Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Home and Garden

I've been clearing up in the garden and have come up with amazing numbers of tomatoes - naturally all the fresh eating ones are close to being finished, but the Roma ones are just getting going in earnest. Of course, we have already had frost episodes, so they don't have much time to ripen.
I went out on Saturday and collected a big green pickle bucket full of ripe and (mostly) not ripe ones, which I washed and separated into hopeful (for sitting around and turning red indoors) and hopeless. There were a LOT of green ones, so I looked up recipes and decided on green tomato chow.
The recipe called for a peck of green tomatoes. Now, I don't know how to measure a peck, but Fred found references on t'internet - one said a peck is 10.5 pounds and another said 12 pounds. I had just enough to come up the middle at 11.25 pounds. Sliced, salted and covered with water, and left them to sit overnight.
Next day, I chopped 5 pounds of onions (my hands still smell) and cooked them up. It made 11 of the big canning jars. Fred said we have to eat fish three times a week to use it all up.
I also found quite a few cucumbers - I had planted them next to the pumpkins, which of course took over, so I had no idea that any cucumbers had survived. I found a total of 11, and, as I had a recipe for mustard pickles which called for 12, I bought two and we chopped and readied the batch last night.
Since it's been so long since I've pickled, I made the classic mistake of putting the sauce on the vegetables, and, combined with high heat, the sauce promptly burned to the bottom of the pot! Dumped them out quite quickly, and, as the pot was BADLY burned, determined to try again tomorrow. Just as I was closing the fridge, I thought of the slow cooker - large capacity, boils liquids slowly - decided to give it a try. The whole batch didn't fit, but I put in what would, and turned it on to low. Got up at 4 and shut it off, and bottled this morning. They're dark, and quite runny - typical of slow cooking, no liquid gets boiled off.
I hope they're edible, and I still have some uncooked in the smaller pot to try in the traditional way tonight. The slow cooker made six large canning jars, and a sampler of about half a cup.
I'd like to try cucumber relish, but I wish that the recipes didn't make such a huge batch - if they don't turn out, you've invested a LOT of time and materials. The recipe I found called for celery, as well as cucumber, and I'm not sure that was a feature of the relish I had at Henry's. Didn't notice it, anyway.
The whole house smells of boiling vinegar, so perhaps I should take a break from all of this and clear up - we're hosting Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday so some major cleaning is in order. And then salsa!

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