I know that I’ve been neglecting you and I apologize.
I had every intention on writing something after work yesterday, but I came home to this:
…and a pile of cucumbers,
and a couple of giant zucchini,
and a 22′ chest freezer that needed reorganized before we can pick up our pork order at the butcher.
I worked until well past dark, but the beans got snipped, blanched, and frozen. The freezer got somewhat more organized. And since I didn’t feel like canning (perhaps because I was exhausted), I made a (really easy) batch of Sweet & Tangy Refrigerator Pickles.
Sweet & Tangy Refrigerator Pickles
- 3 or 4 large cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 2 onions, halved (or quartered) and thinly sliced
- 4 cups cider vinegar
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup canning salt
- 1 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1 1/4 tsp. celery seed
- 1 1/4 tsp. mustard seed
In a large non-metallic bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, canning salt, and spices. Mix well.
Add sliced cucumbers and onions. Stir to coat.
Store in glass jars or in a covered plastic container and refrigerate for 5 days before eating.
Keeps in refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
However, I still have those zucchini sitting on the counter.
I think tomorrow I’ll surprise Farmer D with some zucchini muffins.
This is my busy season.
Between the gardening, the canning, and of all the things I try to squeeze as soon as the weather gets cooler, I’ve barely had time to sit down and think about what’s next on the list.
But that’s okay, because I’ve been getting a lot done…like making homemade salsa with the bounty from our garden.
Since I couldn’t remember in which book I found the recipe I used last year, I decided to try one I adapted from PickYourOwn.org.
Homemade Salsa for Canning
- 15 lbs. meaty tomatoes (I used a mix of Roma and Amish Paste)
- 3 medium onions
- 6 hot peppers (I used a mix of Jalapeno and Hungarian hot – what to use depends on your taste buds)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups lemon juice
- 2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. cumin (or more to taste)
- 2 Tbs. dried cilantro (or 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro)
- 1 tsp. chili powder (or more to taste)
Clean, core and peel the tomatoes. Cut apart and remove the liquid and seeds (just roughly cut and squeeze them – they don’t have to be perfect). Place tomatoes in a colander for a few minutes to drain.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, chop the onions, peppers, and garlic to the desired size. Dump into an 8-quart pot. Add the lemon juice, tomato paste, salt, sugar, black pepper, cilantro, and chili powder.
Place the tomatoes (in batches) into the food processor and pulse for a few seconds to break them up. Add to pot. Stir well.
Bring the salsa to a simmer (180 degrees F). Simmer and stir for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare a hot water bath, pint canning jars, lids, and rings.
(I ended up with 11 jars plus a small bowl for the refrigerator.)
Fill sterile jars with hot salsa, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Seal.
Place in the canning kettle – make sure the water is 1-2 inches above the jars.
Process for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Now that the jars are cooling on the kitchen counter and I’m just about done on the computer for the night, I can look at (for a whole 5 minutes before I fall asleep) some of the things I’ve accomplished today.
The only problem is, there’s already a to-do list for tomorrow.
If you’ve never canned, it’s not hard.
(Though I won’t lie…it “can” be a bit time-consuming.)
Since today is my day off (which means I get to do three times the amount of work I’d do on a “real” workday and NOT get paid), I spent some time weeding in my little garden next to the garage.
Last year our radishes didn’t do much of anything.
This year they ROCK!
This baby here is a Watermelon Radish.
According to The Cook’s Garden, the Watermelon Radish is an heirloom variety originally from China. The large 3 – 3.5″ round roots are creamy white (or slightly greenish) outside with a full central burst of watermelon rose. The flesh is described as crispy and mild, with a sweet flavor perfect for salads, garnishes, or cooking.
Today we haven’t even bothered with making a salad…
…we’re eating radish slices right off of the cutting board.
The 2012 planting season (or #plant12, if you’re on Twitter) has officially started at our family farm…and the minor catastrophes that seem to go with it.
Here the guys are discussing what’s not working right on the field finisher:
And here’s dirty Farmer D after dealing with whatever today’s breakdown was:
Thank goodness the corn in the garden is looking good:
(And Farmer D’s
amazing humble wife planted the garden all by herself.)
Mom and I went on an adventure yesterday to Cleveland’s Rockefeller Park Greenhouse.
Built in 1905, the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is open year-round, including holidays, and not only supplies the City of Cleveland with the plants for its citywide landscaping needs, the greenhouse serves the public as a free facility dedicated to educating, fostering and supporting gardening.
And visiting the Rockefeller Park Greenhouse is FREE.
“The Greenhouse is truly one of Cleveland’s treasures,” said a local lady we talked with…after looking at the one acre of indoor flowers, Mom I had to agree.
I took so many photos I can’t decide which to use for my 365 Project.
Which do you like best?
Big changes at the homestead this week: the Amish crew finished the fence out back, so we finally have a pasture (and hopefully get beef calves soon).
We’re also having the garage floor re-cemented….and my personal goal…we’re FINALLY getting our ancient, narrow, take-your-life-into-your-own-hands-in-the-winter, crooked front sidewalk fixed!
(Can you tell I’m happy?)
Anyhow, this morning Farmer D said lots of rain was on the way, and the potato skins have toughened up enough, so it was time to dig them up.
Farmer D & his dad are ingenious. After a couple of years of digging the potatoes up by hand, they adapted a potato plow to pull behind the four-wheeler.
After they plowed the row, we just had to sift through the dirt to pick the fresh potatoes. (The guys are always in their Red Wing boots. I think this is easier to do barefoot.)
Though we lost a few plants because of the lousy spring weather, and had a problem with blight, the potatoes we harvested look good.
The new potatoes will sit outside or in the breezeway (depending on the weather) until we’re sure they’re dry. We’ll then move them to the pantry in the basement to store.