Sep
25
2011
2

Can it be?

More canning… I really don’t know how this all fits in with everything being so busy these days. We brought back a box of beans from Yakima and pickled them. My grandma made these and I loved them as a kid, both the regular dill ones, and the spicy ones with red pepper flakes in the bottom. My mouth is watering just thinking about them now.

I’ve been doing a little bit of design work for Panacea, an awesome dinner delivery service here in Seattle. I am all for getting paid in food, especially when it’s this tasty. They did house-roasted beef sandwiches earlier this summer, and it came with a really good Tomato Jam, with big slices of ginger in there. I used the leftovers on egg sandwiches, a burger, and shamefully, straight from the spoon. So I took a shot at approximating it with the Tomato Preserves recipe in my trusty Ball Home Preserving bible. It’s close enough and will have to do… until I can get them to pass along the secret recipe.

Sep
05
2010
1

Harvest Time!

Wow.  We had quite the harvest today.  Dan has been out of town camping the last four days. With him gone I did not have the time to harvest much from the garden each day, so the cucumbers got a little out of control (those guys grow fast!).  In addition much of our long awaited produce has finally reached ripeness – squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, etc.  We haven’t had a ton of yield for most of the summer, which I am sure is related to the things we chose for the garden as much as it is to the terrible summer weather.    Now we are finally enjoying some bounty.  We need one of those Thanksgiving horns for our table or something.  The squash should keep well for a while, the larger tomatoes will be dried in the dehydrator  for “sun” dried tomatoes packed in oil (we just used up last year’s crop this week), but we will need to deal with the other things in the next few days.

Fall Harvest

Written by alicia in: Food,Garden,home | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
Sep
02
2010
0

Tomato Love

Its been a very mild (some would say non-existent) summer in the Northwest.  Add to this the fact that tomatoes are notoriously hard to grow here anyway and I am surprised we have anything to show from our tomato starts this year.  We had good luck last year growing our tomatoes in the hoop house.  This year, however, not much has grown out back, but we’ve had great luck with the cherry tomato plant in our front bed.  Who knows why it did so well.  We assumed it got a lot of radiant heat from the concrete stairs behind it, but what to we know?

Its great to be able to go outside grab a handful of tomatoes when a meal arrives.  I actually do not really like raw tomatoes (shudder, gasp – gardener treason!) but my kids love them.  Tonight for dinner I grabbed a cucumber, a handful of tomatoes and a bowl of blackberries (courtesy of our neighbor’s out of control bushes that are trailing over the fence) and had dinner.  Of course the protein of tonight’s dinner was frozen chicken nuggets, but no one’s perfect right?  Anyway it seems everyday there is another harvest of tomatoes to serve up and we may have permanently found a new place for our heat loving plants.

Aug
31
2010
0

Canning Continued

In addition to tomatoes we picked blueberries as a family in Yakima.  It was the end of the season and the field wasn’t really even open, but one of the workers let us pick after warning us there was not much left.  We were impressed by his sense of “not much” since we had no problem filling two large buckets in about 30 minutes.  That doesn’t even include the dozens eaten by our kids.  The best part was that he only charged us $1 a pound.  We picked 10 lbs and have been eating them steadily, however it was clear we were going to need to do some preserving.

We approach canning for a practical standpoint.  Whatever will attract the most fruit flies is attacked first, hence the tomatoes canned on Sunday.  Blueberries are the next priority.  Yesterday I made a blueberry pie (with lard crust) and today it was syrup.  We are so overloaded with jams and jellies I am having to try different ideas for fruits.  Pancakes are a regular breakfast food around here so I figured syrup would get used up fairly quickly (like before next summer).  It’s also pretty easy.  Just crush and boil blueberries, run them through a food mill and then boil again with sugar water.

I used 8 cups of blueberries and got 5 pints worth, which seems pretty good. I used the proportions in the Ball canning book which I recommend.  We got it from the library last season and I added it to my Christmas list soon after.  Its a great book for coming up with ideas and it has all the basic info you’ll ever need as well.   Tomorrow I may make blueberry juice or I might  just freeze the rest for winter cobblers.

Aug
30
2010
1

From Field to Jar

We took our annual trip to Yakima this weekend to taste wine, stay in a hotel with a pool, and buy a bunch of produce. Our favorite place to buy veggies over the last few years has been Imperial’s, who have a new, larger location this year, right next to their fields. We picked tomatoes and paid 25 cents a pound… that’s over 40 lbs. of tomatoes for $11.00. Plus, as the pictures show, the kids got a kick out of the whole thing.

We got home, and knew that if we waited, the project would loom over us all week, so we dove right in, canning them less than 12 hours after we picked them. We cooked down a bunch into a thicker sauce for pizzas, and canned the rest of them raw. The only downside to that method was the 45 minute processing time required for uncooked tomatoes.

Written by dan in: Food,Kids | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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