Friday, August 19, 2011

Produce, Produce, and more Produce

Last fall at our school's annual fundraiser auction night, Scott, Nicole, Keith and I purchased produce from a fellow parent's garden. For $50 per couple we could get all of the produce we wanted this summer from Vanessa's garden. She even asked us what vegetables we would like her to plant. All summer long we have been receiving fresh vegetables from her. She has been tending her garden all summer long. Nicole and I would go pick vegetables when the family was gone on vacation, but for the most part Vanessa has done all of the work. She has planted, weeded, picked and delivered produce to our homes.

Last Friday, Vanessa's family was blessed with the birth of a new baby girl. This was the 4th blessed child born to this family, therefore, Vanessa has not been picking and I have gone every day to tend the garden.

This garden has been producing an abundance of produce. It takes me about an hour each day to pick produce. I have been picking three kinds of tomatoes, green beans, green peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, peas, onions, yellow squash, and zucchinis. Earlier in the summer we also had spinach, carrots and green onions.

Last week Nicole and I had our first canning experience when we made salsa. Our first batch produced 21 pints of salsa. This week we did another batch and made 22 pints and 1 quart of salsa. Today I am canning tomato juice. The tomato plants are really producing. I have even been giving tomatoes and other produce away to friends and neighbors because we can't eat all of it and it is really piling up at our house.

Following is the salsa recipe that we used:

32 cups tomatoes - peeled and quartered (Roma tomatoes work best)

8 cups chopped onions

4 cups chopped jalapeno - remove seeds or will be HOT

4 cups bell peppers

2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pickling salt

1/4 cup chili powder

3 TBS garlic powder

4 TSP chopped garlic

2 TBS black pepper

4 TBS ground cumin

2 TSP alum

5 cups white vinegar

2 large cans tomato paste (the more you add the thicker)

Mix in a big pot, stir and cook at slow simmer for 2 hours (or until you are sick of it). Jar & seal.

Take care,


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