Basil is not only delicious, but easy to grow and manage with the correct approach. Over the weekend, I produced this short video of my Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) co-worker Meredith Epstein giving expert advice on proper plant care. She is the Sustainable Agriculture lecturer and advisor at the IAA, and also manages the University of Maryland’s Community Learning Garden. Meredith is also the one who chose basil as the topic for our first how-to video; I think she made a great decision!
Making a how-to video was a great way for me to get back into using iMovie. I had a lot of fun producing this using only my iPhone and the iMovie app. I found that the app doesn’t have all of the features from the desktop version, but still enough.
I have mentioned in previous posts that the Community Learning Garden is one of my favorite spots on campus. I hope that after watching this video, you will see why I love to spend time there.
Please do enjoy le film. Get ready to grow some expert-level basil!
Near the end of fall, my friends Meredith and Hardeep showed me how to prepare and can green tomato chutney. Over the course of a day, we prepped, boiled, and heat-sealed enough chutney to send each of us home with over 20 jars apiece!
This chutney is special because all of the green tomatoes were harvested from the UMD Community Learning Garden, which Meredith manages. Hardeep and I were regular volunteers this summer. We had at least 100 green tomatoes remaining at the end of the summer and they all went into this recipe, along with locally-grown apples purchased from the Olney Farmers & Artists Market.
Everything else came from the Burtonsville Giant. Sorry.
Because the tiny jars are so giftable, I decided to design a Christmas-themed label. A 2″ diameter sticker nests perfectly on a standard-sized Ball jar lid, so I took advantage of Sticker Mule’s 10 stickers for $9 deal.
And then, my super-Seinfeld-fan-friend Hardeep requested a Festivus sticker. It seemed apropos. Hardeep requested a square 2×2″ design so that he could print at home and add in a custom title. He is a regular hot sauce connoisseur and has a need to label his many varieties of homemade hot sauce.
The way we cooked, canned, designed, and labeled together feels so rewarding! Thank you, Meredith and Hardeep for sharing your canning expertise and design feedback with me. Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus to all!
“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way…”
Check out our crew in front of the fancy new UMD Community Learning Garden banner! We are but a few of many burgeoning gardeners who meet at 4 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays to learn about sustainable food production and help tend the raised beds and terraced plots.
Sustainable Ag advisor Meredith Epstein (middle, in teal) manages the garden and leads the work hours. When I started working with Meredith at the Institute of Applied Agriculture, the garden quickly became one of my favorite spots on campus. This summer I grew soybeans, pole beans, green peppers, tomatoes, kale, thyme, sage, and basil in my garden plot.
I was excited when Meredith asked me to design a 12×4′ banner for the garden. I had previously made a sticker design for the garden club, so I took this as an opportunity to build consistent branding by pairing the same colors and fonts with the provided terp/carrot logo.
The UMD Community Learning Garden is one of four campus gardens at the University of Maryland, College Park. Formerly called the Public Health Garden, it is nestled between the School of Public Health and the Eppley Recreation Center. You should definitely follow on Instagram.
The project was shelved for a little while, but I eventually put it together and posted it on the IAA Facebook page last Friday at 10:00 a.m.
As of right now (11:00 a.m. on Sunday) it has 40 likes and 84 shares. Whaaat? Why wasn’t there this much hype about my Open House post?
I credit Meredith Epstein, lecturer and advisor of the Sustainable Agriculture course of study at the IAA, with the idea of drawing male AND female farmers in the “350,000 Marylanders” block. Because: equality.
I feel so affirmed by my newfound ag peers. I look forward to creating the next infographic for the IAA, Alternative Agriculture in Maryland.
This recipe for onion salsa was taught to my boyfriend, Marc, by Ecuador’s culinary gift to the world (and Marc’s best friend’s mom), Leonor. You might not think you like red onions this much, but make this one time and you will be amazed. It’s like a pickled onion, but squared. It’s like an onion morphed into a space unicorn and drove Apollo’s chariot into your taste buds. Think of it as pico de gallo, but with a shift in the ratio of ingredients.
5 Roma tomatoes
3 medium red onions
1 fistful of cilantro – varies based on size of fist
1/4 cup Kosher salt
3 limes, for juicing
water Optional – 1 jalapeño
What to Do:
1. Wash your hands. I know that you have been scratching inappropriately.
2. Slice onions lengthwise, then thinly crosswise. Slice once more to achieve see-through onion half-rainbows.
3. Transfer your sliced onions to a mixing bowl and cover them with Kosher salt. It should look like your onions are blanketed in snow (scroll down for slideshow visuals).
4. Cover the onion/salt mixture with cool water. Massage the onions, salt, and water together for five minutes. Let the mixture sit for an additional five minutes while you dice your Roma tomatoes and cilantro (and jalapeño, if needed). Do not add these to the mixture yet.
5. At this point, the onions should be limp and somewhat translucent. If the onions are still hard, let them sit for another couple of minutes. Pour the onion mixture into a colander and rinse with cool water. Return onions to mixing bowl, add water, massage, and repeat the straining process. This will ensure that your onions are not overly salty.
6. Return the onions to the mixing bowl and use a fork to juice all three limes over the onion mixture. To get the most juice, roll the limes on the counter and apply pressure by hand before you cut them.
7. Add the tomatoes and cilantro to the mix. Fold the mixture with your hands. Taste the salsa and add more salt if desired.
8. Select desired Netflix program and proceed to stuff face. This salsa is delicious when served with black beans and rice, or on top of some grilled chicken. Or get some Tostito’s Scoops and just go to town.