Tag Archives: tomatoes

The Last Picking

28 Oct

With a hard freeze in the forecast for last night, I forgot to go see if there was anything left in the garden to pick.  I decided to see if anything was left today because, honestly, I don’t think we had a hard freeze.  I can say that with certainty because I found bell peppers.  The plants are some of the most sensitive to cold, and they look fine.

I was also surprised that I had so many tomatoes, and they were fine.

I knew the okra had already died down, but I still think the dried pods look pretty cool.

I was also surprised that I had any bottle gourds left out there.  That’s because they have become the dog’s favorite new toy.

Sky!  Actually, he’s chewing on the remains of pumpkin or squash.  I can’t tell which.

Sky

Finally, I got to what I went out to pick–the beets.  I had originally planted them because I wanted to let them go to seed and smell the flowers because of a novel, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.  Alas, my sister informed me that she always leaves her until it frosts, and she’s yet to see a flower.  We are guessing it’s because they are biannuals.  Maybe in a couple more years.

I actually got a pretty good haul from the garden.  I found a small cabbage and some Anaheim chili and jalapeno peppers.

Now I have to do something with all of these things before Sky steals them from my bucket.

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Sweet Relish

10 Sep

When I was young, my Aunt Mildred gave my mom the best ever sweet pickle relish recipe.  She got it from one of the old ladies from the town where she lived.  My aunt was born in 1925, and she referred to her as an old lady, so I have no idea how old the recipe is.

Reading it, however, you realize it’s old enough that it doesn’t use actual measurements for the veggies.  I’ve always gotten more from the recipe than it says you’ll get, so I’m guessing we grow tomatoes a lot bigger than they used to be.  I cannot vouch for its safety based on the FDA’s standards for home canning, but it’s delicious and I haven’t died from it yet.  It’s also a great way to use green tomatoes at the end of the season.

I picked my 24 green tomatoes, 8 green peppers, and (from the fridge) 10 onions, washed them and then quartered them.

I also use the vintage food grinder the same aunt gave my mom shortly after she was married.  I wouldn’t know how to make it with modern items.  I’m guessing you can just put them in the food processor and chop them.

As I kept grinding, I poured it from my little bowl into a big one.  It does take quite the big bowl to hold it all.

When everything is all chopped up, add the 3 Tablespoons of salt.  Then cover it and let is set in the refrigerator over night.

In the morning, I used cheesecloth to make it easier to drain.  It was super easy to squeeze out the juice through the cheesecloth, but I’m not sure it will ever be truly white again.

If you don’t have cheesecloth, you could use a clean pillow case or probably even just your hands.  When you finish squeezing it out, you’ll have nice balls of green stuff.

Then you add the rest of the ingredients:  4 cups of sugar, 2 cups of vinegar, 2 Tablespoons of celery seed, and 4 Tablespoons of mustard seed.  Mix it all up and cook it for 40 minutes.

I didn’t use too high of a temperature, and I stirred it enough to keep it from sticking, but not constantly.

Eventually, it will look and smell like relish.  A lot of the liquid will cook out.  After the 40 minutes, ladle it into jars.  I prefer half-pint jars.

Then adjust your lids and process in a hot water bath for fifteen minutes.  You might have noticed that the handwriting on the recipe (above) is different for the processing time. I had to look that up because the original recipe just said to seal it.

I just want to go have a hot dog now!

Tomatoes

3 Sep

Since I’ve been struggling with allergies, my mom was kind enough to pick some of the tomatoes out of my garden for me on Friday.  She’s also been picking them for her and to give away.

I slept all day Saturday, but I managed to get up and do stuff today.  I canned twelve pints of tomatoes and sixteen and a half pints of salsa.

I put a mask on and went to see what the garden looked like.  It doesn’t look like anybody has picked a tomato out of there.

I’m guessing I won’t miss however many Sky steals.

Not that I’m encouraging his theft.