Bizz & BooBoo

A hippie mama doing her best!

Holy Tomatoes!! September 20, 2011

Filed under: Canning,Food,Preserving,Recipes — bizzandbooboo @ 5:00 am
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I am a very lucky lady. In the past several months as I have become more and more frugal with our spending and I have been amazed by the generosity and kindness of others! Freecyclers are amazing, I have recently received spice jars (to store my homemade spices and herbs) and some wonderful magazines and books through our local Freecycle group. And I have passed on a large mirror which will be used by kids in 4-H to practice showing their sheep, along with a box of cleaners & beauty supplies that I no longer want or need!

Beyond the “stuff” I have also gotten some amazing deals on food – free and inexpensive. The peaches from my Putting Up Peaches post were a great deal from Chaffin Family Farms, the oranges from my Putting Up Oranges post were gleaned downtown – cost some time and ladder climbing. I also recently got 2 big bags of plums (post forthcoming!) from a freecycler. And most recently…. I got a call from my Mom Saturday morning that one of her co-workers had an abundance of tomatoes and would love to share with me!! My lucky day 🙂

Now, when I say abundance of tomatoes – I mean it. I have never had so many tomatoes in my house at one time before! I am starting to dream tomatoes.. and I love it!

My first project with the tomatoes was to make some good old-fashioned Spaghetti Sauce. I used the recipe from The Busy Person’s Guide to Preserving by Janet Chadwick – along with some adjustments from Lisa (my Mom’s co-worker) and a few slight changes of mine. *Note – if you are water-bath canning tomatoes you must be very careful that you have enough acidity for your canned goods to stay safe to eat – therefore before you change any recipe make sure it is a change that can safely be made!

Lisa also let me borrow a hand crank food mill – thank goodness!

The first step was to get tomato puree from the tomatoes. Everyone helped out (except BooBoo.. she played and then went to sleep)


Once the tomatoes were pureed I placed the puree with all the additional ingredients in my stockpots – I didn’t have a big enough one for a whole batch, so I split the recipe in half and did two batches!

Once the tomato sauce came to a boil per the directions I transferred the sauce into oven safe cookware and placed it in the oven overnight (for 10 hours @ 200 degrees). It can also be reduced on the stove top by simmering and stirring often. Though the oven method takes longer it was easier for me because it was already late in the evening (as usual!).

After about 9 hours in the oven (bright and early the next morning) I started getting the jars, lids and canning water bath prepared.

Once enough time had passed I transferred the sauce into jars!

And I ended up with 2 quarts and 10 half pints! Can’t wait to make a pasta dish for everyone to use it.


Jan’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce (with Lisa’s changes and Jesse’s alterations!)

Yield: 6-7 quarts

The original recipe is listed (what I actually did if different is in parentheses)

  • 10 quarts tomato puree
  • 4 large onions (Thank you GRUB for the excess onions!)
  • 1/2 cup dried sweet basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano (added an extra teaspoon, yummy oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup honey or sugar (I used 1/3 up of raw honey)
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (Didn’t have any, so this was omitted)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (I used 1 teaspoon per Lisa’s recommendation!)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (I used 2 plus a little)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 1/3 tablespoons dried parsley (used my own dried parsley that I dried a few months ago – yay!)

Direction:

  • Puree tomatoes in a hand strainer (thank goodness I got to borrow one!). Chop onion finely. Put all ingredients together in a large pot and stir well. Bring to a boil on top of the stove.
  • Cook uncovered in a 200 degree over for 10 hours – do NOT stir.
  • Start prepping lids, jars, water bath an hour before cooking time is up.
  • After 10 hours transfer hot sauce into hot jars. *To ensure safety of the sauce add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid OR 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice to EACH quart jar. Leave 1/2 inch headspace .
  • Process for 35 minutes once water has returned to boil.
  • After jars have cooled (I usually let them sit for 24 hours), remove bands,check seals, label and store!!! (and start enjoying!)

I have also made in the past 2 days…..

  • Pizza Sauce
  • Catsup (maybe… it might end up just being more pasta sauce, lol)
  • Salsa
  • Whole Canned Tomatoes
  • Tomato Juice
  • and I’ve given several flats of tomatoes to my Mother in Law…

Tomorrow I am going to figure out what to make with the remainder of tomatoes that are left!

What is your favorite way to preserve tomatoes?

~Jesse

*Shared on Traditional Tuesdays: Nutritious & Delicious 9/20/2011!

*Shared on The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter 9/22/2011!

*Shared on Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday 9/23/2011!

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Gardening: Goals vs Real Life! August 2, 2011

Filed under: Gardening — bizzandbooboo @ 11:30 am
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My garden:

Veggie Garden (photo by Seemann, courtesy of morgueFile.com

A beautiful 1/2 acre or so with rows of heirloom & cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, strawberries, squash, peppers and more. A small field of blueberries behind the garden area, with an area in between the two that the kids play and laugh while I am gardening.  I can hear the chickens scratching in the yard beside the garden and the butterflys and bees are plentiful in my wildflower rows! Summer’s bounty is brought in daily and eaten or preserved for winter…… WAKE UPDarn, this isn’t my real life????

Real Life:

This year I started out so well with seedlings in the house started from local organic seed companies.

I have drip line that is ready to put in (it is still ready to put in…. any takers?)

Crazy year of late cold/rain in our area made me wait and wait to plant (though maybe I should have just planted a little earlier and protected the plants when necessary?)

Half my seedlings ended up dying because I didn’t get them planted in time or I forgot to water them thoroughly enough, or Bizz and Booboo helped plant them and maybe were not quite gentle enough 🙂

My garden area is a small area between my house and the fence, doesn’t get quite enough sun for full day sun, but enough to usually do okay. The area was overgrown and rocky and a dog run when we purchased our house.

I only have tomatoes (Chadwick Cherry, Green Zebra and San Marzano), Cukes (Lemon, a pickling type and another I can’t remember the name of and lost the seed pack), peppers (2 barely making it Amish Sweet), morning glories that came back from last year, and a couple stowaways that I have no idea what they are yet but I let them grow as an experiment! Oh and two strawberry plants!

As of August 1st, 2011 –

Tomatoes – I have lots of green cherry tomatoes, only about 3 green san marzano’s, and the green zebra are growing well, but some of the leaves have gotten brown patches (see pic below – anyone know what the problem is??) and I don’t have any blossoms turning into tomatoes yet.

 

Cukes – Started with a ton of blossoms, had lots of them start to turn into cukes and then rot when super tiny (anybody know why this happens?), got our first cuke on Saturday (it was so yummy!!), and now it looks like lots are starting to come in.

Peppers – my pepper plants are struggling, only about a foot tall now. We’ll see what happens.

Strawberries – lots of flowers and got a few early in the season, now it seems that when they are just about ready every time some bug gets them before I do, organic gardening is so hard.

Morning Glories are just starting to blossom – so pretty!

Secret Stowaways  – doing pretty well. Not sure what they are yet. Here is a pic of one, any ideas?

How is your garden doing?

~Jesse