Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Monday, June 29, 2009


Yesterday I made and canned fresh tomato catsup. The first pictures shows the Kitchen aid machine being used to puree the tomatoes. The next step is cooking a red bell pepper and some onions, then grinding them as shown in the second picture. These vegetables are added to the tomatoes with spices and cooked until reduced by half, about 2 hours. To this mixture is added cider vinegar. The recipe made the equivalent of 8 half-pints, as shown in the third picture. The fourth picture is the harvest from the last two days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yesterday, I cooked tomato sauces. These tomatoes were harvested in 3 days. I pureed the tomatoe types separately. The puree picture shows the difference. The 4th of July small salad tomatoes made a thin puree which I cooked down with onions, garlic, basil, oregano, and parsley (previously frozen). The roma tomatoes made a thicker puree which has already been cooked into a pizza sauce and eaten!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

On 6/19 Phil made 6 half-pints of salsa with about 2 cups of chile petins. These peppers are cultivated in the garden, but require very little maintenance since they are native plants. He also used onions and carrots to make a unique and very spicy relish.

I canned 4 pints of Sweet and Spicy pickles with the last of the cucumbers and some chili petin and cayenne from the garden. I also planted 2 rows of black eye peas.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

These pictures show the harvest from 6/16. I made Sweet Pickle Relish with the cucumbers and most of the Hungarian Wax Peppers, with the addition of a purchased Red Bell Pepper. The yield was 12 half-pints. The basil, which was pulled from around the peppers and eggplants, was picked and placed in paper bags to dry. Today. I made Bolognese Sauce with the 4th of July tomatoes, basil, oregano, parsley (frozen), and garlic (dry) from the garden. I processed the tomatoes into puree with the Kitchen Aid vegetable strainer attachment. The yield from 70 4th of July tomatoes (about 3 oz each) was 12 cups of puree.

The transition to summer garden continues. The last dozen cucumbers were harvested yesterday. There are 6 empty rows today where the yellow beans, Italian beans, zucchini, and cucumbers were. These rows will be turned with compost, fertilizer, and greensand added.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

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Yesterday I cooked all day. We had 1.3" rain the night before. Fortunately, I had harvested all the vegetables I could and fertilized with Greensand and Medina Hastagro. I incorporated the pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, and onions from the garden into Moroccan Harira soup. This dish has chickpeas, lentils, and brown rice as well as many vegetables.

I also canned 12 half pints of Sweet Relish with cucumbers and onions from the garden and two large bell peppers which I purchased.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today I canned 3 pints of sweet relish. This is my first attempt, and will not be the last. I used 8 cucumbers, 3 white bermuda onions and 4 small anaheim peppers.

I also canned 5 pints of Bread & Butter pickles. I used the recipe from Joy of Cooking, to the letter. This will be my control batch. The recipe calls for white vinegar and white sugar.

I also prepared refrigerator cucumber slices with rice vinegar, sugar, and green onions. I still have a few Parade onions under the tomato plants. So far, all of the canning I have done incorporates organically grown vegetables from my garden. The onions are all white Bermuda onions. I also have some yellow onions which I have not used for canning yet.

I also prepared two dishes for immediate consumption. They are zucchini with fresh tomatoes, leeks and basil plus Mixed Beans cooked in store bought Organic Vegetable Broth.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Today I harvested the last of the zucchini. The weather is in the mid to upper 90s, indicating that it is time to transition to the summer garden. Some of the spring plants will be too stressed to continue being productive. This year, the zucchini were the most successful ever.

I also pulled the yellow wax beans. They were great in the colder weather and were planted earlier than the other beans.

The pumpkin was also harvested today. Even though pumpkins are squashes, they may continue to the summer season because they have the ability to form roots along the vines. I got the idea of growing pumpkins from reading the Alexander McCall Smith books set in Botswana. I have had limited success, but still wish to work with the pumpkins in my garden.
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Monday, June 8, 2009

The seeds which I have used for this spring garden are:
Burpee bean, Roma II (Green bush Snap)
Burpee bean, Brittle Wax ( Yellow Bush snap)
Burpee bean, Tenderpick (Green Bush Snap)
Burpee tomato, Fourth of July (determinate)
Burpee tomato, Viva Italia Hybrid (determinate)
Burpee Cucumber, Burpee Pickler
Bulk Seeds (from feed store in Spicewood) Cucumber, Straight 8
Burpee Pepper, Hot Pepper Mixture (Anaheim Chili, Ancho, Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno M, Long Red Slim Cayenne)
Seeds of Change, Small
Sugar Pumpkin (heirloom)
Burpee Eggplant, Burpee Hybrid
Plants; Fernleaf Dill, Sage, (1) TAM Mild Jalapeno, (3) Hot Jalapeno from Natural Gardener

For the summer garden,
Seeds of Change, Windy Wood Green Okra (planted last week)
Seeds of change, Tomatillo Verde (I have not replanted because they have voluntarily reseeded)
Botanical Interests, Melon, Old Original (These seeds are from last year and have germinated)
Mung Beans from sprouting seeds
Black Eye Peas Bulk from Natural Gardener
Plant; (1) Malabar Spinach, (1) TAM Mild Jalapeno, (3) Hot Jalapeno from Natural Gardener

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This morning, I canned 6 pints of Bread & Butter pickles. I used the same recipe from 6/5 but used 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon instead of the cinnamon bark. I also canned 7 pints of "special recipe" dill slices. The special recipe is an experimental recipe I created this morning. I used white Bermuda onions from my garden for all of the pickles I have canned so far this season. I used fresh dill sprigs, small young grape leaves, and garlic from the garden in the dill slices. I have been preparing the cucumbers and onions the evening before and soaking them overnight. This procedure seems to be working well because it breaks up the work.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This new basket has made harvesting vegetables even more pleasant. It was made in Nigeria and has a flat bottom, so I can set it down while picking with both hands!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Today, I canned 10 pints of Bread & Butter pickles. I brined the pickles overnight , then canned them in the morning. Feeling adventurous, I added a piece of cinnamon bark to each jar.

I also blanched and froze 5 pints of snap beans. When the beans went in the freezer they were even a better color than when picked.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On June 1, I canned the first pickles of the season. I put up 6 pints of Dill Green beans and 6 quarts of Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Pickles. I am growing 3 kinds of Beans; Brittle Wax Yellow beans, Tenderpick Green bush beans, and Roma II flat Italian beans. I added 6 large fresh garlic cloves to the Sweet and Spicy pickles. I brined it with the cucumbers and onions, then roughly chopped it and added it to the vinegar mixture.