My goal for our garden this year was to have enough veggies to be able to can a large supply of tomato soup, salsa, jam, pickles, green beans and jalapeños for our family. I planned my garden around the ingredients needed for these recipes and so far I have been so happy with the results. I thought I would share a few of the recipes that I get asked for most often.
This salsa is awesome because it uses up extra cucumbers, plus I can add or subtract the amount of jalapeños, depending on how hot I want it. This year, my family ate an entire bag of chips "taste testing" my salsa. That makes it a winner recipe!
My Family's Favorite Salsa
14 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped
5 cups bell peppers, chopped (I used chocolate, red & yellow this year)
2 cups jalapeños chopped (I leave in the seeds so it's good & hot)
4 cups cucumbers, seeded and chopped
2 cups onion, chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
10 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon marjoram
2 teaspoons salt (more if needed after cooking)
1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or longer if you would like your salsa thicker. I
like to take some of the salsa and blend it, then add it back to the pot, just because my
family likes it less chunky.
3. Once it's as thick as you like, place in sterile jars, leaving 1/2" head space and process
pints for 15 minutes. This makes about 12 pints.
Last year I tried making tomato soup for the first time. My children eat a ridiculous amount of tomato soup and I just hate reading the label on their favorite tomato soup, but the organic soups I tried just didn't pass the taste test for my tribe. So, last year I ran across a recipe and thought, "why not?" The original recipe is here, but I wasn't comfortable with water bath canning a recipe that had butter and flour in it, so I altered the recipe a bit.
6 onions, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
8 quarts fresh tomatoes
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1. Chop onions and celery, then simmer them in a large pot with just enough water to cover
2. While they are simmering, cut and core tomatoes. Add tomatoes to large pot and cook
3. If you have a food mill, you can put the whole mixture through the food mill, then return
the juice to the pot. I don't have a food mill, so I put the mixture into my blender a little at
a time. Then I place my colander over a large pot and pour the mixture from my blender
into the colander, to strain the solids out of the mix. By doing it this way instead of the
food mill, it does leave some seeds and bits of skin in the soup, but my family really likes
it that way.
4. Once you have your juice in a large pot, add sugar and salt.
5. Bring soup to a simmer, then place in sterilized jars. Leave a 1/4" head space and
process pints for 20 minutes in a water bath canner.
Since the soup is not thick, I have to thicken it after I open the jars. I simply melt a little butter in a pot, then mix in a tablespoon of flour. I cook that for a minute, then whisk in the soup. As it starts to thicken, I add in some milk to make it creamy. This is the easiest recipe ever and it is so YUMMY!
Our cucumbers have gone nuts this year, which makes me glad I FINALLY found the perfect pickle recipe for our family. It's super sour, not too salty and the cucumbers stayed nice and crunchy. We are in pickle love around here this year.
9 pounds pickling cucumbers, ends cut off
6 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
6 tablespoons pickling salt
12 teaspoons dill seed (or a teaspoon for each pint jar)
12 cloves garlic, peeled (or one head per pint jar)
1. Combine vinegar, water and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. While that is heating up, cut the ends off of each cucumber, then cut your cucumbers
however you like them. I made ours into spears this year.
3. In hot, sterilized pint jars, add 1 tsp. dill seeds and one clove of garlic, then pack in
4. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers, leaving 1/2" head space. Use a plastic
knife to release the air bubbles, then add more vinegar mix, if necessary to cover
5. Process pints 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
I'm getting ready to make another batch of these pickles. I don't think I can make enough of these pickles, as my kids have been using every excuse imaginable to open "just one more jar."
Any questions? Feel free to ask away and I'll do my best to answer.