AeroGarden FAQs (3)
The answer to this question depends on how old the plant is and the rate of growth. Your AeroGarden will come with some basic harvesting instructions. There are some special rules when it comes to harvesting herbs grown in an AeroGarden.
Also, there are some things that are ‘normal’ when it comes to how you prune your plants. The normal part is that you always cut above a set of starter leaves, beginning your first pruning when there are three sets of leaves. Also, you never prune more than 30 per cent of your plant. So, your first pruning will only cut off the very top 1/3 of your plant.
The thing that is different than outdoor gardens is that you want to treat your AeroGarden plants like bonsai trees. You don’t want to encourage sideways growth. The reason for this is two-fold. First, you want to keep the plants under the lights as much as possible. Second, sideways growth blocks the light to neighbouring plants.
So, pruning also means training to grow the plant in the direct you want to go — up — as well as making sure no neighbouring plants are being blocked.
When pruning, be sure the following take priority:
- Prune any stems that are growing vertical, following the 30 per cent rule of harvesting no more than 1/3 of the entire plant at once. As your herbs mature, you can cut some stems down by two leaf sets, and others by 1, as long as no more than 30 per cent of the entire plant is harvest. It will all grow back within a week once the plant reaches maturity.
- Cut off any leaves that are growing over neighbouring plants.
- Rotate the plant so that shorter parts of the plant are directly underneath the lights and bigger parts of the plant aren’t blocking its neighbours’ lights.
There are a few options when it comes to storing your herbs.
The first is the freeze them. That is what I do with 95 per cent of my herbs because I prefer fresh instead of dried herbs when cooking.
The second is to hang dry them in a dry place for a few weeks and let them dry naturally like they did in the before times.
The third way is to dehydrate them in a food dehydrator. This is the method I use for the 5 per cent of herbs that I want dried.
Do not remove the label. The label not only lets you know what it growing in the pod, but it also prevents algae from growing in the tank and pod. If the plant is young, it should find its way to the centre hole and all should be well.
If your plant is a bit older, then you can attempt to carefully feed it through the hole. Use something like a toothpick or needle to carefully thread it, instead of your fingers. You may apply too much force with your fingers and damage the plant.
Instant Pot FAQs (4)
When a recipe says natural release (NR) for 10 minutes, they are signalling, that is when you can do a quick release of any remaining pressure. That extra 10 minutes is necessary because it adds more cooking time.
If you’re not in a hurry, just let the Instant Pot release on its own. Sometime, this can take up to 40 minutes because it’s dependent on how long it takes for the steam inside the pot to cool down and slowly release through the valve plus cool down from the pressure-causing steam to condensation.
If you want to speed this up, put cold wet clothes on the metal parts of the lid. Putting the cold wet clothes on the metal part of the lid helps the heat inside the pot to transfer outside of the pot quicker. As the water evaporates, the energy is being transferred, steam is turning to condensation, decreasing the pressure until all is released.
When the Instant Pot reaches pressure, the contents inside are actually under pressure. Think of reaching pressure as a big plunger coming down from the lid and compressing the food. When the contents are under pressure, they heat up but they have no room in which to boil. When something is under pressure, it reduces the time needed to cook something by a lot. Unless you are cooking a whole chicken or roast, it’s very rare that you need to set your time to more than 10 minutes under High Pressure.
The reason why the contents boil when you do a quick release is because the steam is displacing so quickly, the contents inside are at boiling temperature finally have room to boil as the “plunger” moves up. Contents can’t boil under pressure, even though they reach boiling temperature, because they have no room in which to boil.
Most Instant Pot recipes you see call for too much fluids. The creator of the recipe is simply following a stove-top recipe without making the necessary adaptation.
Most recipes that calls for more than 2 cups of water/broth/etc. for a 6 qt recipe, are bogus because all the meat and veg you put in your Instant Pot will release a lot of fluids. Adding more than 2 cups results in a very watery and bland product. Most of my recipes only use the minimum 1 cup needed to reach pressure.
The exception to this is my Doukhobor Borshch recipe. It calls for half of the water from the stove-top version.
A good rule of thumb when converting a stove-top recipe to an Instant Pot recipe is to cut the amount of water/broth/etc. in half. And if you are cooking with lots of veg, including tomato, you can get away with adding less than the 1 cup minimum because those items will release a lot of fluids.
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