Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2009 Fall Frost Date

While the spring frost was late in the year, on June 6th. The summer unseasonably cool, with a nip of frost even as late as July 11, 2009. We've actually had a rather nice garden harvest this year after all, due in large part to the late Fall frost date of September 28, 2009.

We had harvested or protected everything that needed it so we can continue to enjoy the benefits of great nutritionally dense home-grown/local vegetables ... and fruits.

Thanks be to God for the great harvest!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Good News

For those of you who have been waiting for our farm fresh eggs ... we've acquired some new laying hens. They are true free-range birds from a local farm ... raised by their Mother Hen!

That said though, many of them are not yet ready to lay - they are three months old now and a hen usually starts laying eggs at five months of age.

Mother hen is laying again though - she is Americana, so she lays blue shelled eggs. Our wholesome chicken food will allow her to produce the same healthy eggs that our Isa brown layers have been providing:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

"Mom you have to make more of this. It is so-o good!"

That about says it all!

Here's the recipe:

* 7 cups applesauce, natural
* 2 cups apple cider
* 1 1/2 cups honey
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves, optional
* 1/2 tsp allspice

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 14 to 15 hours or until mixture is a deep brown.
Spoon hot apple butter into hot sterilized jars and seal, then process half-pints or pints 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Makes 4 pints or 8 half-pint jars.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sept. 24th CSA Basket

The new items this week were the sprig of peppermint and an amber cup squash.

I honestly don't know how to use the peppermint other than making a tea. Do you have ideas? Please share them if you do ... thanks!

The amber cup squash I do know - it keeps long into the winter, even longer than pumpkins. It is sweet and silky. We've enjoyed it both in casseroles and stir-fry dishes as well as in dessert dishes like pumpkin pudding (watch for that recipe post to come).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lentil Zucchini Casserole

1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup lentils
3 cups water

Put into a casserole. Turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.

2 - 12 inch zucchini, diced
4 cups tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cheddar, shredded or diced
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder

Mix the above veggies, spices & cheese then toss onto the par-boiled rice & lentils.
Bake for 30 minutes more uncovered. Remove from oven. Let sit for 10 minutes, then serve.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cheese Corn

Our all time favorite way to eat corn on the cob ... with Cheez Whiz!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Ken likes hot, but these are HOT -- see the missing bite?

Hahaha, we all had a good laugh when he started sweating. He confidently bit into it since just four days earlier he ate a green one of the same variety and it was just mildly hot ... hehehehehe!

Let us know if you can use some of these this Fall. A few are ready now, mo-ore coming later. Lots on the vines.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More Ideas for Using Cucumbers

Thanks again to Carolyn for this guest post:

Pickling not your thing? Got all these cucumbers?

Cucumber-Buttermilk Dressing
Originally from /The Tightwad Gazette/

1 c. buttermilk (or use 1/2 buttermilk and 1/2 thick natural yogurt)
1/4 c. grated cucumber (about 1 small)
2 tbsp minced green onion or chives (about 1 green onion)
1 tbsp dijon-style mustard
2 tsp minced parsley
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp black pepper

Pour all the ingredients in a small bowl or a 1 pint mason jar. Mix or shake well to combine. Refrigerate.

Makes a great dressing for pasta or rice salad.

Monday, September 7, 2009

More Things to Do with Zucchini

Thanks to Carolyn for sharing this:

Growing up, heaven forbid we used cucumbers to make relish. They were for pickles. :) We used zucchini for our relish.

*Zucchini Relish*
yields approx 5-6 pints

10 c. coarsely grated zucchini (scoop out seeds, peel as needed)
4 c. chopped onions
2 large green peppers, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 large red peppers, chopped (about 2 cups)
5 tbsp. pickling salt

Put veggies in a large pot and sprinkle with pickling salt. cover and leave overnight. Drain and rinse twice, and return to pot.

In a large bowl, combine:

4 c. white sugar
2 c. vinegar
1/2 tsp celery salt
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp turmeric
4 tbsp prepared (yellow) mustard

Add to vegetable mixture and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Thicken with:

2 tbsp cornstarch AND
2 tbsp flour

Pour hot relish into hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes*. Let cool undisturbed for 24 hours, check seals, and store.

*10 minutes is the processing time if you're under 1000 ft about sea level. If you're in Brandon or the immediate area, you should process for 15 minutes as we are above 1000 feet, and are considered "high altitude" for canning purposes.

Edit note: I wasn't going to make relish this year because I still have some in the pantry - yup, I still have cucumber relish - but I've heard zucchini relish is so-o-o good ... I'm going to try some of this yet too!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Our Favorite Dill Pickles

In recent years I slice the cucumbers before placing them in jars. We make both dill chips - cut into circles - and long slices. It is so handy to serve these for use in sandwiches and burgers.

Place a few springs of dill in the bottom of each jar along with one clove garlic, sliced (if desired). Slice cucs and place into sterile jars. Then cover with this brine:

6 cups water
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. pickling spice

Bring the brine to a boil in a pot. Pour brine over cucs in the jars. Seal jars. Process in water bath - bring canner to a boil. The pickles will just be turning color. Remove jars from the hot water. Tighten seals & invert jar to ensure a good seal.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Zucchini Salsa

It's a KEEPER !!!!

Our family uses a lot of salsa - Mexican dishes being our favorite meals ... In my years of making salsa, I've developed a superb recipe that others have frequently requested. That resulted in me adding it to the cookbook that I published in 2001.

Well. This Zucchini Salsa that I tried this year has topped that! Everyone in the family gives raves reviews on this one, asking that I make ALL my salsa now using this new recipe. Does that speak volumes or what??

Here is the Zucchini Recipe that Ken found this week in the Manitoba Co-operator sent in by Joy from B.C.:

Zucchini Salsa

10 cups grated zucchini
4 medium onions, diced
2 green peppers, diced
2 red peppers, diced
4-6 jalapeno peppers, blended
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. dry mustard
4 cloves garlic, blended
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. tumeric
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp extra spicy Mrs. Dash
1 cup vinegar
9 cups blended fresh tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
Mix all together. Boil for 40 minutes.

Mix & add: 3 tbsp. cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water.

Add to salsa & return to boil.
Pour into sterile jars. Seal & process in water bath for 30 minutes.
Makes 11 pints.

Do give this a try. I'm thinking this will extend my tomato crop which always seems too little -- while using up the zucchini which is in ample supply. Not only that, but the sweetness of the processed zucchini eliminates the necessity of added sweetener in the recipe. Win/win!! Yahoo! I like it when experiments work out so well!

Crustless Zucchini Quiche

2/3 cup onion
1 tbsp. butter
2 10-12 inch zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
5 eggs
2/3 cup cream
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2/3 cup shredded cheddar

Saute onion, add zucchini and saute about 5 minutes. Pour into pan. Beat eggs with cream and spices. Pour egg mixture over zucchini. Top with grated cheese. Bake for 45 @ minutes 350 degrees until the edges are browned and the eggs are set in the center. Let cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Fridge Cuc Salad

10 cups diced cucs
1 diced onion
2 peppers
4 large stalks celery
Toss with 1 Tbsp. salt. Let sit for 1/2 hour & drain.

Mix Brine:
1 cup vinegar
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. celery seed

Pour brine over veggies. Store in fridge. Serve. Reuse brine and/or keep adding more veggies as desired. Keep in fridge indefinitely.

Garden Pak, Sept. 3

Another heavy basket full of good/great food! And ... the corn is finally ready.