ANSWERS FROM THE URBAN HOMESTEAD

Q.I’ve been catching up on your posts and would love to know what is in the swiss chard salad. I have chard in my garden right now and would love another way to use it. Thanks!!

A. Thanks Mia for your wanting the recipe.  Having cooked from scratch with homegrown ingredients ever since I was 13, I sometimes think to myself I really should publish a cookbook recalling my teenage days when the summer harvest would come in and I’d be stuck with a bunch of this and that and having no prior culinary experience (and no Internet) had to find recipes or make up my own.   Perhaps one day. 

Here’s the recipe, it’s really very, very simple.

Anaїs’ Simple Swiss Chard Salad

Cupful handfuls of freshly picked Swiss chard (ruby red or bright lights varieties are my favorite and make stunning contrast against the dark green leaves)

Hold swiss chard bunch tightly in one hand and slice into shreds (stem and all – the stems are what give this salad a delicate crunch)

Drizzle homemade Italian dressing (make either with balsamic or raw apple cider vinegar – both work and you may like one over the other) or any organic store bought just enough to completely coat shredded leaves and steams.   Toss and refrigerate for about 45 minutes. That’s it.

Variations: sprinkle with lightly roasted sesame seeds.

Oh, btw. For those who inquired to know more about the urban homestead’s unplugged kitchen sometime ago. I hope you all haven’t felt slighted.  I haven’t had time to answer because I am waiting for some goods to be featured on the PEDDLERS WAGON before I write about it.   I promise there’s a post in the works…. as always stay tuned.

Q. I love your site, I learn so much from every post!I have a question – might be a silly one, I don’t know – we always buy large pumpkins in October for the front porch… People tell me that the pumpkin isn’t good to eat, only the seeds. Can we eat these large pumpkins, too? I’ve only used smaller ones for pies, but maybe these can be grilled or something? – Anita

A. Hello Anita, thanks for your questions and positive compliments. Certainly does help to get feedback which inspires us to continue our commitment in sharing our journey.   

No, you have asked a very good question.   They are both right and wrong.    Wrong, because you can eat them.  Right in that these pumpkins are raised primarily for decorative purposes, and the bigger they are the less they taste like true pumpkins.   Having salvaged quite a few “pumpkin” displays over the years from local supermarkets, I can tell you that they taste nothing like homegrown.   These “display” pumpkins have been “watered down in taste.” So yes, you can eat them but they really don’t taste like much.   I also find that their interior flesh is more stringy, which makes a lumpy pumpkin pie. Grilled pumpkin sounds good, perhaps even pumpkin butter. I usually use the pumpkin  to make baked goods (bread, muffins, etc.), which seems to “mask” the stringiness.  

Any other recipe suggestions for “display pumpkins,” readers?

Q. ? for you. I live in MN and we air dry all our laundry outside in all seasons except Winter. We want to start doing that in Winter also, but am concerned about how to do it where we keep the temp @ 60F. Any ideas on how best to do in the house? – Devine

A. Devin, thanks for your question.   I’m sorta at a disadvantage answering such a question living in So Cal where winters are reasonably mild. Perhaps bone-fide winter climate readers can weigh in.

We have a few wood dryer racks and if space is tight I would suggest the LAUNDRY AIRER from England (PW plug!) or any clothes drying rack.

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  1. Stephanie Griffith says

    I live in Minnesota like Devine and I dry the laundry indoors all winter. I have folding drying racks and a retractable clothesline. When I have a lot of stuff to dry I sometimes hang things on hangers in the bathroom with the door open or even on the curtain rods. Clothes usually dry pretty fast in the winter, actually because the air is so dry from the heater. I kind of like the extra humidity it adds to the air.

  2. Frugal in Mexico says

    I lived for 34 years in northern Iowa. With 5 children in a 2 bedroom house I had no choice but to hang the wash outside most of the winter. I would take down some frozen clothes & finish drying them in the house. Yes, the moisture is needed in alot of homes in the wintertime.

  3. MMC says

    I love your site. We are in Mid-atlantic region.I also dry mostly indoors in the winter also.We wash at night before bed than hang on hangers, and drying rack we picked up used at a yardsale for 1.00 We heat the house with old wood we find.So they dry quickly since I usually burn only at night, and early morning. good idea with the pumpkin, we personally are butternut squash fans!Keep up the great work!

  4. Renee says

    Sooooooooooo beautiful!!! I continue to enjoy reading your every post. You are a topic of conversation in our home, often. My children enjoy all of your projects and pictures. We recommend your site to many people.
    Thanks for all the work you put into your website. It has inspired me into action on many occasions.
    May God bless you!
    Renee

  5. claire says

    I have chard in the garden still, its good to get a little bit of fresh food, still parsnips and sprouts to harvest but it’ll soon be finished. then I’m down to courgettes and beans form the freezer, then. . .aarrghh…. I will run out of my nice ‘home-made’ veggys.
    we call that kind of laundrey airer a ‘pulley’.

  6. Britta says

    We, too, keep the house at 60 and have no problem drying clothes indoor on racks. The air is quite dry and the clothes actually dry faster than in the spring/fall.

    PS: I love PTF and am getting so many new ideas! Thanks!

  7. Lynne says

    Hello,
    I live in central Maryland. I air dry clothes year round…I have an outdoor clothesline I use when it is warm enough. I also have 3 folding drying racks (floor dryers from http://www.lehman‘s.com) that I use when I can’t dry outdoors. We have oil heat, and we keep the heat at 65 degrees in the winter. Our clothes dry in 2 days indoors in the winter. My kids (12 and 15) absolutely love how air dried clothes smell. We quit using the dryer about 2 years ago and really don’t miss it. Our electric bill went down 10% when we quit using the dryer, but that may have been higher than most as we had an old, inefficient dryer that was probably using too much electricity.

  8. Wildside says

    We live in a very damp, grey climate, with house temps often under 60 degrees, and it takes us about 3 days to air dry laundry on the lines over the the washer dryer (a dark hall) — but think this might improve to 2 days in a sunnier location of the house. To help things along, we do use our dryer some, especially in winter. 20 minutes helps speed the process along, greatly, and helps heat our house a little. That’s much less energy than what it takes to fully dry a load. After reading above, seems conditions in MN (brr!) are a bit more favorable for air drying clothes! Who would have thought?! LOL.

  9. Jeff S. says

    We have been using the folding drying racks indoors during the winter for the last 13 years. The wooden ones just don’t hold up over time and we have now been replacing them with a folding aluminum one of the same style. The are about twice the cost but much more durable and much less likely to mold.

  10. Mia says

    I made the swiss chard salad to go with our dinner tonight. It was wonderful!! My husband and my six year old son liked it as well (and that’s something to get another veggie in them!). Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Joanne Poyourow says

    Love your pictures! I know you try to “push” the seasons on some plants – do you remove all brassicas (broccoli, kale, collards, etc) during the summer, or do you keep them going all year? The reason I ask is yours look so great in the pictures, and when I keep mine going year round, I have terrible problems with cabbage worm/white butterfly. What do you do to prevent this pest?

  12. Urban Homesteader says

    Hi Mia,

    Well, thank you for trying the recipe and sharing your family’s positive reaction. If your vegetable challenged family enjoyed it then we’ve certainly got a winning recipe I should think.

    Blessings,
    Anais

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