Tiny species tulips bring outsize delights

Every day in spring, I search the entrance to my wooded garden, looking for signs that Tulipa tarda may soon appear. The bright yellow and white blooms of this tiny tulip open up each day to catch the Sun’s rays and spread cheer.

T. tarda is one of the many varieties of species tulips, sometimes called “wild” tulips. Although typically not as showy as their tall hybrid relatives, these smaller tulips have a lot going for them:

* Most come back every year.

* Single bulbs often multiply to create generous clumps.
* Several varieties can be grown easily in all gardening regions. Continue reading “Tiny species tulips bring outsize delights”

Get smart: food and nutrition, Jean Kressy answers your questions

Q: What’s the best way to cook broccoli so it retains its nutrients?

If experts agree on one thing, it’s that cooking most vegetables with minimal amounts of water for the shortest time is the best way to preserve nutrients. The big exception, of course, is potatoes, which need longer cooking to be tender.

For broccoli, the transformation from raw to cooked is a snap. To preserve vitamin C (half a cup of cooked broccoli has as much vitamin C as an orange), steaming or microwaving works best. For brightly colored, just-tender broccoli, we like to steam. It’s fast and easy, and you can cook as little or as much as you need. To steam bite-size florets with short stems, fill the bottom of a pot with a tight-fitting lid with 1 inch of water. Set the steamer rack in the pot and add the broccoli. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and steam four minutes or until the broccoli is barely tender. Continue reading “Get smart: food and nutrition, Jean Kressy answers your questions”