News

Folks who do a lot of cooking at home frequently run into recipes that use shallots instead of onions. Because they’re so expensive, shallots are sometimes seen as the rich man’s onion. But that’s an unfair comparison. While shallots are in the onion family and resemble their cousins — though when you start to separate
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For years, we canned tomatoes and homemade tomato sauce the way grandma taught us: using the water bath method. This involved packing sterilized jars with hot (cooked) fruit or tomatoes and boiling for a designated amount of time, usually an hour or more for tomatoes. That’s not true anymore. In this age of increasing food contamination,
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Most years, your friendly and curious Planet Natural Blogger likes to plant something in his garden that he hasn’t tried before. How well he remembers that first sowing of kohlrabi back some (garbled) years ago! Now it’s a family favorite. We’re expecting the same thing to happen with celeriac, sometimes known as celery root. Why
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Almost any holiday display with trees or pine boughs or bunting is enlivened by a show of bright red berries. They’re like a splash of color on the cold gray winter. We equally, probably more so, like to see berries outdoors, naturally, in our yard and neighborhood. If those berries are in your yard, you’ll
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Do you have your tomato starts planted? If you need motivation, here’s the latest. A study published last month in PLOS One, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal, showed what a lot of us always suspected: organic tomatoes are more nutritious than conventionally grown tomatoes. You can read the study here. Don’t let its title — “The
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With apologies to turkeys everywhere… what says Thanksgiving more than a beautiful centerpiece of ornamental gourds? Gourds have become such a symbol of the late fall season that one of our favorite literary magazines has done a tongue-in-cheek essay about such displays (sorry, no link; too much profanity and, well, this is a family blog).
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We’ve previously addressed the controversy over genetically modified apples being developed, not by Monsanto, but by a specialty Northwest grower. The apples have been engineered to resist browning and bruising, making them more suitable, it’s claimed, to being served as slices. Surprisingly, a number of established apple growers have questioned the need for the GMO
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In Europe, the number of scientists and other experts contesting EU chief science adviser Anne Glover’s statement that genetically modified foods are no less risky than conventional, natural grown foods continues to grow. Over 275 specialists have signed a document that states that GM foods have not been proven safe and that existing research raises
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When your culinary-conscious and sustainably minded Planet Natural blogger needs seed for cooking, he usually buys them, already dry, from one of our fine herb stores. They’re used to spice-up some homemade dishes, say flavoring some Middle Eastern cooking with the sharp, licorice flavor of anise or adding some zing to a curry with cilantro
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We don’t have to tell you. The news from many parts of the west is all about drought. You can find accounts of what’s being faced, including the potential for cutbacks and rationing, here, here, and here. And the forecast for the coming months doesn’t look good. No matter if you believe that drought is
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With an apple I will astonish Paris. — Paul Cezanne This time of the year, when cider presses across the country are squeezing day and night, is a good time to consider the bounty of apples we enjoy. We’re not talking about the stacks of Gala and Fuji and Granny Smith that decorate the produce
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Disguised in the cover of a favorite summer time topic — why don’t store-bought tomatoes taste good? — The New York Times has printed a story, “You Call That A Tomato?“, with an accompanying video that frames the movement to label genetically modified food sources in the GMO development’s first failure: the Flavr Savr tomato. Brought
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The Environmental Protection Agency has gone on record implicating imidacloprid, one of a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, as harmful to bees. The EPA’s assessment found that bees receive the pesticide in sufficient amounts to harm them when pollinating cotton and citrus crops. The EPA statement “Preliminary Pollinator Assessment to Support the Registration Review of
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Gardeners have been using kelp and seaweed extracts for years, outdoors and in. The results are well-known. Seaweed is a tonic for plants at all stages, stimulating root growth, aiding chlorophyll production, invigorating cuttings and bare root starts. It delivers small amounts of nitrogen, potash and phosphorous and contains a wide spectrum of trace minerals in
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New Mexico’s Taos County has become the most recent locality to consider banning harmful pesticides. On July 5, the Taos County Commission discussed a County-wide ban on the use and sale of herbicides and pesticides. The County joins other jurisdictions, including the city of Richmond, California and Montgomery County, Maryland that have banned use of the products
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Though it’s not true everywhere — the forecast today for Bozeman includes a 40% chance of scattered showers — we’re fast approaching that time of the growing season when your garden, lawns and flower beds included, need to be closely monitored for moisture. How do we know when our plants aren’t getting enough water? They
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What is “rewilding?” Valerie Easton’s Natural Gardener column in a recent issue of The Seattle Times‘ Pacific NW Sunday magazine puts perspective to the Johnny-come-lately gardening term. The piece, called “In Harmony With Nature,” is sort of a celebration of rewilding which, she notes, only first appeared in the dictionary in 2011. She says, “I like
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Rain water collection and storage systems capture a gift from the sky. They’ve been used for centuries where and when rains are absent. Today, in the face of persistent drought and depleted aquifers, rainwater harvesting makes more sense than ever. No matter how it’s collected or what it’s used for, utilizing rainwater lessens the pressure
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German drug and pesticide manufacturer Bayer has agreed to purchase St. Louis-based seed and agrochemical giant Monsanto in a deal worth $66 billion, reports Reuters News Agency. Bayer, once considered for purchase by Monsanto, will become the world’s largest seed producer while controlling 25% (some estimates are higher) of the world market for seed and pesticides. The
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