Blog 2016 – 7: Food, Floating, Fry, and Future by Gary Hater

Fresh protein and vegetables must be better than canned materials. Today we discuss fresh turnip Greens, above are typically available all year round and they are loaded with fiber, Vitamins A, C, and K. If you google the nutrients you will be surprised and pleased. Turnip greens are easy to grow, but you can get a large bag full for less than two US dollars in most parts of the continental USA. Preparation is easy, just strip the leaves from the mid rib and place them in a pot. It is critical not to use much water for the steaming process.

Below left are the discarded mid ribs, and below right are the stripped leaves going in the pot. Like all leafy greens they are full of water in the raw state. For me the amount of fresh greens I bought for the two dollar investment yielded an eight quart pot full of leaves. Add only one cup of water, place a lid on and bring the water to a boil for about ten to fifteen minutes or until the volume reduces by about 70%. Note, referring to the left photo, they do not all go to waste as some of these leaf ribs go fresh to my Plecostomus.

 

 

 

 

The resultant steamed greens are ready for the food processor with the liquid where I grind/blend before I add proteins and vitamins. Then you just follow the basic gel food instructions as discussed in the pantry mix post. A couple of side notes;

  • The blended lightly steamed greens are perfect for some larger fish as a treat. The first time you try this, your big fish might let the steamed greens sit a while in the tank. Gradually, they eat them! As always make sure to remove uneaten food before they spoil the water quality.
  • A recipe of lower protein gel food is good for grooming occasionally. I have a variation on the gel deign that is steamed turnip greens, wheat germ and vitamins. This largely 2/3 greens and 1/3 wheat germ, plus vitamins
  • I have tried all manner of green vegetables including collards, mustard, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, parsley, cilantro and peas. In my experience making gel food, turnip greens cause the least amount of tank cloudiness and the fish prefer them to anything else green.

Below are the steamed greens and the green water after cooking and prior to blending. They are soft and even taste great to me even without the human flavor additions, (ham, wine vinegar, chicken broth, and seasoning, yummy)

I have experimented with lots of different veggies for gel food. Below is a table with some experiences for you;

Table 1: Experience with other fresh vegetables.

INGREDIENT PREPARATION RATING/COMMENT
Turnip Greens Steam/ remove mid ribs excellent
Mustard Greens Steam/ remove mid ribs good
Spinach Steam/ remove mid ribs good
Carrots Cook/microwave in water until mushy Good, may influence fish color
Garlic Raw Excellent
Parsley Raw Use as part of the vegetable mix
Cilantro Raw Use as part of the vegetable mix
Marigold flower tops Raw Use as part of the vegetable mix, will cause color change.
Tomatoes Raw Use as part of the vegetable mix
Squash Bake thoroughly Excellent
Peas Steamed Not recommended for gel food
Green beans Steamed Not recommended for gel food
Pumpkin Baked Excellent
Cabbage Shredded and steamed Poor

Fresh vegetables are a great addition to homemade gel food. When in doubt about trying another ingredient, be conservative. Watch and see if the fish eat it. Not sure what to do if it is not setting? Add more gelatin to your mixture.

Next time we are going to discuss commercial prepared foods and discuss some label contents. In the meantime, enjoy your fish and change a bunch of water.

Thanks for viewing! Hope your holidays and New Year’s bring you great goldfishiness!

Gary