This summer has brought a few new tricks to my culinary tool belt.
I thought I would share them with you in case you might benefit from them.
The first time I met my neighbor Jen she was cutting up watermelon. I was so intrigued by the technique that I immediately started doing it. She got the idea from Pinterest so I’ll share the photos from that site.
We ate so much watermelon this year because of this way of cutting it up. It just makes it so easy to prepare and to eat.
I have had tomatoes coming out of my ears this summer. There are still red ones out there as well as green. Looking for different ways to preserve them I came across “tomato powder”. I really like it. You dry tomatoes and then grind them up in a blender or food processor.
It is very handy. You can add it to anything your little heart desires. Another nifty use is take two tablespoons mixed with two teaspoons of water and you have tomato paste. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of recipes that call for two tablespoons of tomato paste.
I have a cayenne pepper plant that is still going gang busters. I removed all the red peppers, cut them into about one centimeter pieces and then dried them. Once they were dried (actually it was a few days later because I kept forgetting about them…one of the few down sides to having a canning kitchen …..in the garage) I gave them a whirl in my trusty Vita Mix and now I have home made cayenne pepper.
Isn’t it purty?
Pickles. They were new to me last year and our whole family
immediately demanded politely requested that I add them to the summer canning list.
This year we planted and grew our own pickling cucumbers. I’ll tell you, they were slow to start. A cucumber here. A cucumber there. Certainly not enough to make anywhere near a full canner load. Then my dear friend Kirsten introduced me to “Jan’s Damn Good Garlic Dills”. Not only are these pickles to die for but equally important they are refrigerator pickles that can be added to as long as you have the space in the jar. To make sure of that I used half gallon jars….six half gallon jars so far.
Another new favorite is that cucumber lemonade I’ve told you about. We LOVE it. I am however taking a short cut by using frozen lemonade concentrate instead of the lemon juice and simple syrup. Here is the original post (it is at the bottom of the post). Don’t be afraid to give it a try.
I can’t believe I haven’t told you guys about this one yet. A better, faster, easier way to process tomatoes. When you are going to use tomatoes to make tomato sauce or ketchup it takes a lot of work. The first part is easy. Just wash them, quarter them and heat them in a large pot. It is the next part that is tedious. Putting them through a food mill. It takes a long time and makes my shoulder tired. Since I have a Vita Mix blender I decided to try using it on a batch of ketchup. The Vita Mix will liquefy anything so I thought I would test it on tomato skin and seeds (usually removed with a food mill). Hallelujah! It worked. Not only did it make a smooth puree but you get more volume because you are using the whole tomato! I ended up with 18 half pints. This is a definite trick for my canning that I will keep.
Next summer I will be more adventurous with my garden. This year, life on a farm was about as much adventure as I can handle.
Ta Ta for now.