9 Greens You Can Grow All Winter Long

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By contributing writer Anni W. of TheBestGardening.com

The two biggest challenges to growing food in winter are decreased light and freezing temperatures.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your fresh garden produce when winter weather approaches. It just means a change in what you grow. Even in places like Canada and Alaska, a little light can go a long way for leafy greens.

Basic rule of thumb: Full sun for Fruit. Light sun for Leaves.

Anything that produces an edible leaf can be grown during the shorter days of winter.

Growing your greens outdoors all winter is possible, but will require a little more planning. You’ll need to grow your plants under row covers or in hoop houses. Choose southern-exposed areas that get as much sun (and heat) as possible. Mulch heavily to protect roots.

You can also grow your greens in pots on a south-facing windowsill. All the greens listed below can be successfully grown in a pot through the winter.

It’s surprising how satisfying it is to harvest your own greens in the middle of winter when there’s snow on the ground outside and the world looks dim and gray.

One reminder… don’t overwater! Indoor plants aren’t exposed to the wicking effects of wind, or the drying effects of the sun. So they don’t need as much water as they would if they were growing outdoors.

9 Greens You Can Grow All Winter

  1. Pea greens
  2. Mizuna
  3. Garden Sorrel
  4. Fennel
  5. Mache/Corn Salad
  6. Salad Burnet
  7. Agretti
  8. Land cress
  9. Arugula

Pea Greens

Pea greens are my favorite – which is why I listed them first. With less light, the pea plant won’t produce peas, but the shoots and leaves still have that wonderful English pea flavor.

Grow a bushing variety, like Little Marvel, in pots indoors, or outdoors under row covers in an area where they’ll be protected from harsh winds and get as much light as possible.… [Continue Reading]

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce

a simple, no-fuss recipe for caramel sauce--perfect for ice cream topping, apples, or fruit dip. I'm having a really hard time not just eating it with a spoon...

This recipe is almost sinful.

But I’m posting it anyway. Just because I love you guys.

Now keep in mind, I’m a big believer in the importance of reducing sugar. I used to have a fierce sweet tooth, and have since tamed it considerably.

However.

Sometimes you just gotta splurge.

a simple, no-fuss recipe for caramel sauce--perfect for ice cream topping, apples, or fruit dip. I'm having a really hard time not just eating it with a spoon...

And thick-and-gooey-homemade-salted-caramel made with real butter and cream is the perfect time to do said splurging.

Should you eat homemade caramel sauce everyday. Well, no.

But fall is the perfect time to enjoy this decadent sauce–especially if you need a quick treat to take to those fall parties and festivities. And I’m of the opinion that if you combine this caramel sauce with apples, it officially makes it healthier. Right??

Okay, so I’ll stop leading you astray now.

(And just so you know–I’m totally redneck in my pronunciation of “caramel.” I say ‘CAR-mel’, even though all the fancy foodies on TV pronounce it “car-ah-mel”. I can’t help it.)

a simple, no-fuss recipe for caramel sauce--perfect for ice cream topping, apples, or fruit dip. I'm having a really hard time not just eating it with a spoon...

Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe

  • 3/4 cup sucanat or rapadura *see note below
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (half n’ half will work too)
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract (how to make your own vanilla)
  • pinch of sea salt

homemade caramel sauce recipe

In a saucepan, melt the butter and sugar over low heat. You’re looking for the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to become smooth.

Pour in the cream and whisk well to incorporate.

homemade caramel sauce recipe

Bring to a gentle simmer and continue to stir/cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the caramel sauce is nice and smooth.

Remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla and salt.

Serve warm or cold. It will thicken as it cools. If it becomes too thick, you can gently reheat it before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

a simple, no-fuss recipe for caramel sauce--perfect for ice cream topping, apples, or fruit dip. I'm having a really hard time not just eating it with a spoon...

Kitchen Notes

  • I have made this both with sucanat (aka rapadura– a coarse, dark, unrefined cane sugar) and a lighter organic evaporated cane sugar.
[Continue Reading]

Homestead Barn Hop #181

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“Cultivating the Homestead Community”

It’s just been one of those weeks– you guys can relate, right? I had multiple canning projects, gardening, and cleaning tasks on my to-do list this week, and pretty much none of them happened… I’m learning to be flexible–sometimes with gritted teeth–but still… ;) Here’s hoping next week will allow for a few more things to get crossed off the list!

Now, on to the Barn Hop!

This hop is hosted by The Prairie Homestead, New Life on a Homestead and The Elliott Homestead.

Did you share any homesteading related posts on your blog this week? If so, we’d love to have you link up below! Even if you don’t have a blog, we always welcome your comments!

Some Simple Guidelines:

1. Please remember that the Homestead Barn Hop is meant to be a place to share homesteading related encouragement and inspiring ideas specifically related to homesteading. In an effort to keep our weekly round-up clutter free, links which are not specifically homestead related, and any promotions such as giveaways, contests, carnivals, etc, will be deleted in order to maintain the integrity of the Barn Hop.

2. Please remember this is a family-friendly link up. Any pictures or posts linked to the hop which aren’t appropriate for our children to view or read will also be deleted immediately. We’re pretty conservative, so we ask that you use good judgment and err on the side of caution.

3. Make sure that you link to your Barn Hop post, not your blog’s main page, so your guests won’t have any trouble finding your great tips.

4. Please link back to the Homestead Barn Hop in the post that you share. Feel free to grab the banner at the top of this post to link back to us with.

5. 

[Continue Reading]

How to Make Herbal Steams for Colds and Congestion

How to make an herbal steam (3 ways!) for respiratory support during cold and flu season

By contributing writer Stacy K. of A Delightful Home

We’ve all been there…

Stuffed up nose, jam-packed sinuses, honking and snorting when you try to breathe freely…

The congestion and sinus pressure that accompany a cold or flu can be miserable!

Although relieving these issues naturally is often challenging, an herbal steam is one way to alleviate congestion without reaching into the medicine cabinet. I find the steam is comforting as well; which is a nice bonus when you are feeling ill.

Herbal steams can be prepared in a variety of ways, and you can use fresh or dried herbs as well as essential oils.

Usually, herbs or essential oils are added to hot water and the steam inhaled. This seems to be the most effective method, however, it is possible to create an herbal steam in the shower. A diffuser also works, but not as quickly.

Herbal steams need not be restricted to just a few herbs, as a wide variety of herbs work well to aid in clearing congestion.

I will begin by describing the three methods and then share a number of recipes.

3 Ways to Create an Herbal Steam

The Bowl Method

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. All you need to do is place fresh or dried herbs in a heat proof bowl, then pour hot water over the top.

If you’re using essential oils, pour the water in the bowl first, then add the essential oils.

In general you will need about one handful of dried herbs or two handfuls of fresh herbs to one pint of hot water. (This does not need to be exact.) If using essential oils, you will only need 2 or 3 drops.

eucalyptus chamomile steam

Water should be distilled or purified since any impurities or chemicals in water will be inhaled in the steam.… [Continue Reading]