Saturday, July 22, 2017

Peaches and Salsa of the Zucchini Kind

We are still working on the peaches, canning them as they ripen. Yesterday's yield was six quarts, and we have a bushel left to do. We'll see how many ripened overnight.

These aren't the easiest peaches to can because they're the cling variety, meaning the meat of the peach tends to cling to the seed. So it's a messier process and rather than neat halves we have smaller pieces in most instances. But they taste delicious.

A friend mentioned that he was making zucchini salsa last week and that got me curious. Last year I pureed a lot of zucchini and froze it for use in chili, spaghetti sauce and other dishes. It made a nice addition, kind of a filler with no strong flavor but adding some good veggie content. So salsa? I figured it would be about the same.

And the way I made it, that's pretty much what it was. I admit, I cheated! I used Mrs. Wage's Salsa mix, medium heat instead of my own spices and salt. Mrs. Wage's is easy to use, and the taste is fantastic. With so many fruits and vegetables coming in right now I need all the help I can get. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of chemicals and preservatives in Mrs. Wage's as far as I can tell, and it's sure better than the store-bought salsa any day.

So, for the salsa, I used this combination:

6 sweet banana peppers
2 bell peppers (all I had at the time)
4 onions
6 medium zucchini (about 10-12 inches long)
and a bunch of tomatoes of all kinds--cherry, yellow pear, pink, red, yellow and black--enough to make a total weight of 12 pounds of vegetables.
2 packs of Mrs. Wages and 1 cup of cider vinegar (per package directions)

All the veggies went through the food processor with the shred blade. That left enough larger bits to satisfy me as I like a chunky salsa.

Then cooked according to Mrs Wages, put in jars and processed according to package directions.

How did it taste? Delicious! We ate one whole half-pint jar of it plus the little bit left over after filling the jars.

I will absolutely be making more. And looking forward to having it all winter long--and adding to chili too.

For a recipe that is all from scratch, click here.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Today's To-Do List: Peaches

There was one more basket not in the photo. The little plums are from our tree, the first we've had from it!
1. Pick peaches
2. Can the peaches that are ripe.

That's about it for today. We picked peaches at our son's house, beautiful yellow peaches that are bigger than he's ever had before on that tree.

Plenty of green ones

We got about two bushels, came home sorted ripe/unripe, and put up seven quarts in the end.

Fresh out of the canner,hot hot hot!
There are still plenty of peaches for tomorrow, so guess what will be on the to-do list again?

Loving this garden and fruit year!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dilly Beans and Dill Lore

The second picking of our Tenderette green beans yielded a half bushel, and since we don't need more canned beans, with 40 quarts in the cellar already, I decided to use these to make a family favorite: dilly beans.

These beans are crunchy and packed with flavor from dill, mustard seed and red pepper. They're simple to make too. My recipe is from my old and trusted pickling cookbook, a book I've had since the early 70's. It's where I learned about pickling, and I've tried a lot of recipes in it. from simple dills to pickled bananas and pickled crabappples. (These two are really more candied and spiced than pickled, and I like them both. Not so the rest of the family, sadly.)

To make the dilly beans: remove top and  tip of fresh snap beans. Pack into clean, sterilized pint jars with a head of dill, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seed. You can use a whole red hot pepper and dried dill instead, whatever you have on hand. Boil 3 cups of water, 3 cups white vinegar, and 6 tablespoons of pickling salt. Ladle that over the beans in the jars, clean the jar rims and put on the lids and rims and tighten. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Here's a photo of the recipe I use:

Dill can be a useful herb to have around, and not just for cooking. People used dill as a protection against bad luck and evil, and often placed it in babies' cradles to keep the babies safe. Some carried little sachets of dill in their pockets, and in Greece some hung stalks of it in their homes.

Apparently dill was considered a valuable herb, one used to pay tithes, as mentioned in Matthew 23:23--

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (from the King James version).

A drink was made of dill and other ingredients to as a remedy for a bad spell cast on someone. Dill was also considered to bring financial fortune; perhaps the seeds reminded people of Lunaria, Money Plant.  Dill was once part of traditional wedding bouquets, thought to bring comfort to the nervous bride. And of course, in that apparently never-ending quest to attract a mate, dill was often included in love potions.

Some people still use dill to help with indigestion and to prevent infections.

The website AppreciateGoods gives the following dill trivia:

The Serbian proverb “bitimirodjija u svakoj Ĩorbi” (to be a dill in every soup) means ‘to be involved or be knowledgeable in many things’.
In ancient Greece, athletes used to apply dill essence over their body as a muscle toner before participating in the games.
During the medieval period in Europe, dill was believed to protect people from witchcraft and curses.
One tablespoon of dill seed contains more calcium than there is in one cup of milk.
In Sweden, dill is used to flavor potato chips, which they call ‘dillchips’.

So, back into the kitchen I go to finish the last batch of dilly beans. This house is smelling good!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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