Monday, July 21, 2014

Canning on the Ridge.

Busy time up on the Ridge.
My first major harvest from the garden.
So, I dug out my canning jars,recipes,and Canners to preserve some of the bounty.

I also froze some of the vegetables like the Summer Squash,Zucchini,Bell peppers,Eggplant,and Chard.
I had sage,basil,Rosemary,and Thyme that needed to be dried,and I cut some up in ice cube trays. Add either unsalted butter,or olive oil to use in cooking sauces,Roasted meats, etc.  These went into the freezer to solidify covered with wax paper.  I put them in freezer bags for easy access when they are needed.

I had to prune the Roma and heirloom tomatoes so I did pick some green tomatoes to make pickles and Chow Chow with.  I did have a few cukes,so those were made into refrigerator pickles. I am not sure how many I am may get. The deer have decided they like them too.  Sean love the snap peas so those go into a baggie in the vegetable bin. I serve them raw or lightly steamed.
I had tons of Hot banana peppers also.  So, those got put up in a hot,spicy brine too.

The pasture just over from me was thick with Blackberries.  So I had to have some of those too!

Yes, Thursday of last week,the weekend and today were full of putting food up for the freezer and pantry.
Here are some pictures of what was done.  Recipes are after them.  I love the garden and putting food from it away for the winter.  It is a definite good thing.  LOL
First Green beans of the batch.

Garden fresh Vegetables from The Ridge

Chopped up and in the freezer

Zucchini loaves one for eating,one for freezing

Blackberries from the berry patch,and the result 4 pints of jam and a quart let for pie or cobbler
Chard in the sink being cleaned

Green Tomato Pickles

Chow Chow
Recipes for the Chow Chow,Green Tomato Pickles, Zucchini bread and the Blackberry jam are here.


July 13, 2014 at 11:51am
Recipe from the Ball canning site. <>

Makes about 6 to 7 (8 oz) half pints

Waterbath Canning
5 cups finely chopped cabbage (about 1-1/2 med heads)
4 cups chopped cored green tomatoes, unpeeled (about 8 medium)
1-1/2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
1 cup chopped seeded red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped seeded green bell pepper (about 1 large)
3 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup pickling spice
4 Tbsp coarsely chopped gingerroot
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
3 cups white vinegar
1-3/4 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground turmeric
6 to 7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

COMBINE cabbage, green tomatoes, onions, red and green peppers and salt in a large glass or stainless steel bowl. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 12 hours or overnight. Transfer to a colander placed over a sink and drain. Rinse with cool water and drain thoroughly. Using your hands, squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside.
PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
TIE pickling spice, ginger root and mustard seeds in a square of cheesecloth creating a spice bag.
COMBINE drained cabbage mixture, vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric and spice bag in a large stainless steel saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Uncover and boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for 1 hour, until thickened to the consistency of a thin commercial relish, about 20 minutes. Discard spice bag.
LADLE hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot relish. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

July 13, 2014 at 12:12pm
Gather your canning supplies
water bath canner
canning jars
canning seals and rings
jar lifter
canning funnel
large pot
large spoons
sharp knife
crinkle cutter is optional
towels and dish cloths

Green tomatoes - enough to fill 6 pints or about 5 pounds
3 1/2 cups vinegar
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup canning salt
6 garlic cloves - one for each jar
dill seeds or fresh heads of dill - one for each jar.(or your pickling spices)  I used both 

Start by preparing jars,and get water in your canner heating. 


Wash tomatoes. Cut into desired size. If you use cherry or pear cut in half, full size tomatoes can be cut in half or quarters. Smaller if you have very large tomatoes.

Combine vinegar, water, salt in large pot. Bring to a boil. 

Place 1 garlic clove and 1 head of dill (or 2 tsp seeds) in each jar. (for crisper fruit place 1.5 teaspoons per quart and 3/4 teaspoon per pint.  of Calcium chloride in your jar.)

Pack tomato pieces into jars and cover with vinegar solution, leaving 1/4 inch head space. 

Process according to water bath canning instructions. *see bottom Altitude chart

Let these pickled green tomatoes set for 4-5 weeks before opening, this allows the flavors to fully develop. 

Wipe rims clean and process according to water bath canning directions. 

process pints for 15 minutes *( am at 3001-6000 so I go 10 minutes)

Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner
Altitude in Feet Increase processing time

1001-3000  5 minutes
3001-6000  10 minutes
6001-8000  15 minutes
8001-10,000  20 minutes

Zucchini Bread Recipe
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour
This is the jam recipe I used.  It was for liquid pectin, so everything worked for me,I hope you have the same results.  Blackberry Jam

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Baking Bread and Daytona

My son is watching the rain delayed Daytona race.  Several big wrecks have the field down to seventeen lead cars.  His driver is banged up but still hanging in.  Ms. Patrick is surviving also.

Cooling and smelling good!
I am making bread.  One loaf of breakfast bread,cinnamon swirl and  one white bread.  The recipe is simple and a no knead bread.  You add the yeast into the flour and then the warm water.  The dough never fells to rise so far.

Recipe for both are as follows:  Note* I divide the dough and use the second ball to make the swirl bread. I am not adding raisins today but if you do add them the same time you do the topping. 1/4 cup is good.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
61/2 cups bread or all purpose flour
2 packs of active dry yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp of melted butter

place 31/2 cups of the flour into the mixing bowl. Add the yeast,sugar,and salt.Blend together and add the warm water and melted butter. Mix until well moistened and gradually add the rest of the flour. Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a ball.  Remove the dough hooks and cover the mixing bowl and let rise in a warm place,until dough doubles in size.
30 minutes should be sufficient.
Punch the dough down and place on a floured board to divide into 2 loafs.
Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle and roll up. Fold the ends under and place into a greased loaf pan.
 *note if you wish spread some cornmeal out and dust the bottom of the loafs with it.  I do this but some don't.  I will not do the bottom of the Cinnamon Swirl bread with cornmeal just the white bread loaf.
I make breakfast cinnamon swirl bread with the second dough ball.  Rolling out into the rectangle and spreading melted butter and cinnamon mixed with sugar on the top. Roll into a log and fold the ends under and bake about 5 minutes longer than the other loaf.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out onto a cloth covered board and brush melted butter over the top. Cool before cutting.

Ingredients for the cinnamon swirl bread.
*see note about raisins for raisin cinnamon swirl bread.
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter

gather your ingredients
half the flour in the mixing bowl with the sugar and salt added

yeast is added

mix until the dough pulls away from the sides

Cover and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes
Doubled ready to punched down and divided
Before dividing the dough

divided into two loafs
roll into a rectangle before rolling into a log 

The cinnamon and sugar mix spread out and starting the roll
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Second rectangle gets melted butter . 

Both loaf in the oven

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1st and Garden picked squash

Rabbit,Rabbit, and have a great 1st of July.  

I had squash and my DD gave me some also.  What to do with all that Squash?  Here is my recipe.  
I make the soup base,but you can substitute canned soup too.  Enjoy some Summer Squash!

Squash Casserole with Mushroom soup

I make my own version of Cream of mushroom soup.  Here is my recipe.  I makes about 3 cups.


about 4 servings
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1  cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 5 tablespoons butter divided 2 for the saute and 3 for the thickening
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half


In a large  saucepan, cook mushrooms in the butter, add the onion and salt. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the broth with celery salt and thyme cook about 10
In the saucepan, melt the butter, whisk in the flour until smooth. Add the salt, pepper, half and half.  Stirring constantly, bring soup to a boil and cook until thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.

  • PREP 10 mins
  • COOK 15 mins to 30 minutes (I will cook less because it will be in  the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour with the casserole)
Now  the Squash part of the recipe.
Pre-heat oven to 375
Cut 3-4 medium sized summer squash. Crookneck or early prolific. into cubes
butter a casserole dish and lay ritz type crackers in the bottom.
Add 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to the mushroom soup mixture and stir until melted.  Beat 1 egg and temper it while adding it to the hot soup mixture.  Stir in 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Stir well and pour into the casserole dish.
Cut a block of butter 2 tblsp into piece and top the casserole, crush about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cracker up to top the casserole and bake for 45 -1 hour until it is set and lightly browned.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Swiss Chard from the Garden

I harvested some of my Swiss Chard to use for dinner today.  I also had onions ready to pull.  The baby squash and snap peas went to the basket as well.  They will be used later.  I picked the last of the Radishes and a second crop will go in this week.

I wilted the chard down in bacon grease with onion and garlic. I made a cream sauce and poured it over it all of it. Added cooked chicken cut into cubes with swiss cheese and penne pasta. Topped it with parmesan and baked it in a 400 degree oven for 17 minutes. So Good!!!

preheat oven to 400 degrees
1 pound of Swiss Chard (chopped and de-stemmed)
2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease.  ( save mine from fried bacon in the refrigerator. )
3-4 medium green onions,chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced fine
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
2 cups of Penne Pasta
1 cup Grated Swiss Cheese
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup chicken broth
4-5 chicken boneless tenders. cooked and cubed 
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese shredded over the top
salt to taste and black pepper 
Cook the chicken tenders and make a flavored broth to be used in the dish. See * Put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta and season with salt once it boils,cook the pasta al dente'
In a skillet heat the bacon grease and add the onion and garlic and a dash of salt.  Add cleaned Chard and wilt stirring it until it reduces in size and is cooked.  Add the chicken broth from the seasoned water boiling water use to cook the chicken tenders in. *(I use, celery,salt,pepper,red pepper and thyme) to make a quick broth.

Stir together the cornstarch and water and pour into the hot pan to thicken the broth.  Once the broth is thickened add the milk and cheese.  Stir in the cubed chicken and pasta.   Once everything is mixed,top it with the shredded parmesan cheese. 
Bake for 17 minutes until set and cheese is golden.  Enjoy

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Breakfast Memories

What would Sunday breakfast be without biscuits? Here is my Family recipe.

 Cathead biscuits
My Mother makes these

2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1 cup milk (buttermilk)

heat oven to 450

Mix dry ingredients together,cut in Crisco with a fork until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add milk. Stir together until mixture comes together in a ball.
Take a handful of flour and place on a dough board (cutting board) plop the dough out and shape smooth. Do not work it much. Take a good size portion and pinch it off. Shape it in your hand pinching the bottom to make the top smooth. Place in a lightly greased pan and dab a little shortening on top of each biscuit. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy with butter or Gravy. (Save the leftover dough to make a dodger) The portion that wasn't enough to make a proper cathead it just dodged it. 
Variation of the Recipe with Self-rising flour.
2 cups Self-rising flour
1/4 cup of Crisco shortening
2/3 cup milk (buttermilk)
Work as above
Bake for 8-10 minutes

As kids we would fight over the dodger, it was just right for egg dipping!

Coffee and a buttered biscuit,slap your Momma Good!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lemonade on a pre-Summer Day

The Mercury is climbing and the humidity is meeting it.

I has lemons. So lemonade it is.

After the housework and taking care of Boys needs.  Outside work is planned.

First I need to keep the boy hydrated. Some homemade Lemonade is perfect on a hot and humid day.
I have always equated Lemonade as the taste of Summer

Homemade Country Lemonade

Simple sugar syrup with lemon
 2 cups sugar
zest from 1 lemon (use the peels from the lemons,I squeezed the juice from.
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat sugar, zest, and 2 cups water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl; Mash the liquid and some pulp into the bowl,discard solids. Let cool completely. Stir in lemon juice. (Syrup can be refrigerated, airtight, and will last up to 1 month.  ( I use this for my lemon drop recipe also.)
 Slice 1 lemon for garnish

Pour the cooled lemon syrup into your pitcher. This recipe makes a gallon. Add ice cubes to the top of the container.
Pour in about 8 cups of cold water, remember the ice will melt and dilute the lemonade too.  So, use less water if needed.  Stir together. Taste and adjust to your liking. Add more sugar, or water as you want.  
Serve it and enjoy the sweet tart taste of Summer.

Variations can include raspberry,blueberry,strawberry,Lavender,Basil: to enhance the flavor.
 Make a hard lemonade by adding vodka, or lemon drops by adding white wine.  I make my lemon simple syrup for the lemon drop with a sprig of Rosemary added.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thunderstorms and a late night bandit

I am tired today.

The thunderstorms left this morning,and a cold front stayed.
My garden needs the rain.  I am glad we are on a mountain ridge.  The valley had standing water.  My mother's front yard looked like a small lake.

The area had Tornado warnings,but the winds were high,but did not cause us problems.  Some areas were without power and flooded.

Around 2 am, I look out to see what the cats were doing,and see a young raccoon,trying to come up on the porch.. cat food was the target.  The cats were unimpressed with the raccoon and were happy to share.

His momma must have visited last month,in the back.  She tried to knock the bird feeders down.  Now, there are lots of things to eat in the woods. So, I know the raccoons weren't starving.  Just nuisances,they are destructive too.  Cute as they are.
You know the TV ad for the mint trash bag that repel them?  Not so much. I have mint growing at the bottom of the porch.  So.....

What I know is ammonia,cinnamon and black or red pepper do work to discourage them.  You have to reapply after heavy rains,and in dry weather every month or so.  I did find a recipe for repellent on the Internet.
I made it up for the back yard and deck.
It worked until the heavy rains,and I will re-apply this weekend.
cute little critter

I used #1 recipe

Good luck if you have the raccoon problem.  Maybe the repellent will help.
I used it around my garden plants as well.
last night before the rainstorms