German Potato Salad

This potato salad is not only loaded with fresh herbs, but is also vegetarian and vegan friendly. Making this a perfect side dish for any backyard bbq. Try this tasty recipe out with your AeroGarden herbs- dill, chives, and parsley.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds halved small waxy potatoes (have some fun with colorful varieties)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds and toss
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Add as much herbs as you like! Yum.

PREPARATION

  • Cover 2 pounds halved small waxy potatoes with cold salted water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
  • Add to potatoes along with 4 sliced scallions, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, and 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds and toss, crushing potatoes slightly; season with salt and pepper.

One way to cut down on prep time is with the Mezzaluna Herb Chopper & Cutting Board. The comfortable grip and rocking motion make quick work of herb preparation. Plus, the Mezzaluna has double blades!

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Epicurious

Is It Time To Clean Your Garden?

Before starting a new Seed Pod Kit, you’ll want to clean your garden for a fresh start. Do Not throw away your filter by accident! It’s easy to do when removing plant roots.

Start by dismantling your garden:

Roots can grow into the filter, so be sure to clean it out and reinstall. If the filter looks too worn, replace the filter to prolong the life of your pump.

While you are doing maintenance on your garden, you may want to consider using Airstones. This will give your plants an oxygen boost for better growth! Note: Airstones are for use in all aerator/bubbler models.

 

After each planting, you should clean and sanitize your AeroGarden to reduce the risk of root pathogens that can destroy your crop.

Here’s how:

  • Fill the bowl with water and add ¼ cup of chlorine bleach
  • Let the water pump or aerator circulate the bleach solution for 5 minutes
  • Empty the bleach solution, rinse well, and then fill with clear water (no bleach)
  • Allow the pump or aerator to circulate the clear water for 5 minutes
  • Empty and rinse once more to ensure that all bleach is rinsed from bowl

Or without bleach: 

Add 5 cups of distilled white vinegar (instead of ¼ cup chlorine bleach) and follow instructions above.

Lemon Balm Honeysuckle Cocktail

Cool off with this Lemon Balm cocktail! Make with lemon vodka or white run. Try it with July’s Seed Pod Kit of the Month, Cocktail & Mocktail Herb Blend (25% OFF through July).

Lemon Balm, Lemon Mint, or Mint leaves compliment the lemon and honey in this cocktail.

 

 

Lemon Balm and Mints are pruned in the same method. Watch the video above for help with pruning.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups lemon vodka or white rum
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh lemon balm leaves or mint leaves
  • 8 lemon slices

PREPARATION

    • Stir honey and 6 tablespoons hot water in a large pitcher until honey is dissolved. Stir in vodka and lemon juice. Add 2 cups ice cubes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
    • Squeeze lemon balm several times to lightly bruise leaves; add to pitcher. Fill Old Fashioned glasses with ice cubes. Divide cocktail among glasses. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.

Makes 8 servings

Courtesy of Epicurious

Good Garden Bugs

Part 1: LadybugsIf you have an aphid problem in your AeroGarden, the answer is ladybugs! These lady beetles are the natural predator to the invading plant-sucking aphids.

Aphids can find their way to your garden by riding in on clothing, on other plants or produce, or through an open window or door.

Ladybugs feed on aphids, mites, and other soft-bodied bugs during their larval and adult stages of their lives.

Every gardener has spotted the lady beetle’s cluster of bright yellow eggs on plant leaves and stems. Within a week the eggs hatch and the insatiable, horned and segmented larvae emerge seeking food. The larvae go through three molting stages and, depending on conditions, will pupate after three to four weeks. It’s another week before the adult emerges, ready to resume feeding.

Planet Natural

Ladybugs, or lady beetles (Hippodamia convergens) are the best known garden predators available and can purchased online.

Method:

  • Adult beetles are commonly shipped in cotton bags mixed with wood shavings.
  • After opening, gently shake the contents evenly over the pest infestation.
  • The ladybugs will stay in the garden until they have eaten all the food (bad bugs such as aphids).

Ladybug larvae can eat up to 400 aphids before hitting their pupa stage. As adults they devour over 5,000 aphids.

Storing Tips: Basil

Basil is a great herb to use in anything from pesto to drinks and happens to be apart of July’s Plants of the MonthCocktail & Mocktail Herb Seed Pod Kits. When harvesting and storing this herb, you’ll want to follow the below steps to prolong the life of your clippings.

Method 1:

1 Prune. See video above.

2 Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar.

3 If your home to dry, place a plastic bag loosely over the basil in jar to create humidity.

4 Basil is ideally stored at room temperature and not in the refrigerator, because it is susceptible to damage from cold.

5 Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolor and trim stems.

Using this method, basil can last up to 2 weeks.

Method 2: Freezing

1 Prune leaves.

2 Place harvested leaves in plastic bag, seal and store in freezer. This gives the basil a longer shelf life and preserves it’s flavors better than dried basil.

You can also freeze basil in olive oil or butter in an ice cube tray and use in cooking. For drinks, simply freeze basil in water for beverage ice cubes. It looks lovely and releases notes of flavor!

Summer Garden Gin Fizz

 

Mix up this refreshing drink for the hot 4th of July weekend! The Cocktail & Mocktail Herb Seed Pod Kit is perfect for this bubbly chilled spring water gin drink infused with lavender, basil, and lemon.

  • Lavender has a strong floral and spicy aroma with hints of lemon and mint. When harvesting for making the simple syrup for cocktail, use fully purple buds that have not flowered completely. The unopened buds have the best aromatic qualities. You can also use dried lavender.
  • Basil has a sweet, warm peppery, clove flavor with hints of anise and mint. To bring out these flavors in your drink, use a muddler or wooden spoon to gently press down and twists on basil leaves in a glass. Be sure to use a sturdy glass that will not break while muddling.

Need help with pruning and harvesting your herbs? No problem, click video to watch tutorial.

 

Try out this fresh and simple drink recipe with your AeroGarden herbs! Follow these recipe step by portandfin.com


Oh and did we mention that the Cocktail & Mocktail Herb Seed Pod Kit is July’s Plant of the Month and will be 25% OFF all month!

-Cheers!

 

 

(Image credit: Finn)

Aromatic Wax Bars

Bring beauty and fragrance to your home with this new take on fabric sachets. Learn how to artfully place AeroGarden flowers and herbs in beeswax bars that hang like natural ornaments in your home. These scented jewels compliment any room! (Image credit: Terrain)

This craft is perfect for any AeroGarden flower or herb. For flowers, a few options to call out would be Phlox, Lavender, Petunia, Dianthus.

For herbs, try Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Lemon Mint, Sage and Rosemary.

To make these naturally fragrant bars, follow this how-to by Lucy Akins.(Image: Lucy Akins)

Summer (Solstice) Rolls!

Spring Into Summer!

This fresh “Summer Roll” is the perfect way to kick-start your summer. Enjoy fresh crunchy vegetables, herbs and noodles rolled in rice paper wrappers and dipped in a homemade peanut sauce.

Plus, you can use the herbs you’ve been growing as the star ingredients!

YIELD
4 servings
ACTIVE TIME
30 minutes
TOTAL TIME
30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Summer Rolls:

  • 4 rice wrappers
  • 4 sprigs of Thai basil
  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 4 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/4 lb of vermicelli rice noodles
  • 4 oz of tofu, sliced

Need help with pruning and harvesting? Click here to view tutorial videos.

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 1″ piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 teaspoons of tamari
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind extract
  • 1/4 piece of palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flake (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of water (as needed)

Short on time? You can also pick up a peanut sauce at your local grocery store!

INSTRUCTIONS

Summer Rolls:

  1. The first and most important step is to have all of the vegetables washed and thinly sliced before you begin assembling.
  2. Soak the rice noodles in boiling water off of heat in a bowl until tender and follow directions on the packaging.
  3. Dip the rice paper wrappers in warm water for 10-15 seconds until they are malleable. Don’t let the wrappers become too soft, they are delicate!
  4. Lay the rice paper on the counter and begin layering the ingredients just off center.
  5. Roll tightly, folding in the sides.

Peanut Sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl
  2. Whisk
  3. Add water to desired consistency

Now you’re ready to serve!

Harvesting Flowers

You can use the flowers harvested from your Incredible Edible Seed Pod Kit in all kinds of ways. Make a fragrant mini-bouquet for your desk, add color to a place setting or even add a unique flair to one of your favorite recipes.

Harvesting

Since your flowers have been grown in a controlled indoor AeroGarden, you don’t need to worry about sprayed chemicals and the plants are safe to consume.

  • Prune flowers that have just fully opened. Think of edible flowers as you would fruit in that they should not be over or underripe.
  • Make sure to separate the flower from the stem and remove any non-colored/ white portions at base of petals.
  • Some flowers can be eaten whole, such as viola and squash blossoms.

Storing

After harvesting, store in a refrigerator and use as soon as possible for best flavor.

  • Use a glass or plastic container to store the flowers with a damp paper towel at the bottom to provide humidity. This will help the flowers to last longer and lessen wilting.
  • Remove parts of the flower that contain pollen before tasting.

Drying Method

Some flowers that can be dried whole include chamomile, calendula and lavender. Remember to rotate so they don’t dry flat. Larger flowers should have the petals removed to be dried.

  • Spread flowers and petals out in a thin single layer over a clean surface such as paper towels or dish towel.
  • Place in a dry, undisturbed area in your home (avoid direct sunlight). Rotate each flower/ petal once a day until dry.
  • Store in a glass jar with lid.
  • Keep dried flowers in a dry area and out of direct sunlight for increased shelf life.
  • Wait until you are ready to use dried flowers to crush or powder if desired. This will help preserve fragrant oils in the plant.

If properly stored, your dried flowers can stay good up to a year. The potency of the flowers decrease as its color fades.

Edible Flower Canapés

Inspired by June’s Plant of the MonthIncredible Edibles, give this summer’s dinner and tea parties a decorative note by adding edible flowers to this hors d’oeuvre.

Get this embellished Edible Flower Canapés recipe at grown to cook.

Recommended AeroGarden Flowers:

This flower has a neutral taste and makes a playful decoration on tarts and desserts.

Violas come in the following seed pod kits:  Vibrant Violas, and any custom flowers.

 

 

 

 

Calendula come in the following seed pod kits:  Incredible Edibles, and any custom flower.

Calendula petals has been nicknamed, “poor man’s saffron” and can be used in butter, cake batter, or rice dishes or mixed into cake/muffin batter. Plus, don’t forget it has medicinal applications.

 

Dianthus come in the following seed pod kits: Mountain Meadow, English Cottage,  Incredible Edibles, and any custom flower.

Dianthus have a subtle cloves taste. The base of the petals can taste bitter and should be removed. These flowers go well in sweet or savory dishes. Try it in syrup, butter, pudding or cake.

 

 

Along with Aerogarden edible flowers, herbs listed in this recipe that you can grow are chivesdill and chervil.