Tag Archives: tomatillos

Arctic Zone

Yesterday was cold and wet, rain at our elevation, snow about 800 feet above us.  With the cold was wind, stripping the gold and red leaves from the trees that had not lost their leaves yet.  A good day to stay indoors, but it was Farmers’ Market day and if we were to have meat this week, other than chicken, a trip to town was necessary.  We dallied, not leaving to have breakfast as on most weekends and knowing that there was a home game at the University in town, an attempt to try to miss the traffic seeking to find parking on side streets or failing that, paying $10/car in church lots or people’s yards. Home games are madness in our little town as the university is huge and the alumni dedicated, even in a cold rain.  The market was done, the vendors all thanking us for coming out in such nastiness, but we came home with ground beef, stew meat, onions and radishes, still having greens in the garden and a bit of the last salad in the refrigerator.  Our usual meat vendor wasn’t there, so I was unable to get the ground pork that I wanted to make a stuffed pumpkin this week, unless I can find a package in the chest freezer.   Or perhaps, I will make a pumpkin, chicken curry in a pumpkin shell, there is plenty of coconut milk and red curry in the pantry.

Once home, the winter squash picked over the prior two days were toted down to the root cellar in the basement, two big canvas sacks at a time, many, many trips up and down the stairs.  The shelves look ready to provide well this winter.

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Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, garlic and canned goodies.  This is what is left after loads to northern Virginia and what is upstairs in the pantry.  The freezer stocked with green beans, peas, apples, chicken and a bit of pork and beef stockpiled from weekend trips to the Farmers’ Market.  Our favorite meat vendor toughs it out at the market on all but the worst winter Saturday’s throughout the upcoming winter.

As the wind blew last night, and the temperature dropped, our power failed.  Quickly gathering up the battery lanterns and flashlights and tossing a down blanket on the two quilts on the bed, I settled in with my tablet that had a good charge and the ebook that I am currently reading.  Fortunately, the power only stayed out a couple of hours and we were awakened by the TV and lights coming on and the computer printer doing a self start, though it had been powered off before.

The morning dawned an hour earlier, thanks to the time change last night from daylight savings time.  Yes, I know, an extra hour to sleep, hmmmph, I awake with the sun and get up once awake, my body doesn’t just switch gears like the clock.  As I let the pups out, I realized that we were seeing our first snow flurries and the lightest of dusting on the ground and decks.

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Mountain snow showers are a common occurrence, rarely amounting to anything, whenever there is moisture in the air and the temperature below freezing.  The freeze last night, the first freeze burned back the pumpkin patch and the bean patch.  The greens look sad this morning but will perk back up as the daytime temperatures rise above freezing.

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After feeding the chickens and breaking the ice on their water, a walk through the ruined patch revealed as I suspected, several more pumpkins.  The largest, not damaged ones gathered and brought in, like I really need more in the house.

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Happily, several of them were Buttercup squash.  A couple were tossed into the chicken pen and the rest left to be gathered in the garage or thrown immediately to the chickens over this week once the wind dies down and the temperature rises to a more comfortable range.  This was the first morning that I had to don the heavy barn coat to go deal with the birds.

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The peppers that were gathered prior to the expected Arctic chill have all been processed, the tiny jalapenos sliced and frozen, some used in last night’s chili with cornbread for dinner.  The small bell peppers, sliced and frozen, the ripe habeneros packed whole in freezer bags, the green ones set in a bowl to ripen as you can see they are doing.  They too will be bagged and frozen.  The tiny hot orange pepper that I still haven’t identified, was pureed with vinegar they had been soaking in for the past few weeks and a Tabasco-like sauce made that a single drop burned my mouth for an hour.  The rest of them are ripening on the upside down plants in the garage.  The tomatillos that we gathered were rid of their husks, washed and packed whole in freezer bags, another 3 pounds to be used in Pozole this winter.  A chicken, some tomatillos, a bag of dried hominy soaked, a handful of Mexican spices and a hearty soup to feed a small army is made.

We are lovin’ life on our mountain farm and now must accept another winter is upon us.  We were lucky this year, we got an extra 2-3 weeks before the first frost.

Garden’s Swan Song

We are past our “Frost Date” and have had mild nights except a couple of weeks ago.  The garden survived those two nights with row cover fabric draped over the peppers and tomatillos.  We are expecting two nights in the 30’s tonight and tomorrow night and nothing is going to be done to protect what is left.  If the plants survive, great, we might get a few more tomatillos and peppers, the greens will be fine for a while.  If they freeze, it has been a good year.

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To prepare, a harvest of 5 types of peppers, a basket of tomatillos, a handful of bush beans and two golfball sized turnips were brought in.  The Jalapeños were pickled into two more pints for winter.  The bell peppers sliced and frozen except for a few to stuff tomorrow.  The Anchos have been put in the window sill hoping they will turn red and can then be dried for Enchilada sauce.  The tomatillos and habeneros will be cooked down with onion and garlic for more of Son #1’s favorite XXX sauce.

With the garden waning, the chickens get to visit, eating bugs, weed seed and scratching around leaving chicken fertilizer.  When they aren’t in the garden, they wander around the orchard, the yards and out into the fields, but not too far from the house.

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They are healthy, producing plenty of eggs each day and live a good life.

On Saturdays, we generally go to town, have breakfast at the local diner then shop the Farmers’ Market.  We came home with some beef and pork for the freezer, a peck of eating apples and some carrots and onions.

Between our garden goodness and the Farmers’ Market take, we will eat well.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

 

It Isn’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Sings. . .

Or the garden quits producing.  The tomatoes are long gone, the Tomatillos and peppers are making up for it.  Much to my surprise, the late planting of bush beans is producing.

I returned from my Retreat and the 12 hours of driving in 2 days, the babysitting and errands with more jars, lots of them.  I have been taking jars to NoVa for three years, full of canned goodness and have brought a few home, but today I have enough to keep me from a purchase for a while at least.

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And bigger jars purchased for the winter storage of bulk goods.

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I left NoVa early today and arrived home in time for lunch with Mountaingdad and wandered off to chicken chores and a garden check and was greeted with . . .

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Peppers, 5 kinds, tomatillos and beans.  This was inducement to pull out the canner again and pickle 4 pints of Jalapenos, 5 cups of XXX Habanero/Tomatillo sauce, blanch and freeze 3 meals of beans and a quart of bell pepper slices.  The tiny hot little peppers that I bought as cayenne are being added to a bottle of vinegar as I harvest them for a couple of smaller bottles of pepper vinegar.

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The more I put by, the more we will enjoy this winter and the more we can share.  The garden has been good to us this year.  I still plan to put up a few more pints of applesauce and a few quarts of apple slices in juice, make a gallon of cider vinegar, as much green salsa and XXX hot sauce as I have Tomatillos and peppers, pints of pickled Jalapenos until the frost hits.  The winter squash and pumpkins continue to spread and grow.  Hopefully, below all of those leaves we will find a good harvest of Buttercup squash, Seminole pumpkins and yellow and white sweet potatoes that were engulfed a couple of weeks ago.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.  It is good to be home.

Tis The End

Saturday mornings are usually spent going to the local diner for breakfast then on to the Farmers’ Market. Not today.  Today the morning was spent processing the last two baskets of tomatoes, both green and red, many with spots that had to be cut away. I started with the green, as my end product was to be Green Tomato Chutney from http://foodinjars.com/2010/11/green-tomato-chutney/. The cooking part of this one takes an hour and a half or more. It was prepped and set to simmer on a back burner. Next up were the remaining red tomatoes that were pared of cores and bad spots, diced and tossed into another large pot with some salt. On the last functional and largest burner was the pressure canner with the requisite 3 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar as we have hard water and I didn’t want white rings on the jars. Loaded inside were my last 7 pint jars full of hot water to heat until filling time. The red tomatoes filled those jars with some to spare, so a quick jaunt out to the garden to harvest a pound or so of Tomatillos and some hot peppers and with an onion, some garlic, a toss of herbs, a bit of chopping, the tomatoes became salsa. It was left to cook down some while the diced tomatoes canned and cooled enough to remove from the canner.
While I was standing at the kitchen window, enjoying the outside while doing dishes, I spotted a coyote in the hayfield.

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They have been very vocal the past few nights and while I got the binoculars to check him out and my phone to take the distant photo, I spotted two more.  All three were taking their time sauntering across the newly mowed hayfield, into the woods and up toward the house.  They passed close enough to the house that the dogs indoors became very agitated.

The only jars left on hand were a new flat of half pints that I bought with the idea of making the chutney, so nine of them were washed, filled with hot water and scalded in the canner.  The end result was 5 half pints of salsa, 5 half pints of chutney.  One of the chutney’s didn’t even go in the canner, it will travel with me this week to the spinning retreat with a block of Neufchatel cheese and a box of crackers to share at the happy hour.  A half pint of salsa and a bag of chips will also go.

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It has been a good season for tomatoes, unlike last year when we didn’t get enough to get up through the winter.  It was not a good year for beans thanks to the bunnies.  The shelves are stocked with tomato products.  The freezer with chicken and peas.  This week I will purchase one more flat of jars and a basket of local apples and can one batch of applesauce, then the canner will be packed away for another year.

My session ended with a sandwich and a fried green tomato that I set aside just for my lunch.

 

Tom Tom

The garden provided 5 pounds of tomatoes, 2 pounds of tomatillos, a dozen or so various hot peppers this morning. I quick decision that salsa at $5 a pint and large cans of pickled jalapeños at under $2 a can, that the peppers are better used in salsa than just being pickled. Another round of canning commenced.
The tomatoes peeled and diced, the tomatillos diced, onions, hot peppers and garlic chopped. Eight pints of salsa in the making.
Today’s creation is Tom TomSalsa.
Tom Tom Hot Salsa
5 lbs tomatoes peeled and diced
2 lbs tomatillos husks removed, washed and diced
1 large onion chopped (2 cups)
10 cloves garlic minced
12 jalapeño pepper minced
1 habanero pepper minced
1 Tbs oregano
2 Tbs cilantro
1 Tbs pickling salt
1 cup lemon juice
Place all in a heavy nonreactive pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into clean, hot pint jars, seal with new lids, tighten bands and water bath process for 20 minutes.
Yield 8 pints

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The shelves are being filled with garden goodness.
The pullets are laying more each day. We are getting 7 eggs most days from the 10 pullets and 1 hen. Broody Girl went into molt as soon as she quit being broody and hasn’t laid an egg in more than 2 months. I’m not too happy with her right now.
The Rainbow Ranger chicks at not quite 4 weeks old already weigh about 2 pounds each and have seriously outgrown the brooder. They are in a large dog cage with an attached run in the garage and get as much daytime outdoors as weather permits. They foul their cage daily. Can’t wait until they can go out to the chicken ark and run to live out their lives until mid October.

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Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.