Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Here's what 8 1/2 lbs of tomatoes got me...

I started with about 8 1/2 lbs of tomatoes...beefsteak, roma, and a few other varieties, even a few small green ones.  I used the food processor, left the seeds in, as well as the skin on.  I processed for about 20 seconds and viola, liquid, lol.  I poured it all in a spaghetti pot and boiled for several hours.  I know that since I decided to freezer can them instead of boiling process can them, that I didn't really need to do this, but I did it anyway.  The boiling process gavei t some thickness, which we like in our pasta sauces (which is what we use our 'mator sauce for mostly).  I add (shh) 5 tbls of A-1 sauce, lol  no one in my house likes A-1 but me, but it gave it some zest w/out tasting like A-1 and they'll never know...well, unless they read this, rofl.  8 1/2 lbs of tomatoes turned out to be 2 and 1/2 of these Ball Freezer jars, lol.  I knew it would boil down, but I didn't want the tomatoes to go bad before I had enough to do a full out boiling process canning session, so I decided to go ahead and make my sauce and freeze the finish product.  This is 2 wonderful batches of pasta sauce, all for free from my garden..yummmm.  We'll season it to taste when we thaw and use it.

I've also harvested some of my globe basil....ohhhhh basil is devine. I love to go to the garden and just smell it.  I have it planted all over my garden (it helps to keep bugs and slugs away), and there's barely a spot in my garden that you can't smell this devine herb.  It's very resilient, in that I'll snip several sprigs from a bush one day, and 2 days later you won't even be able to tell that any had been snipped.  I've been snipping sprigs and giving them to my neighbors (except the hateful old bats next door, grrr).  They've dried nicely, so I'll be drying some more and storing it in sealed canning jars, and storing them in the basement (note: I won't can them, that's just a great way to store and seal them, even better than bags because they won't get crushed). The neighbors on the other side of us gave me 4 more tomato plants the other day that they hadn't had a chance to plant in their topsy turveys, so I had a section in my garden where the lettuce didn't grow (thanks to the overgrown weeds that my kids didn't pull...a hem, that's a different irritating post), so I planted them there, as well as I had a Green Zebra that I'd been nursing back to health in my zipper green house...can't wait for that baby to pop some out.

We've only gotten 2 cucumbers so far.  I'm so sad about that.  Last year I had sooooooooooooo many.  I crop rotated, so I wonder if the bed they're in now is getting too much sunlight?  Some of the cukes are getting yellow spots on them before they're even 3" long (and these babies get up to 16" long, so that's well before maturity).  I'm going back to their old bed next year.  PLUS, the hubs has decided that I need 2 tomato beds next year, not just smoothing them all in one, and I agree.  I feel some of the smaller varieties aren't performing as well because they're too overcrowded 4' in the air with their neighbors, vieing for nutrients and attention.  This is what's enjoyable AND annoying about growing your own food...learning as you go.  But, alas, no is what it is, and next year, I'll just try something different. 

NO green beans grew...grrrrr.  The hubs said he's till that empty bed again this weekend, and since green beans are fast growers, there's plenty of time for a new bed to grow and produce in the next month or so.

OH, I didn't tell you one of the most exciting parts.  Wait, did I tell you about the story of my rat terrier finding a nest of newly born bunnies in my onion bed?  I think I did a few posts back.  But real quick catch-up, she snooped and found a hole in my onion bed whilst I was across the garden tending to my gourds (OH, you should see those beauts...I'll take pics and share in a day or so)...anyhoo, I looked over in time to see her pick something up and fling it in the air to the golden retriever who, knowing something was just not right with this picture, just looked at me and looked at what she threw to her (sharing is caring, after all, lol), lieing on the ground.  I'm running over and I find this baby bunny, no hair, eyes closed, itty bitty ears and tail bob, and the terrier digging to get another, which by this time was close to the top of the hole. GRRRR bunnies in the garden aGAIN...NOW I know how Farmer Ted (what's his name in the bunny book?) felt.  I picked the itty bitty up and ran off the dogs, noticed a trickle of blood (just a teensy bit) near the ear, but put it and it's brother/sister back in the hole with the mommies hair and grass back on top (no worries, the next morning, mama had moved her babies OUT of my garden..whew).  Anyhooooooooo, about the exciting news, the other day, I was looking at the hole (because now I'm paranoid about bunny  holes in my garden beds, lol), and noticed 5 onions (pearl onions) just laying at the bottom of the hole.  They'd fallen through from the top of the dirt to the hollow part beneath them, to lay at the bottom of the hole.  I'd just assumed (as a gardener, i should know better than to do that) that the bunnies had just ransacked and ruined my garden bed and didn't even think to look for a harvest this year.  I got my trowel and plucked 3 rows of pearl onions out. YUM.  I've cut them in half and fourths and frozen them for stews and stoups and roasts this winter...double yum!

I just LOVE my garden.  I'm physically  not able to tend to it as much as I could last year, but I still try and get out there to enjoy it as much as my body will let me.  And sowing is wonderful.  I got 15 new potatoes the other day, lol  That fact just made me giggle with the fun of it!


meemsnyc said...

Yeah for tomato sauce. That is awesome. My tomatoes are taking forever to turn color. And now Hurricane Irene is threatening to come near us so I am fearing the worst that her winds will tear down the plants. I hope the storm veers off course and doesn't hit us hard, because i do want the tomatoes to ripen on the vine. Wow, bunnies in the garden! That would actually scare me! We have so many stray cats, they would not survive here. I love basil too. Next year I'm going to put basil everywhere there is space for sure!

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