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.

 

Floral Bath Salts

Time to relax! Use your AeroGarden flowers in this lovely Floral Bath Salts recipe by Soap Queen.

Any AeroGarden flowers can be used in this bath salts recipe! So don’t feel limited.

Here are a few great options:

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

Lavender come in the following seed pod kits:  Lots of Lavender, and any custom flower.

Calendulas/ Marigolds come in the following seed pod kits:  Incredible Edibles, and any custom herb.

Chamomile comes in the following seed pod kits:  Fresh TeaTraditional Medicinal Herb, and any custom herb.


Perfect Flower Collections include: Mountain Meadow, English Cottage, and June’s Plant of the MonthIncredible Edibles.

 

Get this relaxing Floral Bath Salts recipe at Soap Queen

(image and recipe by Soap Queen)

Plant Fact: Marigold Flowers

These bright yellow-orange flowers, Marigolds, are not only good for keeping the bugs out of the garden, but have many other uses. This edible flower can benefit your health in several ways.

Part of the Marigold family, Calendulas provide more medicinal benefits.

Benefits:

  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces eye inflammation and conjunctivitis
  • A natural antioxidant and antiseptic (helps fight infection)
  • Soothes and helps heal burns, cuts, and rashes
  • Relieves irritated skin that may be red, swelling, dry, itchy, and sensitive
  • Natural bug repellant

The petals of these flowers can be dried and used to make teas, ointments, and drops.

Grow your own beneficial calendula flowers and make some homemade Calendula Lotion!

Calendulas/ Marigolds come in the following seed pod kits:  Incredible Edibles, and any custom herb.

 

 

PLUS, these flowers are edible! So use these fresh vibrant petals to add color to your food such as sauces, cakes, custards, cheese, salads, and even butter.

Lemon Chamomile Cocktail

Try growing chamomile in your AeroGarden and use in this whimsical-relaxing cocktail (not just for tea).

This soothing herb is slightly bitter, sweet, and aromatic.

Chamomile comes in the following seed pod kits:  Fresh TeaTraditional Medicinal Herb, and any custom herb.

 

 

Get this delicious Lemon Chamomile Cocktail recipe at HonestlyYUM

(image and recipe by HonestlyYUM)

Garden Checkup: Treating “Blossom-End Rot”

Blossom-end rot can occur in tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, squash, and melons. Often times, the damage appears when the fruit is half-way grown. These soggy areas expand and turn dark brown and harden. The effected areas will begin to rot and the fruit should be cut-off and discarded.

Blossom End Rot is not a pest, parasite, or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself. There is no cure for blossom end rot, only prevention. This can occur when tomatoes are nutrient deprived or under erratic watering. Typically adding more nutrients will resolve the problem and tomato plants will recover.

How much nutrient are you giving your tomatoes? 

The nutrient level should be increased when growing tomatoes upon the third feeding and moving forward.  

Nutrient level for 6/7/9 pod gardens is 8 ml (2 capfuls) upon the first two feedings, and 11 – 12 ml (2 ½ to 3 capfuls) upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Nutrient level for a 3 pod garden is 4 ml (1 capful) for the first two feedings, and 6 ml (1 ½ capfuls) of nutrient upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Make sure that you are checking your water level every other day. Once the tomatoes are established, they will consume quite a bit of water daily, especially if you are running your furnace more often. Do not wait for your AeroGarden to alert you that your water level is low to add water. Your AeroGarden will alert you when the water level is very low. It is ideal to keep the water level in your garden to the “fill line”, and to be consistent in your watering habits.

Here is the solution. Start with a “rinse and refill”. Empty the contents of your water bowl, rinse it, and replace the water adding the appropriate level of nutrient (12 ml). This will restore the pH level in your AeroGarden. Add 1 Tablespoon of Epsom Salt to the water. Remove and discard the browning tomatoes.

In addition, make sure you are pruning your tomatoes. Go ahead and prune back the leaves that are shading out your tomatoes. This will encourage your plant to continue to produce tomatoes. Also, your green tomatoes will be exposed to more light, encouraging them to ripen.

GRILLED VEGETABLES

Make a deliciously smoky side for a BBQ. Use any combination of flame-kissed veggies, then brush and toss with this easy parsley and basil vinaigrette.

Prune your AeroGarden basil and parsley for the vinaigrette.

How to harvest basil

How to harvest parsley

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and root end trimmed slightly, leaving end intact
  • 1 1/2-pound eggplant, halved crosswise, then cut lengthwise into 1″-thick strips
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2 1/2 pound mixed green and yellow zucchini (about 5)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil

Special equipment: Four 12″ skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes if wooden.

PREPARATION

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (medium-high heat or gas).

Whisk together garlic, herbs, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, then set aside 2/3 of vinaigrette for brushing. (set aside some of the chopped parsley and basil).

Halve onion lengthwise and cut halves lengthwise into 1/2″-wide wedges. Thread 1/2″ apart onto skewers (to hold layers together). Brush onion and eggplant with some reserved vinaigrette.

Oil grill rack, then grill pepper with onion and eggplant, covered only if using a gas grill, turning occasionally with tongs, until onion and eggplant are very tender, 6-10 minutes; transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Continue to grill pepper, turning it until skin is blackened, 1-2 minutes longer. Put pepper in a deep bowl and cover with a plate, then let stand while grilling remaining vegetables.

Quarter zucchini lengthwise; brush them and tomatoes with reserved vinaigrette. Grill, covered only if using a gas grill, turning tomatoes less frequently than zucchini, until tomatoes are just blistered, about 3 minutes; transfer to baking sheet. Continue to grill zucchini, turning, until just tender, 1-3 minutes longer.

Peel pepper and thinly slice flesh. Cut tomatoes into wedges and chop remaining vegetables. Add to bowl of vinaigrette along with remaining herbs and salt to taste, tossing to coat.

Cooks’ notes: If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, vegetables can be cooked on an oiled 2-burner grill pan over medium-high heat. Vegetables can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Rewarm before serving.

Makes 4 servings

Courtesy of Epicurious

Tips for Herbs

  • Basil is usually the first seed to sprout and it grows rapidly. Harvest basil
    (and any other fast-growing herbs) to keep them an inch or two below
    the lights, and avoid raising the Light Hood until all other plants are well
    established.
  • Some herbs, such as chives, thyme, and oregano grow slowly and often
    get shaded by faster growing plants. Create space for slow-growing
    plants by pruning surrounding plants with garden shears.