Busy in the kitchen

We’ve had a few tomatoes from our garden, but not nearly enough to start cooking with or preserving.  David and I decided that we’d roast or dehydrate a few at a time when we have time.  We figured with the way the tomatos are ripening, we wouldn’t start our saucing operations until the end of July or beginning of August.

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There are a few red San Marzanos, but most of them are still quite green.P1020375

The Indigo Rose are ripening, and thanks to a suggestion from a reader, we’re leaving them on the vine until they feel soft.  These will be for salads and roasting.

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The Jaune Flamme are going to be great for drying and roasting.  There are bunches of ripe ones, but there are not many at the same time.  I did get out the dehydrator though, and figured this was enough to do our first batch.

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Our last tomato that is producing fruit right now is the Isis Candy.  These are great to eat in salads.  As you can see though, we’re far from peak tomato season.

Then David chatted with our neighbor across the street.

He told us that he was headed out of town and we should pick all of his tomatoes.
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David and I went across the street, dug around for a little while, and proudly came home with two overflowing bowls of fruit.  There should be more later in the week, but we cleared out everything we could find.

And decided that we’d make our first batch of salsa!

I set aside the largest for slicing (every dinner comes with a caprese salads or tomatoes drizzled with vinegar and olive oil), the smallest for dehydrating and chopped up 7lbs for salsa.  We were going to stick to the Blue Book, but I found a salsa recipe that we’re trying instead.  When our neighbor gets back in town, he’ll get a couple jars of salsa and pickles.

Yes, he gave us cucumbers too.

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He has some gorgeous salad cucumbers, which David made into an Israeli cucumber and tomato salad.  The ones that weren’t too seedy, were quartered and turned into dill pickles. We picked up some pickling spice at Penzy’s earlier this spring, and have been itching to try it.

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Our vines had cucumbers growing on them also.  We’ve been pleased with the shape, size and yield of our little leaf cucumber plants.  I’ve been trying to move away from hybrids, but this one is making me think about that decision.

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We have two vines on the ladder.  The vines are full of flowers and have over a dozen cucumbers in the midst of growing right now.

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I picked these off our two ladder vines and the one in the backyard.  I snagged a few cayenne peppers and a handful of dill and it was time to make dill pickles.

At that point, I put my camera down and focused on cooking.

Our end tally was:

2 pint and half jars (1 chips, 1 spears)

5 pint jars (2 spears, 1 spicy spears, 1 spicy chips, 1 zucchini chips)

And then there were the apricots.
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David bought apricots at Costco for canning, as our new tree isn’t producing this year. We had enough for a half batch of jam.  We decided on something savory, and chose Apricot-Ginger-Rosemary jam.  The amount we had filled two half pint jars and gave us a little bit left over.  The leftover jam was later cooked with caramelized onions and used to top pork chops.

We will savor this jam, and I highly recommend the recipe.  There’s just enough crystalized ginger and rosemary to make it interesting but not overpower it.

We just may be picking up more apricots to make more.

 

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3 thoughts on “Busy in the kitchen

    • We’ve never canned salsa before and I’m happy to report it was super easy. We hope we did everything right! I still can’t believe how much food you’re able to grow in your garden!

  1. Last September, my landlord had a bunch of green tomatoes left and told me to take as many as I wanted, so I made “salsa verde” from my Ball canning book. WOW! I think it was even better and tastier than regular red salsa! There is nothing quite like gardening! Enjoy!

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