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Archive for January, 2014

Making salsa is a great way to use tomatoes from the garden.

Making salsa is a great way to use tomatoes from the garden.

We’re in the heart of winter here, and that makes me miss the long, wonderful days of summer. I wrote this post and recipe a while ago but realized I never shared it here.

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Right at the end of July and early August, we had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with. This is a perfect time to make a big batch of fresh salsa.

While I’m good with the jar salsa, there is nothing like when it’s fresh out of the garden with no cooking to muddle the flavors.

Here’s what you need:

• About two or three pounds of tomatoes, chopped. Ours were a mix of Roma and regular tomatoes (Brandywine and Celebrity are what we grew).

• A bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

• Hot peppers. We used about four jalapeños (two seeded, two with seeds) and two Anaheim peppers.

• One lime, for juice and zest

• Half of a medium onion, chopped

• Four cloves of garlic, minced

• Salt

Mix all the chopped vegetables and herbs together. Squeeze out the juice from both lime halves and add the zest from one half. Add a couple pinches of salt and mix again. Let sit overnight so the flavors mix. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Should make about six cups of salsa.

* To avoid the salsa being too watery, you can squeeze out some of the pulp & juice from the tomatoes before chopping. Add it back to the salsa until it’s desired consistency.

* As always, you can adjust to taste. To make it less spicy, remove the pepper seeds and ribs. Cilantro is necessary, but you can add more or less, depending on taste.

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I wrote this in November and forgot to post it. But instead of re-writing it, I’ve decided to put it on the blog anyway. We haven’t been keeping up with the in-bed composting as often as we planned, mostly because we haven’t been collecting kitchen scraps and our stash of leaves is soaked from the snow. 

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A couple weeks ago we did some major fall clean up in the garden. It’s always sad to rip everything out, but what wasn’t diseased was cut up and tossed into the compost bin.

We were able to save some of the herbs and preserve them for the winter (more on that later). As I mentioned in other posts, we have lots of beautiful trees on our street. In past years, we’ve shredded them and added the leaves to our garden beds to decompose over the winter. But I recently learned many of the pests that plague our garden – most notably the cucumber beetle – overwinter in leaf debris, so we’re switching it up.

I know it will be impossible to keep all the leaves out of the garden, but I don’t want big piles on each bed, so we’re trying in-bed composting. The basic concept is digging a big hole and adding your green material (plant debris, vegetable scraps, etc.) and brown material (dried leaves, shredded paper, etc.) and burying it. The idea is it will breakdown over the winter and add nutrients directly to the beds.

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It’s hard to think about gardening when temperatures are near zero with negative wind chills. We’re in Ohio and just got past the cold spell brought on by the “polar vortex.” But, that being said, we’re still thinking about the garden. There are two things I’m hoping happen with this deep freeze.

1. It kills any eggs/larva of the insects that destroyed many of our plants: squash vine borer, leaf hoppers, squash bugs and cucumber beetles. Especially the last one because those were awful this year.

2. Our garlic survives. We bought some on a whim and planted them a little later than we should have. I really hope they had time to set some roots before it got too cold.

We have another goal this year: to post more often. I have quite a few recipes, stories, plans for next year and other things to share from the past season.

Finally, I’ve noticed a lot of views coming from Australia and New Zealand recently, which makes sense because of the opposite seasons. So I’d like to say welcome! I hope you enjoy what you find here, and it helps your garden in some way!

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