Sunday, October 14, 2018

Leafy And Salad Vegetables

Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, pseudocereals, and ornamental plants. Most of the Amaranthus species are summer annual weeds and are commonly referred to as pigweed.

 Or rocket is an edible annual plant in the family Brassicaceae used as a leaf vegetable for its fresh peppery flavor. Other common names include garden rocket, or simply rocket and eruca. Eruca sativa, which is widely popular as a salad vegetable,

Beets greens
 It is one of several of the cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris grown for their edible taproots and their leaves (called beet greens).

Bok choy
Pak choi or pok choi is a type of Chinese cabbage. Chinensis varieties do not form heads and have smooth, dark green leaf blades instead, forming a cluster reminiscent of mustard greens or celery. Chinensis varieties are popular in southern China and Southeast Asia. Being winter-hardy, they are increasingly grown in Northern Europe.
Traditionally borage was cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, although today commercial cultivation is mainly as an oilseed. Borage is used as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage, with a cucumber-like taste, is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is often used to decorate desserts and cocktails.
There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is Calabrese broccoli, often referred to simply as "broccoli", named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool season annual crop. Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli grown in Europe and North America. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.

Brussels sprout
The Brussels sprout is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4.0 cm (1.0–1.6 in) in diameter and look like miniature cabbages.
Cabbage or headed cabbage is a leafy green, red (purple), or white biennial plant grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is descended from the wild cabbage Cabbage is high in nutritional value.

Hypochaeris radicata, also known as catsear, flatweed, cat's-ear, hairy cat's ear or false dandelion, is a perennial, low-lying edible herb often found in lawns. The plant is native to Europe but has also been introduced to the Americas, Japan, Australia and New Zealand where it can be an invasive weed. 
Is a marshland plant in the family Apiaceae that has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity. Celery has a long fibrous stalk tapering into leaves. Depending on location and cultivar, either its stalks, leaves, or hypocotyl are eaten and used in cooking. Celery seed is also used as a spice and its extracts have been used in herbal medicine.

Also called stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce, is a cultivar of lettuce grown primarily for its thick stem or its leaves. It is used as a vegetable and is especially popular in both mainland China and Taiwan.
Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, commonly known as chaya or tree spinach, is a large, fast-growing leafy perennial shrub that is believed to have originated in the Yucat√°n Peninsula of Mexico.  It has succulent stems which exude a milky sap when cut. It can grow to be 6 meters tall but is usually pruned to about 2 m for easier leaf harvest. It is a popular leaf vegetable in Mexican and Central American cuisines, similar to spinach. The leaves should be cooked before being eaten, as the raw leaves contain a high content of toxic hydrocyanic acid. Up to 5 raw leaves can be eaten a day. To be safely eaten, the required cooking time is 5–15 minutes.
Some species, including Stellaria media which is widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, are used as leaf vegetables, often raw in salads. This is a favored food of finches and many other seed-eating birds.

Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family Asteraceae, usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons, or roots, which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and food additive. In the 21st century, inulin, an extract from chicory root, has been used in food manufacturing as a sweetener and source of dietary fiber.
Chinese mallow
Malva verticillata, also known as the Chinese mallow or cluster mallow. M. verticillata is an annual or biennial that grow up to 1.7 meters in high and can inhabit woodland areas of different soil types. In temperate climates, it flowers from July to September and the seeds from August to October. The flowers of the plant are self-fertile but can also be pollinated by insects. The plant was an important leaf vegetable in pre-Han China and widely cultivated.

Garland Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum coronarium is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family. It is native to the Mediterranean region. It is also cultivated and naturalized in East Asia and in scattered locations in North America. Glebionis coronaria is used as a leaf vegetable. English language common names include garland chrysanthemum, chrysanthemum greens, edible chrysanthemum, crown daisy chrysanthemum, chop suey green, crown daisy, and Japanese-green.
Collard greens  
Describes certain loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea, the same species as many common vegetables, including cabbage and broccoli. Collard greens are part of the Acephala Group of the species, which includes kale and spring greens. The plant is commercially cultivated for its thick, slightly bitter, edible leaves. They are available year-round, but are tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, after the first frost. For best texture, the leaves are picked before they reach their maximum size, at which stage they are thicker and are cooked differently from the new leaves.

Corn salad
Valerianella locusta is a small annual plant that is eaten as a leaf vegetable. It has a characteristic nutty flavor, dark green color, and soft texture, and is popularly served as salad greens. Common names include corn salad, common corn salad, lamb's lettuce, nut lettuce, and field salad. It is typically served as a salad with chopped hard-boiled eggs and crumbled bacon.
Cress (Lepidium sativum), sometimes referred to as garden cress to distinguish it from similar plants also referred to as cress is a rather fast-growing, edible herb. Garden cress is genetically related to watercress and mustard, sharing their peppery, tangy flavor and aroma. In some regions, garden cress is known as mustard and cress, garden pepper cress, pepperwort, pepper grass, or poor man's pepper.
Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, which consists of species commonly known as dandelions. They are native to Eurasia and North America, but the two commonplace species worldwide, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, were introduced from Europe and now propagate as wildflowers. Both species are edible in their entirety. 

Dill is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae. Dill is widely grown in Eurasia where its leaves and seeds are used as a herb or spice for flavoring food.
Endive is a leaf vegetable belonging to the genus Cichorium, which includes several similar, bitter, leafed vegetables. Species include Cichorium endivia, Cichorium pumilum, and Cichorium intybus. Common chicory includes types such as radicchio, puntarelle, and Belgian endive.
Chenopodium album is a fast-growing weedy annual plant in the genus Chenopodium. Though cultivated in some regions, the plant is elsewhere considered a weed. Common names include lamb's quarters, melde, goosefoot, manure weed, and fat-hen.

Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern, harvested for use as a vegetable. As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground. 

This partial list of leafy and salad vegetables supplied by

Friday, September 21, 2018

Wicker - Rattan Whats the difference?

Wicker is the art of weaving--Rattan is the material used in weaving
Wicker is the art of making woven products a variety of cane-like materials. The word wicker is believed to be of Scandinavian origin. Wicker is traditionally made from the material of plant origin, such as bamboo, reed, willow, and rattan, and now synthetic fibers are also used. Wicker is sturdy and light, making it ideal for patio furniture.
 Wicker made from reed and swamp grasses, dates as far back as ancient Egypt. Middle-class could only afford items like small tables, while wealthy pharaohs a wider variety, including chairs, wig boxes, chests, and baskets. Wicker found used on the battlefield, in shields.
 Its popularity passed from ancient Egypt and Persia to ancient Rome. By the 16th and 17th centuries, wicker was quite common in European countries like Spain, Portugal, and England.
During the Age of Exploration, wicker got a boost from sea traders returning from southwest Asia with rattan a species of palm.  The rattan stem can be separated so the softer inner core can be used as wicker which is stronger than traditional European materials.
 Wicker was used outdoors as well as indoors because it was adaptable to many styles, resisted harsh weather and was inexpensive. The 19th century brought immense popularity for wicker in Europe, England, and North America. In the United States, Cyrus Wakefield began constructing rattan furniture in the 1850s.
 Wicker is still a popular material. Antique wicker products are highly sought after by collectors. Reproductions of furniture and accent pieces are also sold for indoor and outdoor use.
 Natural wicker is well known for its strength and durability, as well as the high level of beauty and comfort that an expert craftsperson can create. Materials used can be any part of a plant, such as the cores of cane or rattan stalks, or whole thicknesses of plants, as with willow switches. Other popular materials include reed and bamboo. Natural wicker requires maintenance to keep it in good shape.
 Synthetic materials or a combination of can be used for wicker. On benches, chairs, stools the material is woven into the frame. On smaller pieces, a frame is not needed.
 Paper-wrapped high tensile wire, plastic, and resin are synthetic types of wicker, which is often preferred for outdoor use and the framing material includes aluminum.

Rattan is the name for roughly 600 species of climbing palms is associated with the characteristics of its flexible woody stem, derived typically from a secondary growth, makes rattan a liana rather than a true wood.
 Rattans are extensively used for making baskets and furniture. When cut into sections, rattan can be used as wood to make furniture. Rattan accepts paints and stains like many other kinds of wood, so it is available in many colors, and it can be worked into many styles. Moreover, the inner core can be separated and worked into wicker.
Several materials used in furniture making come from raw rattan the skin is usually peeled off and use as weaving material. Rattan is lightweight, durable, suitable for outdoor use, and flexible which makes it a good material for furniture making.
 Reed is a common name for several tall, grass-like plants of wetlands.
 In bamboo, as in other grasses, the internodal regions of the stem are usually hollow and the vascular bundles in the cross-section are scattered throughout the stem instead of in a cylindrical arrangement. The bamboo is cut into strips for weaving.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Your Outdoor Fire

 The days are getting shorter, the nights are cooling down and you would like to spend more time on your porch, patio. Consider adding an outdoor fireplace to your entertaining area. Some provide significant heat when required, while others provide an appealing focal point but not much heat. There are fireplaces that look like artwork or furniture when not in use, consider fire pits made of copper or steel. Another option is gas fireplaces such as luminarium, that come in different finishes.
 On many outdoor fireplace models, especial firepits are lightweight and portable. Portable units may include features like wood or gas, grill attachments, spark screens, lids, and or wheels, and come in different materials. The different kinds of fireplaces:
Fire Pits:
 Pre-made fire pits are the most common form of fire pits and can be purchased from a store. These are commonly made of precast concrete or metal and/or a combination of metal table and stone. They are usually natural gas, propane or bio-ethanol. Wood burning fire pits made of metal are also quite common but under increasing scrutiny due to fire bans and air particulate emissions. Natural gas and propane burners in these sort of prefabricated vessels are certified under ANSI standards.  Fire pits have recommended clearance to combustibles and require at least 5 feet above the flame and 16" circumference from the exterior perimeter of the vessel.
 Essentially, to make a fire pit only a hole is required in order to safely contain a fire. This can be as simple as digging a hole in the ground, or as complex as hollowing out a brick or rock pillar. A wood burning fire pit should be located at least ten feet away from structures for safety.  The common feature of fire pits is that they are designed to contain a fire and prevent it from spreading.
Fire Rings:
A fire ring is a construction or device used to contain campfires and prevent them from spreading and turning into wildfires.
Fire rings have no bottom and are simply circles made of forged metal, stones, concrete, etc. which surround and contain a fire.
When a fire is to be built somewhere such as on a patio or in a backyard, a fire pit or outdoor fireplace may be better used instead. These are designed to contain the entire fire instead of just keeping it in one place.
A fire ring may be nothing more than a short, wide section of a metal tube, partially buried in the ground. Slightly more advanced fire rings may be partially covered with metal bars so that the fire may be used for cooking.  Fire rings in urban areas, such as on beaches, may be made of poured concrete. Makeshift fire rings can be constructed out of a ring of stones where pre-constructed rings are not available, but care should be taken as some stones can explode when heated due to trapped gas pockets, thermal expansion, or water contained flashing into steam.
Fire Places:
An outdoor fireplace is a place for building fires outside of the home. Similar in construction to an indoor fireplace, an outdoor fireplace is usually added to a stone, brick, or concrete patio. It often consists of a firebox and a chimney. As with indoor fireplaces, an outdoor fireplace requires cleaning and maintenance to keep it looking and working at its best. While an outdoor fireplace may not need to be cleaned as often, it will need to be cleaned regularly in order to keep it reasonably tidy and maintained and to remove ash build.
An outdoor fireplace can simply be a decorative element, which allows homeowners to enjoy a crackling fire while entertaining in the backyard.
A chiminea (from Spanish: chimenea means chimney), is a freestanding front-loading fireplace or oven with a bulbous body and usually a vertical smoke vent or chimney.
Historically chimeneas have been made out of fired clay and used for heating and cooking. These traditional designs can be traced to Spain and its influence on Mexico. The first use of a traditionally designed chiminea appears around 400 years ago.
The chiminea was once a daily life necessity that served a domestic purpose. The chiminea of the past was used indoors for heating and cooking, usually by an open window or in the center of the hut or home with an opening in the roof to allow smoke to escape. With the advent of the modern home, chimineas are now used outdoors mainly for entertainment in a backyard setting.
Get your fire going and entertain all evening, thank you for reading.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Umbrella Fabric?

You're in the market for a new patio umbrella and noticed all the different fabric options available.  This article will cover the different types of fabric so you can choose the best for your area.
 Sunbrella Fabric:
Sunbrella is a brand of fabric and considered the best available is a heavy duty solution dyed acrylic fabric with locked-in colors. Sunbrella only allows 2% of UV rays through, which is equivalent to SPF 50 sun lotion. Stands up to sun, wind, and rain without fading retaining its beauty for years. Mildew resistant as long as there is no dirt, food, or organic matter on the cover. The color is guaranteed not to fade for three years.
 Suncrylic Fabric:
Suncrylic is a solution dyed acrylic fabric has a high degree of UV protection, water resistance only has a one-year fade warranty.
 SunDura fabric:
SunDura is a yarn dyed fabric, good UV protection, quick drying, abrasion resistance one-year fade warranty.
 Olefin fabric:
Olefin is a high-density, lightweight, solution-dyed acrylic fabric that has good UV protection, resists staining. One-year warranty against fading.
 Texsilk fabric:
 Texsilk is a brand of olefin fabric has good UV protection, mold, mildew, fade, and water-resistant, machine washable. One-year warranty.
 Polyester fabric:
A man-made fabric that is light and breathable are economical, but is not water and fade resistant. Most are Scotchgard treated to help reduce fading. Lighter colors seem to last longer and they are flammable.
 Coolaroo fabric:
Coolaroo is a unique high-density knitted polyethylene fabric, provides up to 90% UV block and reduces temperatures by 30%. This breathable fabric is resistant to mildew, cleans easy and has a five-year warranty against UV damage.
There is also vinyl, cotton, and plastic covers which are the cheapness. The decision you make on the fabric will establish the durability and attractiveness of your umbrella and will affect the cost also.

Friday, August 10, 2018

What is a Greenhouse?

A building made of glass or transparent material, with or without a floor where plants are grown is a greenhouse. Can be portable or permanent, the main purpose is to extend the growing season of flowers, vegetables, fruits, and transplants.
 A greenhouse can have special equipment such as heating, cooling, lighting, humidity, and controlled by a computer. Which allow for a greater control of plants growing environment. Where you have a short growing season these buildings help you extend your growing season. Most greenhouses are to help keep your plants warm but in hotter climates, they are used to shade or cool your plants.
 Certain crops can be grown in a greenhouse year round. A greenhouse allows the gardener to control the main factors that affect plant growth--- light, moisture, and temperature. the house also allows the gardener to control and combat pest and diseases.
 The first greenhouse was in Roman times, by mid-1800's designs begin to evolve. With the use of glass and making the roof curved instead of flat allow more sunlight to enter.
 There are different kinds of greenhouses you have shelves with plastic or polyethylene covering it that are portable. These are small so you can move them in and out depending on the weather. There are Cold frame style houses that cover your plants in the ground to help protect from frost and drying winds.
A poly-tunnel is a tunnel made of polyethylene in a semi-circle shape. The interior heats up because incoming solar radiation from the sun warms plants, soil, and other things inside the building faster than heat can escape the structure.
 They can be used for other things besides growing plants, they are being used to produce steam for solar-enhanced oil recovery. And the largest greenhouse is in Spain and covers almost 49 thousand acres, and can be seen from space.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Wood Smoke

Hardwoods generally made up of three materials: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The basic structure of wood cells are cellulose and hemicellulose and lignin is the cell-binding glue.
Softwoods like fir and pines are full of resin, which give off a harsh-tasting soot when burned, so not used for smoking. 

The wood cells are mixed sugar molecules; when burned, they caramelize, which provide the color and aromas. Wood also contains small quantities of proteins, which contribute roasted flavors. The wood smoke smell dissipates after a few weeks or months.

 Some wood smoke compounds act as preservatives. Due to the different ratios of compounds in the different kinds of trees, they impart a different flavor to food. Another factor is the temperature that wood burns. High-temperature fires are usually flavorless. The best conditions for smoke flavor are low, smoldering temps between 570 and 750 degrees F. This is the temperatures of the burning wood, not the smoke which is much lower. Woods like oak tend to burn hot; to keep them smoldering need to restrict oxygen or have a higher moisture content. When using wood chips or chunks, they are often soaked in water before burning.

What do you think?    thank you

Friday, July 27, 2018

Types of Smokers

The main characteristics of the offset smoker are that the smoking (cooking)chamber is usually cylindrical in shape, with a shorter, smaller diameter cylinder (or square box) attached to the bottom of one end for a firebox. To cook the meat, a small fire is lit in the firebox, where airflow is tightly controlled. The heat and smoke from the fire are drawn through a connecting pipe or opening into the cooking chamber. Because the smoke flows over and around the meat, it flavors the meat with a smoke flavor, and therefore the low indirect heat cooks the meat before escaping through an exhaust vent at the opposite end of the cooking chamber. Even large capacity commercial units use this same basic design of a separate, smaller firebox and a larger cooking chamber. An offset smoker burns wood to produce heat and smoke. The sort of wood to burn varies on the selection of the pit-master. Several burn whole logs in their smoker, whereas others opt to burn wood chunks, ancient charcoal, charcoal chunks or perhaps wood pellets.
Upright Drum
The upright drum smoker is an upright steel drum that has been modified for the purpose of pseudo-indirect hot smoking. There are many ways to accomplish this, but the basics include the use of a complete steel drum, a basket to hold charcoal near the bottom, and cooking rack (or racks) near the top; all covered by a vented lid of some sort. They have been built using many different sizes of steel drums, but the most popular size is the common 55-gallon drum. This design is similar to smoking with indirect heat due to the distance from the coals and the racks (typically 24 inches (61 cm)). The temperatures used for smoking are controlled by limiting the amount of air intake at the bottom of the drum and allowing a similar amount of exhaust out of vents in the lid. UDSs are very efficient with fuel consumption and flexible in their abilities to produce proper smoking conditions, with or without the use of a water pan or drip pan. Most UDS builders/users would say a water pan defeats the true pit BBQ nature of the UDS, as the drippings from the smoked meat should land on the coals, burning up, and imparting a unique flavor one cannot get with a water pan.
Vertical Water
A vertical water smoker (also noted as a bullet smoker due to its shape) is a variation of the upright drum smoker. It uses charcoal or wood to generate smoke and heat and contains a water bowl between the fire and the cooking grates. The water bowl serves to maintain optimal smoking temperatures and additionally adds humidity to the smoke chamber. It additionally creates an effect in which the vapor and smoke condense together, which adds flavor to smoked foods. Additionally, the bowl catches any drippings from the meat that may cause a flare-up. Vertical water smokers are very temperature stable and need little or no adjustment once the specified temperature has been reached. As a result of their comparatively low cost and stable temperature, they're typically employed in barbecue competitions wherever gas and electric smokers aren't allowed.
A propane smoker is meant to permit the smoking of meat during a somewhat more temperature controlled surroundings. the first variations are the sources of warmth and of the smoke. during a gas smoker, the warmth is generated by a gas jet directly beneath a steel or iron box containing the wood or charcoal that gives the smoke. The steel box has few vent holes, on the top of the box solely. By starving the heated wood of oxygen, it smokes rather than burning. Any combination of woods and charcoal could also be used. This technique uses much less wood, however, will need propane fuel.
Electric Smokers
The most convenient of the varied kinds of smokers are the insulated electrical smokers. These devices house an element which will maintain temperatures starting from that needed for a cold smoke all the way up to 275 °F (135 °C) with very little to no intervention from the user. Though wood chunks, pellets, and even in some cases automatically-fed wood pucks are used to generate smoke, the quantity of flavor obtained is a smaller amount than traditional wood or charcoal smokers.
In this technique the furnace is a slender trench cut down a slope pointing into the air current. The center part of the ditch is roofed over to form it into a tunnel. At the higher end of the ditch is a vertical framework covered to make a chimney inside that is placed the rack of foodstuff. At the lower upwind end of the ditch is lit a little smokey hearth, and sustained day and night till the foodstuff is cured.
Commercial Smokehouse
Commercial smokehouses, largely made up of stainless steel, have freelance systems for smoke generation and cooking. Smoke generators use friction, an electrical coil or a little flame to ignite wood on demand. Heat from steam coils or gas flames is balanced with steam or water sprays to regulate the temperature and humidity. Elaborate air handling systems scale back hot or cold spots, to cut back variation within the finished product. Racks on wheels or rails are accustomed hold the merchandise and facilitate movement.
Pellet Smokers
The pellet smoker is temperature controlled and burns wood pellets made of sawdust. The wood pellets are stored in a hopper that feeds a temperature regulated motor. This motor operates an auger which pushes the pellets into a heat box. An ignition rod lights the pellets and a combustion fan keeps them smoldering. These two items regulate the temperature of the smoker.  A shield is above the heat box to keep the smoke chamber at an even temperature. There is a heat sensor inside the smoke chamber which controls the auger and fan to maintain the correct temperature for the cook.