Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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By Penny Stine
Monday, October 24, 2011
We’re supposed to get a hard freeze this week, so I went out and picked all my green tomatoes. Although they’ll ripen if you stick them in a paper sack, I already have plenty of tomatoes in paper sacks, and I don't want to devote my entire life to tomato ripening management over the next month or so.
So I began asking around for a good recipe/idea for green tomatoes.
Lynn Lickers said her sister made chutney, so I asked for the recipe. Meanwhile, I also let my fingers do the walking and googled green tomato chutney recipes. I found this one http://www.food.com/recipe/green-tomato-chutney-for-canning-385951 that sounded intriguing due to the curry, mustard and cayenne. I also found quite a few that were variations on the cinnamon and clove version of chutney – which my mom used to make, except she called it green tomato mincement. Lynn’s sister’s recipe turned out to be a variation of the cinnamon one, so I decided to try the curry version.
A friend got in on the chutney canning action and she brought over quite a few green tomatoes from her garden. We substituted some other kind of apples for Granny Smith because my mom gave me two bags of unknown tartish apples last week. We easily doubled the recipe and used extra cayenne.
We had three pots of chutney cooking on the stovetop.
We made 34 or 35 pints of chutney.
We still have green tomatoes.
The chutney recipe says to wait 2 weeks before trying it, but of course, we tasted it before we canned it. The vinegar seemed a tad too strong, but we hope that will mellow.
I tasted it yesterday on cold turkey and it was pretty good. I’ll be bringing some to the Daily Sentinel Halloween potluck, because I have 17 jars of it (plus more in the fridge that didn’t get processed).
Check back in a week for chutney reviews.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Well, the frost is on the pumpkin and the tomato plants are not looking too good. Since I have been babying my plants since February, I didn't have the energy to cover them with the first frost. Bye, bye, summer tomatoes. It was delicious having you.
I took this picture the morning of our first frost. It's three of my five beds. You can see the sad tomato plants and beans with frost. It is looking much worse now.
The pumpkin in the bunny basket was the only one I got from my growing a pumpkin in a pot experiment. I planted three pumpking seeds in a pot and got one pumpkin plant and a sunflower...? I don't know how that happened but the pumpkin plant did produce one small pumpkin.
The bunny came from The Daily Sentinel Christmas white elephant gift exchange. Nobody wanted the bunny that was found abandoned at The Sentinel. I thought he was darling and brought him home, (If this is your bunny, sorry, it is mine now.)
It was a fun, sometimes frustrating gardening year but now it's time to clean out the beds and make note about what worked and what didn't so when the excitement comes back again I will be ready with a new plan for a new season of gardening enthusiasm.
"But slowly and as always nature follows her own pattern. And mankind cannot change it - even in this super scientific era."
Friday, October 21, 2011
For those of you who really love corn on the cob...
A friend of mine sent me this You Tube video. This little man is so cute I wouldn't mind subscribing to all his cooking videos and what a great idea for shucking and cooking your corn all at once. I can't wait to try it.
Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn. ~ Garrison Keillor
By Penny Stine
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I took a long road trip over the weekend and visited my parents in Gering, Neb. My mom gave me several bags of green tomatoes from her garden (because I just don’t have enough of my own!) that I will let ripen and then dehydrate. She also shared this:
Mom didn’t grow this monster squash; she got two of them from a gardening friend. She cooked the small one while I was there. Half of it fed 10 people, with leftovers to spare. She put the other half in seven small containers in the freezer.
I’m planning on cooking this giant and will attempt to freeze it in ice cube trays (I got the idea from Sandra Rogers.) Then I’ll put little frozen cubes of cooked squash in giant freezer bags and use them in soups, stews, pasta sauces and anything else that needs to be thickened. According to nutritiondata.com, cooked hubbard squash has Vitamin A out the wazoo (yes, that’s a technical term we foodies like to use…) and is also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and potassium.
I'm also going to save the seeds so I can grow a squash bigger than my head next year.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, October 13, 2011
OK, I know I already blogged about making a ristra, but Jan of the awesome garden went back to Rettig Farms on Orchard Mesa and picked a bushel of red chiles. She paid $11 for the entire bushel, and she said it took her about half an hour to pick them all.
Next she went to Wally World and picked up some raffia for $2. We got together on a Saturday morning and pretended we were at art camp. We made four ristras in about 45 minutes, using heavy-duty sewing needles, fishing line and a washer at the bottom for added weight and a washer at the top for hanging.
Ristras are great for looks, but they’re also great for cooking, although it will take months (maybe a year, even) for the chiles to dry sufficiently. Once they’re dried, I use them in chile, mole´, enchilada sauce, salsa, stew, pasta sauce… anything that needs a little extra zing. I keep a container of finely chopped red chiles handy so I can sprinkle them anywhere.
This little gizmo does a great job of chopping dried red chiles:
It's a Pampered Chef Food Chopper, which I had relegated to an upper cabinet because it was just easier to use a knife for almost everything. Using a knife on dried red chiles doesn't work. It sends them flying across the kitchen.
Our four ristras cost about $15 (just guessing on the cost of the washers), or less than $4 apiece. If you go to local farm stores, a single ristra is anywhere from $30 to $40. Plus, there’s the added crafty, art-camp experience. Since I have zippo creativity when it comes to making pretty, crafty stuff, it was actually fairly rewarding and tons of fun.
Rettig will probably have the red chiles until the first frost (unless someone goes and picks them all) so there is still time to have your own art camp experience!