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Summer Saved

September 9th, 2015

I don’t do much canning, but I do put up a few jars of tomatoes every summer. There’s nothing quite like cracking open a jar of crushed tomatoes in the middle of a snowstorm. The smell brings you right back to summer.
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Last night I worked late into the night getting 8 quarts and 4 pints of crushed tomatoes put up. Earlier this week I made 20 pints of tomato soup. I’m hoping to at least double this if the tomatoes hold on and the weather continues to be nice. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for no late blight and sunny days.

Do you jar up tomatoes? What’s your favorite recipe to use them in during the winter?

Picking Pecks of Peppers

September 25th, 2014

This year I had a bumper pepper harvest. I could have left them on the plants longer, but I wanted to clear out that spot in the garden to move the strawberries. Thus I ended up picking mountains of peppers. Most of them will be roasted over a fire and canned, some will be stuffed and frozen (here’s my recipe if you’re interested).
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Some of them were given to neighbors, others have already been used for delicious meals. There are still a good many to process, looks like I’ll be busy tonight!
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The small peppers are the Mini Bells I talked about last week, I’m thinking I’ll make mass quantities of bite sized peppers stuffed with sausage, onions, garlic, herbs and cheese. I made a batch of ricotta earlier this week just for them. I think popping a few of these beauties out of the freezer for a quick breakfast or dinner will be so convenient.

Do you like green peppers? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?

Admitting Defeat

September 14th, 2013

This is one of only a few peppers that I have on my plants in the garden.  I knew my pepper harvest would be low due to the location of the pepper plants.  Then the ducks decided that pepper plants were super tasty and my hopes of harvesting even a half bushel of peppers from my garden were dashed.  I have been harvesting a few green peppers and other hot peppers for the past month, but I do not have enough to make roasted red peppers for the pantry.  I don’t do a lot of canning of garden produce, but I do love to have a few jars of roasted red peppers in the cupboard.  They’re so much cheaper than buying them at the store, and you can customize them with white wine vinegar, homegrown garlic, and a really good olive oil.  I even use the brine to make salad dressing. (“>here’s my post about making them, including the recipe)
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Yesterday, I purchased a load of peppers at the Belfast Farmers Market to preserve.  Next week I hope to buy more, along with some jalapeños (which I preserve in the same manner and dehydrate as well).
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I also purchased a box of tomatoes since mine are taking they’re time ripening up. Roasted tomato passatta is something I don’t want my pantry to be without as well. I must admit, I’m thankful to live in an area where there are loads of farmers growing all kinds of wonderful organic produce. It comes in handy when my crop doesn’t do well.

Have you had any crops that have done less than stellar this season?

Stocking up for Winter

October 1st, 2011

I don’t spend much time canning in summer, I much prefer to eat vegetables fresh and in season. In winter my tastes lean more towards root vegetables roasted with venison or chicken. Hearty stews and crusty artisan breads are also on the menu quite often when the snow is on the ground. Learning to love root vegetables is quite nice because they don’t need much in the way of preservation, squash gets piled in a corner of the dining room, potatoes are tucked away in the garage, garlic and onions are in boxes in the basement, and cabbages are pounded with salt and stuffed into jars and stowed in the basement as well.

Every other year, I do spend some time putting up jam, jelly, relish, and chutney, but we have enough left from last year that I haven’t made any of that this year. The one thing I did spend some time putting in jars, tomatoes.

Over the past few weeks I have managed to put up a few dozen quart jars of tomato soup (recipe here if you’re interested) and some roasted tomato passata as well (recipe to come later). Hopefully I have just enough tomatoes left for a batch of ketchup and then my canner will retire to the basement shelf.

What summer bounty do spend the most time preserving?

Friday Favorite: Home Canned Tomatoes

January 28th, 2011

One thing I do enjoy about winter is that I have more time to cook. I really love to cook and enjoy spending the winter days making big pots of stews, tender roasts, trays of lasagna and baking fresh sourdough bread. One of my favorite things about gardening is the fresh fruits and vegetables that it provides for the kitchen. Since I live in NE Ohio, the winter months prove to be a little more difficult when it comes to gardening and fresh vegetables harvests. Since I’m still in the learning stages of winter gardening, I supplement with things I canned and froze during the bountiful months of spring/summer/fall.

If I could only preserve one thing from the summer it would definitely be tomatoes. My pantry is filled with home canned tomato soup, jars upon jars of crushed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes fill the freezer, and dried tomatoes stock the kitchen pantry. Cracking open a jar of canned tomatoes brings back all the joy of summer gardening.

Of course they’ll never take the place of an heirloom tomato picked while it’s still warm from the sun, but they make the nine fresh tomato free months here in Ohio more bearable.

If you could only preserve/can/freeze one summer vegetable what would it be?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.