16 cups tomatoes, diced
1-2 sweet onions, minced
4 tbs garlic, minced
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs parsley, minced (can substitute kale)
1 tbs oregano
2 tbs basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp summer savory
1 – Puree tomatoes in food processor.
2 – Add all ingredients to crockpot, stir well to combine.
3 – Cook on low with crockpot lid ajar (to allow steam to escape) for up to 24 hours! Liquid will reduce by half.
4 – Ladle into hot pint (or half-pint jars), add hot lids and rings, process for 30 minutes (at 3500′ elevation) in boiling water bath.
This is a yummy, nutritious way to stretch your basil into a great pesto!
2 cups kale leaves, stems removed, roughly chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Briefly steam kale in steamer basket (about 30 seconds), then dunk into ice water to stop cooking. Drain.
Add kale, basil, walnuts and garlic to food processor. Process about one minute. Slowly add olive oil until pesto is smooth.
Stir in parmesan cheese.
Serve over pasta, or freeze in flat quart-sized Ziploc bags (as a thin slab of pesto).
I make a bunch of jars of these tomatoes each year; I use at least 1 pint per week and sometimes several more. Tasty, easy, fast!
4 cups tomatoes per quart jar
2 tablespoons lemon juice (per quart jar)
1 teaspoon sea salt (I use RealSalt – per quart jar)
I do not peel my tomatoes, primarily because I can my own organically-grown fruit. If you’re using non-organic tomatoes, they should be dipped in boiling water for 60 seconds then into ice water, to peel.
Core tomatoes if necessary; quarter then dice roughly.
Heat diced tomatoes in juice in a large stock pot, stirring frequently. Boil gently for 5 minutes.
Fill hot, sterile quart jars with hot tomatoes, leaving a 1-inch headspace.
Add lemon juice and salt to each jar. Top with hot lids and rings. Process in boiling water canner for 60 minutes (at 3500′ elevation – 50 minutes for lower elevations, adjust for higher).
To use this recipe to make pint jars, use 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint jar, process for 45 minutes.
This is a great recipe to either can or freeze, when an abundant tomato harvest means that you need to utilize every possible option to use them up! It’s also more healthy and better tasting than store-bought. For organic or homegrown tomatoes, I do NOT skin them.
16 cups Roma or Amish Paste tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 cup red bell peppers, diced
1/2 to 1 cup onions, diced (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup dehydrated diced onions)
2-3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 2 tablespoons dried basil)
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano)
1 tablespoon sea salt
4-6 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 tablespoons jarred minced garlic)
1-2 tablespoons honey (optional, if you prefer it sweeter)
1 – Wash and chop tomatoes. I simply quarter them then slice sideways through the quarters 2-3 times so they are in rough pieces. It is NOT necessary to blanch and remove skin in this recipe!
2 – Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot, and cook on High for one hour, then turn to Low, prop the lid ajar with a toothpick to let steam escape, and let cook 12+ hours. I set this up during the day and let it cook overnight. The lycopene in tomatoes is released during long, slow cooking, so you are actually making your tomato paste more nutritious with a long cook time! The released steam will condense your tomato paste so it isn’t so watery.
3 – Let cool somewhat after cooking. (I remove the lid entirely)
4 – Remove the bay leaves.
5 – Process in batches through a food processor until smooth. This micro-minces the very soft skins so they are virtually undetectable in the final product. Dump batches into stockpot as you go, and reheat gently as you prepare 1/2 pint jars for canning (boiling them in hot water for 10+ minutes, and place lids in very hot but not boiling water to soften).
6 – Here in Billings, Montana we are at 3500 feet elevation, so I add a bit of processing time. Process 1/2 pint jars for 50 minutes in hot water bath.
I just have to share this great recipe from my friend… it’s great for this time of year! I have to admit that it is presently the *only* coleslaw recipe that I actually like… can’t stand raw onions in my slaw, or sugar, or Miracle Whip (feeling faint). This hits the spot, especially when you’ve got a big, fresh, organic head of cabbage just begging for special treatment. We find it super delicious! Here goes:
4 cups green cabbage, chopped
1-2 medium carrots, minced
1-2 green onions (or a few tablespoons minced chives)
1/2 cup mayo (thinking Hellmans or Best brands, or homemade)
1/2 cup sour cream (I use kefir or yogurt instead)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
pepper, to taste
She writes, “I use my vitamix to chop the veggies but you can use a food processor or the hand GOD gave you, ha. Blend the ingredients for the dressing and pour over slaw, mix with spoon. Enjoy!”
It’s super fast and really easy, and kefir/yogurt and apple cider vinegar are really good for you… let alone cabbage and carrots and green onions or chives! We’re having it tonight with roast chicken.
One of the blessings my family enjoys is that we have two very large freezers. They are often full, between the facts that my husband and I both hunt large game animals, when we buy beef it is a side at a time, and I garden like a crazy person in Spring-Summer-Fall. This is great!
What is NOT great is the fact that there are most definitely items in those freezers (and let’s don’t forget the one on top of the fridge) that are completely forgotten, mostly unidentifiable, and taking up valuable frozen-airspace. So for the past little while (ok about 2 years, but I choose not to beat myself up about it), it has been on my mind and conscience that I really need to get in there and clean out the freezers. A little bit freezer burnt? I can make that work into a meal. As old as my youngest child? That would probably need to go.
The benefits are obvious:
- Feed my family of four for less while we’re eating out of the freezer instead of the fridge;
- Responsibly consume the flotsam and jetsam of accumulated sides of beef… short ribs? Soup bones? One incredibly monstrous roast?
- Respect the providers and the garden: several packets of 2-3 each mountain trout caught by my kids… 900 pounds of shredded zucchini… gallon ziplocs of sliced rhubarb…
- Clear the way for the potential landslide of produce headed directly for the freezer as harvest comes in earnest. What doesn’t get canned or dehydrated gets frozen!
So I’m posting this as a blog basically for accountability, plus I figure I can’t possibly be the only one! I don’t want to let it slide again into the nether regions of the Arctic tundra that is our freezer space. I see alot of smoothies in our future. Some bone broth. New recipes as I attempt to find something that drains off the excessive fat off the short ribs so that it’s palatable to my leaner-foods-eating fam. And the friendly urban hens in our backyard coop will be the beneficiaries (and us, via their eggs) of what I just can’t bring myself to serve up on the kitchen table due to age or frostbitten status.
Tonight’s Supper: Ham, Split Peas and Lentil Stew.
Freezer space opened up: 8 cubic inches.
Want to grow more, healthier, tastier produce in your garden, without breaking the bank? Invest $20 in the new book “Gardening for Life” by Wayne Burleson, and start applying their ingenious methods! Wayne and his wonderful wife Connie garden in a USDA Ag Zone 4 garden in the foothills of the Absaroka-Beartooth mountain range in Montana. They also travel to 3rd world countries teaching native people groups how to grow healthy food using found resources and creative methods.
Wayne teaches that the health of any plant is in the soil, and that sometimes the old and mostly forgotten ways are best, feeding the soil and earthworms in order to gain a powerful health base for vegetables to really produce. To make these ideas work in modern America as well as poverty-stricken areas on other continents, he applies his natural problem-solving perspective to new ways of thinking.
It is a wonderful book, one I had the extreme pleasure and honor of pre-reading, and I recommend it highly!