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.

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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.

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Summertime pies

June 4, 2017

tomato corn pie 0604

Tomato and street corn pie. One of the greatest justifications for summer.

Yes, I am aware that according to the calendar, it is not yet summer. However, I am getting good tomatoes at the Farmers’ Market (and will get good ones out of my garden soon, as my plants are laden with green ones).

And the market had blackberries yesterday. And the grocery had decent looking sweet corn for Memorial Day last weekend.

That, of course, means only one thing. Well, only two things. Pie.

Pie times 2.25, to be precise, because I overprepared the filling for one of ’em. Not to be defeated, I cooked a little crustless version of it, along with its big brother and its sweet cousin.

And I am having, as soon as they cool down enough to eat, tomato and street corn pie, with blackberry cobbler and ice cream for dessert.

Don’t you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em wish you were eating with me? Well, it’s going to take these sweethearts about 20 minutes to cool. The house looks like hell, but y’all come on!

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Putting in a crop

April 10, 2017

Seedlings transplanted. Manicure shot to shit.

Things are progressing apace here at Keyboard Farms. Over the last three days, we have planted:

  • 38 tomato plants
  • 4 pepper plants
  • 15 lettuce seedlings
  • 15 radish seedlings
  • 20 carrot seedlings
  • 12 cucumber seedlings
  • 15 pea seedlings
  • 12 cabbage seedlings
  • a dozen or so different herbs

And our back is tired. As are our shoulders and our knees. The slings and arrows of advancing age are not kind to a would-be gardener.

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Yes, well, I do still exist, and I do have a kitchen. Here are a few odds and ends that have been traipsing through it.

I picked tomatoes Monday. On Halloween. I still have green tomatoes, and may perhaps get a few more ripe ones before it gets cold the end of this week. (So the weatherpeople say. I’m not real sure I believe them.)

But there's no global warming...oh, no!

But there’s no global warming…oh, no!

As I had them, and needed to use them, I figured I’d convert them into tomato sauce or soup or something. I cut them up, along with the last few of the Farmers Market tomatoes I had on the counter, tossed them all into a pot with some diced onion and some garlic, and set them to cooking. When the tomatoes started to break down, I added some sherry; at that point, I was heading in the direction of soup.

I decided soup wasn’t really what I wanted, so after that simmered a while, I added some basil and a little oregano and went looking for my immersion blender, having forgotten that it seems to have taken feet and walked away. (How in the name of God do you lose an immersion blender?). So I wound up transferring it all to the big blender and pureeing it. It needed the addition of some tomato juice to thin it down, so I did that.

It’s a quite lovely sauce. It’s in the fridge. I’ll get in a pasta mood eventually, or I’ll freeze it.

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Puttin’ up

July 26, 2016

Pickles! First of several batches to do this week.

Pickles! First of several batches to do this week.

It’s that time of year.

Produce is flowing in (well, not really from my garden, but everyone who didn’t break their ankle and screw their garden for the year), and it’s time to fill up the canning shelves and the freezers for the winter.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing, little bits at a time, so’s not to put too much stress on the recovering leg. I’ve put up enough peas, I think, for the winter, just a few packages of peas at a time (not that peas are much work to put up). I’ve done eight pints of corn, and have corn to work up tomorrow that’ll be about that much more, which will be about all the corn I have room for. I’ve put up three half-pints of tomato sauce from the back yard garden, which is at least still yielding me lots of Romas, grape and cherry tomatoes.

Tomato sauce. From my own tomatoes!

Tomato sauce. From my own tomatoes!

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This just barely missed being a Swee

Doggoned excellent dinner, despite skimpy scallops.

Doggoned excellent dinner, despite skimpy scallops.

t Baby Jesus meal. I mean, it was close enough it was definitely contending for sainthood.

My Memphis Guinea Pig was coming for a visit, and this weekend is his birthday, so I wanted to have at least semi-special meals for him. Balancing against that is the fact I still get tired and get into achy territory when I spend too much time on the bum leg, so I needed semi-special meals that didn’t require a great deal of time in the kitchen.

Working within those parameters, I came up with the above: Scallops, over just about the best grits I ever made, with sides of cucumber and tomato salad.

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