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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

It has been said that experience comes from learning from your mistakes and wisdom comes from learning from the mistakes of others. Today I learned two great lessons of what not to do. So let me share a word of wisdom with you.

I had about a peck (1/4 bushel) of ripe roma tomatoes that needed canning. I had found a recipe in the 2015 Ball Canning book for “Roasted Roma” so I thought, “That sounds good!”

The problem was, we don’t have a gas grill. Not to worry, the recipe said they could be roasted in the oven on broil…

What a mess! They didn’t roast – they cooked and turned into a mushy mess! Oh well, I finally got them peeled, but won’t try that again!

(By the way – there are no pictures because I was up to my elbows in tomato goo!)

Next the recipe called for 3 bulbs of roasted garlic. I LOVE roasted garlic, but I always roast it by peeling the cloves, drizzling with olive oil and wrapping in aluminum foil and roasting for about 30 minutes @ 350°. However this recipe said to drizzle the olive oil over the whole bulbs, then wrapping in foil and roasting…

Well, ok… let’s follow the recipe. Again – what a mess! Doing it this way necessitated squeezing each clove to extract the garlic “goodie” out. I had olive oil all over me, and it took “two-forevers” to get all the cloves squeezed out. And pictures? Forget it!

Anyway, I (sorta) proceeded with the recipe (I used roasted peppers from the freezer instead of fresh peppers) and added the onions. By the time everything had been added and cooked I really just had some chunky pasta sauce (which is what I renamed the recipe).

The “Roasted Romas” recipe called for processing the pint or quart jars for 85 minutes! I know that length of time was considering that the tomatoes would be mostly firm… they were anything BUT firm! It was sauce! But… I processed them for that amount of time. I knew it wouldn’t hurt anything – and might even thicken up the sauce.

After that I still had some regular tomatoes that needed canning so I thought, “Shoot! I May as well try another new recipe!” (Some days I’m just crazy like that…)

So I prepared the rest of the tomatoes using a “Chili Sauce” recipe. Simple and only needed to process 15 minutes. I used up the rest of my roasted peppers.

All in all not a bad day and I learned two very valuable lessons – and maybe you can learn something from my mess to save you time and effort in the future.

By the way – about roasting garlic – I love to roast it, mash it up and dehydrate it. Then I grind it up into a coarse powder. It is absolutely delicious!

And here’s a picture of the finished product. The quart jars are spaghetti sauce I canned yesterday. The pints are the (ahem) “Chunky Pasta Sauce” and the half pints are the chili sauce.

#farmstewardship at its best!

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I haven’t made any of these yet this year, but thought I’d post the recipe so you can be ready. Many folks have green tomatoes setting on now.

Green Tomato Pickles

(Sweet and Crunchy)

5-7 lbs green tomatoes

2 gal water

2-3 cups pickling lime

8 cups sugar (4 lb)

3 pt vinegar

1 tsp cloves (I like whole)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground all spice

1 tsp celery seed (ground or whole – depending on preference)

1 tsp ground mace

Choose green tomatoes that are about the size of a baseball. Wash, core and cut them in half top to bottom, then slice. This way they fit in the jar better. It’s easier to get them in large mouth jars, but regular jars work fine, too.

Soak the tomatoes in the lime and water in a crock or glass jar for 24 hours. The next day, drain them and soak in fresh water for 4 hours, changing the water every ½ hour.

Next, put them over into a Stainless Steel pot. Make a syrup of sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring the syrup to a boil, and then pour over the tomatoes in the SS pot. Let this stand over night (12-18 hours). The next morning, boil for 1 hour – until syrup is clear.

Seal in hot jars and waterbath for 15 minutes.

*NOTE* When processing pickles, to retain “crunchiness” let water come to a boil before putting jars into the canner. Start processing time from putting the jars into the canner. Make sure the water covers the jars by about 2 inches.

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Thirty-three years ago today I was having a precious baby boy. Today I have been planting garden. Isn’t “new life” a wonderful thing? (I made his favorite dish – salmon patties! Scroll down for the recipe.)

Everything came together on Saturday to begin – the ground was dry enough to plow, we had the time (a biggie) and the “signs” were right! (No I do NOT believe in astrology, but I do believe in Genesis 1:14. God said that the stars were for “days and years and signs and seasons”. The word “signs” means directions and even warnings. The word seasons means appointed times. So yes, I believe in planting by the “signs”. Ha! You didn’t know you were going to get Bible Studies, too, did you? But what did you expect – it’s what I do! 🙂 )

We got 3-4 kinds of tomato plants set out, along with cayenne peppers, jalapenos, red sweet bell peppers and those tasty little “lunchbox” sweet peppers.  We also got spaghetti squash, watermelon, and cantelope plants out (no where near one another, of course for they would “cross” and make neither of them fit to eat – which, by the way, is also the reason for the law in Leviticus 19:19 about not planting 2 kinds of seed in the same field.)

I also sowed 2 kinds of carrots, and 2 kinds of okra, (they’re ok to plant together) and a really loooong row of onion sets. I really wish we could have gotten these out early – but hey – you do what you can do.

This morning I set out cucumbers and planted Silver Queen corn. I’m trying something new here – we’ve always had trouble with raccoons getting in our corn, but I’ve read several places that raccoons don’t like “ground cover” like cucumbers, etc. So this year I set out the cucumbers, interspersed between the corn – so – we’ll see how it works.

I’ll try to plant beans and peas on Thursday. I have 2 kinds of peas to plant – those yummy little sugar snap peas as well as shelling peas. And I have 4 kinds of beans plus blackeye peas to plant. And, I’ll add white half runners in the corn once it gets up about 4-6 inches.

Back to today – after I came in I set about to cook salmon patties. We all love salmon patties, so I have to cook  lot!

Today I used 5 cans of salmon.

20150504_125001 Drain the liquid off and remove the skin and bones from the salmon (you can eat it, but I don’t like the texture of the bones). You can also buy boneless and skinless salmon but it’s really expensive!

Add to the mixture 1 egg per 2 cans of salmon, about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs or cracker meal, 2-3 tablespoons flour, a little of the salmon liquid enough to make the mixture stick together.

20150504_132435 Make little “walnut” size balls and roll in cornflake crumbs.

20150504_133538Fry (preferably in an iron skillet) on med heat until well browned.

20150504_134244(If one breaks, you get to eat it! 🙂 )

20150504_135542Enjoy! (I know we will!)

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The guy I get my plants from came by this afternoon. He brought cucumbers, peppers (hot and bell), 3 kinds of tomatoes, onions, and more herbs! I m so excited. The “signs” are right to plant on Friday and guess what? My husband just happens to be off Friday! (Now if the rain will just hold off…)

 

Stay tuned – this could get good! (Follow our blog for “tips, tricks, and techniques” this summer.)

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