Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Favorites

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Canning Tomato Sauce

I took 12 lbs of tomatoes and converted it into 14 half pint jars of beautiful tomato sauce!

I used my handy dandy KitchenAid vegetable strainer.
We also benefited from a rain shower, .2". Thank you!
The green tomatoes in the bin are collected from the Celebrity plants which are now becoming compost.  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Transition to Summer Garden

One of the garden tasks which is most difficult for me is to pull plants which need to go. It was easy to remove the squash plants. I knew when it was time to pull the cucumbers. Now I am in the process of pulling the tomato plants. The celebrity tomatoes have all been harvested. The plants keep setting new tomatoes. But these plants are over 8' tall! So, adios, get those spring plants out of the garden.

This season I have planned ahead and planted new tomato plants for a fall harvest. They are just starting to bloom. The summer garden is starting to yield eggplants and okra. Soon, there will be tomatillos. There are a few melons and more watermelons.

The butternut squash pictured was from a volunteer plant which was the last spring squash to go. Squash will also be a part of the fall garden. I have already planted cucumbers and some yellow squash. The butternut squash will be planted in the next few weeks.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Pictured here are Celebrities and Romas. The harvest has been bountiful. I have not made any tomato juice yet! I have about 40 lbs of tomatoes ready to can. I have made tomato sauce and frozen five packages. Mostly, we have been eating and sharing them. This week, I have started removing the Celebrity plants. They are setting a little new fruit, but the large tomatoes are almost all harvested. I have three rows of younger tomato plants just starting to bloom. They will hopefully supply a fall crop! The Romas are still producing the spring crop. I may leave a row of Romas into fall to see what happens. One of the rows is not shading anything. It is next to the TALL okra and is somewhat shaded from the summer sun.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tomatoes and Melon vandalism

This past week, we received a total of 5.8" of rain! I have been mostly harvesting tomatoes and pruning them. Today I picked 8 1/2 pounds.

We have still a few cucumbers and squash, but now the okra needs to be picked every day. It's officially summer.

The melons are ripening, so I watch them carefully. They are surprising because sometimes they turn golden very suddenly. My first morning trip out to the garden, I found this damaged cantaloupe. It has 1" narrow slashes vertically and horizontally on the side which was up. I have no idea what caused this type of damage. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bread & Butter Pickle Recipe

Bread & Butter Pickles

4 1/2 lbs cucumbers, circles sliced about 1/4 inch wide
2 medium onions, cut in half then sliced 1/4 inch wide
1/3 cup canning salt

Combine these ingredients and place in large bowl. Cover with water or water and ice and a cloth or lid.
Let stand 4 hours.
When ready to can, wash 7 pint jars and lids. Heat water in the canner and in an additional pan.
When the water is boiling, immerse the jars and flat lids to sterilize for 10 minutes.
Remove items from boiling water.

Meanwhile, combine the following in a stainless steel pan:
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 T. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. celery seed
1 T. cracked chilis
(or 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon instead of chilis)
Begin heating mixture and add:
1 1/2 cups sugar

Drain and rinse the vegetables.
When the vinegar  mixture is boiling, add the vegetables.
Return the mixture to a boil and remove from heat.
Pack mixture in hot jars leaving 1/2 inch heat space.
I use a slotted stainless spoon to distribute pickles and a ladle for the liquid.
Clean jar rims, place lids and bands.
Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

This recipe is written assuming that the cook is familiar with canning techniques and safety measures.
A jar which is not full or not sealed may be refrigerated and enjoyed soon.