GARDEN ROUND-UP

     We’ve been blessed this year with a great beautiful garden; as I’m sure you’ve seen.  I am so thankful everytime I go out to pick something or see a plant finally starting to bare.  Speaking of starting to bare; the okra is finally flowering. YEAH!  Dad planted it on June 1 and it has been a long month and a half of okra TLC.  We’ve pulled grass, fertilized it, and watered it just about every evening because of the 100 degree days we’ve been consistently having.  The sandy soil in our garden doesn’t hold water very long unlike a dark rich soil would.
     As of today all we have left in the garden is okra, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and watermelon.  The squashes are not doing well in this HOT weather we’ve been having and I’ve been putting off pulling them up.  I really hate to pull up a plant that is still green.
  
CANNING COUNT DOWN

Boiled Cabbage:    9 Qts.

Potatoes:     4 Qts.

Green Beans:    9 Pts. & 1 Qt.

Squash:    6 Pts.

Squash/Zucchini :   4 Pts.

Dill Pickles:  4 Qts., 2 Pts., & 3 half qt. jars

Dilled Cucumbers & Sweet Banana Peppers :   3 half pts.

Dilled Garden Mix
(Squash/Zucchini/Cukes/Onions & Sweet Banana Peppers) :
2 Qts. & 5 half qt. jars

Crisp Squash Pickles :   4 Pts. zucchini & 3 Pts. yellow squash

Zuke & Cuke Relish  :   3 half pints

Radishes:    Dilled = 1 pt.
                    Vinegar/salt = 1 half pt.

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ZUKE AND CUKE RELISH

    Last weekend I had one zucchini and one lg. cucumber sitting on the counter.  I thought, what am I gonna do with you?  I decided to make a zucchini and cucumber relish. My first thought was, is there a recipe out there for that?  After an extensive search on google and many Foodie sites I can say, no.  So I decided to make up my own.    
   I cut the zucchini and cucumber in half and dug out the seeds, then shredded them using the large holes on my shredder.  To make it easier I chunked up the onion, celery and red pepper; placed them separately in my small food chopper; whirling away till they were finely chopped.  I followed the directions for most recipes for relishes where you salt the vegetables and leave them to drain for several hours.  Once they set I made the vinegar-spice mixture.  Having just made the Crispy Squash Pickles the other day I decided to use the same spices.  On a whim I thought I would make this diabetic friendly so my Dad could eat it too, so I used Splenda. 
   Once I got the vegetables in the pot and cooked them for a minute I tasted the juice and found it bitter on the back of my tongue so I went ahead and added some real sugar thinking it would round out the flavors better.  The sugar seemed to calm down the bitterness, but it was still there.  Thinking that perhaps sitting in the jars with flavors mingling for a month or so, the bitterness would go away, I canned it in small half pint jars.  I am skeptical about the final tasting and await a month to pass quickly so I can see how it turned out.   I Will Let You All Know.

ZUKE & CUKE RELISH
This recipe made 3 half-pint jars.

2 c. zucchini, seeded & shredded
2 c. cucumber, seeded & shredded
1 1/2 c. purple onion, finely chopped (food processor)
1 c. celery, finely chopped (food processor)
1/2 c. red pepper,
1/3 c. canning salt

Place above in a large strainer, mixed well together, let sit over night.

2 c. white vinegar
3/4 c. splenda
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. tumeric
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. celery seed

Place above in large pot, stirring till sugar melts.  Add strained vegetables; mix together well.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and ladle into jars.  You will have to use a strainer spoon so you won’t over fill the jars with liquid.
Place warmed lids on jars and tighten rings.  immerse in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool.  Let sit, in cool dry place, for 1 to 2 months.

Crisp Squash Pickles

I’ve a elderly home health client who has been a huge help to me in my canning and gardening experience through the past few yrs.  She raves about this recipe and more than once has brought it up this past few weeks.  I think she was hinting that I make some; so I did.

I don’t think it’s in me to make any recipe as is. 

I had both zucchini and yellow squash so I decided to make two different kinds.  For the zucchini I used yellow onion and with the squash I used purple onions; staying with the exact spices per the recipe for both.    
After reading the recipe I decided that I didn’t want the layered squash mixture with ice cubes on top to sit in water for three hours.   All of the recipes, I’ve made, that call for salt on squash & onions ask you to place them in a large strainer to drain.    I sliced both squashes and onions, layered them in two different strainers; sprinkling some salt on each layer.  I placed ice cubes on top.  Personally I don’t see why you’d use the ice cubes at all.

Three hours pass and it’s rinse time.  Rinse the squash and onions with cold water; throughly.  While these drain for a minute I prepared the vinegar mixture in a large pot.  I prefer to use a enamel lined pot.  I wanted to stick to the recipe as much as possible but I just couldn’t handle 3 c. of sugar (tooo sweet) so I opted to use 2 cups.  I kept to the correct amounts of spices though a warning here; turmeric can and will stain your pot, wooden spoon, counter top, towels, stove, your hands, and more a lovely yellow.  It can be removed with bleach or a soft-scrub with bleach in it.

Now the dance begins.  I added the zucchini and onions to the vinegar mixture; reserving the yellow squash & purple onions for the next batch.  Placed the lids in a pan of water on the stove to warm.  Added water to the boiling water bath (tall) pan.  On a towel by the stove I placed the tongs (for removing lids from the hot water), the canning funnel, jar rings and lined up the jars.  By now the zucchini was ready to place in the jars, lid and place in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Be sure to remove after 5 minutes or it will cause the mixture to start cooking in the jars.

I had a some vinegar mixture left in the pot  so I guess-ta-mated and added more vinegar and spices.  I placed the yellow squash & purple onions in and repeated the canning procedure.

The recipe says it makes 6 pints, but I ended up with 4 zucchini and then 3 of the yellow squash. 

I can’t tell you how it tastes for another 3 months.  The time between canning and opening is not a set thing.  I just like to wait 3 months; guess you could open eariler, but I like to think of pickling like making wine; it needs to sit.

Crisp Squash Pickles
Marjorie Plunkett (Cooperative Extension Service)

5 lb. squash, thinly sliced
3 med. onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. salt
Ice Cubes
3 c. vinegar
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine onion, squash and salt in bowl.  Top with layer of ice cubes.  Cover, let stand 3 hours. 
Drain and wash squash in cold water.  Combine squash mixture with remaining ingredients in a large kettle.
Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer 2  minutes.  Ladle into jars; seal.  Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
Makes 6 pts.

Garden Pictures

    My Dad dug up the potatoes late last week.  Sure did grow some odd looking potatoes.

   There were lots of small ones so I canned them.  First I peeled them and cut them into chunks and placed them in quart jars.  I added 1 1/2 tsp. of canning salt to each jar.  I then added boiling water to each jar and placed the lid on and screwed the cap on tight.  I placed them in a pressure canner.  10 lb. pressure for 40 minutes.  Done.
Here’s the bounty:

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The purplehull peas are finally getting ready to pick.  The plants are so big and bushy that you can’t see the rows.  The bees, wasps, dirt dobbers, yellow jackets, and probely other stinging bugs you can think of are havesting the pollen from the flowers.  I went out to pick a small handfull last night at 8p.m. and the bugs were still flying around.  I think I need a bee keepers outfit. :O)

First Harvest

                                          

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                                                             Garden Beauty

Canning experiments

Did I mention I love to Can?

Pickled Cherry Radishes

These are Pickled Radishes.  I know, never heard of this.  Well I haven’t either, but who cares.  I love to Can.  My Dad planted a 50 foot row of cherry radishes all in a big wad of plants.  We could never eat all of these so I decided to play with them.   These were Canned in white vinegar and a 1/2 tsp of salt.  I think they’re pretty to look at, but it’s odd how the red came off the radishes and dyed the juice.   I am thinking about dilling some.  Why not?

Here’s a picture of yesterdays pickin’s from the garden.

Cucumbers, Sweet Banana Peppers,  Zucchini, and Yellow Squash

I also dug up about a dozen purple onions and hung them up to dry on the back porch.  There were a few small onions so I used them to Can a mixture of cucumbers, zucchini, sweet banana peppers.  I dilled this mixture with apple cider vinegar, salt, garlic, and dill stems.  Made 2 qts. and 1 quart of dill pickles.

Today I’ll be slicing the yellow squash to freeze for future fried squash.  YUM!
Tonight we plan on digging up the rest of the onions.  The days are so hot.  I prefer to go out after 7pm to do anything in the garden.

 

Kraut In Jars Update

Sunday, 26 June, 2011

In a previous posthttps://arkansasfarmerette.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/canning-kraut-and-updates/ ) I listed an old recipe for Sauerkraut in Jars from my Great Grandmother;  I’ve an important update for you.

I was discussing this recipe with one of my elderly Home Health clients and she explained to me that the jars they used back when the recipe was written are different from the ones we use now.  She explained that the jars her mother used had aluminum lids with glass inlaid in the underside.  She said that her mother would place a rubber ring on the rim of the jar, filled with kraut, and then place the lid on; leaving it slightly ajar.  Over the next few weeks the Kraut would ferment in the jar releasing the gas from inside and as this progressed her mother would slowly screw the lid down on the jar.  Her mother would keep the Kraut jars on top of newspaper or in large pans incase the jars should leak while fermenting.

All this said I had to take a look-see at mine and discovered that most of the jars that were sealed, when I put them away in the dark cabinet, are now unsealed and fermenting.   I am not sure how to progress from here and will be keeping an eye on the jars.  I’m in hopes that they will reseal themselves when they’re done fermenting.  This is turning into a learning experiment for me and hopefully you all too.

Here is a picture of the jar explained above.  My mother had/has a small collection of these jars with lids.

Blessed with rain

Yesterday afternoon the rain started and lasted only about an hour; though it did give the garden a good drink.  Woke up this morning to more rain; not sure how long it rained.  So glad it rained, it’s not rained since late May.

I was lazy yesterday and didn’t can the last of the cabbage till this morning.  I got 4 quarts this time.  I noticed that the first 5 qts. of boiled cabbage I canned looked, to me, a bit over cooked.  This time I didn’t steam it as long in the pan and cut the pressure cooking time down to 45 minutes instead of 55 minutes.  The look of the cabbage in the jars have a marked difference.  The first was slighly dark and this batch is greener.  I may have to cook it some when I open up a jar to use, but I’d rather do that than have mushy cabbage.  Here’s hoping the first five are NOT mushy.
Here’s a picture for comparison.

I forgot to mention that my Dad planted the okra on June 1.  It is comming up slowly.  Haven’t counted but I’d guess they’re over 100 plants.  Plenty to share, pickle, and put in the deep-freezer.

I Pickled 3 more cucumber, squash, onion and garlic mixtures today.  This time I added a few seeded and sliced sweet banana peppers to the mix.  I also made 1 jar of dill pickles.

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