The Numbers (updated)

131 148 half pint jars

35 41 pint jars

30 pint and a half jars

40 quart jars

256 279 total jars

It was a lot of work to fill 256 279 jars, but I spread it out over the whole summer.  I started in April when the rhubarb is fresh and juicy, making “Old Recipe” Rhubarb Jam and Rhubarb Chutney.

Old Recipe Rhubarb Jam

Old Recipe Rhubarb Jam          photo by vsimon

Today I put the last of my fermented dill pickles into jars from the crock.

In between I have put up 91 jars of jams and jellies, 107 130 jars of pickles, 9 jars of relish, 40 jars of salsa/sauce, and even 9 jars of ketchup.  

We have packed away everything our garden could produce, from fresh rhubarb, red beets, green beans, red currents, lots of ground cherries, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and cucumbers.  

Three types of cucumbers that were new to me this year.   The best being the “Pearl” cucumbers.   Just so, so where the “Lemon” cucumbers (taste like regular cucumbers), and not to be planted again where the extremely small “Mexican Gherkins”.  More on the cucumbers later.

gherkins

Mexican Gherkins                         photo by vsimon

And there where new things to try this year.  For the first time I made salsa.  Not the crisp, freshly chopped refrigerated type, but the cooked and then canned type.   Also new this year was a shot at making ketchup.  Ketchup without all the sugar or high fructose corn syrup found in store bought ketchup.

After much searching I was able to locate (from my sister Betty) the recipe my mother used to make the most wonderful, sweet pickle relish.  I have a niece who used to request this yearly as a Christmas gift from my mother.  

The biggest “new” thing I tried this year was to pickle green beans.  We now have a total of 18 pints of pickled green beans.   Three or four varieties of green beans where used along with a variety of different spices trying to find the best combination. 

Here is a partial list of the spices used: dill,  fennel,  caraway,  garlic,  black pepper corns,  coriander,  turmeric,  and red pepper flakes.  

Until we sample all the varieties, I will not know which of these spice combinations worked best.  Some will be repeated next year and some most likely will not.

.Preserve Shelves

Our winter stockpile                            photo by vsimon

So here are the shelving units in our basement stocked with all the great foods to be enjoyed through coming months.  (Notice the water bath canner and the dehydrator on the lower right hand shelf.)

So, if after reading this you start to question Linda’s writing style, please note that this post is penned by me, Vincent. 

And it hasn’t quite ended yet as I still have a grocery bag full of sweet and hot peppers to put up.   Any suggestions?   Have a great pickled peppers recipe?  Or maybe an “all peppers” salsa?   Let me know.

Update 10-8-2010 Today I pickled my peppers. Three different recipes, 23 jars. Short Brine Peppers, Pickled Sweet Peppers, and Marinated Sweet Peppers. All from “The Joy Of Pickling“. We now have many gifts for the holidays. Hope everyone loves pickles, jams, and salsas.

Garlicky Green Bean Potato Salad

bean and potato salad

garlicky green bean and potato salad photo by vsimon

You know when you have an ah-ha moment and everything works perfectly? This recipe is quick, simple, and successful. Three minutes to cook, can you imagine? In a pressure cooker of course. The stovetop works, but it will take longer, more like 10-15 minutes.

We are a household of 6 pressure cookers. Different sizes, most are stovetop models, one electric. I use pressure cookers all the time, for soups, dried beans, beets, whole grains, bone-in chicken breast, brisket, stews. A pressure is an obvious choice for things that normally take a long time to cook. You can often reduce the total cooking time to one-third the original time.

But I had never thought of cooking diced potatoes and beans in the pressure cooker. It works like a charm. The veggies are tender but not mushy, perfectly done. We enjoyed the salad warm for lunch on a brilliant sunny day on our deck. We saved the leftovers and had them chilled another day.

We loved the garlic and mustard tang of the dressing. I added some chives since they are growing on the deck, and walnuts because I think the world should be a little bit nuttier.

This recipe is from my friend and colleague Jill Nussinow, The Veggie Queen. It appears in her cookbook Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment. Jill also creates vegetable enthusiasm with her blog and a pressure cooking DVD.

I will print the recipe as it is written below. But I did make some substitutions, to use what I had on hand.

We used red potatoes and wide Roma green beans, straight out of our garden. Since we dug up a hill early in the season, we only had about a pound of potatoes. I did not weigh the beans.

This may be heresy, but I used generous dollops of jarred garlic in the dressing, rather than fresh garlic cooked with the potatoes. I also omitted the fresh garlic in the dressing. Cooking the garlic will mellow it, and using fresh in the dressing will give it a bite. I hoped the jarred stuff met in the middle.

If you do not have homemade vegetable broth on hand, Better than Bouillon has a gluten free vegetable base. Just mix about ½ teaspoon with water. Or use plain water and a bit of salt.

Rather than measure the dressing ingredients, I estimated and likely used proportionally more mustard.

It was the kind of dish you eat quietly, because you are enjoying it too much to talk. And it has inspired me to make more potato salads in the pressure cooker.

Garlicky Green Bean Potato Salad

Printed with permission from Jill Nussinow, The Veggie Queen

Makes 8 cups

Jill’s notes: You can substitute wax or purple beans for the green beans in this recipe. The key to having it turn out is to be sure that the potatoes are cooked and the green beans are not overcooked, which is why you put the beans on top of the potatoes. This may be my favorite summer potato salad, and I have many.

ingredients metric measures
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, like 
   Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold
725 grams
1/2 pound green beans 240 grams
8-10 cloves garlic 8-10
3/4 cup vegetable broth 180 ml
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 30 ml
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 30 ml
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 10 ml
2 tablespoons vegetable broth 30 ml
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional) 1

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and again in half so you have quarters. Then slice into ½-inch thick pieces. Snap stems of beans, and cut into 2-inch segments.

Add vegetable broth to cooker. Lay potato pieces on the bottom. Insert garlic cloves between the potato slices. Place green beans on top. Lock the lid in place. Turn the heat to high. Once the cooker comes to high pressure, reduce heat to low.

Maintain high pressure for 3 minutes. Release pressure with the quick release method. (Note: I run it under cold water and the pressure dissipates within a minute). Remove potatoes and green beans to a large bowl to cool slightly.

Put cooked garlic into a blender with the remaining ingredients. Process until the dressing is creamy. Pour over the potato-green bean mixture. Taste, adding salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve warm or chilled, stir before serving.

“Go ahead honey, it is gluten free!”

I am submitting this to this month’s “Go ahead honey, it is gluten free!” Hosted by Shirley Braden of Gluten Free Easily, thanks Shirley. The theme is Make Me a Happy Camper. The trouble is, I hate camping. Growing up, my family camped across this country. I always got welts from swarms of mosquitoes and pined (and whined) for a comfortable chair to sit in.

And really, where is the fun in bringing your pots and pans with you and washing dishes outside? A bit of dirt in the peanut butter, yeah, that is fun. Can you tell I do not camp anymore?

But a recipe you can do simply at home and enjoy at the picnic table could make it better. So I submit Jill’s Garlicky Green Bean Potato Salad, and will toddle off to the walking path, slathered in mosquito juice.

update 11/4/09 Real Food Wednesday

I have just discovered this blog carnival, and it is easy to support. I choose real food over processed every time. Hosted by Cheeseslave and Kelly the Kitchen Kop on alternating Wednesdays. This recipe seemed like a good fit for the carnival, so I happily shared it.