Green Spaces and Green Milk

The New York Times has an article today on the gardens around Philadelphia. It turns out that there are a lot, and several of them are either free or have fairly cheap admission. Somehow, I haven’t been to any of these, which is really rather sad. Oh, and if you happen to have a SEPTA pass, you can also get a discount at some of the ones that do charge admission.

You probably know that cows are big producers of methane, which tends to trap heat much more efficiently than carbon dioxide. That makes cows rather environmentally unfriendly as far as global warming goes. Well, it turns out that changing cattle feed may help reduce bovine methane—which, it turns out, is actually released as burps. This finding comes from Stoneyfield Farm, whose yogurt is pretty tasty and good in cooking, incidentally.

This post refers to:

Dobrzynski, Judith H. Philadelphia’s Gardens of Delights. New York Times. June 5, 2009.

Kaufman, Leslie. Greening the Herds: A New Diet to Cap Gas. New York Times. June 4, 2009.

Book Review: Fresh Food from Small Spaces

Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R.J. Ruppenthal

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book is a good introductory work for people who want an idea of what’s possible. It certainly won’t tell you everything you need to know, but it’s a good place to start.

I particularly liked the discussions of container edibles, backyard fruit varieties, sprouting, yogurt making, and chickens. The sprouting and yogurt making are of particular interest to me since I learned to sprout mung beans from my mom, and my dad used to make yogurt at home. The book often recommends against using metal containers, but for some reason, I recall both my parents using metal containers for whatever it was they were doing, and I do my sprouting in what is quite possibly the same stainless steel bowl my mom used to use.

The book encouraged me to sprout more and to try self watering containers and other container vegetables besides my leaf lettuce. I’d recommend reading this book to get a taste of what you might be interested in trying should you want to grow/make your own food. At the very least, it’s an informative read.

Book source: Montgomery County, PA, public library system

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Book Review: Edible French Garden

Edible French Garden (Edible Garden Series, 3) Edible French Garden by Rosalind Creasy

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Like the other books in Creasy’s Edible Garden series, this is a combination cookbook and gardening book. I think of this as a good way to whet one’s appetite, but it’s not a comprehensive reference—except perhaps on how to grow blanched vegetables like Belgian endive and white asparagus. After reading her instructions, I’ve decided that blanching in the gardening sense is not something I plan on trying anytime in the near future. Reading this book did get me interested in learning more about potagers, however, which strike me as having the potential to be both remarkably decorative and appetizing.

The varieties highlighted include French ones and American varieties that are similar to French types. I found at least a few of the recipes to be somewhat interesting, though, and will probably try making some. The braised endives and cherville buttered carrots come to mind. Most of the recipes are fairly simple and suitable for novice cooks. If you’re looking for more elaborate dishes, you’re better off going with a real cookbook.

The resource list is one of the best parts, in my opinion, since finding less common French varieties can be difficult. Likewise, I’ll be looking into many of the volumes she mentions in her bibliography. I also have to say that the photography is wonderful, and it’s worth at least flipping through just for the pictures.

I’ve decided that I want to read the other books in this series, but I know that I’ll be sifting for nuggets rather than considering them regular references.

Book source: Montgomery County, PA, Public Library System

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