go ahead and make candles and/or burn them.   A towel used to clean up melted wax can be brought back to life.   Some patience, a good iron, a smooth surface, and some paper napkins are all that is needed to return your towel to its original state.  Happy ironing!