Saturday, August 24, 2013

Timing is everything

Switching out the summer garden for a fall garden is tricky. I am trying to fully mature at least one of the edible gourds so I have the seeds for next year, but mildew is killing the plant faster than the huge fruit is ripening. I also am getting antsy to clean out that bed for fall plants. I will try to leave it alone for a bit longer!

My best timing in a good while: I saw a forecast of possible rain last night, and got some broccoli, cabbage, collard, and spinach plants in the ground. Overnight it poured, and they are very happy new transplants this morning. I am really pushing the date with the spinach, it is too early and too hot, but I have high hopes for the others. Today I will plant some carrot seeds; they should already be in the ground and popping up.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Small batches

This time of year I tend to find myself with batches of vegetables, too small to make the effort for serious canning but too many to eat fresh. I handle those with small batch processes.

Last year at this time I told you about hot pepper fig jam, made one jar at a time in my bread machine. This year I seem to be working with tomatoes, always just a few from 4 or 5 different plants. Luckily they are easy to save.

I bring a pot of water to a boil, and drop the tomatoes in a few at a time, leave them for only a minute, then scoop them out into a bowl. When they have cooled a bit the skins slip right off. I then cut out the core and slice them in half lengthwise, squeeze the seeds into the scrap bowl with the skins and cores, and drop the halves into a jar.

In about 10 minutes I go from a cutting board covered in mixed tomatoes to a jar filled with jewel toned tomato flesh. I will keep this in the fridge now for up to a week, and pull it out when I want salsa, or pasta sauce, or soup. I have saved many a tomato from compost this way, and love having small batches of good, fresh food ready in the fridge.

You know what? I think I will add a big pile of fresh chopped garlic and minced fresh parsley to this jar. Whenever I am ready it will be perfect cold or warm on pasta.

The scrap bowl went to the chickens. They almost hurt themselves scrambling to get to those tomato skins.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Finally figs!

The early crop of figs was lost to the cool spring, so I am especially happy to taste the first fig of the main crop for this year. There won't be many, but oh so yummy.