Canning

I have successfully canned! I feel like a more accomplished individual. I now have, in my pantry, 12 jars of crushed tomatoes and 4 jars of salsa.

Let me tell you, canning was an adventure. I’m far from an expert, so I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of canning in this post. But I will say that if you have any inclination to can, you should give it a whirl.

Here are some resources:

  • I got a lot of good information from You Grow Girl, including her very simple recipe for canning tomatoes and her well written directions for the canning process.
  • pickyourown.org has a lot of great resources, including where to find pick-your-own farms and canning, freezing, and preserving directions, FAQ, and recipes.
  • Ball Canning has great recipes and tips on their website.

If you don’t have your own garden produce to can, check out your local farm market or a farm on pickyourown.org. Ask if they have a discount for canning produce. They might have some that’s not as pretty to sell that they would love to sell you for your chopping and preserving purposes. Ask if they have any tips for how to best preserve the produce that you want to buy.

Good luck!

I wanna know: Do you can or freeze produce when it’s in season so that you can enjoy it throughout the winter?

Farmer’s Market Salsa

I know that fall is technically here. I really do. The calendar hanging in my office tells me so. I wanna know why in the world it’s so stinkin’ hot out! Honestly, I am not going to complain about summer sticking around. It will never wear out its welcome in my book. But 90 degrees seems a bit excessive. Can’t we settle at a nice and comfy 78? Is that so much to ask?

Today, over my lunch break, I made salsa. It was now or never, as my green pepper was on its last legs. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I wasn’t too careful to chop things super-fine, so it’s more of a pico de gallo consistency. But I’ve always been a fan of chunky salsa, so it’ll be more than OK.

I definitely just winged this process, so I recommend that you do the same. You will need, in general, tomatoes, peppers, an onion, lime juice, cilantro, and spices. Here’s what I used:

Alright. I started with my peppers, and chopped one of the yellow sweet peppers, and half of the green, red, and orange bell peppers. I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods, but if you wanted, you could add some jalapeno pepper as well. Then I diced half the onion.

Now, chop your cilantro. I used about a 1/4 of a cup, give or take. I just love cilantro. So much flavor packed in just a few little leaves. Do yourself a favor, and use the fresh stuff. It’s not that expensive.

Alright, then your tomatoes. The tomato will be, in general, the main base for your salsa. When you’re chopping the tomatoes, they will ooze juice. Try to retain as much of the juice as possible.  I put in 3 red zebra tomatoes and 1 green zebra. Check them out…aren’t they great?

OK. Dump all of the chopped and diced yumminess in a bowl. On top, add:

  • 1 Tbs. EVOO
  • 1 tsp. adobo
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. pepper

And mix it all up! Taste test to make sure that you didn’t leave out anything vital, and you’re good to go! I love salsa for all of the different purposes that it can serve: salad dressing, condiment, chip dip, sauce, vegetable dip….The possibilities are endless, and all for just a few calories!

I’m recycling an old salsa jar to store this new batch, that way I don’t use up a tupperware for weeks on end.

What else do you like to put in your salsa? What should I do next time around?

Next verse…very similar to the first

For dinner tonight, I had a couple of tomatoes that NEEDED to be eaten. They were so pretty and red and fresh that it would be a crime to just dump them into a pasta or a sauce or stir fry, like you would any old tomato. These were farmer’s market tomatoes. They deserve only the best treatment.

Aren’t they pretty?

So, I searched the fridge and came up with some garlic, marinara sauce, shredded zucchini, and parmesan cheese. Grand! Stacking here we come!

I topped each tomato with a bit of beefed up marinara sauce. On top of that went some shredded zucchini and parmesan cheese.

Smelled like pizza!

Unfortunately, they were a little bit less than amazing. BUT they tasted SO much better on a slice of baguette.

So here you go:

  • Two sliced tomatoes
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp adobo
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • top with parmesan

Add garlic and spices to the marinara sauce. Spread the sauce on each slice and add the other toppings. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Serve on your bread of choice!

I promise that I will branch away from the pizza theme in the very recent future. Promise.

P.S. TGIF! What’s up in your world for the holiday weekend?