Plant of the Month Recipes – December – Pomegranate

For those who may not know, Pomegranates are these yummy reddish-purplish fruits that vary in taste of a sweet-tart favoring based the degree of ripeness. The seeds of the pomegranate can taste a little sour (like ripe cherries) to fairly share (like uncooked cranberries).

  • When to Plant: Pomegranate shrubs/trees are best planted after your zone’s last spring frost or 8 weeks before your first fall frost. For mot zones this would be in spring.
  • Zone: 7-12, but can b gown outside of these zones in pots indoors or greenhouses due to its cold sensitivity.
  • Where: Needs to be in a hole or pot double the size of the tree and each tree has to be 15 feet between each other. Also, must be planted where it will get full sun.
  • Harvesting: The pomegranate shrub/tree takes approximately 2-5 years to grow fruit and can be harvested as soon as the fruit is ripe.
  • Fun Fact: Pomegranates are classified as a super fruit and means apple with many seeds.

Check out these amazing Pomegranate Recipes!

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All about Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts not only taste yummy but they also have a boast of many many nutrients that have been linked to several healthy benefits.

Nutrients

  • Low in calorie, approx 28 calories, 11g of carbs and 4g of protein.
  • Good source of plant protein
  • High in Fiber – 1/2 a cup contains 2 grams of fiber; Which will keep you fuller longer.
  • High in Vitamins and Minerals such as vitamin A, potassium and calcium.
  • Rich in Vitamin K
  • High in Vitamin C
  • ALA Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Full of Antioxidants that help lower inflammation, iron absorption, tissue repair and immune function. Studies have shown that the high levels of antioxidants in Brussels Sprouts could help protect against:
    • Certain types of cancer
    • Boost detoxification enzymes
    • Can neutralize radicals.
    • Increase bone strength along with helping to protect against osteoporosis.
    • Studies have shown that the fiber and antioxidants in Brussels Sprouts may help to keep blood sugar levels stable which in turn decreases the risk of diabetes.

Too much, is too much

If you eat too much Brussels Sprouts the high levels of Vitamin K can interfere with some blood thinners. Therefore, anyone who takes anti-coagulants should monitor their consumption.

MOst Hated

Did you know that Brussels Sprouts are still the most hated vegetable in the US. Even though its growing in popularity studies have show that people still pick this amazingly yummy vegetable as their least favorite. It’s definitely not in our eyes.

Brussels Sprouts Seasonality

Brussels sprouts are typically grown in California from June-December however, they are generally considered a cool weather crop, popping up in farmers markets in the fall. They can withstand a bit of frost but will yellow and open in warm temperatures.

Cooking

Brussels Sprouts are delicious in a variety of ways from raw in salads, to a quick saute as a side to roasted in the oven which is our favorite.

Plant of the Month Recipes – November – Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts are these wonderful little cabbage looking vegetables. They have a sweet, nutty and smoky flavor that’s hard to resist. Brussels vary in taste depending on the size and method of cooking. For maximum flavor we would suggest roasting them to bring out the natural sugars and give them that crispy and caramelized texture yumminess.

  • When to Grow: Should be planted in early spring or mid to late summer to mature in the fall.
  • Zone: Zones 3 to 10
  • Where: They need room to spread out and need at least 6 or more hours of sun daily. They also need to be planted in well-drained fertile soil.
  • Harvesting: Fall is the perfect time to harvest but they do take a long time to mature approx. 100 days but need to be picked before the buds start to turn yellow and being to open.
  • Fun Fact: Brussels sprouts were first cultivated in the city of Brussels, which is how they got their name. They’re sometimes called Brussel sprouts, which is incorrect.

Check out these amazing Brussels Sprouts Recipes!

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Plant of the Month Recipes – Apples Part 2

We couldn’t help ourselves with this month plant of the month recipes. There were just too many recipes to choose from. So without further a do:

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The History of an Apple Tree

ORIGIN

Scientists believe that apples were first domesticated in south Kazakhstan as early as 2000 BC. The Greeks and Romans actually introduced the apple to North Africa and Europe.

Apple Trees are actually a member of the Rose Family and the strawberry, plum, pear and blackberry fruits are actually sisters.

Forbidden Fruit

Apples have appeared in history from Norse mythology to Robert Frost to Johnny Appleseed. However, one place the apple doesn’t appear is in the original story of Adam and Eve. Various debate suggestion include everything under the sun but nope not the Apple as we have been led to be believe.

Varieties

This picture does not do apples any justice with the amount of varieties there are. From dark red to every variation of red to yellow to green there are over 7,500 apple tree varieties worldwide! From sweet to sour to soft to crunchy there is an apple for everyone!

Recipes

Eating apples and cooking apples are two different things and divide the many varieties of apples according to their size, sweetness and texture. Some apples are considered multi-use or all-purpose apples.

The main difference between the two is the sugar content. Eating apples are very sweet and delicious like Gala or Fuji apples. Cooking apples tend to be tarter like the Granny Smith or Gravenstein apples.

Other apples such as the McIntosh apple are better for cooked down recipes like applesauce. While Honeycrisp are used for juicing or cider.

Good news is that eating apples and cooking apples can be substituted for one another. However, cooks should know that it may change the taste or you may want to choose to reduce the amount of sugar you put in a recipe.

Apple Tree Companion Plants

Apples go great in all types of dishes but what if you could plant other fruits, vegetables or herbs to be ready at the same time as when the Apple Tree starts producing. Below is a list of companion plants that should also be ready to harvest in October for some really yummy combination recipes.

Beets

Wow! What a treat Beets surprisingly are! They have a earthy and have a surprisingly sweet taste. Cooking them can also change its taste and texture. One little warning about Beets is to wear gloves when handling them as they stain everything.

Beets can be canned, roasted, pureed, pickled, eaten raw and so much more. You can put beets in salads, juices, smoothies, main dishes and even desserts to name a few. Check out this amazing Beet and Apple Salad recipe.

Pumpkin

What rhymes with October? Pumpkin! Well it doesn’t really rhyme but Pumpkin and Apple are like two perfect peas in a pod together in many dishes from Breakfast to Desserts. But what does Pumpkin actually taste like?

Nowadays you can find Pumpkin favored everything but real Pumpkin tastes like other squashes Pumpkin Spice is composed of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg which apples also pair well with. Check out this amazingly yummy Pumpkin Apple Crisp! Which can be eaten at any part of the day in our opinion.

Cucumber

Cucumbers have a mild, lightly sweet, cool, and refreshing taste. They also have very watery, juicy and almost a fresh taste.

Like apples they are mostly used fresh in salads, eaten raw as snacks and put into smoothies. Check out his awesome Cucumber Apple Salad!

Apple Trees need companion plants not only for recipes but also to prevent diseases and pests but to also help growth. Below is a list of plants that you can plant next to the apple tree in order to seek these wonderful natural benefits.

Rosemary

Rosemary is planted near Apple Trees to attract pollinators. You can typically grow rosemary in USDA hardiness zones 7-10 and they tend to favor drier weather over wet.

Rosemary is a fragrant herb that is slightly minty, sage-like with a bitter and woody aftertaste. Rosemary’s flavor is not reduced when it cooked and a little goes a long way. Rosemary goes well with many dishes but this one is our favorite! Click here for this Recipe!

Leeks

Planting Leeks near an apple tree can help the growth of the apple tree. Leeks can also help prevent disease such as apple scab and similar fungal diseases. Leeks are a twofer as they are also ready to Harvest in October. So are sweet potato for that matter!

Leeks are related to garlic, chives, shallots, and onions. They taste sweet with an onion-y kind of flavor. Leeks are versatile and are used in many dishes and cuisines. Click here for this Recipe!

Chive

Long life is a key to the chive plant. It helps plants around them repel pests and help attract beneficial pollinators.

Like Leeks, Chives have an onion taste but are more mild. Chives are used world wide as a universal garnish, giving a hint of flavor and color to a wide range of dishes. Check out this yummy recipe!

Did you know? The Apple Edition

Variety

There are more than 7,500 apple varieties wordwide with more than 2,500 varieties are grown in the US where its the second most-valued grown fruit.

Come in all shades of red, green, and yellow as well as tastes such as sweet, tart and many mixed varieties.

NUTRITION

Fat-free, cholesterol free, has 5 grams of fiber, are a delicious snack and is a great low-calorie substitution in baking.

Orchards

Research shows that apples originated in the Middle East between the Caspian and Black Sea. Reported the longest-lived apple tree was plated in 1647 and only stopped bearing fruit when a derailed train struck the tree in 1866.

One tree on average can harvest enough apples to fill 20 boxes. However, one apple tree can take up to 4-5 years to produce their first fruit.

Recipes galore!

Apples can be eaten fresh, cooked, canned, juiced, pureed, frozen, fermented and so much more! They can be made into many tasty, healthy and not so healthy dishes. Check out our recipes for some inspiration!

Plant of the Month Recipes – October – Apple

It’s October, cool crisp fall is in the air, the leaves are turning colors, the smell of pumpkin spice in every store, festivals and best of all apple picking. This is why we made Apple our Plant for the Month for October. Apples are absolutely delicious, sweet, sometimes tart and very low calorie fruit.

  • When to Grow: Plant bare-root trees in spring as soon as the soil can be worked and before the trees begin to significantly leaf out
  • Zone: Zones 3 to 9
  • Where: Full Sun, well-drained loamy soil
  • Harvesting: Midsummer through late fall
  • Fun Fact: There are over 10,000 different varieties of apples

Check out these amazing Apple Recipes!

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Inside-Out on Watermelon Seeds

The Old Wives’ Tale

When we were young we were told that if we would swallow a Watermelon seed a Watermelon tree would grow inside of you. For decades, this myth stuck with all of us and made a bad name for Watermelon seeds.

Nutritional Value

Taking the seeds out actually dampens the nutritional value of Watermelon. When a Watermelon is mature its seeds turn black. These seeds alone are a delicious and healthy snack. You can eat them raw, sprouted and roasted. They are low in calories and have a rich source of proteins, vitamins, omega’s, magnesium and so much more.

The Benefits

  • Great for skin: Prevents outbreak of acne, moisturizes your skin and may help prevent early signs of ageing.
  • Great for hair: May help with hair thinning and hair loss as well as keeping it silky and vibrant.
  • Blood sugar: Studies have shown that Watermelon seeds are linked to better blood sugar control and reduces insulin resistance in the body.
  • Boosts energy: May give a metabolism kick
  • May Prevent Osteoporosis: by strengthening your bones and improving their density.
  • Improves hearth health: The good fats in Watermelon seeds are useful in protecting against heart attacks and/or strokes.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Secret Gardens of Avalon LLC does not claim responsibility for this information. 

Not just for eating

Did you know that you can plant the seeds found in Watermelon and grow your own Watermelon plants. Just make sure the Watermelon hasn’t chilled, dry the seeds then put them on a towel in a sunny spot for a week or so then plant them in the Spring in warm fertilized soil. They require lots of water and sunlight.

Oddly Shaped Watermelons

Watermelon can be grown into different shapes

In 2004, Japan out of no where decided to sell Square and Pyramid shaped Watermelons. People around the world took this by the reigns. We’ve seen: Frankenstein, Heart Square and Many More!

You can now order these “molds” on your favorite online stores.

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