Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 Garden Overview & Totals

2010 was a very good year for our garden! Our tiny 230 square feet of garden space yielded over 400 lbs this year! As always, there were successes, failures and a lot was learned. I'm really glad that I started this blog and met so many wonderful people. All of you have taught me a lot and it is greatly appreciated.

I guess the best way to do this is in alphabetical order...so, I will start with Artichokes

Artichokes - Imperial Star - 1  This was the third year for me trying to grow artichokes. The first year I tried growing them from seed and the second & third year from small purchased plants. Due to our lack of space, they are planted in huge pots. The first two years I killed them. This year I did harvest 1 artichoke! I am going to bundle them up and try to overwinter them. Hopefully, next year will be better....I'm not giving up! "The Italian" wants his artichokes!

Beans - Dean's Purple Pole & Blue Coco Snap Pole - 5.8125 lbs: First, the pill bugs were munching on the seedlings. Then,  due to our extreme heat here in the East, the beans flowered but did not produce until late in the season. All and all they did OK, hopefully next year will be better for beans

Beans - Dry - Bush Type - Great Northern & Jacob's Cattle - 1.5 lbs: The dry beans were planted in the garlic bed after the garlic was harvested. The first planting was eaten by someone other then us. The second planting was small. Next year I will plant a lot more and several varieties.

Broccoli - Walthan 29 & Calabrese Italian -  Spring Planting - 1.875 lbs: Due to our extreme spring heat, the broccoli did not do very well...but what was harvested was good! No late crop was planted.

Brussel Sprouts - Long Island - Still waiting!!!

Cabbage - Chieftan Savoy - Spring Planting - 4.25 lbs: The cabbage was also affected by the heat and what didn't bolt lingered forever. No late crop was planted

Cantaloupe - Organic Delicious - 13.875 lbs: We were very pleased with the flavor and the yield  this year.

Muskmelons - Kansas -  9.4375 lbs: These did well, we were not happy with the flavor though. They were not nearly as good as the cantaloupe. Not planting them next year.

Carrots - Little Finger - Spring Planting - 1.0625 lbs: I don't seem to do very well with carrots. This year was my best so far. Very late crop planted for next year, hopefully.

Cauliflower - Early Snow Ball - Spring Planted - 3.9375lbs: The cauliflower managed to do OK dispite the extreme heat and bolting. No late crop was planted.

Celery - Golden Self Blanching - Early Planting - 10.3125  lbs: The celery did very well this year. No late crop planted.

Cucumbers - Little Tike & Slicing type - 36.5625 lbs: The cucumbers kept going until I got tired of picking them and pulled the plants!

Dandelions - 1 lb. (approx) - My "Little Garden Helper" and I picked many many dandelions and made two batches of dandelion jelly.

Eggplant - Black Beauty, Early Black Egg, Rosa Bianca & Lunga Violetta Di Firenze -16.84375 lbs: The eggplant did very well and we were pleased with the varieties we planted!

Garlic - Spanish Roja, Siberian & Misc. saved - 9 lbs (approx) 85 heads: The garlic did great this year! It was nice and big. The Spanish Roja was not storing as well as the others...so, I deducted 3 lbs from the total and made some in to minced garlic.

Garlic Scapes  - 1.25 lbs.

Greens Mustard - 2 lbs. - The mustard was planted late and did very well in the cold fall weather.

Herbs - 6.5 lbs (approx) - All of the herbs did well with the exception of Cilantro. I always have a hard time keeping it from bolting and going to seed.

Leeks - Caratan - 2.125 lbs (so far) - There are still 10 leeks out in the garden to harvest over the winter. We were very pleased with the leeks this year.

Lettuce - Romaine, Buttercrunch, Gourmet Mix & Eva's Burgendy - 4.125 lbs: I usually plant too much lettuce. This year I don't think that I planted enough. I purchased some summer types for next year. The best lettuce was the romaine that was overwintered by accident.

Onions - Copra, Prince, Redwing & Patterson - 3 lbs: All of the onions were started from seed...big mistake for me. It was a lot of work!  I planted more onions then ever ...129 lttle seedlings! They were the smallest onions I have ever grown. Many of them were harvested as scallions. A local organic farmer gave me some tips this summer on growing onions. Hopefully, his advise will be helpful for next year.

Potato Onions - I planted these in the fall of 2009. They never seemed to come to the surface and the greens did not die back. I left them in the ground and they have many many shoots coming up. We will see how they are next year.        

Peas - Little Marvel English - 1.75 lbs: The english peas were great tasting and grew pretty well. I just need to plant a lot more of them to have enough for freezing.

Snow Peas - Oregon Giant -  Spring Planting - 4.375 lbs: The spring crop did exceptually well. Still not enough to freeze what we want for winter eating. We loved them so much most of them were eaten. Late Planting - The late crop did not produce many pods at all. Next year, I am going to try a different variety for the fall which was suggested by Marcia

Pak Choi - Spring Planting - 4.375 lbs: The spring pak choi did very well and we just loved it.

Peppers Bell - Orange, Yellow Corona, World Beater Red Ruby & Corno Di Toro - 14.0625 lbs:  - The Corno Di Toro's were the only bells that produced well and were normal in size. The rest of the bells were small and slow to produce. I think it was due to our extreme heat and drought this year.

Peppers Hot & Spice - Cayenne, Cherry, Jalapeno, Hungarian Paprika & Serrano - 6.21875 - All of the hot peppers did very well this year with the exception of the jalapenos. The jalapenos were slow and small. I have yet to find a jalapeno that produces well for me. The hot peppers were very hot this year.

Potatoes - Caribe Purple, Cranberry Red & Yukon Gold - 6 lbs: Well, my growing potatoes in bags experiment this year was a total failure. The voles got in to the bags and ate most of them. Potatoes have always been an easy crop for me to grow. They are going back in to the ground next year!

Pumpkin - Killed by the SVB's

Scallions - .5 lbs

Squash - Summer - Killed by the SVB's

Squash - Winter - Spaghetti Squash - 4.6875 lbs - Only two survived the attack of the SVB's

Spinach - Bloomsdale & Long Standing Bloomsdale - 3.5 lbs - The spring spinach was slow. I don't have much success with spinach. So, we went on vacation and when we came back I had the best crop ever.  

Strawberries - 9.4375 lbs - The strawberries did well. I think that we need a bigger strawberry bed though!

Tomatoes - 221.18375 lbs - The tomatoes did very well this year. See the review on them here.

All in all it was a very good year for the garden and we are happy and grateful for our bountiful harvest. Hopefully, next year will be even better!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Building Cold Frames - the finishing touches

Both of the cold frames are completely finished! "The Italian" and I put the finishing touches on them a couple of days ago.

There they are side by side.

I put misc. latches that we had on both of them to secure the lids from the wind.

"The Italian" came up with this great idea using Simpson straps to hold the tops open at different heights. The straps are attached to the base of the frame with a screw and a washer. A nail was placed in the top and bent a little to keep it from slipping out of the hole. We purchased the straps for a couple of dollars a piece at a big box store. I added some weather striping around the entire frame to eliminate the small gaps.

 They are very easy to open and close and stay very secure.

Here's "The Italian's" design drawings for the cold frames

I think he did a great job designing and building them!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

The pies are baked

The Table is Set

And it's


Have a Safe & Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Remote Thermometer for the Cold Frame

For the past couple of weeks, "The Italian" has been looking for an economical and reliable wireless remote thermometer for the cold frame. While reading through some blog posts, I saw that Kathy at Skippy's Vegetable Garden had recently purchased one for her cold frame. She was kind enough to give me a link to the one that she had purchased. It arrived last Thursday and I set it up. It's nothing fancy, but it is definitely making monitoring the cold frame a lot easier!

The picture on the left is the inside monitor and the picture on the right is the remote thermometer. Up to three remote thermometers can be monitored from the one unit. It cost about $25. which included both units.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harvest Monday....Beans & Greens

This past week, I harvested some more mustard greens. I also made a Mustard Green Gratin dish that I found here. The gratin was absolutely delicious! I think it would be good with any type of greens including spinach.

The dry beans were finally all dried and shelled. I didn't plant many this year and the harvest was very small. It's enough for a couple of winter dishes though. Next year I plan to plant a lot more and more varieties. They are just so pretty.

Jacob's Cattle (2 different seed sources) & Great White Northern

Harvest Total: 2 lbs.
Mustard Greens - 8 oz.
Dried Beans:
    Great White Northern - 6 oz.
    Jacob's Cattle - 1lb. 2oz.

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions our host of Harvest Monday to see more Fall harvests!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Winter Storage Tomatoes

This year I planted a winter storage tomato plant. I thought it sounded interesting and wondered how long they would store. They were purchased from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and the variety is "Long Winter Storage". They are supposed to be stored not touching each other, in a cool dark place, in or on cardboard. I have them stored in the basement in a canning box covered up with another box. They are slowly starting to turn red. I really don't know how many will make without rotting by the time they are ready to eat though. Almost every time I check on them, another one has rotted. I don't think that I will plant then ungain, unless they are a really great tasting tomato. I will do an update when and if we get to taste one.

Winter Storage Tomatoes

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Herbs & Spices - How to Dry, Store, Grind - Part 2

Part 1 focused on how to dry herbs. In this post I will go into how I make garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper & minced garlic. Also, the herbs that we freeze for using during the winter.

Paprika & Cayenne Pepper

1. Harvest & wash peppers from the garden
2. String them up and hang them out of direct sunlight (You can hang them when they green and they will usually turn red)
3. When the peppers are dry, this may take awhile, I break them up and remove the seeds and top.  ( If you don't want to wait for them to dry hanging. They could be dried in the oven on very low heat),
4. Next I put them in my Mini-Cuisinart Grinder and grind them into a fine powder. You could also use a food processor or blender to grind them. Note: you may want to cover the grinder when grinding, the pepper gets in the air and can make you cough
5. Store in jars out of light

Garlic Powder & Minced Garlic

This year in the spring I took the garlic that was starting to dry up in storage and made garlic powder out of it. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the one variety of garlic from this year wasn't storing well...so, I decided to make it into minced garlic.

1. Slice or chop garlic and place on a baking sheet.
2. Put the baking sheet in the oven on low heat (150-200) on convection or bake setting.
3. Check them about every 20-30 minutes. They may take 1-2 hours to dry completely in the oven.
4. Remove from oven and cool.
5. For garlic powder, grind as directed in step 4 for making paprika & cayenne pepper
6. Store in jars out of light


The only herbs that I freeze are Rosemary, Basil & Sage. I basically just harvest nice herbs, clean them, place them in freezer bags and put them in the freezer. I don't have a vaccuum sealer, so I put a straw in the bag and suck out as much air as I can.

If you would like to read a more detailed post on freezing herbs, Kelly at How My Garden Grows did a very nice post on this in September.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Herbs & Spices - How to Dry, Store, Grind - Part 1

I was going to do this in a single post. After working on it for awhile. I decided it was too long for one post and will do this in two parts. Part 1 will be on drying herbs.

Although our herb garden is not very big, I do manage to grow and preserve most of the herbs we use for the year. This year I dried and/or ground 17 herbs or spices and froze 3. Some herbs can be easily dried, while others take a little more time and patience. It's best to do when the herbs are at their peak in the season. But, I usually get busy with other things and am trying to finish up late in the season.

The easiest herbs to dry are Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Winter Savory & Summer Savory. Although Tarragon is usually easy to dry, I have had it turn brown for no apparent reason. Follow these 4 simple steps for "the easy" herbs and you will have dried herbs for the year.

Method 1 (The Easy Hanging Method) - Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram, Winter & Summer Savory, Tarragon, Corriander

1. Cut nice healthy herbs
2. Tie in bunches and hang out of direct sunlight until they are dry
3. Remove herbs from stems
4. Store in jar out of light.

Note: I also use a hanging method for Corriander. The only difference is that the corriander has started to dry before I bring it in. The whole plant is pulled out and hung in the basement. I either put a large bag around it or something under it in case the seeds start to drop off.

Some thyme ready to be hanged!

The two herbs that I have always had a hard time drying are Parsley & Basil. No matter what I did they never stayed a nice green color. This year, I dried them in the oven on low heat and convection setting. They both turned out a nice beautiful green. These steps are easy as well, they do require some attention though.

Method 2 (The Oven Method) - Parsley, Basil & Chives

1. Cut nice healthy herbs.
2. Place the leaves on a baking sheet ( I cut the chives in to 1" pieces)
3. Put them in the oven on low (150-200) convection setting or bake. I check them every 10 minutes and remove them when dry. This may take 20-45 minutes. But, be sure to check them every 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and cool
5. I crinkle them between my hands on to a paper towel then store in a jar out of light.

Beautiful green dried parsley!

Another method for drying herbs is in brown paper bags. I use this method for drying herbs like curry and rosemary. This method is not difficult...it just takes a little more time to do.

Method 3 (Brown Paper Bag Method)

1. Cut nice healthy herbs.
2. Tie the herbs in bunches the same as Method 1
3. Take small lunch size brown paper bags and cut holes in them for ventilation. You can use a paper punch and make some nice designs or just use scissors.
4. Then hang the bunches inside the paper bags, tie the top and sit on a shelf out of direct sunlight until they dry.
5. Remove herbs from stems
6. Store in jar out of light.

Note: This method can be used for basically any herb you want to dry. In the past, I have used this method for most of the herbs. I would put them on the shelves in "The Italian's" office and leave them there until I had the time to remove them from their stems. I had read somewhere, years ago, that this is a nice way to give dried  herbs away as a gift.
Herbs in Brown Paper Bag

Method 4 (Pressed Method)

The only herb that I use this method for is Bay Leaf. You just place the leaf between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper, place it in a book or under a book and wait until it is dry, then store.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harvest Monday...it's all about the Green Stuff

Mustard Greens that is!! This week I harvested some of the mustard greens. This is the first time I have grown them and they did very well.   "The Italian" and I are debating over how we are going to cook them tonight. What are some of your favorite ways to cook mustard greens??

Oh, I also harvested One Ounce of Snow Peas!!! Like many of you have said...this time of year every ounce counts!! This harvest brings the year to date total up to about 410 lbs!!!

12 oz. of Mustard Greens

Harvest Total - 13 oz.
Mustard Greens: 12 oz.
Snow Peas: 1 oz.

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions the host of Harvest Monday to see some more Fall Harvests!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Building Cold Frames

Well, the one cold frame is almost finished!! There are going to be two removable cold frames on this 4' x 10' bed.

First "The Italian" cut the front and back pieces of cedar. The front of the cold frame has three 2 x 4 's horizontally and the back has four. They are fastened together by adding three vertical pieces of wood that are screwed in to the boards.

View from the front. The bed comes right up to our deck in the back of our house.  

View from the back. As you can see, the cold frame rests on the bed. One screw was placed in each vertical piece to hold it in place.

Two pieces of wood were then added to each side.

"The Italian" then built the frame for the top. We covered the top with some plastic we had by using the staple gun. We really wanted to use plexi-glass...but, the cost was just too much! Next, we put some styrofoam insulation on each side. The insulation is attached with screws and washers. Then the top was attached with two heavy hinges in the back.

There are still a few little things to do to it before we can say it is finished. "The Italian" architect has some idea planned to hold the top open.

The only thing we purchased to date to build the cold frame is the two hinges!

I think my hubby did a wonderful job!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Tomato Review

This year was a very good year for tomatoes here....no Blight!! The total of the tomatoes that were wieghed came in at over 221 pounds! We are very pleased, especially since the total gardening space we have is only 230 square feet. This year I planted 19 tomato plants, which consisted  of 14 different varieties. All of the plants (except for 2) were grown from seed and all are heirlooms. I started 11 varieties of the seeds inside on 2/17/10 and the remaining 2 on 4/28/10 (these were the seeds my in-laws brought back from Italy). Next year I will start some of them a little later, probably sometime in March. They got so big and were quite a bit to tend to in the greenhouse.

"The Italian" bought me a portable greenhouse for Christmas a couple of years ago. It's like a tent!!  We usually put it up late in the winter over the one 4' x 5' bed. Four tomato plants were put in the ground inside the greenhouse on 4/9/10. We live in zone 6b, so our last frost date is not until May 15th. Due to the size of the plants, my lack of patience and a credit I had at a on-line garden garden supply company, I purchased some Kozy Koats (water cloche). 13 plants were put in to the ground on 4/30/10 in the Kozy Koats. The last 2 plants weren't ready to put in to the ground until June.

Tomatoes in Kozy Koats & Portable Greenhouse

Red Tomatoes:

Early Pack 7 - Determinant (I think) - These seeds were brought back from my in-law's trip to Italy this year. They look like a beefsteak type with some green at the top. I couldn't find any information on them. This tomato was planted in a pot and I think it really needed to be planted in the ground. The plant was very short & stocky. We didn't get many fruits and we really don't remember exactly what they tasted like. I will plant this variety in the ground next year to get a better overview on it.

Howard's German Red - Indeterminate - A very good tomato and one of our favorites! This is a Pennsylvania Heirloom. It is long with a pointed end , great tasting, meaty, extremely prolific and disease tolerant tomato with few seeds. They are pretty large for a long tomato, many weighing up to a pound. This is supposed to be a canning tomoto....but it's great for eating too.

Italian variety - Semi-Determinant - This is a variety that my in-laws gave to me about 4 years ago from a trip to Italy. They look like a small San Marzano. They produce well. However, they seem to be the first plants to be affected by disease. They are good for cooking and canning.

Lancaster County Italian Paste  - Indeterminate - The fruits are a medium size and square shaped with ridges. They are very prolific and very disease tolerant. This is the tomato that I use to make my salsa.

Matt's Wild Cherry - Indeterminate - This tomato was the best producer, biggest plant and very sweet in taste! It's my "Little Garden Helper's" favorite. He eats them right off the plant and can hardly wait until they are ripe! I can't really estimate how many fruits this one plant produced. However, I can tell you that I would pick a basket of 100, 2-4 times a week! Origin of seed; friends of U.of Maine AG faculty members, Dr. Laura Merrick and Dr. Matt Liebman, brought seeds to Maine from her family's home state of Hidalgo in Eastern Mexico it's the region of domestication of tomatoes The original seeds were picked from plants growing wild. Therefore, this is a species of wild tomato.

Paulina - Indeterminate - I saved the seeds from some tomatoes that were purchased in 2009. They came from an Amish organic heirloom farm here in Pennsylvania. We purchased a couple of boxes for canning due to the blight that year. They are an oval shaped, medium size, very meaty fruit and had a decent yield. This is a good variety for canning and sauces.

San Marzano - Semi-Determinant - These seeds also came from Italy this year. This plant did not seem to get going very well either. It may have been due to our extreme heat and the time it was planted. So, the verdict is still out on this one. I will also plant this one again next year to get a better overview on it.

Winter Long Storage - Semi-Determinant - This tomato is a round medium size fruit with very good yield. They have yet to turn red and are in storage in the basement. I did learn that they have to be harvested without any marks on them or they will rot. I will post on their taste when they are ready to be eaten.

Pink Tomatoes:

Glick's Brandywine - Indeterminate - Of course it is a wonderful tasting tomato... it's a Brandywine! Although it is supposed to be a pink variety, I think it is more purple. This was the largest variety of my tomatoes this year weighing 1 lb. 7 oz. It was also the ugliest. It produced very well and kept going late in to the season. Seed Origin; The history is that the seed came via Glen Brendle, whose family obtained it from Isaac N. Glick, an early seedsman from Lancaster, PA, who distributed seed for Johnson and Stokes Seeds of Philadelphia. Brandywine Tomato was first introduced by them in 1889. This is supposed to be the most original of the many Brandywine strains.

Tiffen's Mennonite - Indeterminate - This is a Mennonite heirloom potato leaf variety very similar to a Brandywine. The fruits were large with a wonderful flavor. The plant was also a good producer.

Purple Tomatoes:

Cherokee Purple - As always, this is our favorite eating tomato. These two plants I purchased from an on-line company. I was not happy with the flavor of the seeds I purchased two years in a row. I would greatly appreciate in-put as to where I could purchase good seeds for this variety.

Eva's  Purple Ball - Indeterminate - Another great producer! It's a smaller very round fruit ranging on the average 5-8 oz. each, just the right size for lunch. This is a wonderful tasting tomato, extremely prolific and disease tolerant. Seed origin; This is a late 1800's heirloom tomato from The Black Forest Region of Germany via Joe Bratka's grandfather who kept this lovely heirloom tomato from dying out. Joe donated seed to a seed saving organization in 1992.

Other Colors:

Pineapple Bi-Color - Indeterminate - I was not happy with this tomato. It has always been one of my favorite eating tomatoes. This year, it only produced a few very late fruits. I would greatly appreciate in-put as to where I could purchase good seeds for this variety as well.

White Tomesol - Indeterminate - We were extremely pleased with this tomato! It's very pretty and has a very nice flavor. The taste is light, not acidy at all, not too sweet or rich, just light. It was a pretty good producer and the fruits were medium to large in size.

I hope that you all enjoyed my tomato review for 2010.
Also, if anyone has a good source for Cherokee Purple and/or Pineapple tomato seeds. Please let me know..thanks.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

This Harvest Monday....qualifies for....

The Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Harvest Award!! Last week's harvest was exceptionally big for this time of the year....so, I guess it evens out. I only harvested 3, yes 3 snow peas and 5 green onions.

Nothing went to waste though. When I brought in my large harvest of snow peas, "The Italian" was in the process of making a Mung Bean Noodle dish with veggies. He promptly grabbed them in threw them in the pan.

I got 2 and "The Italian" got 1!

Saturday I made braised short ribs in red wine....so, I ran out and pulled these 5 green onions. I have no idea where they came from. There are a couple of dozen onions in various beds around the garden. I guess they are some that didn't grow much in the spring. Yes, the short ribs were absolutely marvelous! I added some nice small potatoes and pak choi in to the pot at the end....yum!

I don't think that I will add this harvest in to my total for the year.....it was about 1.5 oz.!!

Stop by Daphne's Dandelions our host for Harvest Monday to see harvests!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

From Christmas Lights to New Germinating Table!

It all  started at 5:30 AM this morning. I was thinking about how to use Christmas lights in the cold frame to add heat. So, I started to do a little research on lights, lumens, etc. Then I thought that I better go down in the basement to see what lights "The Italian" had in his Christmas container. I had totally forgotten that he had several rolls of brand new tube lights! Haha, I knew I could do something with these! So, after a little more research on the internet I came acrross this. It was the perfect idea for a new germinating table. I had been using an old fold-up metal table with a space heater underneath it and hanging shop lights above. The space heater really uses a lot of electricity. However, I did not want to spend the money on those heat mats. They are really expensive.

After searching high and low, inside and outside....I even went over to the house next door (I own it) and looked to see what I could find over there. I found everything I needed to make a better and more economical germinating table. I had decided that I want to make two separate sections. Each section would be 2' x 4'.

First, I took a piece of plywood, 2' x 4' and laid it on two saw horses. Then I cut and placed insulating foam board that we had left over from building the powder room, on top of it.

It's kind of hard to take a picture and look like I'm cutting the board at the same time. Especially with my butterflied boo boo thumb.

I then tacked down the insulating boards where they came together with a couple of panel nails, to hold them in place.

Next, I cut six, 1- 1 1/2 inch strips of insulating board from the damage boards we had. I tacked down two of the wider strips on each side. Then I tacked the clips that came with the tube lights in 5 rows, spacing them approximately 5" apart. I had turned the lights on while I was working on the clips to make the tubes easier to work with.

The lights were then put into the clips. By this time, my finger was bleeding a bit and the battery on the camera went dead. So, I didn't get pictures of this process.

Then, the four remaining strips of insulating board was tacked down between each row.

Here you can see the clips and stips of damaged board placed in between.

The lights in place....this took some time!

I had planned to use an old piece of paneling for the top. After looking around and thinking that I didn't want to go outside in the cold shed to cut the plywood on the table saw....I saw some storm windows that we don't use!
The temperature on the glass with the lights on was 80 degrees after about an hour.

"The Italian" told me not to wash the windows....because they are just going to get dirty anyway!

Side View

So, there's my new, free, more economical germinating table in my basement!!
I will make the second half early next year.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I did a lot of canning recently and thought I would share some of the goodies with all of you. This is just a taste!

Pickled Jalapeno & Serrano Peppers and Red Tomato Jam.
The recipe for the Red Tomato Jam can be found here. They call it Tomato Relish.

Italian Farmhouse Green Tomato Pickles
The recipe can be found here
I used about twice the amount of tomatoes.

Cranberry Pepper Jelly.
Lynn at Woodbridge posted this recipe here. It is absolutely wonderful!

I'm planning to make some different varieties of mustard for holiday gifts this year. If anyone has any good mustard recipes for canning...please let me know..Thanks

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What do you do with a guy who looks like...............

Make him into Pumking Jam!!
Jack was carved late in the afternoon by "The Italian", then set outside for two hours to great our many trick or treaters. When I brought him back in to the house, I really hated the thought of just tossing him for compost. Since he was only exposed to the elements for a few hours, I covered him in plastic wrap and put him on the bench on the back porch to keep him cool overnight.

He's got one heck of a smile!!

The next morning, the flesh of the pumpkin was cut into small squares and marinated in sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, ground nutmeg & vanilla. The bowl or large pot is then covered and placed in a cool place for at least 20 hours. I put it in a cool spot in the basement.

After the mixture marinates for at least 20 hours. It is cooked on the stove for 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Most of the pumpkin is translucent after cooking for 2 hours. The mixture is then covered, taken back down to the basement and let sit for at least 10 hours.

After sitting for 10 hours, the mixture is cooked for 40-60 minutes. I added some water and a little more lemon juice, then chopped up the chunks with the immersion blender.

I got a little impatient with the immersion blender (since this is 4x the recipe) and decided to get out my avocado green blender! Yep, I have my original blender from the 70's! Now it looks more like a butter then a jam. I will see how the taste reviews come out and decide which way to chop it next year.  After cooking it. I took it back down to the basement to sit for another 10 hours.

The mixture was then cooked for another 30 minutes. I added a little more lemon juice and about 1 cup of water to the mixture while it was cooking. It was then put in hot jars and sealed.

The jam last year was made with a fairytale pumpkin which made it a little more orange in color. I think it would be good made with squash also.

The recipe for this pumpkin jam can be found here.