Google It

One of the nice things about using WordPress as a blogging platform is that there are thousands of plugins written for it. Plugins are programs that give added functionality to WordPress, extending it to do almost anything you can imagine. Wassup is a plugin I use that tracks blog visitors in real time. It provides a wealth of statistics on what posts visitors look at, where they come from, and so on.

One thing that is always interesting to me is the searches that people have keyed that bring them in to the blog. I looked at Wassup data from the last 2 weeks, and came up with a sort of Top 10 list of the Google searches people have used lately. I thought it would be fun and helpful to list the hot topics, in no particular order, and to give concise answers and information.

1. How hardy is lettuce?/Is lettuce any good after it is frozen?/Can lettuce plants survive freezing temperatures?

The answers here are yes, yes, and heck yeah!  My experiments last winter showed me that lettuce is a lot hardier than I previously thought. Lettuce plants protected by a cold frame survived temperatures around 5F. In one case, the plants were frozen solid for a whole week, but they survived. Not only did the lettuce survive these conditions, but so did the spinach, komatsuna, arugula and tatsoi.

I’m not sure how well lettuce would do without any protection though. At the least, I would want to have it covered by a cloche, low tunnel, or row cover material. But if you really want to give protection to your overwintering plants, a cold frame is hard to beat.

One thing to remember: you can’t harvest lettuce or most leafy greens while frozen. You have to wait until temperatures get above freezing, and the plant has had time to recover.

2. No knead pitas/can i freeze homemade pitas/can we make pizza out of pita bread

We love our pitas here at Happy Acres. I make them on a regular basis. My favorite recipe uses a mix of whole wheat and white flours, and the pita bread freezes wonderfully. And regular visitors know that we also love to make pizzas from the pita bread. The size is perfect for an individual pizza, and since the pita is already baked, the pizza is ready in no time. Usually about 3-4 minutes on a hot pizza stone is all it takes. We had them today for lunch!

As for kneading, my recipe calls for about 10 minutes in the stand mixer (Kitchenaid). I’ve not tried using the bread machine to knead this dough, but I don’t see why not. I have used no knead bread doughs to make pitas and pizza crusts, and they do well too.

pita pizzas topped with arugula (click on any photo to enlarge)

3. Growing salad greens in pots/growing salad greens in containers

This is one of my favorite things to do. Salad greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula and mesclun mixes are very easy to grow in containers. Any container will do, but I like to use inexpensive window boxes. If you’re crafty, you might want to make a mini salad box or two like I did. I made a big salad box too.

Spotted Trout and Simpson Elite lettuces in a windowbox planter

4. Grilled eggplant with tahini/Hansel eggplant recipes/Fairy Tale eggplant

Got small eggplants like Fairy Tale, Hansel, or Gretel? Try this recipe for Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce. It also works for larger eggplant that have been sliced crosswise or lengthwise. It makes a great summertime side dish that’s fancy enough to serve company, but easy enough to fix for an everyday meal.

Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

5. growing tatsoi/how do I grow tatsoi/Yukina Savoy growing

I am pleased that only a week after posting Growing Asian Vegetables: Tatsoi, people are already finding it and hopefully getting something out of it. I found out there is a real lack of information available about growing these wonderful vegetables that are relatively unknown to most Western gardeners. I also recommend Joy Larkcom’s great book Oriental Vegetables. I did a review on this book not too long ago, and it has become a valuable reference book for me.

Most of what applies to tatsoi also applies to Yukina Savoy. It’s a larger, more upright relative that tolerates heat a bit better than tatsoi, but it probably isn’t quite as hardy.

tatsoi grows in a rosette shape

I’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the Top 10 Google searches lately here at Happy Acres. Y’all come back now, hear?

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3 Responses to Google It

  1. Julie says:

    Great idea for a blog post!

  2. Mike says:

    The grilled eggplant with tahini/yogurt sauce sounds fantastic. I became a grilled eggplant convert last summer, and also found that pattypan squash sliced into steaks is very good on the grill. Last year I started Fairy Tale but put it out too early and had to replace it with Rosa Bianca from the farmer’s market in Btown. I’m going to grow Fairy Tale for sure and try this.

    • Villager says:

      We love grilled squash too. I like to grill the summer veggies. It’s a simple way to cook them, plus it keeps the heat out of the kitchen.

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