Mustard and Canning Peppers???

Mustard and PeppersThis was our last harvest of the summer (almost…). We picked 28 lbs of tomatoes, 11 lbs of green beans and 9 lbs of peppers. I am on a food preserving roll as you can imagine. The canner and I are one…

Well we farmgirls can get a little confident at times can’t we? I did and so much so that I got a little sloppy and negligent.

I had experienced great success with my pepper jelly earlier, so when it came time to pickle some hot peppers, I was feeling in a groove. I rinsed those beautiful cubanellas, jalapenos and serranos off and they were beauties. Bright and bold. I was so proud. I read the part of about wearing the plastic gloves–you know that part about they can burn your eyes or get in a cut. Well, I really wasn’t sure where the gloves were since our house is in major remodel and is in upheaval. And well, I have sliced hot peppers before. And I will just take precautions. NO TOUCHING ANYTHING WHILE I SLICE THESE. So I set the rules, the peppers understood and off we went. Slicing and pushing out seeds. And I did not touch anything. No pain at all any where. I washed my hands thoroughly and admired the peppers.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Peppers

While those were processing, it was time to take on the tomatoes. I had water boiling to blanch the skins, I had jars being prepped in more hot water, I had a canner going, I had my kettle on whistling and I started blanching and skinning tomatoes.

OUCH!!!!OUCH!!!!OUCH!!!!

My hands were on fire. You know that feeling that you get when you burn yourself cooking and it will not go away fire? That hot that is not calmed with cool water? Every time I neared a hot pot it got worse.

I HAD PEPPER BURNS! Those little beauties had done me good!

I grabbed my handy burn cream and yes, I went I found my plastic gloves so the acid in the tomatoes would not be in contact. The burn cream did not help however.

Hubby, who is a problem solver, dropped everything and started to google a solution. I continued on with burning hands; I had to get these tomatoes done afterall! A little pain wasn’t going to stop me.

And then he approached and said “put your hands out.”

Squirt

Yellow mustard! We don’t even eat yellow mustard since we are seedy and dijon fans. But we keep some on hand for guests. Lucky for me because he told me to rub it all over my hands.

Rub mustard

Mustard on Hands

And RINSE.

Rinse

And MAGIC! The pain was gone. Wow. I had never heard of this DIY cure, but it is a miracle potion that little yellow stuff.  Write this one down or Pin it, but do not forget it.

I did wear gloves for the rest of the day as I had more peppers to do. But my hands feel great.

I do wonder if I am going to feel hubby nibbling on my fingers in the middle of the night. They do smell like mustard and he does like hot dogs; I’m just sayin’.

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

Pizza Sauce- Canning Recipe!

IMG_20141015_094829444If you are still picking tomatoes like me, you may be running out of ideas for canning them. We have lots of tomatoes canned so I started thinking about other things I could do with them.

Since hubby makes a GREAT pizza crust, I thought Pizza Sauce! I knew that I would so appreciate having “ready made” sauce on a busy night with a fresh crust.

First you need about 13 to 15 C of tomato puree. It took me about 16 lbs of tomatoes to yield this.

For  the puree I used two methods in this sauce. I ran 1/2 the tomatoes through a food mill. I don’t have a picture because I was not coordinated enough to take a picture while turning a food mill. I quartered the tomatoes and ran them through.You do not need to skin or seed them as the mill takes care of this. If you don’t have a food mill, you can find an inexpensive one at Meier’s or another store like that. Mine was $20 which was cheaper than any I found on Amazon.

While I was making puree with the food mill, the other half was roasting. To do this, simply cut the tomatoes in half, put them on a cookie sheet and roast at 375 for about 25 minutes. We have a convection oven, so you may need to adjust a bit. They are done with the skins are toasty.

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This is such an easy thing and a bit of a cheat, but you don’t even need to remove the skins. Run them through a blender and you have great puree.

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I poured this puree into the other puree from the food mill and let it simmer for a long time. I mean all day. I went upstairs to my home office to work and it just simmered and simmered. No lid; you want it to thicken. The thickness is up to you. All day simmering gave me the thicker, pizza sauce consistency I wanted.

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After I reached the thickness I wanted, I added 2 tsp of dried Italian Seasoning, 1 tsp of black pepper, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of garlic powder. You can add other types of seasonings if you would like, but make sure they are dried seasonings. In the bottom of each pint jar I added 1/4 tsp. of citric acid. This yielded me 5 pints.

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I processed these in my pressure canner according to directions. Please refer to your canning instructions to insure proper processing. Mine called for 11 lbs of pressure, 25 minutes for pints, and then 10 minutes to rest after the pressure released before removing. You could also water bath these using the instructions that Ball gives for tomato sauce.

The sauce thickened even more after processing and cooling. You can tell by the space remaining in the jars.

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I cannot wait to spread this on a fresh pizza crust on a cold wintery day and taste a little summer.

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #173

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Happy Friday and welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Is it just me or is everyone busy at home right now? Planting for fall, canning up summer, making a Halloween costume for my first grandson, remodeling, school and well you know that thing called a job that keeps me busy! I have to say I love it and am grateful for all the happenings, but am dreaming of VACATION… we are headed out a week from Sunday to peruse upper Michigan. It will be a week of fall leaves, apples and rest.  So, my list is long before my release to the road with hubby, but all of the chores are enjoyable. What are you up to?

Speaking of busy, Deb as been really busy over at Dandelion House. They are laying floors and redoing furniture and all kinds of things! Be sure to go over, visit and say howdy!

I loved seeing “Eggs in the Basket” last week on the hop! I have made many of these–we called them “Birds in the Nest”, but no matter what the name is they are great! The girls LOVED them growing up. I think I may have to revisit these this weekend.

Egg-in-the-Basket ~A Cheery Breakfast, photos, sunrise, sunset, waking up, a new day, quick meal, planning, sleepyheads, pastured eggs, sprouted grain bread, Ezekiel Bread, prayer at mealtime, Food For Life, asking the blessing, saying grace, Good Morning!, frittata, omelet, cast iron skillet, cleaning, cast iron,

 

Thanks for visiting and sharing. I love this part of Fridays. Don’t forget to stop by Deb’s… she cleared the paint out of her nails to feature Robin of Redo It Yourself Inspirations. and she really is an inspiration

“Farmgirl is a condition of the heart!” (MaryJane Butters)

 

First Fall Dinner!

I have been creating dishes with tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, beans and basil for several weeks now. As much as I love all that, I must admit that the taste buds have been craving some fall flavors. I teased them with a sweet potato last week, but that is about all I have ventured into so far thjs fall.

Yesterday however was a very cool, cloudy day. I had jeans on, a long sleeve shirt and even had to shut the windows to get the chill out.  Football was also on the schedule to watch last night. And then it all came together. Thanks to daughter Rachael and a late text message she sent me for a over the top Acorn Squash Recipe from Guy Fieri, I was on my way to releasing fall in my kitchen!

You halve and hollow out the acorn squash ,add a bit of olive oil, S&P and they are ready for roasting. One of the first things I loved about this recipe is that you use the seeds also. While the squash is roasting, you roast the seeds to sprinkle on top at the end. These roasted up beautifully.

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In the meantime, you prep your filling. It is a delectable mix of cabbage, peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms and seasonings. (don’t forget to get the full recipe here) I did make a couple of tweaks– I added 1 tsp of fennel, because I really love fennel with cabbage. I also sauteed the cabbage a bit longer. I wanted it to caramelize a bit— it was totally worth the extra time!

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This cabbage mixture is so good! Hubby said we need to have it as a side with many things. This would go great with sausage or pork chops; or with veggies like sweet potatoes and green beans. It was delish! I am really happy that we had some of the filling left over–it may be lunch today!

You fill the squash up, add some goat cheese and the roasted seeds and pop it under the broiler for a few.

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Hit it with a bit of parsley on the way to the table and it is FANTASTIC!

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Today I am back to green beans, basil and tomatoes. BUT NO complaints here! I love these things and will love them in the coming months when I am tiring of fall cuisine and need to open up my summer taste buds.

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Happy Unleashing your taste buds today. What’s for dinner?

FGU

 

 

 

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #173

apronWelcome to you and welcome to fall! We woke to 39 degrees this morning. Fall is here and I am almost there! We are busily closing out summer gardens and have started planting our fall garden and our plants that will winter over in low tunnels for spring.

 

 

We are so glad you have stopped by. Deb has highlighted a primo farmgirl on our hop this week…Carole of GardenUpGreen. 

As Deb says:

She’s got a can-do attitude the size of Texas where she pens her blog, builds garden projects  ( large and small ) such as raised garden beds, garden fences, chicken coops and greenhouses! As if that isn’t enough farmgirl talent, she also she raises backyard chickens, quail, and the heritage sheep breed, Jacobs.

This week she shares an inspiring story on her blog titled, ” The Art of Wool”  about her talented and determined daughter and how she took the leap from creating wool scarves and immersed herself in sheering, cleaning, spinning and crocheting one large wool blanket! It’s a delightful story. I know you’ll love it. And, I know you’ll love Carole, and her informative and inspiring blog.
Be sure to go on over and give her a friendly, farmgirl howdy!
I, for one, find this amazing! I mean I sew, but I go the fabric store to get my fabric. Carole creates her own medium with wool.  That is totally FARMGIRL COOL!

Now it’s time to link up for your weekly dose of farmgirl soul food! You’re sure to get your fill this week. Lots of our farmgirls have been busy in the kitchen canning, preserving, roasting, and filling their pantries with farm fresh goodness.Be sure to stop by Deb’s Dandelion house to  catch up with her and all her creations. She has been bursting with color!

You can leave up to three posts here. Be sure to check out what your farmgirl friends are doing too!
As always, thanks for joining and sharing!

For the LOVE of Tomatoes and Bacon!

Those of you that know me, know that I don’t eat meat often. As a matter of fact I rarely buy it and save my indulgences on eating it to when I am out and it is being served. It is not that I don’t like it, we just don’t get along very well. So, I keep it to special occasions. Last night was one of those!

Is there anything better than a bacon and tomato sandwich when the tomatoes have just been picked and there are five types?

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And how about if you have some field greens and fresh basil to top it off with?

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And how about if the bacon comes from a local farmer that you just bought hours earlier?

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And how about if the bread is freshly baked by your hubby?

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And how about if you eat pickles with it that you just made a few days earlier from cucumbers in your garden?

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And how about if you have a pot of Cream of Tomato soup (also from the garden tomatoes) simmering on the stove to accompany it?

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Can you smell it? Can you taste it? It was perfection… plain and simple.

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A bacon and tomato sandwich is simply a rite of passage from summer to fall for me. As I transition into 100% fall status this will be repeated with those last tomatoes that are begging to be used in a splendid way!

What’s your favorite indulge from your late summer harvest?

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

Here Comes the Fall Garden!

As promised, I began my transition into fall yesterday on Oct. 1.  I am not 100% official yet, but have made some necessary moves in the right direction.  This morning for example, I am drinking hot apple cider tea. It is wonderfully “fallish”.

I do still have tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, yellow squash, beets and peppers… BUT the pumpkins are looking good and they are prepping for their appearance in a pie on Thanksgiving. AND we have begun to prep our fall garden!

Hubby has spent the last couple days clearing a new area at BSA (Big Sky Acres) for our fall and winter growing.  This area is closer to our house and will allow us easier access in the snow. Last year it was quite a trek to the gardens once the snow and ice hit. This bed he is prepping is 75 x 45. We are going to use low tunnels for the first time! Another Farmgirl Passage for me! I am SO excited.

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Each tunnel will house a 3 ft. x 20 ft. area of plants. There will be approximately 4 ft. between beds. We will use electrical conduit and frost cloth held down by bricks to enclose the spaces. Last year I used the same frost cloth in our garden for spinach, arugula and kale. It worked great in our area and we were still harvesting in January in the snow. It was incredible to eat so fresh in the dead of winter (even when we were snowed in!)

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We are really thrilled about expanding and using hoops to build low tunnels. I am hoping that I can grow broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower in the tunnels along with spinach and greens. In the spring (March) I will use the tunnels to get an early start on spring veggies. I have not done that before either. I have started summer crops in the pole barn and then planted in June, but planting in the ground in March and harvesting some greens, brussel sprouts and peas in May sounds really exciting! My ultimate goal is to be gardening year around. (can you tell that Eliot Coleman is my hero and who I want to be when I grow up?)

I have been hardening off our fall green babies and they are ready to hit the dirt! (literally) They are so cute…

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Seeds are selected for other things that will be growing like spinach, kale, lettuce, fava beans and a sundry of other yummy veggies!

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It was really fun out there last evening and watching my hubby prep this area. He is so good at prepping my gardens and he gets so happy working outside! Jasmine is enjoying hanging out in our new area also.You can see the first strip I will be planting later today. Isn’t it so pretty? (and hubby is not bad either :-))

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I will keep you posted as these get built out and hopefully down the road I will share some pictures of veggies getting picked in the snow!

Do any of you use low tunnels and garden all four seasons? Advice or tips are appreciated! (and begged for actually).

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

 

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #172 and a WINNER!

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Happy Fall! My calendar tells me it is fall, but this week finds me still in the middle of my summer harvest.  I am NOT complaining about that. I am thrilled to still be gathering veggies and to have the challenge to use it and preserve it all! Fall gardens will go in over the next week, but I will certainly be overlapping the gardens I am working on for the next couple weeks.

AND WE HAVE A WINNER from last week’s contest.  Remember the great wall art from Sarah Hudock of Lighthearted Art? Well our lucky winner is June McConkey of the adorable blog The Heart of Junebug! Thank you to everyone who entered! We had 30 entries total.

Be sure to visit Sarah and thank her for the giveaway. While you are there take a look at the colorful, whimsical artwork that is available.

Time to link up your weekly fix of farmgirl soul! We have all been so busy with seasons overlapping. I can’t wait to see what you have been up to.

Be sure to visit Deb over at Dandelion HouseShe is always up to something colorful!

Thank you for joining us!

AND thanks for your understanding in our lack of thumbnails this week. Sometimes you get so excited you just miss a final checkbox!

Roasted Tomato Sauce- Canning Recipe

San MarzanoI love, love, love tomatoes in the summertime and like I have said lately, I am still in summer. I have so many tomatoes to eat and preserve, I am in heaven. The apples and pumpkins are just going to have to wait on me to catch up!

I have canned a lot of tomatoes as of late and this week I decided to can tomato sauce instead. I have not canned sauce before so I was excited to give this a whirl.

I love roasted tomatoes and thought instead of blanching and peeling the tomatoes to prep them I would roast them.  I had read you can do this and I went about taking this for a run. I had a full Homer bucket of San Marzanos and thought they would make the perfect sauce. I washed them, halved them and popped them on large cookie sheets with the skin side up. No oil or seasonings; just red tomatoes.

I had 3 full size trays and 2 half trays in the oven. Let the roasting begin!

cookie sheet

In Oven

They roasted so beautifully.  I decided not to peel them but to simply remove them from the tray and get them in the Vitamix. The tomatoes right off the sheets were good enough to eat. I had to restrain myself!

Off the sheet

Roasted

Blend

After the Vitamix I had this…

after blender

The skins were taken care of by the Vitamix, but I had seeds.  I wanted to remove them for this sauce. That is optional, but I put this sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds and then brought it to a boil.

Sauch

I used my Ball book for processing instructions and started canning the sauce and ended up with the most lovely product ever. I am looking forward to opening these during the cold days of winter!

out of the canner

I am also going to make some more! Six jars will not last I can guarantee!

Are you still harvesting and preserving summer?

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

 

It is Fall, But I am Stuck in Summer

pumpkinsTomorrow is the first day of fall- 9/23. Fall seems to be in the air. With evening temps hitting the 40’s and daytime highs being in the 70’s it feels more and more like it every day. Driving over the weekend I saw tree leaves turning beautiful colors and pumpkins and mums sitting on front porches. I see scarecrows outside and feel the breezes outside and pouring in through our windows. I love fall and the change of seasons here in Indiana.

As much as I love fall, I confess that I am not quite there yet. I still have summer in my blood and tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, peppers and green beans on the vines.

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I really need to harvest my basil and get it dried, frozen and whipped into pesto before too many cool nights take it away. I have so much summer squash still to pick and feast on AND I am NOT tired of it yet. We have so many green beans that we are eating them daily, BUT I am NOT tired of them yet. I have canned over 100 lbs of tomatoes and still have double that left to do AND I am NOT tired of it yet. So it is summer still in my garden and soul but it is fall on my thermometer.

I am planning my fall garden and I have my green babies ready to go into the ground. I have cover crop seed ready to go. I am about ready to pick our pumpkins. I have a list with tons of fall gardening activities on it, but I am still in summer. I still am grilling out dinner, I am still basking in the sunshine on my deck and I am still savoring every bite of tomato that I pick and turn into a sandwich. But the clock is ticking for fall activities. I will soon lose my precious 10 hours of daylight each day that my green babies need as the days are getting shorter. I know that I need to kick into fall but I am stuck in summer still.

I think I will allow myself to bask in summer for the rest of the month.  I will enjoy my summer gardens to the last precious thing that I pick in the next 10 days or so. I will begin to work the ground that my fall crops will go into, but I will still enjoy my summertime moments that remain. On October 1 I think I will transition over. My scarecrows will come out, I will get some mums to decorate the front porch, place my pumpkins out for decor and will take down my “Summertime is here” signs. But for today, it is 58 degrees, BUT the sun is out and I am going to go pick some green beans and tomatoes.

Happy Unleashing your Season (whatever it may be!)

FGU