Harvest time

Whew.....let me say that again...WHEW!  Lately life has been hectic.  Full of harvesting each day and then choosing what is to be dried/dehydrated, what is to be canned and what is to be eaten as soon as possible.  First  I just want it known, at this moment I'm really SICK of eating tomatoes.  I eat them for snacks, I eat them with dinner, I eat them for breakfast.  Still more come.  I am sick of them yet I don't want to complain too loudly because I know that come February I will be craving fresh home grown tomatoes.  Lately I've even been drying any tomatoes that come off the vine with splits.  I figure might as well dry them so I can use them later.
I've been contemplating even making sun dried tomatoes(yes I know they're not REALLY sun dried but they are dehydrated so that should count for something) in olive oil.  I just don't know how long they would be good for.
I found out today that I can also dehydrate cucumbers.  I cannot tell you the relief I felt when I found THAT tidbit out.  I plan later on, maybe come late Autumn or into winter to make a chilled cucumber soup?  Or I can powder them and use them for flavoring.  Or heck, I can even use the dehydrated and then re hydrated cukes to make Tzatziki.  Okay so relief.  I can get off my tomato and cucumber diet.
Still though hubby and I will be making Italian Banana Peppers this weekend along with canned Ratatouille.
Here's the recipe for the Ratatouille we'll be using.  I got this off of the Frugal Canning Blog.  Awesome recipes there!


Ratatouille
1 medium onion chopped
2 medium bell peppers cubed
1 medium zucchini cubed
2 medium tomatoes cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. each basil, marjoram
½ tsp oregano
Dash of ground rosemary
1 cup red wine
½ cup tomato juice
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly chopped parsley
Heat olive oil in large heavy cooking pot. Crush the garlic into the oil. Add bay leaf and onion, salt lightly. Sauté over medium heat until onion begins to turn transparent.

Add eggplant, wine and tomato juice. Stop and have a taste of the wine to be sure it is alright. Add herbs. Stir to mix well, then cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper, tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix well. Continue to stew until all vegetables are tender. Just before serving mix in parsley.

The result is a flavorful mixture of veggies, wine and herbs. I pressure canned it in quart jars for 75 minutes at 11 pounds pressure.


We're going to cut out the eggplant out of this one because we have none that are ready to be picked.(wait a week and I'll be screaming about being overwhelmed by eggplant) Hubby and I were inspired to make this as both our parents used to can this when we were kids and we both had fond memories of it.

Next is the Italian Sweet Banana peppers. I found this recipe over at Cooks.com
Sliced banana peppers
Italian seasoning
Garlic cloves
Vinegar
Water
Basil leaves
Canning salt
Olive oil
Sugar
Fill pint jars with sliced peppers. In each jar put: 3-4 basil leave, pinch of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cloves garlic, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bring to a boil: 2 quarts vinegar, 1 quart water and pinch of sugar. Pour over peppers and seal jars.

I think I'm not going to add the olive oil though to this.  I've heard too many bad things about olive oil in canning and all of them have to do with botulism.  That makes me nervous.

Next batch of tomatoes will probably be going towards diced tomatoes which we use loads of each year.  Meat cooked in diced tomatoes in the slow cooker always turns out so tender and delicious.

So onto the next topic.  The state of the garden and the fun part. Pictures!
This is a Black Cherry tomato.  This plant is pretty much the reason why every day I have to eat tomatoes or let them go bad.  This thing produces dozens and dozens and dozens of sweet, juicy candylike tomatoes.  If they hadn't tasted so good I know I would have tired of them a week ago.

Rutger tomato along with a Christmas grape tomato plant hiding in the large pot and then a smaller unknown tomato plant off to the side.  We honestly have no clue what the plant on the left is.  It was a stowaway in the garden and my husband didn't want to toss it.

Told hubby tonight that our Blue Hubbard is starting to get a tired look  like a mother who has borne several children.  I'm trying to figure out when I can pull these squash off.   Who knew our Okra would get THIS tall! Note to self, next year, plant more okra.

Catawba Grapes.  Thanks to the advice from the owner at Legends Vineyards we know a bit more on the care of this new addition to our back yard.

Tomatoes & Eggplants Gone Wild.  

These two beds are almost empty because of the heat.  I'm having to trim a good portion of my swiss chard due to Cercospora.  Here's to hoping it recovers.  We're now starting to pick our carrots.  

One last chance for some Marina di Chioggia.  I was so depressed that nothing was really producing out front in our horrible soil so in a moment of desperation I threw two seeds here.  PLEASE MY BABIES GROW!!  

Can you believe the size of these monsters!  Yes you really can grow squash like these vertically! Just stock up on orange/onion/apple mesh bags.  Really helps to support the squash and keep the weight off of the vines.

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