Save Your Tomato Seeds

Fall is rapidly approaching in San Diego. We will likely have a few more hot spells, but there is a slight but distinct chill in the air most nights. By now most of the summer garden is winding down. Carrots are huge and waiting to be pulled, pumpkins are developing a nice orange hue, and the tomato vines are ripening the last of their fruits and withering away. Now is your last chance to harvest some seeds and put them away for next year.

Seed saving is a rewarding experience for the home gardener. Grab the best fruit you’ve grown and save its seeds for next year. By doing so, you train your plants to grow and thrive in your exact microcosm. Before you go too crazy though, there are two things to consider: 1) hybrid vs heirloom, and 2) cross-pollination vs self-pollination. Always choose heirloom plants for seed saving; hybrids are almost always sterile. Also stick with self-pollinating plants, as cross-pollination leads to hybrids (see above). Continue reading Save Your Tomato Seeds

Challah Challah Challah

In a continuing effort to find applications for eggs, I recently dug out an oldie but a goodie: Challah (pronounced hall-ah). Challah is traditional Jewish egg bread eaten on Sabbath and certain holidays, including Rosh Hashana. According to legend, Challah was one form of manna (food provided by God), which fell from heaven to the Israelites as they wandered the desert.

I cannot confirm or deny any part of this legend, but I can say that Challah is damn good bread. A large number of eggs in the dough, usually 5 or 6, lends richness to this bread. Most recipes call for sugar or honey, which give a gentle sweetness. The top is brushed with more eggs, or honey on special occasions, which renders the loaf shimmering golden brown. The loaf itself is braided which not only makes for spectacular presentation, but also creates long sinews of bread that can be torn apart and eaten out of hand. Sometimes raisins are added to the dough or sesame seeds sprinkled over the top; these add texture and interesting variations to the flavor. However you take it, it’s delicious. Continue reading Challah Challah Challah