Friday, July 30, 2010

Corn/Black Bean Salsa and Sand Plum Jelly

It's that great time of year for the garden.  Harvesting and preserving!  My brother-in-law had picked a bunch of corn at his cousin's house and gave me some.  We don't eat a lot of corn but I thought I would try making some salsa with it.  Mmm, Mmm, good! 

Just need chips!

There are also so many things to harvest that you don't grow yourself.  You should really take the time to learn about the things that grow in your area that are not only safe to eat, but wonderful as well.  Around here, one of those things is sand plums!  Thanks again to my brother-in-law!  He had gone fishing back west this weekend and pick a couple of 5-gallon buckets full.  He brought me about 3 gallons worth.  A sand plum is small, about the size of a cherry, but let me tell you, they make some of the best jelly you will ever eat.  After sorting them out and getting rid of the bad ones (they grow wild so they would be perfectly organic and therefor a little wormy) they were washed thoroughly and then put in the pan to make juice.  No need to pit or cut and peel.  Just add water and cook until the skins pop then drain off and keep the water, then smash through the colander.  Take the smashed pulp and drain through a cheese cloth.  Add this back to the cooking water.  Measure out the juice according to your recipe and proceed. (I strained it a second time for really clear jelly).  Now I may have to break down and make some homemade bread!



I still have enough juice to make another 8-half pints!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fruits of Labor

No, this is not a post about childbirth.  It is about canning!  Some may think it is as hard and time consuming as childbirth.  For some it may be, but it almost just as rewarding.  After our peach and berry picking venture yesterday, I decided to get on the ball and get my fruits put away.  I froze my blackberries and I canned the peaches. 

The blackberries are easy enough to do.  Wash them by putting them in a tub full of cool water.  swirl them around a bit.  Drain, rinse and repeat if you need to.  Let them drain just a bit and then lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Be sure to cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap or a silicone baking sheet.  Let them freeze over night and then put into your freezer containers.  That simple!


For the peaches, they involved a little more work.  First they were blanched and then peeled.  Then you halve them and cut them into your desired sizes.  Keep them in water with lemon juice (1 tbsp lemon /gallon water) or ascorbic acid and water (1 tsp/gallon).  Boil your liquid, either a simple syrup or a fruit juice, I use apple juice.  Fill your jars with peaches being sure to pack them tight, I forgot to, so my jars ended up being only about 1/2 full of peaches after processing.  Then you can water bath can or pressure can.  I chose pressure canning because it takes less time, therefor less heat in the house for the A/C to have have to cool and less cook time means less energy used by the stove and the A/C!  I ended up making one batch with cinnamon sticks in them and one regular batch!  I may have to go back and get more peaches to can some more!

Peaches in apple juice

Cinnamon peaches in applejuice.  Shrinkage, Jerry!

I also decided to make a blackberry/peach crisp.  MMMMMM!

Hot from the oven!  Now we just need some ice cream!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pick of the Crop

Elijah and I went with some friends to pick blackberries and peaches.  We figured on a couple of hours worth of work in order to get what we wanted.  It ended up being about 45 minutes, if that.  The blackberries were big and shiny.  They were not priced any better than at the store, maybe even more, but they are so much better when fresh like that.  I go them home and wash them and immediately put them in the freezer.  Later this fall they will make a great cobbler!

Okay, I had to make him pose for this one, but he really did pick quite a few!

The peaches were big and juicy.  They were plenty firm and the kids had a great time helping to pick them.  We could have filled our 1/2 bushel box from just one tree!  Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do with all of them.  I think I'll try a recipe I have for peaches canned in apple juice.  No sugar required!

Sweet as a peach!
Such a ham!
Afterwards we went to Pops in Arcadia and got some cold drinks!  It was a fun time.  I think we will have to do it again next year.  Maybe this year if the peaches can well!

AAHH, refreshed!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

There, They're, and Their-My Little Grammar Lesson of the Day!

It is a huge pet peeve of mine, but I hate it when people don't know how to use the three words in the title of this post.  Therefor, please forgive my misuse in my previous post.  If you can't find it, I'm not going to point it out.  If you, just don't rub it in too much.

There-refers to where an object is.
They're-conjunction for "they are"
Their-shows possession

I also hate it when people misspell "y'all".  It is a conjunction for the words "you all" and the apostrophe is taking the place of the "ou".

Oh, oh, oh!  One last one.  If someone asks how you are, you are not good, you are well (unless you are not well).  Guilty!!!

Have fun gardening today, y'all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

HeAT doMe!!

Yuck!  It is that time of year again.  The heat dome has arrived.  What is a heat dome?  Fairly simply, it is this, high temperatures (95+), little wind, medium to high humidity, no rain in sight, and several days of it.  We get them every year.  It's 99 as I type this.

This week's forecast ;-{

After whining about all the cool temps rain in late June and early July, we are now paying for it with a lack of both.  This makes gardening even more of a chore.  After going for several weeks with just a quick watering here and there, now I must soak it every morning.  Most of what I have left are hot weather veggies.  Tomatoes, peppers, okra, eggplant.  (Yeah, I know, that is not a sentence.)  They still need water.  Even my okra looked a little wilty this afternoon. 

You know it's hot when okra looks like it needs to be watered, and you already have

Their not wilted, just getting heavy with seeds!
Nice shady spot

The grass is still green and lack of rain will keep it from growing so much, so less mowing for me.  I guess that would be the silver lining, if there were any clouds.  It could last another couple of weeks, so I'll just grin and bear it and wait for snowboarding in January!

The grass is always June!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pesto Chango!

My basil was getting a little out of control so...

...pesto and tomato-basil sauce!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Birds and flowers

I did a little rearranging in my front flower bed.  My calla lilies were getting very tall so I moved them to the back corner of the bed and moved around some of the caladiums.  It looks a little fuller but I'm not sure how the caladiums are going to fare.

                                   Sunny side out                                            
My Topsy Turvy birds are spreading their wings.  As of yesterday, we only hade three of the six left.  Hopefully they will all be gone soon.  My tomato really could use some good fertilizer.

The last three
This one tried to fly the coop and hit the window.  It was fine.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Topsy Turvy

Well it seems that tomatoes are not what grows best in my Topsy Turvy.  We have only had two and all of the other blooms have died.  The plant itself doesn't seem to be getting any bigger.  But look at what I can grow!

June 25, 2010
July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010


We are finally getting a little something form the garden.  I shouldn't complain since I got it put in about three weeks late, but I'm going to anyway.

Typical Oklahoma garden fare.  Tomato, peppers, beans (black), and okra!

Of course since it is just the first fruits of our harvest, there are not many yet, but I do see tomatoes on the vine that are just about ready and the eggplant is producing well, along with the okra.  Soon I will have more of everything than I know what to do with.

Two of my tomatoes, both are heirloom, but now I forget what kind.  Guess I'll have to find the tags!

Okra-Clemson spineless
I finally pulled up the mustard, lettuce, and spinach.  They were all on their last leg.  The chickens and ducks really enjoyed it though.

 <--Mustard before       Mustard after-->
As with most people, I hate to weed.  Enter young slave labor.  Well, he's not quite slave labor.  I did tell him if he would do a good job, I would pay him.  Probably more than I should, but it's worth it to me.  Saves my back and teaches him that hard work does pay off!   Besides all of that, I got a flower!

A job well done.  Eccl 9:10
I just get rewarded all around!