Sunday, July 13, 2008

DID YOU PLANT TOO MUCH?



photo courtesy All Posters, Mark Miller.

we did! and, if you have a garden, chances are you overplanted the squash, cucumbers and tomatoes - you'll know if you're in this category when you cannot give it away fast enough.

in our family garden, we have planted out of the top row the first two on the left (zucchini, straightneck yellow) and the last two (yellow crookneck, summer). all that in addition to eggplant, several varieties of tomatoes, green onions, four differing types of peppers, three types of cucumbers, corn and a variety of gourds, including birdhouse. this list does not include all the flowers we've planted to attract birds and butterflies.

this will be a simple lesson in homecanning. first, purchase a case of widemouth pint jars with lids and put them separated into the dishwasher on a hot rinse and dry cycle and leave there until you're ready to fill them.

if you like "bread and butter" type pickles, you'll love this recipe as you can add to and improvise many things with the exception of the main ingredients.

SQUASH PICKLES (makes 12 pints with some leftover liquid)

clean and thinly slice the equivalent of a five gallon bucket full of any of the first three aforementioned squash, three thinly sliced onions of your choosing, and two thinly sliced bell-type peppers or as many hot peppers as you like - put 1/2 cup of salt on top of this mixture and cover with iced water and set aside for one hour.

you'll also want to begin getting your water boiling in a large stockpot for your processing - which i'll explain later.

sidenote: you may also use this recipe with cucumbers, green tomatoes or other squash.

while the above is being timed, in a very large covered pot bring to a boil, occasionally stirring, the following:

8 cups 5% white vinegar
8 cups granulated sugar
1/8 cup celery seed
1/8 cup mustard seed

when mixture comes to a boil, turn down low and cover until the time is up on the chilling of the vegies.

once they're cooled - DRAIN THOROUGHLY WITHOUT RINSING - add them to the brine and turn the heat up, stir constantly for SIX minutes - remove from heat and fill your jars to 1/2 to 3/4 inch from the top, wipe rim with a clean cloth, place cap atop and put ring on without tightening it all the way - that comes after processing.

if your water for processing has come to a boil, gently lower jars into the water, without covering, and process for five minutes (cucumbers and tomatoes take about ten minutes) - remove to a dry towel. you'll begin hearing the lids make a popping noise - this is your cue to tighten those lids down. cool and store. will store up to a year they say - frankly, they're so good, you'll probably give them away and eat them up before the year's over!

we've been busy for this weekend and two past canning everything in sight - pickles, salsa, hot squash relish, squash pickles, pickled green tomatoes, dilly beans and today i'm doing more dilly beans - they're 'licious! i experimented with adding a half pint of salsa to a half pint of the hot squash relish for having with tortilla chips and i cannot convey to you just how good this combo is - thinking about entering it in the county fair next month!

note on leftover liquid: if you do have some left, place in sterilized jars and process according to the squash and save it for next time!

hope i didn't leave out any of the processes.

14 comments:

Papa Frank said...

Try this one nanc:

Take the yellow straight-neck summer squash and cut it into round slices about 1/4 inch thick. Dip them in egg and then cover them with grated parmesan cheese. Fry them in a skillet with canola oil until browned. A little salt and pepper and your good to go.

Hammer said...

That is a lot of sugar. Can it be left out with similar results?

Salubrina said...

okay, what do you charge for shipping, and how ong does it take to get it to texas?

sounds so fabulous!

feel the envy from me. :-)

enjoy the bountiful goodies!

nanc said...

papa frank - i love squash in all ways - thankx for that one.

hammer - not really. they're like the old fashioned bread and butter pickles. not something you'd eat regularly - more like a treat or chopped up in macaroni or potato salads..

salubrina - thankx for stopping by - the dilly beans are soooooo yummy!

Steve Harkonnen said...

I think I definitely overdid it with the seeds I planted for the Zucchini and the Cucumbers. They're growing all over the place.

My Better Boy tomatoes were uprooted from the weight of the 8 ft stakes I put in there to replace the thin bamboo shoot sticks I had there for to hold them up, but the wind blew and when the stakes fell, the plants, three of them, were uprooted; I managed to salvage the larger tomatoes and they ripened sitting there on our deck.

Next year, I am putting in two fence posts with horse fence in between for the tomatoes. The plot where the ugly daisies are will be replaced with cukes and zucchini next season.

I'm a bit skeptic on home canning due to the problems I remembered from our next door neighbors who caught a bad case of diarhhea which they think came from bad home canning practices, so I can't do that stuff.

This blog is a fantastic idea, btw, much thanks to Nanc, Merry Widow and the folks who blog here.

nanc said...

steve - if you remember to follow all instructions in canning to a "TEE" you won't go wrong - first, the amount of salt is detrimental to the killing of bacteria in everything NOT meant to be sweet - we use one to three teaspoons for every pound of meat and vegies - and for the fruit, remember to use fruit fresh accordingly.

thankx for the uplifting comment.

this next week, i'll be canning summer squash, cucumber pickles and will be on the lookout for good deals on arkansas or other types of apples for chunky applesauce - a must for all the pork dishes we enjoy throughout the year.

a sidenote for those who enjoy canning - you may also RE-process for later all the storebought pickle brines once you've eaten all the pickles - just follow the instructions for the brine and sealing process.

the key to keep from tainting your brines is to ALWAYS use a clean, stainless steel utensil when plucking them from the jar.

Z said...

Pops is right..that is delicious. Great way to get rid of zucchini, too...cut long strips and do the same thing........mmm

Enjoy the goodies, Nanc...Some of my favorite days were in the family kitchen with 2 couples over helping my folks bottle vegetables....we ate them all year long and loved them... and had fun in the doing!

cube said...

We had some nice tomatos last year, but we didn't plant anything this year. Just slothful, I guess.

nanc said...

i had the MOST wonderful surprise come up in my assorted gourd seeds...edible gourds - YUP - SPAGHETTI SQUASH! woo-ooooooh - they're a buck forty nine a pound at the grocery (i usually buy at least three two to three pound orbs per month) - i'm so treated - we've picked four of them and they are so tender and yummy...recipe later...

Z said...

nanc..I'd like to see a recipe for that because I LOVE pasta but hate to eat it (carbs, etc.).....does spaghetti squash really taste CLOSE to pasta or is it just the stringiness that's like spaghetti and that's why people eat it that way?

nanc said...

it's only stringy, z - i find it much better than spaghetti in most cases.

the way you prepare it is slice it lengthwise down the middle - scoop all the seeds out (these are good roasted like sunflower or pumpkin seeds) - place in a microwaveable glass dish, cover with sturdy cellophane wrap and microwave for three to four minutes testing for tenderness and microwaving further depending upon how tender you want it - the storebought ones are much tougher than these homegrown - when they're done to your liking, take a fork and score the meat without puncturing the shell - add butter, garlic, lemon pepper or any spice you'd like really or put your favorite spaghetti sauce over it with parmesan or other hard cheese.

i love them and could eat them daily if available - a half is a very good serving for one person.

i believe tmw has a good recipe for olive oil/butter that would be good on this - if you want carbs with this, have a slice of toasted sourdough and dip it into the gourd for moisture.

The Merry Widow said...

Better Butter;

In a sealable container put 1/2 cup good olive oil per stick of butter.
Cut up the butter into chunks, add, seal container and leave on counter overnight.
In the morning(I use a small whip)whip the oil and butter together, seal and refrigerate.
It spreads like margerine, tastes like butter and is cheaer than the olive oil spread you get at the store.
And you avoid all the "preservatives" that are added at the plant.
It isn't as salty tasting as margerine or butter, so if you have a salt problem, this will cut the amount.
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

tmw

The Merry Widow said...

And that's cheaper, not cheaer! LOL!
NO COFFEE DEFENSE!

tmw

Z said...

all the recipes sound terrific..thanks, ladies.