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AS YOU SEE, THERE ARE PLENTY OF TOMATOES. Mostly green yet. I’m not convinced that the red plastic mulch is a big improvement to aid ripening. Seems normal to me, even taking our meager summer weather into consideration. I think Ill skip the red plastic next year. We have had our share or ripe ones to eat, so not a big complaint.

Yellow flame tomatotes

Always a few crazily shaped ones.

Pink Icicle. I may save seed from this one.

THE REST OF THE VEGETABLE GARDEN is humming along.

Delicata Squash

Anaheim peppers

Japanese eggplant

Banana peppers

I planted a section of mixed mustard greens to use up old seeds: Osaka Purple, Gold & Ruby Streaks, Mizuna, and Ho Mi Z. Makes for a zesty salad mix when young and it looks pretty too.

Brussels sprouts are forming nicely and should be ready for Thanksgiving dinner!

THIS WEEK’S CANNING REPORT

Gingered Pear Preserves with a splash of cognac made on Wednesday are the first of the pear larder. They are a mix of Bartletts and Rescue. A little over four pounds yielded seven half-pints.

Daughter #2 has an Italian Plum tree and we picked about 4.4 pounds on Tuesday.

I kept out one pound for eating, split and pitted the remaining plums, and slipped them into freezer bags for later use. Straight out of the freezer and onto cake batter for plum cake. An easy and tasty winter treat.

Today another two pounds of pears teamed up two large mangoes for Pear-Mango Preserves. This one is my own combination. A little sweet and a little tart from the lime juice.

Pear-Mango Preserves Yield about 6-7 half-pints

2 large mangoes cubed to make 3-4 cups

2 lbs. pears, cubed (about 4 cups)

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

3 c./ 1.5 lbs sugar

8 oz. apple or pear cider (regular, sparkling or hard)

One 4″ cinnamon stick

about 8 basil leaves bundled and tied.

Combine pears, mangoes, lime juice, cider and half the sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to boil, add cinnamon stick and basil. Reduce heat to medium and cook 15 minutes. Add remaining sugar and cook over med-low until thickened. Turn off heat and let stand one hour.

Sterilize jars and heat lids. Check thickness of preserves. If too thick add a bit more cider or water; remove cinnamon stick and basil and reheat. Fill jars and process 10 minutes full rolling boil. Remove canner lid and let jars stand 5 minutes before removing.

ONE LAST thing. I hate the canning rack that comes with the big enameled canners. They are awkward to handle with jars. There are many jars that don’t fit the racks. I have a 12″ diameter cooling rack that fits perfectly and any size or shape jar sits flat without tipping. Additionally, if I flip the rack upside down, I can squeak the quart jars into the canner. I saw this post on Northwest Edible Life and thought it a quite ingenious solution.

Today at Outdoor Emporium I saw a really sweet aluminum stock pot with a nice rack; it would easily accommodate quart jars and was $32.00. It was very  much like this one. It is tempting as my old enamel canner is starting to rust after 35+ years.

Enough canning and harvesting for a while, I hear Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons calling…

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