Monday, July 14, 2014

Harvest Monday July 14, 2014

A big thank you to Daphne from Daphne's Dandelions for hosting Harvest Mondays!

Okra, cherry tomatoes, pears, and cucumbers

crushed tomatoes in their own juices

okra, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes


Here are some pictures from this week's harvests. The tomatoes are not from my garden. I went to a you pick place and bought enough to can some crushed tomatoes in their own juices.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Blueberry Crunch Recipe

If you have an abundance of blueberries and are looking for a good recipe in which to use them, you might try this recipe. I changed the amount of blueberries to 3 cups and, therefore, used 3 T corn starch and 3 T lemon juice.

Blueberry Crunch

I love it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Few Life Hacks for Canning Jars

I was talking to my husband this morning, wondering why anybody would buy these (theoretically affiliate link)

when there are things we regularly purchase that are the size of regular mouth canning jars. He said that he thought most people did not know these things would fit. Well, I thought I would tell you so that you will know from now on.

examples of regularly purchased products that fit canning jars
Canning jars with these lids on them. I am currently storing
dried basil in the one on the left and the 2 on the right contain
my pepper sauce.
The smaller size peanut butter jars fit perfectly on regular mouth canning jars. Most mayonnaise lids do, too, but Bama Mayonnaise does not for some reason.

I haven't yet found a lid that fits perfectly on wide mouth canning jars, but I have something that works really well. I will try to explain it to you.

That jar on the left in the picture is the type of coconut oil I regularly buy. Its lid is just slightly too large for the large mouth canning jars.

Here is what I did to fix that.

Take a large mouth canning ring and the lid you want to use. 

Snap the lid over the top of the canning ring. 

Press hard. It's tight, but the fit is good. 

Here's what it looks like when you have them connected. 
Then you just use it as you would any lid. It fits perfectly! I love finding ways to use everyday things!
It is better for the environment. And it's better for my pocket book.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Harvest Monday July 7, 2014

I am joining Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday today. I want to send a big "thank you" to Daphne for hosting this event. It's fun. You can see what others are harvesting by going to the link.

It has been a pretty good harvest week for me. First up, I will talk about my pears. I gathered 2 baskets full. That's wonderful! I have had trouble with Japanese rust on that tree for the past few years, so it hasn't had fruit on it. There was a little Japanese rust this year, but someone told me that if I put Epsom salts under the tree to the drip line of the leaves every time it was getting ready to rain, it would help. I tried it, and it helped more than this expensive and hard-to-apply organic stuff I bought.

My mother-in-law really loves pear relish, so I made her nine pint jars from the first basket of pears. I have to dole it to her one jar at a time or she will eat so much of it she makes herself sick. I didn't grow up with it and it isn't my favorite, but it makes her happy.
Pear relish to the left and a basket of pears to the right. 

Pears. You can see a little of the Japanese rust on the very top

Pear relish
 Then, I made 2 quarts of spiced pear sauce.  I added 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and a ground cloves. YUM! I think it is good enough to eat as a dessert. :)
Spiced pear sauce (like apple sauce, but with pears)

I don't have the best luck with corn, but this is better than the first time I grew it. We got four edible sized ears today and have about 8 more in the garden.
The okra is coming in pretty well. It's just getting started, so it should hit its stride pretty soon. We all love it and are happy to be eating it again.
Stewart's Zeebest okra
 My son is in a 4-H Junior Master Gardener program. It's been a great experience for him. He planted 9 hot peppers in the garden, because of the class. We weren't sure that we would get anything off of them, because they looked very poorly for a long time, but they are bouncing back and we got our first hot pepper this week. He has several different types of hot peppers, so I hope he can at least taste all the different ones. Maybe he will become a chili head! He's only nine and really loves spicy, so we will see.
Hot banana pepper
 The cucumbers are providing us with tasty cucumbers every day. I have squash vine borers on the cucumber plant (argh!), so I don't know how long we will be able to get them, but I am going to enjoy every one that we can get. They taste so wonderful!
And last, but not least, the swallow tailed kites are back in town! Out whole family just loves these birds! They are relatively rare birds in much of the country and several states have them listed as endangered and/or threatened. We love to watch them swoop, soar and dive. And as a bonus, they eat a lot of snakes. It is so neat to see them carrying a snake through the sky, holding it by the middle, both ends of the snake flying behind them like a banner. 
swallow tailed kite behind our home