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MRich33392's Profile

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What would YOU do with 40 lbs of hierloom tomatoes?

OM-gosh! I would love to have 40 lbs of heirloom tomatoes right now! :-) Ours are done for the season and the weather and insects have been so weird the late summer tomato plants that we planted didn't do anything. Usually we do salads for a while until nobody wants to look at another raw tomato. The following items are all canned: tomato chunks, tomato chunks w/oregano & other herbs, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, salsa (different varieties), stewed tomato, whole tomato, sometimes tomato jam, green tomato chutney, yellow or orange tomato jam. I did sauce once but didn't have much use for it. I also dry the tomatoes every year and add to soups or any dish that calls for sun dried tomatoes. That's all I can think of for now.

Sep 26, 2011
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

Life Lessons in Gardening

Thanks Toodie Jane. I took your advice this past season and left them all in...we just recently pulled the remains out inbetween snow storms. :)

Mar 12, 2010
MRich33392 in Features

Fresh vica canned pumpkins

I've used both canned and fresh pumpkins. I always prefer doing things from scratch as I know exactly what's in there as I made it. The fresh pumpkin is obviously a more labor intensive but I would say works even better, depending on the variety of pumpkin that you use. Follow the steps that Nyleve provided. As an experiment one year I used a Halloween pumpkin and found it to be highly edible - as long as it is oven baked and not boiled.

Oct 09, 2009
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

I CAN MAKE PHO! The question now is.......

I have never eaten the stuff and don't have much experience with Vietnamese food. Would love to try many dishes some day at a buffet. I just got a kick out of reading this article, parts of it are hilarious! If you are willing to go to Leesburg, VA for Pho try driving down a little further down route 7 to the Sterling area. Grandmart usually has Thai basil. The other spices mentioned can be found in the Indian and sometimes the Iranian store. I'd try the Indian store and Grandmart first. They are in the same strip mall but 2 opposite ends. There's also another strip mall with another different Indian store a block down (its situated a couple of doors down from Popeyes). All of the stores are more or less within 2 very (not very but extremely) large blocks of each other. I would not walk it (I love walking, its not an exercise issue) but because RT 7 is a multi-lane highway, people speed and drive like crazy people and forget there are traffic lights and pedestrian signals (as few as there are) you are safer crossing the road in your car.

I grew regular genovese basil in my garden and freeze the excess. It freezes well. Try this with Thai basil and see if it works. I use my frozen basil in pesto, spaghetti sauce, on pizza, etc. and there's hardly a taste difference as its being cooked anyway.

Ps. you are married to a good man. Mine can barely find organic milk in the store let alone your shopping list - not going to happen. :)

Oct 09, 2009
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

Canning time!

My son (11 yrs old) and I have been canning for about a year now. We learnt it in a 4-H workshop. This year most of the items came out of our garden. We made:
spiced tomato jam
regular canned tomatoes
salsa
gourmet spaghetti sauce
gourmet tomato/fresh basil pasta sauce
North African tomato based pasta sauce
North African chilli paste
pickled beets
Jiadeniera pickles
pickled cucumbers
cucumber relish
tomato/mango salsa
blackberry jam
pickled watermelon rind
melon and ginger jam
pineapple and zucchini ginger jam
South African fruit chutney
pickled char-grilled chilli peppers

We have also grown and dried lots of different herbs: majoram, oregano, sage, thyme, basil (purple and green), mint and tarragon.

Frozen: handpicked - blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Also frozen homegrown beans, okra and corn.

I bought a dehydrator and am experimenting with drying fruit and soon meat.

Now hubby needs to take up hunting (he already fishes) and we will be quite set for the winter. :)

Sep 15, 2009
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

What is the acid or pH level of hot peppers?

I bought the Balls Blue Book of Canning a few months ago and its a great source of information. I fire roasted my homegrown peppers (hot banana & poblano) and added jalepenos and some even hotter peppers (long red things) purchased at the farmers market. After fire roasting them I peeled the skins off and used a recipe out of the above mentioned book that basically consisted of a water/vinegar/salt mixture and put them in Balls jars. I used the boiling water canning method which according to the book is safe as I introduced an outside source of acid 'cos peppers are low acid. I also processed them for about 30-40 minutes. They are still doing fine months later and I'm about to enter them into the county fair next week. When I plan to use this winter I will rinse off the vinegar solution or if in something like salsa or soup I won't worry as the vinegar solution can't be tasted. The moral of the story is that it is not a pure vinegar solution but mixed with water so you don't have that horrible vinegar taste going on.

Sep 11, 2009
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

Anyone got a good recipe for cooked mango-salsa?

I was visiting friends recently who served chips with cooked tomato-mango salsa. The salsa was very good and of course it was store bought. I have a garden full of tomatoes and was hoping to make my own. That way at least I know what's in there and all natural without preservatives. I have searched relentlessly for a cooked mango-tomato salsa recipe online but have not been able to come up with anything. I needed to get rid of those tomatoes and last night figured I would experiment and make my own. I used a basic salsa recipe (chilli and all) and added chopped up mango at the end. The mango can hardly be tasted. I'm wondering if perhaps next time I use over-ripe mangos, or mangos grown here in the USA versus the tasteless Brazilian imports I bought (that's all that was available at the time) and perhaps mango juice to make it taste a little more like mango? The rest of the salsa tasted just fine except for the lack of the mango flavor. Anybody out there have any suggestions?

Sep 10, 2009
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

What are you making right now?

We are having steak and chips (fries) for dinner tonight with veggies. After that its more canning and drying herbs...that time of the year.

Sep 10, 2009
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

Need fish for South African Pickled Fish

I have not made pickled fish outside South African borders but usually when I am trying to mimic a SA fish dish I use either cod or rock fish (bass family) or any other fish from the bass family as they all appear to be mild in taste. I find myself using rock fish more often though as that's what my husband catches in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. When he's fishing its free - cod is expensive in our area.

Sep 10, 2009
MRich33392 in Home Cooking

Life Lessons in Gardening

I enjoyed reading this article. I can relate to it. Almost 4 years ago we bought a house with a large lot, almost 2 acres. I started up a veggie and small flower garden. I am not so much into the flowers, they are mostly companion plants to to keep certain predators away but they are pretty none the less. It has most certainly been an interesting year this year with the erratic weather pattern we have had. We were given some chickens and will hopefully have eggs next year, God willing. I have learnt how to do canning, can bake my own bread and am really enjoying this homesteading thing. I wish that I could do it full time and quit my job, unfortunately not in this economy though...

Sep 10, 2009
MRich33392 in Features