Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard: August 30, 2012

Every Thursday, Robin at The Gardener of Eden hosts “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” where we can share posts on how we are using our garden harvests.

Another busy weekend in the kitchen and more jars of preserved garden bounty were added to storage. First on the agenda for Saturday morning was a batch of Zesty Salsa from the Ball Blue Book. The peppers pictured in last Harvest Monday's post were used along with these hot peppers:


Once the tomatoes were washed and weighed for the batch of Zesty Salsa I found I had enough left over for a batch of Ball's Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce. As the salsa simmered, I began processing the remaining tomatoes for the sauce. With a bit of juggling on the stove I was able to can 12 half-pints of salsa:


 And six pints of Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce:


On Sunday, another case of string beans was also canned. I ran out of the small lids, but was lucky to have some larger lids and some wide mouth jars on hand:


By Tuesday, it was clear that the ripening tomatoes on the counter were not going to wait until the weekend. Early Wednesday morning I began washing and processing more ripe tomatoes for a batch of "Seasoned Tomato Sauce” (Ball Blue Book of Preserving). The sauce was allowed to simmer on the stove most of the day as I worked on a catalog design project (One of the many benefits of working from home). After dinner, the sauce was canned and the jars allowed to cool on the counter. Just a little to the right, the pile of ripening tomatoes continues to taunt me:



Join others at “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” at The Gardener of Eden and share what you've been baking, cooking, canning, drying, or how you have used some of your preserved garden bounty.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Harvest Monday: August 27, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

My plan Saturday morning was to make a batch of salsa. I sorted through the tomatoes on the kitchen counter, dropped the ripe ones into a sink full of water for a good washing, then went out to the garden to harvest some peppers:

Marconi Rosso Sweet Peppers

Quadrato Rosso D'Asti Sweet Peppers

These are HUGE!

The peppers are very happy this year in the garden. The plants have grown very tall and are filled with fruit. It is unfortunately rare for my peppers to ripen to red. I harvest peppers as needed hoping that someday they will fully mature.

The first corn was ready for harvest earlier in the week:

First Corn Harvest

Beans continue to grow in spite of the deer damage:

Mixed Beans


Luckily the deer didn't sever the vines and the beans are still producing. I need a step stool, but have been harvesting a basket full every other day from the tangle of foliage at the top of three trellises:

Deer Damage

Tomatoes continue to be the majority of the harvest. The kitchen counter is filled with a revolving door of tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes are processed and newly harvested ones take their spot to finish ripening.

The Romas are Small this Year, but Numerous!

Amish Paste Tomatoes

The last melon was harvested from its withering vine along with a Delicata and a few of the unplanned Sweet Dumpling squash:

Fastbreak Melon, Delicata and Sweet Dumpling Squash


Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard: August 23. 2012

Every Thursday, Robin at The Gardener of Eden hosts “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” where we can share posts on how we are using our garden harvests.

Busy weekend in the kitchen again and another case of canned garden goodness was added to storage and a batch of tomato sauce added to the freezer.

All the ripe tomatoes on hand were used to make a big tomato sauce that simmered on the stove all day Sunday. We were out of canned sauce, so I froze this batch because it will be used in the next few months. Since this batch was to be frozen, I also added some home made meatballs and allowed them to simmer in the sauce until they were tender. The freezer containers with the blue covers each contain four meatballs. Perfect for an easy pasta meal for two.

Tomato Sauce

For longer storage, I usually can tomato sauce using the "Seasoned Tomato Sauce” recipe from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It makes a good basic sauce and can be doctored up in various ways when preparing your meal.

Most of the carrots shown last Harvest Monday were cleaned, sliced, and canned. A vegetable brush was very handy getting the soil out of all the nooks and crannies. Another batch of beans was canned as well.

String Beans and Carrots

The garlic harvested in late July was trimmed and added to a basket for storage. I will use the largest bulbs for planting later in the fall.

Garlic

This upcoming weekend will be busy as well with more beans and tomatoes to be processed.

Join others at “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” at The Gardener of Eden and share what you've been baking, cooking, canning, drying, or how you have used some of your preserved garden bounty.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Corn Harvest....Ever!

This is my first time growing corn and although it seemed to be growing nicely, I didn't know when to harvest it.


Then I remembered that Kris at Georgia Home Garden had some great tips last year: How To Know When Corn is Ready to Harvest.

Using this information, I checked my largest two ears and found they were ready. It was the photo of the milky liquid that made me certain.



We ate them with dinner tonight and they were very good!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Harvest Monday: August 20, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

The remaining pathetic carrots were pulled. They took some work to trim and clean. Some were reserved for fresh eating and the rest were canned.


The Sweet Spanish Onions began flopping over last week. Normally, I would have left them a little longer until the tops began to wither and turn a little brown. But they were lying in a well-used path and crowding out the leeks, so they were pulled.

White Sweet Spanish Onions

I am impressed with their growth and know they would have sized up larger had I provided more spacing in between plants. These will be used for salsa and any the rest will be sliced and frozen. I didn't grow any storage onions this year and am already regretting it.

Tomatoes are ripening at a rapid pace. I had enough to make a nice big tomato sauce over the weekend.

San Marzano and Roma Tomatoes

Yolo Peppers, Amish Paste, and Rutgers Tomatoes

We were out of canned sauce from last year. This batch was complete with meatballs, onions, garlic and herbs from the garden. It simmered on the stove for most of Sunday filling the whole house with its aroma.

The beans are producing in spite of the deer damage. Thankfully, the deer ate only foliage. There are still beans on the tops of the trellis. I harvested enough for several meals and canned another batch this weekend.

Black Valentine Bush and Purple Trionfo Pole Beans


Blueberries were not photographed but are still trickling in. Although most of the bushes are finished for the season. I have a few gallon freezer bags full in the freezer. Also missing is a pound of Dark Red Norland potatoes that were quickly dug in the rain for dinner. Zucchini and Yellow Summer squash are still alive and producing, but I have been ignoring them as I attempt to catch up on other things.

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard: August 16, 2012

Every Thursday, Robin at The Gardener of Eden hosts “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” where we can share posts on how we are using our garden harvests.

I love the garden blog community. I have learned so much about various gardening methods, different things to grow, recipes, and preserving methods. Sometimes I get so used to the way that I do things that I don't think outside the box. Then I see an idea on a blog and have an "Aha!" moment.

Several weeks ago, the following comment from Robin in SoCal on my Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard post was one of those "Aha!" moments:

I slice zucchini in thin disks and dehydrate then add to soups, stews, pasta dishes. It absorbs the liquid and seems to retain its firmness a bit more then when frozen. Robin in SoCal

I have a dehydrator. I acquired it from a yard sale in brand new condition complete with instruction manuals about 10 years ago. I have used it once to dry herbs then promptly forgot about it. The dehydrator has resided in a deep dark corner cupboard ever since.

After reading Robin's comment I dug the dehydrator out, cleaned it up, and used it to dehydrate sliced zucchini and yellow summer squash.




Thanks for the comment Robin in SoCal. I know I will be putting my dehydrator to good use this season.

A batch of string beans was canned this weekend marking the beginning of canning for this season.


I was going to go into how to can string beans using a pressure canner, but Ball has a great video explaining the process. They even use the same canner I have:



I raw pack the beans into the jars instead of blanching. It seems to keep them a little firmer. Also snapping the beans into pieces is much quicker than cutting them.

This upcoming weekend will be busy as well with more beans and tomatoes to be processed.

Join others at “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” at The Gardener of Eden and share what you've been baking, cooking, canning, drying, or how you have used some of your preserved garden bounty.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Harvest Mondays: August 13, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

The tomato harvest of 2012 has begun! The San Marzano and Roma began ripening this week:

San Marzano and Roma Tomatoes

Swiss Chard

Fastbreak Melon

New Zealand Spinach

Onions and Peppers

Dark Red Norland Potaoes and Danvers Carrots

Kennebec Potatoes and Carrots

Not photographed but harvested daily were blueberries and beans. The pole beans began producing this week. Unfortunately, I lost about 1/4 of my bean plants to deer. They have visited the garden twice in the last week.

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Harvest Monday: August 6, 2012

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.


We've been enjoying an incredible blueberry harvest from our bushes this year. Every morning I pick a small colander full:


The bush beans continue to increase in production and are also picked each day. So far we are keeping up with eating them all, but soon the pole beans will be ready and it will be time to begin preserving the beans.




The Yellow Summer Squash and Zucchini are still going strong. A few got away from me. These were used for Sausage Stuffed Zucchini.


A few melons were ready this week. These are some of the first that formed when the vine was becoming established. They are softball sizes and look pretty ugly, but taste wonderful. They are a perfect size for breakfast for two:


Some peppers and onion was harvested to make Chicken Fajitas.

Jalapeno, Chile de árbol, Sweet Spanish Onion, Hungarian Hot Wax, and Marconi Rosso.

Marconi Rosso is a sweet pepper but the rest are supposed to be hot. Unfortunately they all tasted pretty mild. Hopefully they will get hotter as the season progresses.

The potatoes have begun dying back and they have increased in size each time I have dug up some from the edges of the bed. I can't wait to see what is under ground. These Kennebec and red onion were used for hash browns.


A few tomatoes were harvested this week and more are beginning to turn red. The tomato marathon will probably begin next week.

Be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.