Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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You never know what you can do until you try

This poster has been a source of inspiration to me for the 25+ years that I've carried it around.  For most of its life it hung on the back of my office door so when I had to "shut the door" whether it be to concentrate on something or coach an employee, I would always see this and remember to try really hard to excel in whatever I was doing.

One of the springtime projects on the farm is to build a combination chicken/garden house for the 20 chicks arriving in April, and I think that will be a fitting new home for my beloved poster.

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Get to know your veggies--Spaghetti Squash

I was introduced to spaghetti squash about 20 years ago.  A friend of mine gave me one, told me how to cook it, shred it out, and gave suggestions on how to serve it.  I looked at that squash for about 6 weeks or maybe even 2 months, and sorry to say, I chickened out and it ended up going to waste. 

I've been growing spaghetti squash on the farm since the first gardening season here, and I love it.  I've introduced many people to this veggie, did everything I could to FORCE them to cook it, and most folks like it, but I think some people expect it to taste just like spaghetti and they are dissappointed---sorry, nothing tastes like freshly cooked pasta :)

I tricked my kids and their father into eating it one night.  I prepared the usual marinara sauce for one of my favorite dishes, spaghetti of course, and didn't tell them the noodles were spaghetti squash.  Everyone asked why the noodles were crunchy and I told them it was a vegetable.  They thought it was cool. 

The biggest drawback I've found with spaghetti squash is that they are so darn big that I almost hate to cut one just for one or two people.  This year I found seeds for small spaghetti squash--that's what the members are getting this year.  They are supposed to be the perfect size for a meal. 

Spaghetti squash is low in calories; a 1 cup serving has just over 40 calories.  It's also got other vitamins and nutrients in it such as 3% of the MDR (minimum daily requirement) of Vitamin A, 9% of Vitamin C, 1% Vitamin E, 2% Vitamin K, 4% Thiamin, 2% Riboflavin, 6% Niacin, 8% Vitamin B6, 3% Folate, and a few other things that don't really have a minimum daily requirement.  So, in addition to being easy to cook and fun to eat, it's good for you, too.

To prepare spaghetti squash, I just wash it off under tap water, poke holes all over it with a really sharp knife; make sure to get through the skin and about 1/2" deep into the squash---they make a real mess when they blow up in the microwave (trust me, I know).  Nuke it on high for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of it.  You can periodically check it by gently squeezing; when it starts getting soft you can take it out.  Let it cool for a few minutes then cut it open longways.  Scoop out the seeds with a spoon then take a fork and start scraping out the fleshy part.  It will start making strands.  Get all the strands out then you're ready for a recipe.

Spaghetti Squash can be served as the noodles in spaghetti, served with an alfredo sauce, tossed with butter and garlic then sprinkled with parmesan cheese, and I like to make egg rolls with them.  Just substitute cooked spaghetti squash for the cabbage, bean sprouts, or whatever kind of "green" you use in your egg roll recipe--it's really tasty!

Spaghetti Squash is considered a "winter" squash, so it will be a while before any fresh ones are picked on the farm, but I'll be ready, parmesan in hand!

 
 

Rockin' Right Along!

Things are rocking right along on the farm, ahead of schedule according to my notes!  No time to celebrate though, Mother (Nature, that is) could change everything in a second!  It takes a lot of courage and discipline to be a farmer for a living.  I think diversification is the key to success though. 

Today is REALLY WINDY!  I mean, like really windy.....I have "fixed" the so-called "floating" row covers twice already, and they keep floating....

 

The covers aren't really for anything more than heating up the space around the seeds to speed things up a little.  In these beds are planted peas, carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard, kale, arugula, and radishes.  Some of them are germinating; others are still asleep.  The pile of garbage bags in the picture is not garbage, it's leaves for mulching!  These black bags have found their way all over the farm, both placed on purpose, and collected from fence wire, tree trunks, in the pond.  I'm learning how to control them better though.  A local community brought a portion of their leaves to the farm to both save them time and help me out--win-win!

In the greenhouse there are flats of broccoli, cabbage, various lettuces, swiss chard, more arugula, kohlrabi, chinese cabbage, chives, onions, about 15 varieties of tomatoes, about 8 varieties of peppers.  Speaking of peppers, I just got seeds for a variety of sweet pepper called "Sweet Diablo".  It is a longhorn-type pepper that gets up to 10" long and 2" wide and turns red when fully mature.  They are supposed to be great for stuffing.  I'm excited about these....also the "Fooled You" jalapeno pepper that's not hot.  This year I was fortunate enough to get seeds for 11 different heirloom tomatoes that I'm anxious to share with the members. 

A new garden was plowed recently and tilled yesterday.  When you're growing veggies on a schedule you have to push the limits sometimes.  Parts of the garden were a little wet (clayey streaks in the soil) but most of it tilled up very nicely.  Now to spread manure and till again.  This will be the home for most of the tomato plants. 

The corn/potato/sweet potato/winter squash field was plowed yesterday.  This field is on a gentle southward slope so it dries quicker than the other gardens on the farm.  This field can rest for a few weeks before time to "dig in" there.

When do CSA farmers plant?  Well, I would say every day--it takes every day planting to have a continuous harvest all season.  This time of year I watch the propagation mats with an eagle eye---every time a flat germinates it goes off into the greenhouse and another flat of "I need heat to germinate" seeds goes on.

Today is also rainy.  I made a batch of peppermint/oatmeal soap, tie-dyed a few shirts, fed all the critters, potted up two flats of tomatoes and sowed more lettuce, herbs, and a few flower seeds in the greenhouse.  Gotta keep "rockin on" no matter the weather!

 

 
 

Variety is the spice of life---and the garden!

Farmers select various varieties of crops for different reasons.  Some varieties are disease resistant, some taste better, some varieties are selected for their growth habits (for example bush beans vs. pole beans), hand-me-down seeds (aka heirlooms) and some are just more fun to look at. 

In conversations with folks about vegetables and gardening, the question always comes up:  "What kind of so-and-so do you grow?"   I like to learn about what works for other farmers, so in turn, I will share what works here at the farm as far as varieties go.  Some of the reasons certain varieties are selected can't be easily explained (pretty picture, nice description in the catalog, someone recommended it, I was hungry when I was looking at the seed catalog.....), but I grow them again because they worked.   

We'll try to take this in alphabetical order to keep it organized just a little bit, and every single crop that's grown on the farm isn't covered, either.

  • Artichoke, Imperial Star--This is an experiment this year, so I can't really comment on how tasty they are, how they grow, or pest resistance.  I'm growing this variety because the seed catalog said it could be grown from seed in one season in this area (Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee).  We'll see.
  • Basil, Lemon, and Large Leaf Sweet--I grow these two because I bought a seed mix for the last two years and it seemed like most of the seeds were those teeny tiny little leaves that didn't look like basil, and a big bunch of the plants were licorice basil too, which not many people like.  The lemon basil and sweet basil seemed to be the most popular, so that's what I'm sticking with.
  • Green Beans---Ah, green beans; a favorite of southern gardeners.  I grow several varieties of these.  I grow Case Knife beans which is an heirloom, about 10" long and 1/2-3/4" wide (about the size of a table knife).  This is the only pole bean grown on the farm simply due to the amount of labor it takes to erect the structures for them to climb on---these are worth the effort though.  Roma II are grown because they are tasty and stringless (wide flat bean) and this year Top Crop, Burpee Stringless Bush, and Peanut Garden Beans are being grown because of their growth habit (bush), stringless, and I've read that they are tasty--we'll see.
  • Broccoli--Southern Comet is the choice here because it tolerates heat without bolting too quickly.  I don't care how careful one is to plant broccoli early so it will mature "before the heat of the summer" or late so it will "be kissed by the first frosts" it's going to be exposed to SUMMER around here.  This variety is recommended for southern gardeners and I believe it would have worked out well last year if it hadn't been so wet; there were a few heads that matured despite being grown in a rice patty situation.
  • Cabbage--The cabbage choice at Wild Things is "Cabbage Babies".  Many members didn't know what to do with an entire head of cabbage since not many folks make kraut any more, so after researching, I found Cabbage Babies.  It's a wonderful variety of savoy, green, and purple cabbage all in one packet.  Each head is a little bigger than a softball, and just enough for a meal.
  • Carrots--Little Finger are the faves because they mature quicker, they are sweet as candy, and don't get woody.
  • Cucumbers--There's a variety called "Diva" that has all female flowers and doesn't require a male for pollination.  The cukes don't have prickly spines on them and they are very crispy.  Bush type cukes are great too, and Bush Crop and Spacemaster Bush taste well and don't sprawl everywhere, but a vine-type called Straight 8 is grown just because it's a reliable producer of tasty cucumbers.
  • Eggplant---Black Beauty is a reliable producer, Ichiban has non-bitter oriental-type fruits, and Cloud Nine looks cool (well, it does). Last year a variety called "Hansel" was grown and it produced like crazy, but required staking.
  • Lettuce---My absolute fave is the Lettuce Mix from Pinetree Seeds.  It has the most beautiful mix of lettuces I've seen, it's not bothered by insects, and is a reliable producer if you're careful how you harvest it to not damage the plant. The seed doesn't keep well from season-to-season though, so don't order more than you'll use in one season.  Bibb Summer head lettuce is also planted for the members who like a "loose leaf" head lettuce.
  • I grow several onions, but one I've fallen in love with is a scallion-type onion, called Purplette.  I like it because it's pretty in salads and it's a great tasting green onion.
  • Parsley--The flat Italian type is the only kind to grow for cooking.  The pretty, fluffy, curled parsley that sits on a plate is only good for that; sitting on a plate and looking pretty.
  • Pepper---Oh man, I'm growing 15 varieties of peppers this year (so far).  I LOVE peppers---they can make a dish go from mmmmm, to AHHHHHHH or oooooooh real quick!  Most of the members don't like hot peppers but I do.  I grow a few jalapenos, cayennes, anchos, poblanos and hot bananas for my kitchen and the members who like them, but there are so many great sweet peppers out nowadays that I had to try several of them; Big Bertha, Gourmet Sweet, Chinese Giant, Planet Hybrid, Sheepnose Pimento, Banana Bill, Aruba Cubanelle, and I can't tell you one thing about them yet-----later!
  • Radishes---French Breakfast because they are pretty and tasty too, and Cherry Belle cause they are the "proverbial" radish and they perform well.
  • Spinach ---Bloomsdale Longstanding, which is not really spinach at all, but spinach bolts really quickly around here, and this is a universally grown substitute that a lot of people don't know really isn't spinach, so shhhhhh, don't say anything!
  • Squash---Summer varieties include Yellow Crookneck (taste), Celestial Scallop (pretty, and tastes good too), Black Beauty Zucchini (taste, good performer) and Spaghetti Squash because it tastes really good, is unusual, and is a reliable performer; winter varieties include Butternut (good performer, taste), Ebony Acorn is reliable and tastes good, and some new varieties this year are being tried because of the awesome job the writers did in the seed catalogs.  These include Bush Delicata and Cream of the Crop Winter Hybrid.
  • Tomatoes could take up an entire web page as far as I'm concerned, but I grow Better Boy because they taste and look good, Mr. Stripey for the taste, and Cherokee Purple (heirloom) for the taste.  I also like Roma for paste tomatoes, and Early Girl because, well, they're early!  This year I'm growing seedlings of 11 varieties of heirloom tomatoes for a friend of mine and he said I could have some of the plants---the names of them aren't anything you'll see in a catalog but I can't wait to try them!   Lemon Boy is on the list this year too just because the yellow tomatoes have less acid and some folks can't tolerate the acid found in red tomatoes.
  • Purple Top Turnips are what you grow around here if you grow turnips.  They are reliable and they taste yummy raw or fried (I can't stand them boiled, sorry!)
  • Watermelon--These fruits aren't very reliable here on the mountain, but I grow Sugar Baby because they are small, mature quicker, and they are sweet just like their name says.

Well, that's about it for the variety column.  We'll do a review of them at the end of the season.  Happy planting, everyone!

 
 

Unknown "Wild Thing" in the greenhouse

Okay, so I went out to the greenhouse yesterday morning to check on all the "babies" and noticed a few nibbles on the Chinese cabbage plants with a telltale "slimy trail" in the flat, so here I went on slug patrol.

Every pot, bucket, board, bag of soil, flat, etc. was picked up and moved outside the greenhouse.  I did find the most slugs on the outside of a clay flower pot that was nested inside another clay flower pot, shoved up under the bench.  There were about 20 on that pot!

A stray board was a hidey-hole for a couple of slugs, and under a bucket was what a few more thought was a safe place. 

When I moved a bale of peat moss aside to check under there, I saw something I'd never seen before.......

Anybody know what it is (it's between 2-1/2 to 3 inches long)?  I gently tucked it back into the gravel just where I found it rather than serving it the same fate as the slugs----my killer chickens!  They LOVED the slugs.....

I did go back into the greenhouse with a shaker of diatomaceous earth and sprinkled it all over the plants and the ground---looks like a snowstorm in there now, but at least it will take care of the slugs.

 
 

Get to know your veggies--Broccoli

Remember when we were kids how disgusting broccoli was?  The only broccoli I remember being offered was the frozen stuff which I suppose remotely resembled broccoli.  The ONLY thing that made it palatable was the melted Velveeta on top.  I don't even remember anyone growing broccoli when I was a kid, come to think of it.

Broccoli is a member of the brassica family, along with cabbage, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, to name a few.  Broccoli is a little tricky to grow, I must say.  It needs to be timed so it matures in cool weather, meaning spring or fall.  I've had more success with it in the fall (except last year, the broccoli didn't learn how to swim so it drowned a slow, terrible, slimy death (oops, sorry--I keep obsessing about all the rain last year)....back to the present.  The best broccoli I ever grew was in the spring, in a brand new garden bed that only gets about 6 hours of sun a day (the farm is at the foot of a mountain).  The plants were huge and the heads were awesome as well.

Broccoli is prone to those cabbage moth worms, but to take care of them, I spray Bt on the plants every few days and that usually takes care of the problem.  I've tried floating row covers, but somehow those moths always manage to get in there and lay their eggs so not only do I not know the moths are flying about right away, I'm usually greeted by a crowd of worms upon removing the cover from the crop.  Also, I think the row cover tends to make the plants too warm, making them tend to bolt quicker.  This year I've purchased diatomaceous earth which is supposed to kill these cabbage worms by slicing their skin and causing them to deydrate---I can't wait to see that!  (we gardeners get sadistic sometimes, you know.....)

Broccoli is one of the most nutritious veggies we can eat.  Broccoli is high in vitamins C, K, and A, as well as fiber.  It also contains several anti-cancer compounds, and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C.  The benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled more than ten minutes, so a slight nuke in the microwave or just eating it raw would be better than cooking it very much.  Studies have also shown that eating A LOT of broccoli slows down agressive prostate cancer (I'm not sure how much A LOT is) and broccoli is good for your heart.

Broccoli is great raw in a salad, or on a crudite plate with cauliflower (one of its cousins), carrots, celery, and kohlrabi----oh yes, and a big bowl of ranch dressing right in the middle for dipping!  It's also great in stir fries or lightly steamed with butter and salt, or cheese sauce. 

Recipes.....ah, recipes.  This broccoli salad is totally EXCEPTIONAL!  It simply won't last in the fridge (with me around, anyway).   It's from my favorite recipe site, Allrecipes.com, and here's the link to Bodacious Broccoli Salad.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!   I used a colby/cheddar mixed cheese because that's what I had in the fridge.  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bodacious-Broccoli-Salad/Detail.aspx

 
 

How to prevent "damping off"

Anyone who has ever started seedlings in the house or in a greenhouse has looked in on their seedlings at one time or another and found them laying face down on the soil.  The stem is wilted at the soil line.  This condition is called "damping off" and is caused by a fungus.

Several years ago I learned a trick to thwart the damping off fungus:  After you get your seeds sown in the flat (of new potting mix), sprinkle a thin layer of milled peat moss over the entire surface of the flat.  Also, water them from the bottom by soaking the flat in a larger container of water, rather than sprinkling from the top. 

I keep an oscillating fan in the greenhouse also, which keeps air circulating when it gets really humid and "stuffy" in there.

Knock on wood, no one's been laying face down in the dirt since I've done this.  With all the seed starting going on right now, I thought someone might benefit from this trick!

Happy seeding from Wild Things :)

 
 

Get to know your veggies--Carrots

"Why do you never see a rabbit wearing glasses?"  I would say because they would fall off when he jumps, but supposedly the correct answer is because he eats carrots. 

Carrots are one of the crops grown at Wild Things Farm.  Little Finger is a member favorite, probably because they are harvested at a small size and they are really crunchy and sweet.  Carrots are not hard to grow (they weren't crazy about the super wet season we had last year though) and at the farm, carrots are one of the crops already in the ground. 

A quick glance at the nutritional analysis of this veggie shows that carrots are highly nutritious.  This table is on the website www.carrotmuseum.com in UK.  There is a load of other information on carrots on that website that is definitely worth checking out if you're interested in learning more.  I thought this chart was worth sharing:  (all these values are for 1 raw carrot, 7-1/2" long"


                                                    % Recommended daily
Nutrient                 Unit      amt        men       women

Sodium     Mg 25.200 5.0% 5.0%
Total dietary fiber   Gms 2.160 8.6% 8.6%
Vitamin A Re 2025.360 202.5% 253.2%
Vitamin A IU 20252.880                    
Ascorbic acid  Mg 6.696 11.2% 11.2%
Thiamin Mg 0.070 4.7% 6.3%
Riboflavin Mg 0.042 2.5% 3.3%
Niacin Mg 0.668 3.5% 4.5%
Vitamin B6 Mg 0.106 5.3% 6.6%
Vitamin B12 Mcg 0.000 0.0% 0.0%
Folacin Mcg 10.080 5.0% 5.6%
Potassium Mg 232.560 11.6% 11.6%
Calcium Mg 19.440 2.4% 2.4%
Phosphorus Mg 31.680 4.0% 4.0%
Magnesium Mg 10.800 3.1% 3.9%
Iron Mg 0.360 3.6% 2.4%
Zinc    Mg 0.144 1.0% 1.2%
Pantothenic acid Mg 0.142 2.8% 2.8%
Copper Mg 0.034 1.7% 1.7%
Manganese      Mg 0.102 2.9% 2.9%

 

As you can see, carrots are chocked full of stuff we should be getting into our bodies every day.  They are readily available year round, even for "locavores". 

It's never happened to me before, but if you eat too many carrots you'll turn yellow---honest, check it out.  It's called carotene.  That's also what our bodies turn into Vitamin A which is what helps keep our eyes healthy.  I wish someone would develop a carrot for vision for folks who need longer arms to read......

One of my favorite way to prepare carrots is a carrot salad my mom used to make called Copper Carrots.  I found the recipe on Recipezaar.com and here's the link:  http://www.recipezaar.com/Marinated-Carrots-83798

 

 
 

The Quest for the Homegrown Artichoke (Part II)

We have germination!  It's been 8 days since the artichoke seeds hit the dirt and yesterday there were slight hints of green and today, voila!  We have fresh-born artichokes--well, that may be stretching it a little far. 

I'm currently reading "The Four-Season Harvest" by Eliot Coleman and he has artichokes in his appendix with instructions included.  His comments were that we needed to fool the artichokes into believing that they've been in the garden for 2 seasons since they are biennial, so the first 6-8 weeks they need to be kept warm (their first summer) and then a cool spell, then real summer.  I have ideas on how that can happen, now if I can get Mother to cooperate.......

 
 

Gentlemen (and women) start your tillers!

 

Front bluff garden tilled; burning sticks from the sycamore tree
The first of 6 beds freshly tilled; twigs from sycamore cleaned up and turning to ash

 

NASCAR got started last month, and this month in my area of Tennessee, we farmers get started!  Yesterday was the day that the soil in the "Front Bluff Garden" was dry enough to make a ball in your fist, but fall apart when you poke it gently.  Woohoo! 

There are 6 separate garden areas on the farm, and they all have names just so I can keep records of what grew where for rotation, and also to keep records on what did well in certain beds and all that other garden stuff (bugs, weeds, etc.)

The Front Bluff Garden is the closest to the house and it's my favorite garden to work in.  I'm not sure if it's because there's a cool bluff on the back side of it, or that my herb garden sits atop a small bluff on the front side of it, or that a giant sycamore tree flanks the north end of it where I can rest in the shade and listen to all sorts of birds during  days in that garden.  This garden grows awesome lettuce and spinach, and crops such as tomatoes, garlic, peppers and green beans have been rotated in and out. 

This year, plans are to plant carrots, beets, and peas today; there are flats of spinach and lettuce in the greenhouse just waiting to be placed in the ground.  For now, I must go to the manure pile, spread manure, top with composted leaves, then till once more before the seeds "hit the dirt".  It's kind of like following a recipe in the kitchen....only much more fun.

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The Quest for the Homegrown Artichoke

Each year I add new veggies to the crop cornucopia here on the farm, and one of the newbies this season is artichokes.  I remember the first time I ever ate an artichoke--that was an experience!  First off, it looked like a monster-size of something I surely would have pulled out of the garden weeks before.......

Okay, boil it for 20 minutes and then what?  Pull the leaves off and scrape the end of it with your teeth?  Hmmmmm, tastes great, but not filling.  With the leaves all gone, my next question was "is that all?"  Oh no, now you pull it apart, BE SURE to scrape all the nasty-tasting hairs out, then savor the heart of this member of the thistle family.....ooooh, savor I did!

Never thought they would grow in Tennessee, but while perusing the mountains of seed catalogs I receive each year, I came across a variety that is bred to be grown as an annual.  In the warmer areas of the country where artichokes are grown commercially, they are grown as perennials or biennials, but they won't withstand our temperatures around here. 

Anyway, in the Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog I saw "Imperial Star" artichoke seeds.  The info on the packet is that they will mature in 85 days and the narrative in the catalog suggests that they can be grown in most any part of the country, with a little extra care. 

Yesterday a spot on the propagation mat came open so I sowed 2 packets of seed into 1 flat.  Each packet contains "a minimum of 50 seeds", and actually there were 57 seeds in each pack :)  The seeds look like shelled sunflower seeds, and the whole time I was meticulously placing the seeds in the neat little rows in the flat I was thinking to myself that I bet mice sure would love to eat these seeds.......

The next morning, sure enough, there were a few telltale holes in the soil mix, but they didn't get too many---glad there were 57 seeds in each pack!

Yet another use for duct tape:

I took a flat with smaller holes in the bottom of it, flipped it upside down over the flat of vulnerable artichoke seeds, duct-taped it securely, and voila!  Mouse-proof seedling tray.

The saga goes on though.....seed packet instructs that artichoke seeds germinate best under alternating temperatures; huh?  8 hours at 80-85 degrees, then 16 hours at 68-75 degrees.  Okay, I'm doing my best, but I'm beginning to understand why they cost $2.00 each at the store.

As soon as anything exciting happens, the next article in the series will appear on the blog......meanwhile, I think it's time to go adjust the thermostat on the propagation mat (jk)!

 
 

Get to know your veggies--Potatoes

Yes, I said potatoes.  I bet you're thinking to yourself...potatoes, EVERYBODY knows about potatoes.  Do you?  Do you you really?

I checked out the website www.healthypotato.com and found gobs of useful information and recipes for the "lowly" potato. 

Did you know that potatoes rank really high on the list for several vitamins and nutrients, namely potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6? 

This table, found on the aforementioned website, lists foods considered "high" in Potatssium content.  ( A 5.3 ounce potato with skin on)

Food Source Potassium (mg)

Potato (1, 5.3 oz) 620
Banana (1 med) 400
Mushrooms (5 med) 300
Brussels Sprouts (4 lg) 290
Cantaloupe (1/4 med) 280
Orange (1 med) 260
Grapefruit (1/2 med) 220
Spinach (1 ½ c raw) 130

* USDA Standard Reference 18

Geez, I always ate a banana if I was getting leg cramps--think I'll go for a potato  next time!

Back in the early 2000's everyone went on the low-carb diet.  I agree that the diet works, but it soooo can't be healthy for you; all that fat and cholesterol....anyway, people shy away from potatoes because they are "starchy".  Well, here's what "healthy potato" has to say about the starch in 'taters:

 Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is the starch that is ‘resistant’ to enzymatic digestion in the small intestine.  Resistant starch is found in foods such as potatoes,
legumes, bananas (especially under-ripe, slightly green bananas) and some unprocessed whole grains. Natural resistant starch is insoluble, is fermented in the large intestine and is a prebiotic fiber (i.e., it may stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon). Other types of resistant starch may be soluble or insoluble, and may or may not have prebiotic properties .

The physiological effects and potential health benefits of resistant starch have been studied in animals and humans for over 30 years.  Resistant starch appears to exert beneficial effects within the colon, as well as body-wide. Health benefits in the colon include enhanced laxation, extensive fermentation and the production of important short chain fatty acids and increased synthesis of a variety of “good” bacteria.

WOW!  That's a plus!  Have you checked out the stomach/ digestion /laxative aisles at the stores?  They are almost as large and comprehensive as the pain relievers and sinus areas.  If we ate more potatoes maybe we could get some good bugs going in our systems to help digest all the cra......uh, food that we eat each day!

Back to the website......

Potato Nutrition:

More than skin deep

A common misconception is that all of the potato’s nutrients are found in the skin. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, the majority (> 50 percent) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. As is true for most vegetables, cooking does impact the bioavailability of certain nutrients, particularly water-soluble vitamins and minerals, and nutrient loss is greatest when cooking involves water (boiling) and/or extended periods of time (baking). To maintain the most nutrition in a cooked potato, steaming and microwaving are best.

 If you need to get dinner on the table in minutes, try baking potatoes in the microwave. The key to great microwave baked potatoes is cutting a thin wedge, lengthwise, approximately 1/2-inch wide and 1 inch deep. This is done so the steam can fully escape from the potato, resulting in a dry and fluffy pulp.  (I didn't know that!)

On the farm there are 3 kinds of potatoes raised; Kennebec, Red Pontiac, and Yukon Gold.  Each of them has their virtues; I like the Red Pontiacs best harvested small and prepared as "new potatoes", whole.  The Kennebecs are good all purpose potatoes, good for mashing, frying, or baking.  The Yukon Gold are creamy and make great mashed potatoes.

Before you cut potatoes out of your diet to lose some weight, why not get moving and burn off some extra calories instead?  I would never recommend to cut down on chocolate.......

 
 
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