Here are some of the things that some farmers taught me: Applesauce is good with whatever apples you have, but the famers themselves preferred Gala. Or they enjoyed making one type of applesauce but throwing in a few apples of a different variety. Example, gala applesauce but throw in a few golden delicious.
If you intend to make your own pickles, then you really need to buy a pickling cucumber. Other cucumbers just don’t turn our right (lemon, oriental, etc.)
When picking out a fresh cantaloupe then don’t tap—smell! If it smells fresh, then it’s perfect, but you must eat it once you buy it or it will over ripen.
The whiter the seeds in a pepper, the less hot it will be. A green pepper has fairly white seeds, while a good serrano pepper has much more yellow seeds. BUT, if you remove all the seeds, the flesh itself is usually pretty mild.
And one of the best pieces of advice I overheard from several farmers is that if you eat a melon, tomato, cucumber or pepper that you really like, then just dry the seeds and plant it yourself the following year! No need to spend all of the money buying the seeds from the nurseries. I have tried this myself with some amazing sweet red and orange lunch box peppers and green peppers, and I must tell you that the growth rate of the seeds is not as high as it would be straight out of the package. But, I only had to buy the package once! This does not always work depending on what type of produce you try and sometimes your next year squash or melon really won’t produce the same product you once ate.
And here is my tip! If you like chili verde or tomatillo dressings, try growing a tomatillo plant! They are super easy to grow. The tomatillo will get a balloon like coating and if you squeeze on it you will feel the actual tomatillo inside. You want to pick these when they are about the size of a quarter or a fifty cent piece. The bigger the tomatillo the more bitter it will become. These are usually ready to be picked in the fall. And if a lot of your tomatillos drop and are tilled into your garden then you won’t have to worry about replanting the following year. I think I’m going on four or five years from the original plant reseeding itself. If you are searching for a great Chili Verde recipe, head over to my recipe tab where I put our favorite.
We had fun trying some new things in our garden last year including a luffa squash and broom corn! I swear every spring when I start hordes of new seeds that I will NEVER do this again, but here I am: card table set up, heat pads going, lamps on and the greenhouse set up! Maybe it is an addiction, but luckily it is one of my few addictions that could be considered healthy!