Waste not, want not

August 10, 2017

Tomato sauce, made from skins and cores most people would have thrown away.

And other things your mama told you. Like the starving children in China, and “Your face will freeze like that.”

Anyway. I am experimenting on just how much one can get out of two 30-pound boxes of tomatoes. To update the previous post, the final tally was:

  • 11 quarts of tomatoes
  • 17 pints of tomatoes
  • 5 quarts and two pints of tomato juice
  • and 16 half-pints of tomato sauce made from the skins and cores
  • Plus the 4 half-pints of roasted tomato-garlic sauce that was from the gallon or so of cherry tomatoes I had, and did all at the same time.

Well, I’m almost finished. I’m trying one more experiment. More on that later.

Read the rest of this entry »

To-by-God-matoes!

August 9, 2017

Final tally: 11 quarts, 17 pints. Five quarts, two pint of juice. Four pints roasted tomato garlic sauce. Plain sauce coming today.

Note: This was written last night, as I was processing the last of the tomatoes through the water bath. I finished up about 10:30 p.m., but for the sauce I’ll make today from skins and cores. And I didn’t download the pix until today.

I commenced canning tomatoes somewhere around 11 a.m. today. It is 10:22 p.m., and I’m not done.

But I’m close.

So far, in the “done” column, I have 17 pints and 8 quarts of tomatoes, cooling on a bath towel on my counter. In the water bath I have seven more quart of tomatoes, because I ran out of pint jars. Still to process, I have six quarts and two pints of tomato juice, and four pints of roasted cherry tomato garlic sauce.

We will have no scurvy up in here this winter, I am here to tell you. And we will have all the spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes and vegetable beef soup and chili we want, because, you know what? We’ve damn-sho got home-canned tomatoes with which to make them all.

I feel pretty satisfied. Tired as all hell, but satisfied. I’d feel more satisfied if I could get this damn canner to boil more quickly and I could process this batch and the one waiting behind it. One of these days, I will have a REAL stove. One on which I can set TWO water bath canners, if I am so inclined. One which will put out some real heat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Muffins and biscuits. More muffins in the oven at that point.

With apologies to Jane and Michael Stern, of “Road Food” fame, and damn, do I miss hearing them every Saturday morning on WKNO in Memphis now that I’m an Arkansas public radio listener, and hey, KUAR/KASU peeps, can y’all do something about putting Splendid Table on the air here so a sista can hear it?

I am headed out on a road trip tomorrow, going to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, where I used to live, and spending a few days in that part of the world with a girlfriend and her niece and adopted niece. (I understand all about those “adopted” kinfolk, having several.) I need a break, albeit I have had a fair amount of road time lately, but this comes at a good time, as I have hit a semi-slack period at work, though it promises to pick up by the latter part of August.

Read the rest of this entry »

Six pints of pickle relish ought to be plenty, at least until I taste it.

Assault of the cucumbers continues unabated, so I made an attempt to work my way through some of them today.

I thought I’d given this latest harvest, some 10 pounds of cucumbers, away, but in the haste and hustle to get us and all the needed accoutrements out to AGC 2’s birthday party last night (A fine time was had by all; icing was smeared liberally, much juice was consumed, and gift bags were ripped asunder with glee), I failed to put them outside for my friend to pick up. So I’ve still got these:

The garden that keeps on giving.

As well as about twice that many that I picked today. I’ve decided I’m going to try to make the classic half-sours, a fermented pickle, with the rest, and maybe a quick batch of cucumber salad. And then I’ll start trying to give them away again, because, y’know what? The zucchini are about to start up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Watermelon puree — ice cream on the hoof!

…wherein we try our hand at freezing watermelon. Fairly successfully.

I bought a watermelon over Fourth of July weekend, and it’s been sitting in my kitchen floor ever since. I got tired of walking around it. And AGC2 got up this morning and demanded watermelon for breakfast, so I decided to cut it.

It was a sizeable watermelon. Once I cut it, there existed the question of what to do with the nine-tenths of it he and I did NOT eat for breakfast.

In an unrelated train of food-related thought, I had been wanting to try my little Cuisinart ice cream maker ever since I got the new freezer, which gives me room to keep the ice cream freezer bowl, well, frozen.

Those two trains of thought collided head-on earlier this week.

I could, I said to myself, puree however much of that watermelon we didn’t want to eat, and I could see how it worked frozen. And self said, “Yeah, we ought to be able to do that.” And the watermelon continued to sit in the kitchen floor. Until AGC2 spurred me to cut it this morning.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freezing fruit

July 5, 2017

Fruit, freezer bound. Except the cherries. They’re back in the fridge.

I got busy and blew through some of the raft of fruit I had in the kitchen, today.

As a result, I have peaches and mango puree in the freezer, as well as some roasted tomato-garlic sauce. (Tomatoes are a fruit, y’know.) And sometime in the next two or three days, whenever I can get BACK in the kitchen, we will have frozen watermelon puree, because I have this big honkin’ watermelon that’s been lying in my kitchen floor for a week and a half, and it needs to move.

I also had a somewhat inventive dinner, which actually involved sorta-kinda following a recipe, and which was pretty marvelous, and made Child A a homemade Egg McMuffin, which she allowed was pretty good, but I didn’t need to butter the English muffin next time.

Well, all righty, then.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ahhh, but we took some with us as we fell!

The cucumbers…the cucumbers are at the gate. The timbers are splintering. Defenders are falling rapidly. I do not know how long we can withstand. We have picked, we have pickled, we have made salads, we have made cucumber dip. We have wielded knives and graters and boiling brines. We have lined and stacked their corpses up on shelves in the pantry, against the long winter to come.

And still they come. There is no end to their ranks. When one falls, two take his place — two, three, a dozen! We cannot hold. We CANNOT HOLD! 

With apologies to whatever writer of adventure fiction I was channeling. But These Damn Cucumbers, y’all!

Saturday, I made seven pints of horseradish sweets, and got rid of the backlog of cucumbers that had been occupying my countertop. I was congratulating myself.

Pfffth. Until Sunday morning. When I went to take the dog out, strolled out back to enjoy the cool of the morning and check on the garden and …….AAAAIIIIIEEEEEE! THEY’RE BACK!

Read the rest of this entry »