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Sweet Potatoes and Tomato seeds

IMG_1257Have you ever stopped to consider the miracle contained within a tomato seed?  I’ve always planted seeds, but until this year, I’ve  purchased them from a seed catalog or that rack in the grocery store.  This year I’ve taken the time to save seeds from my own harvest to plant again next year, and it’s given me an opportunity to really consider what a seed is.

I love heirloom plants, and they are the only plants you can save seed from.  A little tidbit of gardening know how is that a non-heirloom or hybrid plant creates seed that is either sterile or that won’t grow a plant like the parent plant. Most of the plants and seeds sold in the nurseries or in seed packets are hybrids.  They have been bred for certain plant characteristics like size, early ripening, etc.  But that breeding has made them not able to be perpetuated without buying the plant or seed again.  That doesn’t fit with my self sufficiency lifestyle so I plant heirlooms!

Tomato Crazy
This year I planted 30 varieties of heirloom tomatoes and I wanted to save seed from each variety.  I had no idea how much work this would be!  To save a tomato seed you must harvest the tomato, take out the seeds and pulp, ferment the seed/pulp mixture for four days, stirring every day to break up the mold on top, clean the seeds of the pulp, dry them completely, then bag them.  The added fun – I had to keep all the 30 varieties labeled through this process so I didn’t mix up the seeds from different varieties.  

At one time I had 30 paper towels spread all over my kitchen table filled with drying seeds, and my son asked what they were.  I told him tomato seeds from our tomatoes and he said “Wow!  That’s a lot of tomatoes!”  I looked at the seeds and my perspective changed.  Each one of those tiny seeds holds all the genetic material necessary to grow a huge tomato plant, producing hundreds more tomatoes.  Isn’t that a miracle?  How is all that information squished into that tiny little package?  

Digging up gold
As I’ve harvested this year, I’ve felt a little closer to that miracle.  We spent Saturday digging our root crops.  From a 8×4 foot bed we dug 50 pounds of sweet potatoes.  You couldn’t even see them when you looked at the bed.  As soon as we started digging we hit the jackpot (see our harvest picture below).  Another 75 pounds regular potatoes came out of another 2 x 20 foot bed.  I’m so grateful for the bounty of Mother Earth and God’s generosity in sharing all this with me and my family.  This hymn says it well:

Thank you for this bounty, God
that you give to me
for grain that grows within the field
and fruit upon the tree
Thank you for the little seeds
that in the spring are sown
and with your gifts of sun and rain
have through the summer grown
Thank you for the farmers, Lord
and bless them for their toil
as now they gather in the fall
this bounty from your soil

-Robin Gass

Dressing up
On Saturday I spent the entire day harvesting.  I was dressed in my gardening flannel shirt and beat up jeans, and was filthy by late afternoon.  We had a neighborhood Halloween party to go to, so I threw on a floppy hat, my cowboy boots and went as a dirty farmer!  I don’t think most people realized I wasn’t dressing up- that is who I am most every fall weekend, and I love it!

If not in the garden, I’m sweating next to the stove preserving the harvest.  I do use electricity and gas to preserve, but I also utilize a lot of methods that don’t use utilities as all.  I promised you my information about preserving the harvest without electricity last week so here it is.  These are skills that you may need someday, so print this off and save it somewhere.  

Preserve something!
Give something a try this year.  Buy a 50 pound bag of potatoes and keep it in your garage.  Dry the last of the season apples.  Save some seed from an heirloom melon you buy (maybe that Halloween pumpkin).  And stop and give thanks to God who created it and to the farmer who toiled long and hard to bring it to your table.  

Have a beautiful fall week!

Love,
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen

Food Preservation Without Electricity

1. Cold Storage

How to store individual crops

2. Drying

How to dry and store individual crops:

3. Fermenting

Fermented Crock Dill Pickles
5-10 grape leaves
12 lbs. pickling cucumbers, blossom ends removed
2 T mixed pickling spice
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and separated
4-8 heads of dill
6 quarts water
1 C cider vinegar
1 ¼ C pickling salt

Line bottom of crock with half of the leaves.  Layer the cucumbers, spices, dill, garlic in the crock.  Combine water and vinegar and salt until dissolved.  Pour over veggies to completely cover.  Put remaining leaves on top.  Keep covered by placing a plate on top and weigh it down with a mason jar filled with water. Cover with a towel and store at room temperature.

If a white scum forms on top, remove it daily and rinse and replace plate.  Should be ready in 2-3 weeks.
Remove pickles from crock, rinse in water, and place in storage jars.  Boil the brine, let cool, then pour over pickles in jars.  Store in fridge for up to 6 months.

Kimchi Kraut
7 lbs. cabbage, thinly shredded
1 ¾ C chopped green onions
1/3 C minced ginger
¼ C chopped garlic
½ C dried chili flakes
4 ½ T pickling salt
2 T sugar

Add all ingredients in layers, pounding in between each layer.  By the time you are done, the vegetables will have started to release their liquid.  Put them into container to ferment.  Weight vegetables down to be entirely covered with brine by 1 inch.  Skim foam or scum from the top every day and rinse the plate and weight.  Done in 2-4 weeks.  Put into container and store in fridge.   Makes 3 quarts.

Basic Kraut measurements – 5 lbs cabbage with 4 T salt

4. Water bath/Steam canning

5. Ice House

6. Curing Meat

7. Brining meat

8. Smoking meat

This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.



Your Top Rated Dentist in American Fork, Utah . . .

  • “They take such good care of everyone in the office! Michelle is definitely the best dentist in the valley and her assistants are the most entertaining you will find. ” - Amanda
  • “I get compliments on my smile on a regular basis and, without exception, I always give credit to the folks at Total Care Dental. Michelle is a great dentist and Jilene always makes me feel like a dental supermodel!” - Cheryl
  • “I live about 40 miles from Total Care Dental and the drive is worth it. I have been a patient for 4 years now and have been treated with the best customer service any patient could hope for! ” - Archer
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Your Top Rated Dentist in American Fork, Utah…
  • “They take such good care of everyone in the office! Michelle is definitely the best dentist in the valley and her assistants are the most entertaining you will find. ” - Amanda
  • “I get compliments on my smile on a regular basis and, without exception, I always give credit to the folks at Total Care Dental. Michelle is a great dentist and Jilene always makes me feel like a dental supermodel!” - Cheryl
  • “I live about 40 miles from Total Care Dental and the drive is worth it. I have been a patient for 4 years now and have been treated with the best customer service any patient could hope for! ” - Archer
best dentist in american fork ut
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Come experience Total Care Dental and you will see that our American Fork, Utah (UT) dentists and staff offer state-of-the-art, quality dental care services with a smile to patients in our local community, including: Provo, Pleasant Grove, Lehi, Orem, Lindon, Alpine Highland, Springville, Spanish Fork and surrounding areas. Whether you are seeking an American Fork general dentist, sedation dentist, or a completely different approach to dental care, we are here to provide results and the most enjoyable dental visit you will ever have! Call us at (801) 756-3737 and experience the difference with Total Care Dental.
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