turn compost

Recycle: Shredded Paper

Shredded paper can be composted at home! It is a great source of carbon year-round for your compost production, as some time outdoor carbon sources can be difficult to find in the warmer months. Remember, the best ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C:N) is 30:1, which means ideally you will have a large and steady supply of browns to your greens. Shredded paper is just that, a carbon source. It also provides good structure to the soil as it breaks down.

Shred and compost your: receipts, bank statements, newspapers, envelopes, newspapers, used printer paper..

Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  1. Remove any plastic from envelopes before shredding.

  2. Avoid wax coated, glossy, or colored paper.

  3. Be sure it is mixed in thoroughly with your greens (food scraps, coffee grinds, etc.), so as to avoid clumping and thatching. It will break down faster if thoroughly mixed in.

Cook: Stone Fruits

It is the height of summer and we are loving the incredible variety and quality of available stone fruits in season. This year has been a particularly good one for Texas peaches... 

Did you know that you can use all parts of a peach in your home cuisine? Turn team member, Chef Mike Lawson, teaches us how to utilize all parts of this delicious summer fruit at home and turn it into a simple and delicious summer dessert.

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  1. The meat: cut the peach in half, take out the pit. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar and roast (bake setting) in the oven on 350 degrees until softened.

  2. The skin: dehydrating the skins with a little sugar can make a delicious peach chip. You can dehydrate them in a dehydrator at 155 degrees, or use the ambient heat leftover from cooking in the oven.

  3. The pit: save the pits of your peaches and use a hammer or rolling pin to smash them in a plastic ziplock bag or parchment paper. the pits can be thrown onto your grill or in your smoker.

  4. The kernel: the kernels of stone fruits can be roasted and salted (they should be cooked and not eaten raw), and turned into a crunchy and savory snack.

Dessert Directions: Place the roasted peaches on a plate and base or top them with yogurt or cream. Sprinkle with granola or muesli. Garnish with the fruit chip. Drizzle with a little honey or peach glaze.

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Plant: Okra

Okra is an easy and nutritious vegetable to grow in your backyard. And, if you want to try and have a fall crop, now is the time to plant! (Texas A&M recommends planting at least three months before the first frost date…)

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Be sure and plant your okra in full sun and give each plant enough space. The good news is that okra doesn’t need a lot of water once it is established. Once the plant starts producing, you should harvest pods daily (if you don’t they will get too long and chewy making them rather inedible). You will be shocked at how quickly the finished pods will grow even in 24 hours. This excellent tip sheet from Texas A&M suggests specific varieties of okra (and other vegetables) suited to our area of North Texas.

Once you start harvesting okra at home, you will want to grow it every year. You will be able to cook your own home-made gumbo, okra and tomatoes, pickled okra, fried okra…(Bonus, you can harvest the seeds from 1-2 pods of this year’s garden for next year’s urban garden.) Pictured here is a particularly beautiful variety of okra we’ve tried called, “Red Burgundy”…The pods are bright red, surrounded by yellow flowers, and variegated leaves.

Cook: Corn

It is peak season for fresh summer corn from local farms! Here are several ways to be sure you are cooking and using all of the corn at home.

1.     Use the fresh kernels, uncooked. Make your own corn salsa, veggie tacos, salad bowls, or soup…Use a knife (che'f’s knife, serated knife, or paring knife) to shave off the fresh kernels into a flat bowl or plate. Save them in the fridge throughout the week and pull them out for a variety of purposes.

2.     Add water/heat and cook it. Steaming and boiling whole corn on the cob are perhaps the easiest and fastest methods for serving it fresh at dinnertime. Or, saute the kernels in a skillet with some oil and herbs.

3.     Grill it. Baste the whole corn with some oil or butter and salt and pepper.  Add some dried or fresh herbs and get creative. Grab your tongs and grill away.

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Be sure and grab fresh corn from your local farmers and the easiest way it so shop at local farmers markets. Check out this great list published on Green Source DFW.

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4.     Freeze it. Any leftovers? Remember you can put the kernels in a Ziploc and store in the freezer. Put a date on the label with a Sharpie.

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Cook: Pickled Things

It’s officially summer and you will hopefully have a ton of fresh produce at home from local farmers, and perhaps even from your own back yard. One of the best ways to preserve fresh produce for months is to pickle them.

There are a ton of sources out there who will recommend different ways of doing this, and we encourage you to try different methods and recipes to find what works for you!

To boil it down (food pun, you’re welcome) into five easy steps, here is how we like to pickle!

Step One: Start with clean jars and lids. If you are reusing previously owned jars and lids (good for you!), be sure they are cleaned with hot water and a little dish soap. (You can also boil them in hot water in a large stock pot if you are really concerned about cleanliness…)

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Step Two: Clean whatever fresh produce you are going to pickle, and slice them into whatever serving shape and size you prefer (or leave whole depending on what it is).

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Step Three: Gather the dried and fresh herbs and seeds that you would like to create flavor. This is where you can get really creative! We always like to use a combo of some fresh herbs and some dried herbs.

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Step Four: Bring equal parts water and vinegar to a rapid boil along with salt in a pot on the stove - reduce heat and let simmer for several minutes (some people will recommend also boiling your herbs and seeds during this time as well).

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Step Five: Bring all of these items together for the pickling party. Place your flavoring herbs and seeds in each jar. Fill the jar with the cleaned produce. Carefully pour the vinegar mixture into each jar and leave a bit of space at the top. With a clean towel, carefully and tightly screw on the lids to each jar. Let them cool on your counter until the jar lids pop. Store in your pantry or in your fridge.

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We love the pickled food items that you will find at these local businesses. Check them out!

Jimmy’s Food Store - Khao Noodle Shop - Petra and the Beast - Pickletopia - Yim’s Foods