Why Strawberry Crowns?

 

We were wondering… why do we sell strawberry crowns instead of seeds? We asked Anne in the grow lab.

Strawberry seeds are hard to germinate. The ones that do germinate are wild and they’re very small. Alpine strawberries get started from seed. A lot of plants start more readily from cuttings. Crowns are bare roots that take less time to grow and produce!

-Anne

Interested in trying the Strawberry Crown Kit? Click here to check it out!

Note: This kit can only be used with the AeroGarden Grow Bowl.

Meant the Other Mint?

What’s the difference between peppermint and spearmint?

IT’S VERY HARDY

Mint is a perennial that grows with abandon, starting when the soil begins to warm up in late March or April. Grow it year-round in your AeroGarden!

TWO MAIN TYPES

Spearmint and peppermint are the two most common and widely available of the many mint species. Of the two, spearmint is the one almost always sold in grocery stores and markets. So when a recipe calls for mint, it’s generally spearmint, recognizable for its light-green, spear-shaped leaves and that classic sweet mint flavor. Spearmint is also commonly used to make gum and candy.

Peppermint leaves are darker green and smoother than spearmint. The big difference is the presence of menthol, which gives peppermint a much more potent flavor. Peppermint is typically dried for tea and made into flavoring for candy, toothpaste, and other products.

 

AeroGarden Tea Seed Pod Kits come with a peppermint variety. Try it out and let us know what you think.

Courtesy of epicurious

Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika

This quick and easy sautéed kale recipe makes for an excellent nutrient-rich side dish or appetizer. These greens contain plenty of vitamins, fiber and powerful antioxidants that are great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 cups (packed) kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sweet or hot smoked paprika*
  • Generous pinch of dried crushed red pepper

PREPARATION

  • Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water until wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to colander; drain.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika and crushed red pepper; sprinkle with salt. Add kale and sauté until heated through, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more smoked paprika, if desired. Transfer to serving bowl; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and serve.

Courtesy of Epicurious

No time to cook?

How about a grilled cheese sandwich with a slice of fresh tomato and fresh basil leaves?
Delicious!

Here is another easy recipe with basil:

  • Grind-up basil, garlic, and olive oil into a paste. (Basil is a prime ingredient in pistou, a Mediterranean specialty.)
  • Add to cooked pasta noodles and stir.

In Italy, pine nuts and parmesan cheese are added to the paste to become pesto.

Extras: Try adding tomatoes and or bell peppers (fresh or roasted).

 

Tips: Want less carbs? Substitute noodles for zucchini noodles. (Psst! Did you know that you can grow zucchini in your AeroGarden with a “Grow Anything” Seed Pod Kit!)

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

This appetizer is a big crowd pleaser and has the perfect flavor combination of heat, creaminess, and salty bacon. Plus, it’s gluten free!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Soak toothpick in water.
  2. Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a spoon.
  3. Rinse jalapeños and set aside to dry.
  4. Cut a chilled block of cream cheese into long cubes matching size of jalapeños cavity. (Chilled cream cheese helps it from boiling over in oven).
  5. Lay thick bacon down on cutting board and cut in half. Wrap bacon around stuffed jalapeños. (Thick bacon from your butcher is recommended because it holds up better in the oven).
  6. Secure the bacon with a wet toothpick or two. (Wet toothpicks prevent from burning in oven).
  7. Line baking pan with tinfoil for easy clean up and place a cooling rack in pan on top of tinfoil. This keeps the wrapped jalapeños out of the grease.
  8. Place wrapped jalapeños on a baking rack, evenly spaced apart.
  9. On the middle oven rack, broil for approximately 10 minutes. Flip jalapeños broil for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Keep an eye on it to prevent from burning. Cook until the bacon is done to your liking.

Start a Jalapeño garden this month and get the Seed Pod Kit 25% OFF

Tip: Wear gloves when preparing hot peppers and wash hands before touching your face to avoid burns. How to treat pepper burns go here.

Preserving Peppers

Have a lot of AeroGarden peppers on your hands? Learn how to preserve your peppers such as jalapeno, sweet bell pepper, anaheim, and poblano to name a few- plus tomatoes! The three major methods of preserving peppers are freezing, drying, and canning.

Freezing Method

  1. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve peppers, keeping them crisp with fresh flavor.
  2. Remove stems and seeds. Hot peppers can be frozen whole if you want to include the spicy seeds.
  3. Chop the peppers in strips or cubes.
  4. Lay flat on baking sheet or cutting board and place in freezer. Once frozen solid, put into freezer bags, date, and use within 8 to 12 months.

Drying Methods

  • Air dry: hang the peppers in a dry climate for 3 to 4 weeks. Make sure to space out the peppers for good air flow.
  • Food dehydrator: this method is the fastest drying method and is a good alternative for humid climates.
  • Oven dry: You can always use the oven to dry out the peppers but it will take 1 to 2 hours. Bake at 150°F with oven door cracked open to let moisture out. Rotate peppers every 30 minutes.

 

Canning Method

Canning is great for salsa and other pickled recipes. Find a recipe you like and go from there. The possibilities are endless!

Tip: Wear gloves when preparing hot peppers and wash hands before touching your face to avoid burns.

-If you do get burned, follow these steps:

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to burn area to remove pepper oils
  2. Then use apply milk to irritated area. The milk contains the chemical casein and removes the pepper burn from the skin. Follow by soap and warm water.
  3. Apply olive oil to burn area for about one minute and wash off.

 

Garden Tip: Jalapeño

This Mexican pepper, Jalapeno, ranges in the medium-hot level, about 5,000 Scoville units.  This seems pretty tame when compared to the #1 hottest in the world- The Carolina Reaper at 2,200,000 SHU and former world champ- The Ghost Pepper at 1,041,427 SHU.

AeroGarden Peppers

Growing Tip:

  • Give the plants plenty of space to grow. This is the reason why the seed pod kits come with a certain amount of pre-seeded grow pods and plant spacers depending on the size of your AeroGarden.
  • Feed it extra nutrient upon the 3rd feeding and moving forward. For 3 and 6-Pod gardens, give an extra 1/2 capful. For 7 and 9-Pod gardens, give an extra 1 capful.
  • Schedule grow light to be on during the day. This decreases stress on the plant.
  • Pollinate often.
  • Harvest when the peppers are large and firm. Cut from the plant when they are green or red. The longer the pepper is on the plant, the redder and hotter it gets.

 

Jalapeño Hummus

Kick off the football season with this green hummus that packs its own kick of heat! This healthy and easy appetizer is perfect for this weekend’s game!

 Image & recipe credit: Taste And See

This green hummus has just the right amount of heat and puts a spicy twist on traditional hummus. Get this gluten-free vegan recipe at Taste And See. Use your fresh AeroGarden herbs and peppers in this recipe which showcases parsley, cilantro, and September’s Seed Pod Kit of the Month jalapeno peppers.

Not growing Jalapeños? Start a Jalapeño garden this month and get the Seed Pod Kit 25% OFF

 

Taco Lettuce Wrap

Try this tasty, nutritious and quick recipe! Make these flavorful tacos using lettuce, cilantro and chilli peppers from your AeroGarden for a healthy, low-carb alternative to traditional tacos.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 chili pepper, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6-12 cilantro leaves
  • 6 lettuce taco shells

PREPARATION

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the onion until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the meat and sear, chopping with a spatula into small pieces until the pink color is gone. Add the garlic and chile and cook for 2 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Add the salt, chili powder, black pepper, chili pepper, cumin, cilantro and a tablespoon of water, mix well, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until well blended. Wrap with lettuce taco shells.

Makes: 6 servings