Fava beans aren't afraid to give you a hard time -- what other vegetable needs to be shelled twice? But they're worth it. Their intensely green pods are used in spring dishes all over the Mediterranean world, from Italy (in the spring stew la vignarola) to Iran (blanched and tossed with angelica). FOOD52er innoabrd's Besara -- think of it as Egyptian hummus -- is another classic preparation. As you blanch and peel your fava beans to tender perfection, here's more about them, both inside and out.
Gena takes a quick look at her own history as a vegan, and the movement as a whole. Plus, two vegan superstars -- quinoa and hemp seeds -- make an appearance in lemony quinoa with hemp seeds, peas, and basil.
Strawberries are nuts! Actually, they're fruit -- and despite the name, they're not berries. Whether you're eating them plain or with clotted cream, stacking them sky-high with meringues, or using them to top a spinach salad, here's everything you need to know about buying, storing, and eating everyone's favorite all-American fruit (literally -- the Pilgrims had them at the first Thanksgiving)that's versatile, delicious, and as good for snacking as it is for sherbet, ricotta, or roasting.
Rhubarb, with its red-green stalks and tart taste, is one of spring's first harbingers. Whether you like it in scones, shortbread, a fizzy drink, or compote, here's everything you need to know about buying, storing, and cooking with rhubarb. Are there any rhubarb facts we've missed? Have you ever grown it in your garden? Let us know!
We're pleased to announce a new biweekly column from the author of the blog Choosing Raw: Gena Hamshaw eats a mostly raw, vegan diet without losing time, money, or her sanity. Let her show you how to make "rabbit food" taste delicious and satisfying every other Thursday on Food52. Today: It's easy being green -- especially with Gena's raw kale and lentil salad.
Are you growing potatoes in a bag this summer? Here's more on everyone's favorite starchy tuber from our garden specialist Amy Pennington: Potatoes grow underground and are considered a "tuber" -- a plant that is enlarged to store nutrients and has the ability to make a new plant. Potatoes, yams and even dahlias are considered tubers. So why do you need to know what at tuber is? Here is some great info for all your science nerds to help shed light on the growth pattern of potatoes. Ultimately, this information is meant to help you -- if you’re going to build a potato-loving system that is highly productive, you've got to think like the plant! You care about what a tuber is because tubers produce plants from a stolon (a sub-soil, sprout-like, horizontal root). The stolon is formed from the axils of the plant -- the place where the stem and leaves connect. I bet you thought potatoes form and grow off of a piece of cut potato? Well instead, potatoes actually grow between the original seed piece you plant, and the above-ground leaves. They're the stem of the plant, not the root. Potatoes are a member of the Nightshade family (alongside tomatoes, eggplant, and of course, the deadly nightshade), some of which are toxic plants. Nightshades are prone to soil disease and must be rotated around the garden year after year in order to minimize problems with the soil. For a home gardener working in beds, this means diligent planning or designating an area outside your beds for potatoes. (Good news! If you grow in bags on your patio, you don't have to worry about this!) Lastly, here's an alternative to using soil to mound your potato plant: you can also layer the stem in straw. That's right — just straw. It acts as a growing medium for the potatoes — a clean, unmessy growing medium. No cleaning off soil when you harvest, as potatoes will grow directly into the straw. Even better, in warm climates (down south, for instance), the straw layers help moderate temperatures and insulate the bag, which is perfect for potatoes that don't do well in the heat. What are your tips for growing potatoes?
This is the eleventh in our biweekly series from Amy Pennington – urban farmer, founder of GoGo Green Garden, and author of Urban Pantry and Apartment Gardening – on how to start growing your own food, no matter how tiny your garden-to-be is. Today: Growing potatoes couldn't be easier -- as Amy explains, it's all in the bag. Literally.
Here's what you encounter when you visit the website for Michael Natkin's new book, Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes, based on his blog of the same name: "I Don’t Care if you are a Vegetarian, Omnivore, Carnivore, Vegan, Pescetarian, or Flexitarian!" And it's true! Whether you're a lifelong vegetarian or just looking to work more meatless meals into your diet, Natkin's refreshing and beautiful recipes are a wonderful place to get started. We spoke with him about how he came to food blogging after a years-long career in computer graphics, what it was like transforming a blog into a book idea, and more. Be sure to check out Herbivoracious (the blog), and find out more about Herbivoracious (the cookbook)!
This is the tenth in our biweekly series from Amy Pennington – urban farmer, founder of GoGo Green Garden, and author of Urban Pantry and Apartment Gardening – on how to start growing your own food, no matter how tiny your garden-to-be is. Today: Whether your balcony is bathed in sun or swathed in shade, Amy has the ideal plants for you to grow -- tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, you name it.
Today: Direct sowing, broadcast sowing, transplanting...what's the difference? Amy gives us a primer on how to get any plant, large or small, started in your garden. And don't miss her tips on intercropping! Last year a dear friend emailed me from Spain highlighting a "technique" (and I use that term loosely!) that I had sort of breezed over in all of my writings. He wrote: Lots of times you say to "sow seeds directly," but do you mean make a small hole in the center with your finger and plant just one seed? Or make as many holes all over and sow all over the area just under the surface? Or make a row and sow one lettuce seed every couple of inches as the packet indicates? Up until when he reached out to me, I had no idea this would be so confusing for anyone. Thinking about how best to respond was a challenge, as different seeds have different sowing requirements and there is really no one answer. Further, there are different planting strategies depending on the plants you'll sow and your garden space. With that in mind, here is a us eful guide on how to sow seeds and plant transplants, along with tips for making the most of your garden space.
This is the seventh in our biweekly series from Amy Pennington – urban farmer, founder of GoGo Green Garden, and author of Urban Pantry and Apartment Gardening – on how to start growing your own food, no matter how tiny your garden-to-be is. Today: Amy explains how to become a pro at crop rotations and plant families. For the soil health of your garden, for the productivity of your plants, and for an increased harvest, just plan your garden's year with a few simple principles in mind. Now that your beds are prepped, your seeds are started and your soil is being built up, it's time for the best part of urban farming: planting. Before sowing seed and planting small starts in the garden, it's best to have a planting plan. As we discussed in an earlier City Dirt, you should by now have a garden space ready for planting and your garden wish list. Using the wish list and your map, you can begin mapping out and implementing a year-long garden plan. Here are a few key concepts that are helpful to understand before mapping out your beds.