Monday, August 23, 2010


My wife just asked me why the dog is in the last post.....

Can anyone really look at that picture and wonder why I put the dog in these?

Anyway, I have a container garden of peppers, used to have some tomatoes but they all died. Indiana is experiencing it's second year of blight since 1994, so almost all of my maters and about half of DD's are gone. No Green Zebras, no Mr. Stripeys, no Pineapple Tomatoes, just Black Plums, Rinaldos, German Johnsons, Whoppers, a few Pink Brandywines, and Golden Cherries.

My peppers were doing quite well, I lost my habanero peppers a while back, bad soil and I think not enough water. My California Goldens are doing really well, my scotch bonnets are doing well. But, my hottest peppers are my Bulgarian Carrot Peppers, which fell victim to a evil caterpillar 5 hours and the whole thing was gone. I have three leaves and 4 peppers left, so I'll hope to get at least the last ones out.

Oddest thing I realized, all our surviving peppers this year are orange.

Sassy Salsa - More Tomatoes for the Can Jam - Failure

While I do not have a glut of tomatoes, I am overfilled with peppers so what to do?  My family would never forgive me if I did not can lots of salsa!  They LOVE it.  My 17 year old even has her best friend bringing me tomatoes so I can "can" her some for when she is over there.  Seriously, this is some fantastic salsa and since there is concern over my Dried Tomatoes in Oil, I thought I would post this as well.  I have only canned two batches so far but I know this weekend the expectation is for much more!

Sassy Salsa

10 cups tomatoes peeled and chopped
3/4 cup green pepper, chopped
3/4 cup banana pepper, chopped
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon salt

Mix all items in a heavy pot and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until desired thickness (about 1/2 to 1 hour).  Pour into hot, sterilized jars, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per jar, seal.  Hot water bath can 10 minutes.Apparently this is not safe either for hot water bath canning so either pressure can or refrigerate.

Ok the above is the basic recipe - according to my kids - this is the "lame" version.  I added 2 scotch bonnets and one bulgarian carrot pepper without removing seeds or membranes.  This is what they call a "medium" version.  I'm not sure what is wrong with them!  Hope to get Woodman to post some pictures soon.  The peppers were compliments of his container garden and he is VERY proud!  Hope you give this a try!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tomatoes - can jam - Failure

Tomatoes are a beautiful thing.  Are they veggies?  Are they fruit?  No matter they are delicious and can be used everywhere - in salad, sauce, salsa or simply sliced with fresh mozz cheese, basil and a little balsamic vinegar.  So again, we are faced with a choice, what to can for the can jam?  After much thought I settled on

Dried Tomatoes in Oil, From Sensational Preserves (Hilaire Walden)

4 1/2 pounds fleshy, ripe tomatoes
sea salt
virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to the lowest setting.  Line the bottom of the oven with foil to protect it from drips from the tomatoes.

Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a teaspoon.  As each tomato half is ready, place it, cut side down, on a wire rack, spacing them slightly apart.

Sprinkle salt very lightly on each tomato half, then place them, cut side down, on a wire rack, spacing them slightly apart.

Put the racks in the oven and prop the door very slightly ajar with a skewer so that the tomatoes dry out rather than cook.  Leave for 6-12 hours depending on the size of the tomatoes and the temperature of the oven, or until the tomatoes feel dry but are still slightly fleshy.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Loosely pack the tomatoes in clean, dry jars.  Pour in the olive oil to cover, seal and process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.  While the book says this can be water bath canned - I have been told this is not safe so we moved to the fridge.  Store for 2-4 weeks before eating.

I was able to use some black plum tomatoes from my back yard garden and they turned out great.  Can't wait to try them on a pizza.  I also added garlic to one jar but I put it in the fridge.

This may not be a water bath cannable recipe anymore, the book we got it from is from 1995 and there is question as to whether it is safe to can. This is what we canned at the same time as the dried tomatoes so let's link to it!  And now, for something completely different....