Wednesday, September 15, 2010

puttin' up the produce

muth week 12: the usual plus a 25 pound box of heirloom tomatoes, free to a good home.

though i'm so new to it, i decided to document my efforts in preserving. since i'm so new to it and there are some things that could go wrong, i recommend everyone do their homework before following any method.

canning still intimidates me a bit so i decided to freeze tomato sauce and salsa in jars. one forum mentioned that you cannot freeze glass as it will crack upon thawing. others sources said it was fine, and ball has recipes for freezer jams, so i went with freezing.

about a quarter of the tomatoes were rotting, and heirloom tomatoes are so watery that i ended up with 6 half-pint jars each of sauce and salsa. both are really tasty, and half-pint servings are perfect for our family of two (humans=).

typically i search around and read various recipes until i get a feel of how much of what to put in, and i do taste-tests throughout. (with caution because these sauces get hot!)

the excess plum tomatoes were sprinkled with salt and dehydrated almost two days to make "sun-dried" tomatoes. they're stored in a jar in the fridge and will come in handy when i make raw cheez-its or the happy raw kitchen's yummy eggplant caponata.

keeping with the italian theme i apparently have going, i roasted sweet peppers and stored them in a jar of olive oil and dried rosemary. (without garlic because i read it could cause botulism toxins to develop.)

since i didn't plan on eating them right away, i stored the jar in the fridge. i imagine these roasted peppers would taste nice on some raw pizza or pita bread with hummus.

the original plan was to strip my 8 basil plants to make lots of pesto, but once i saw how much wildlife was living in and amongst them, i decided to just take off the larger leaves and leave the "basil bellagio" be.=)

even biggles (and a stray who left us a stinky gift) are drawn to those basil plants! 

squash chips are... well... interesting. to be honest, it took awhile for squash chips to grow on me, and i'm still not sure if i really like them. john loves them and i want to like them so i make them often.

slice zucchini, yellow or golden squash thin (a mandolin slicer works like a dream), then soak in cool water with a few tablespoons apple cider vinegar for about 2 hours.

after placing them on dehydrator sheets, sprinkle with a little himalayan salt and chipotle powder if you like spice, and dehydrate at 115° until crispy. 

badda bing badda boom, you've got yourself a healthy snack.=)

same procedure for eggplant bacon - slice thin, marinate, place on trays, dehydrate at 115° until crispy.

eggplant bacon marinade

2 T maple syrup
2 T olive oil
4 T nama shoyu
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder

eggplant bacon goes so nicely with veggie blt's and spicy black bean patties, accompanied by a homemade pickle... but i'll stop here and leave pickling for another post!



  1. Wow you've been busy in the kitchen! Very impressive!! x

  2. that box of tomatoes actually had me jealous for a second there! lol :)

    gorgeous pics as usual, and it looks like we're getting a lot of the same stuff from our markets. i can't wait to try this week's stuff, we finally got some edamame!

  3. While I have not done it myself, all of the new ball jars do say that they are freezer safe so you should be ok. Put them in the sink to thaw to be sure. Dont be nervous of the canning. The canning books will scare you to death. I find it quite fun and rewarding.

  4. Delicious! That plate looks like some yummy eats! :) I meant to make sundried tomatoes this year but never got around to it. My mother in law does the whole jarred tomatoes thing every Summer, I love it! Enjoy!

  5. Nothing can beat fresh veggies from your own garden!! The eggplant bacon looks delish!

  6. i love making my own sundried tomats...but i have been slicing them...i should have just cut them in half...DUH!!!

    you're such a domestic goddess! love it!


  7. You are amazing! Ok, you really got my attention with the eggplant bacon! I love the idea of a veggie BLT.
    I don't have a dehydrator though, maybe the oven?

  8. I just decided to give up nightshades. Averted eyes from these delicious looking treats.

  9. Wow!! What a wonderful stash of fresh veggies!! Those tomatoes look amazing! Great minds think alike as I just made salsa too..and I am going to be making tomato sauce and "sun-dried" tomatoes too this weekend. Love it!
    Thanks for the tip with the peppers about not storing them with garlic:)
    Have an awesome day!!

  10. thank you!=)

    nelly - i would have sliced them more but i read to just cut them in half. i research everything before i try it - i'm a nerd like that!

  11. I love your CSA boxes! Out of curiosity, how many people does your CSA box feed in a week?

    I really want to try preserving but I'm feeling rather wimpy about it and all the time it takes.

    Also, LOVE tree man in your last post. Amazing, it still makes me smile :)

  12. your veggie burger looks super yummy! And I'm so jealous of all the tomatoes and peppers you got! We were hoping for a lot of tomatoes this year but no such luck. Maybe we'll score a big box like you to dehydrate or make sauces. One can hope right? Anyway, all the work you did - wow and the goodies look so amazing. We did have some 1/2 gallon (or maybe they were gallon sized) mason jars that broke in the freezer. Not sure if the ones we got were labeled freezer safe or if it depends on size (I dunno, I like to guess at things) but I'm assuming the smaller ones marked for freezing should be okay. I always believe what the box tells me. ;)

  13. hi sarah! it serves 2 veggie lovers with some leftover to preserve.

    i felt wimpy about it for a while... still feel overwhelmed thinking about new preserving projects, but it's really worth the energy. not to toot my own horn, but my salsa and sauce are the best i've had! (not hard to do with fresh local organic ingredients!=)

    thanks heidi!xo

  14. Making my own sundried tomatoes sounds like a great plan! I just got some Himalayan salt from Sustainable Sourcing and I think I'll use them in that recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Eggplant bacon is inspired! I have to try that!

  16. Will do the series on fermenting soon ;)

    Your tomatoes look awesome! I was always too afraid to try to dry them. I do want to can this year though, so I'm saving for a nice pressure cooker to do some pressure canning in addition to hot water canning. Exciting!

  17. Hi kelli,
    I keep forgetting to ask you -
    What is that fabulous cake underneath your profile picture?
    It looks awesome!!
    Is there a recipe for it, that I missed??
    As always - love your blog!!

  18. Your veggies are lovely. I like to slow roast my tomatoes to help preserve them :)

  19. So many veggies! Most of the ladies in my family have been canning since, well forever. I need to hook up with them and get a lesson so I can stock my pantry. Let us know how the frozen tomatoes keep.

  20. I'm a veggie, too, the burger looks great, I have to try that!!

  21. LOL! Just realized I left my comment about the fermentation series on the wrong Kelli's blog :) And the other one doesn't have a blog apparently. Oh well! I made roasted peppers too :)

  22. Beautiful veggies:) Thanks so much for the caponata shout out!


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