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.

Q is for Quinoa-Flake Fruit Crisp Topping

Pronounced keen-wa. It is a pseudocereal, which means the seeds are used like cereal grains, but the plant is not a true grass. You might not expect this, but quinoa is related to beets and spinach. Whole seeds, flakes and flour are eaten here. In some parts of the world, the greens are eaten also.

Quinoa is an ancient crop, considered sacred by the Incas. Christian Spanish conquistadors did not like that and banned quinoa. It has been a slow road back to popularity. And we can thank the gluten free diet for increased interest in delicious, nutritious quinoa.

 

quinoa-flower photo by net_efekt

Sopanins

Quinoa seeds have a natural coating called sopanins that taste soapy and bitter. It is a natural defense system that makes the seed distasteful to birds. They will not eat the crop in the field before it sprouts.

We do not like the taste of sopanins either and used to have to rinse the seeds with three changes of water. You could see the soapy bubbles disappear with each rinsing. But now, most commercially available quinoa is already rinsed for you. Modern day quinoa might qualify as convenience food!

Nutrition

Quinoa has more protein than any other grain, and it is complete protein.

The World’s Healthiest Foods notes: because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.  

IMG_0562 

quinoa-flour-flakes-and-seeds photo by vsimon

Seeds, Flakes and Flour

My regular grocery store stocks quinoa seeds, flakes, and flour. I use all of them. The seeds are my favorite though. The tiny circular seeds cook to a fluffy texture and pleasant mild flavor. I love the seeds for hot breakfast cereal, warm pilafs and cold salads. I will be posting some of these recipes in the future.

Quinoa seeds cook in only 15 minutes, much quicker than whole grain rice. You can use it in place of rice in many dishes. Quinoa comes in white and natural red colors. I have only used the white, which seems a more versatile color to me.

The flakes are often used for hot cereal. Some describe the flavor and texture as mild and smooth. Think baby’s first food, like pablum. Some, my husband, call it mushy. He prefers the texture of cooked oatmeal.

The flakes really shine in fruit crisp toppings. See the recipe below.

I use the flour in breads and other baked goods. I do find the flour strong tasting. If it is a very large percentage of the flour in the dish, it can taste a bit soapy. Or like a lingering flavor of too much baking soda. So I use it when I am adding other flavorful ingredients.

quinoaflakecrisp

rhubarb-cherry-crisp-with-quinoa-flake-topping photo by vsimon

Summer Fruit Crisp

A summer fruit crisp is a tasty way to get acquainted with quinoa flakes. I use the topping for any number of fruits, singly and in combination.

Today we make rhubarb cherry crisp. You could just as easily use blueberries, peaches or apples. Use less sugar in the filling with sweeter fruit.

You can also use pretty much any whole grain gluten free flour you like.  But do not use soy flour, you will ruin the taste of perfectly good fruit.

You can bake the crisp in a medium pan, or use ramekins for individual servings. And the crisp freezes well. Make a lot and have some later in the week, or much later in the winter. I like to use pyrex containers with lids. The bottom is oven safe and the lid works great in the freezer. They are easy to stack too.

Rhubarb and Cherry Crisp

Serves 6

 

7/8 c sugar, divided

½ cup quinoa flakes

½ cup sorghum flour

½ cup nuts

¼ cup oil

6 cups total chopped rhubarb and tart cherries, in any combination

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix ½ cup sugar, quinoa flakes, sorghum flour, nuts and oil.

Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 inch oven safe glass or ceramic pan. Or six individual ramekins. Put in the fruit, and sprinkle on the remaining sugar. Crumble the topping over the fruit.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is toasty. Cool a bit before devouring, or you will burn your mouth. 🙂

Do you like quinoa as much as I do? What do you do with it?

Added 6-14-09 This rhubarb was the last of the season from our garden. I am happily submitting this post and recipe to Grow Your Own recipe roundup using our home grown produce. Hosted this time by Zora of gardenopolis.

Rhubarb Sauce

 

Bite on a stalk of cool spring rhubarb and feel your mouth pucker up. As the weather turns to summer heat, the stalks loose some of their puckery tang.

 Rhubarb is often a love it or hate it food. The mere mention of the word usually elicits a reactions, a smile or a grimace. Or a comment, ya or nay.

 
Only the stalks are edible. They can be green or red, the red is prettier. Good quality chopped rhubarb is available in the freezer section year round.

 

Rhubarb is an excellent source of bone building vitamin K. And it has 2 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving. It is also less than 30 calories per cup. But you will need to add sweetener to it. Sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, honey, and sorghum or maple syrups all work well. You can also use Splenda, or the new stevia based sweeteners to avoid adding extra calories. Since the sourness of the stalks change over the growing season, it is a good idea to start with less sweetener and add more only if needed.

 

Rhubarb Sauce

4 cups chopped fresh or frozen red rhubarb

½-1 cup sweetener of choice

½ cup dried cranberries, dried cherries, or raisins (optional)

 

Put rhubarb, and dried fruit if using, in a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to keep the rhubarb from sticking to the pan. Fresh rhubarb might take ½ cup. Frozen might not need any, it oozes moisture as it heats up. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. The soft pieces will be whole one minute, and completely fall apart a minute later. I like some chunks, so I take it off the heat as soon as it is tender. Add sweetener to taste.

 

If you have an abundance of rhubarb, make sauce and freeze it for later use. It freezes well and can be a welcome addition to next winters meals.

 

Rhubarb sauce is excellent with roasted pork or lamb. Or as a topping for ice cream! Veggies for dessert? When it tastes this good, why not?