Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A trip to Carver Farms

I love our local farm. Carver Farms grows an abundance of just about every fruit and vegetable available. They also house their own bee farm. In fall they have a wonderful pumpkin farm, corn maze, gourds, etc., and even grow Christmas trees. The ladies are wonderful and helpful.

So, I watched a documentary over the weekend called "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead". Have you seen it? If you haven't and have Netflix you can stream it and watch it instantly. Its very good.  It taught me about "micronutrients". The good stuff in raw vegetables that most of us don't get because we don't eat enough unprocessed and barely cooked veggies.  So while at Carvers today, I picked beets, chard, cucumbers and green tomatoes. I have never eaten chard and didn't know what the plant looked like, same with the beets. I told the owner of the farm that I was looking for these things, but I didn't know what they were or how to cut or pull them, lol. She was very kind and walked me to their location in the field and showed me the different varieties and where to cut the chard and pull the beets. I mentioned that I was going to juice them and that sparked a long converstion with her also wanting to watch the documentary.

Juicing is the best way to get these important nutrients and to benefit fully from them. My juice today consisted of apples, pears, beets and chard. Wow! It was really good! And the best part? My kids loved it and even had a second glass... yes, even my two teenage boys who hate and refuse to eat vegetables. So, it made me feel good to get those micronutrients into their bodies!

I have always juiced apples, oranges and carrots. I'm on my second juicer because we wore the last one out. I even sneak broccoli into the apple/carrot juice and the kids don't even taste it. Ha!

I also picked a million pounds of green tomatoes. I LOVE fried green tomatoes. This year I'm going to use them for relish, green tomato pie, and green tomato rice.

Fried Green Tomatoes (from Auntie Geetle)


Dip the slices in egg and then coat in flour
Alot of recipes on the internet call for cornmeal, but I prefer mine with flour

Fry until lightly browned

Salt with LOTS of Kosher salt, YUM!

I also made a few batches of vinegared cucumbers.

1 C Sugar
1 C Water
1 C Vinegar
Sliced Cucumbers and Onions
Keep in fridge

Have you made these? My mother in law shared her recipe and they are really good!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A little diving today....

One of the things I miss about Kansas is the countless abandoned farmhouses and barns. They were on every dirt road travelled. Not much junkin here... not enough history to have the older farmhouses and if something gets old here, its torn down and something new put in.  I was leaving my sister-in-laws house last night and passed by an old home and barn, empty and I was told it had been condemned. I don't know why really, the house seemed to be in beautiful shape, just needed some love. Something about it peeked my interest and I went a little exploring this morning :)  Boy did it feel good to dig, get dirty, breathe dust and explore.

The staircase leading to the 2nd floor of the barn.
Was creepier with out the flash of my camera lighting it up.

My son, my dumpster diving partner. He was in his element. We are a junkin team. He has the same passion for junk and treasures, passed down to me from my daddy.

Old wooden ironing board. Cute color.

The top of the barn was littered with old magazines and documentation from the military. There were so many love letters and drawings. A history of someone's love for another just discarded and forgotten.

A smaller barn at the back of the house.

Nesting boxes!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Peach and Cilantro Salsa

I did it. Today I made my first batch of Peach and Cilantro Salsa from my new canning book called "Canning for a New Generation" (Page 112). It is the most amazing salsa I have ever had, seriously. It's kinda sweet, peachy, minty and spicy from the serrano and crushed red peppers... so good.

Peaches from Carver Farms



Just out of the bath...

Isn't it pretty? :)  I made a dozen pints today. I was surprised at how long the whole process took. Washing all the peaches, blanching, peeling, dicing, cutting all the other veggies and herbs, simmering, heating the jars, lids, ladling, processing.... My kitchen was blazing hot on an already scorching day. It made me wonder how the ladies would spend an entire day, days on end, canning for all those hours.

But, I get it... the finished product, the freshness, the flavors, and the knowing exactly what's in the jar when its popped open to feed the family made all the work and effort worth it. Not to mention my house smelled unbelievable. I loved the whole process. My husband, daughter and I consumed a whole pint of salsa last night. I actually ate mine by the spoonful. Each bite was followed by a yum. A no preservative's yum :)


~ love ~

I have always wanted to can. I love the pictures in the books and magazines featuring beautiful pantry’s lined with jars filled with fruits and veggies. I love the thought of the time spent with my daughter and passing down this tradition of preparing wonderful food for her own family. First, of course I need to learn to do it myself. I was not raised in a stay at home mom environment. Both my parents worked to survive, and I wasn’t taught.

I’ve made freezer jam over the years but have wanted to learn more. I own 4, yes four canners. The tool to pull the hot jars from the boiling water and many brand new jars and lids. The desire is there, but the know how was not.

Borders, my favorite store in the world is closing, just even typing those words aches my heart. I made myself go in the other day, despite all those awful “Closing” signs in my face and picked up a few books at a good discount. One of them being this one…..

Canning for a new Generation

"Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry"
Doesn't that sound yummy!

I LOVE this book! I love the simplicity, easy language, written in terms and explained to someone in step by step directions "Canning Illiterate" (like me).  It is divided into each season's fruits/veggies for all year canning, love that! She also included wonderful recipes to make with your preserves.

Listen to some of these canning recipes...

Peach Jam with Lemon Thyme and Almonds ~ Strawberry and Lemon Preserves ~ Strawberry and Lavender Jam ~ Mango Jam with Lime ~ Hot Cumin-Pickled Summer Squash ~ Charred Tomato and Chile Salsa ~ Minted Cranberry Relish with Walnuts

Hundreds of wonderful canning recipes. And I thought canning was for your basic tomatoes and green beans.

I am so excited to get started! Today, I'm running up to our local farm to grab my crate of peaches, a yearly ritual. I have so many more fun options than just the basic freezer jams.  I will post about each recipe I make and let you know how we liked them.

Do you can? How long have you canned and what do you can???

~ Happy Canning ~ and have a blessed day :)