This weekend we had our first adventure in pressure canning. It went pretty well (equipment wise), but we did have 2 out of 8 jars fail to seal. I've had 100% success using the water bath method over the years. Hmm... I thought the head space was fine, jars were hot and dry... must have been a bit off in one of those areas and not realized it. We'll try again.
Aside from canning jams and applesauce, and various fruit butters, I really do prefer the freezer for putting by most fruits and vegetables. It tastes fresher to me that way. But, Irene and Alfred reminded us of the value of a shelf stable food supply.
So, the pantry will be filled with some veggies and soups this year, but the freezer will see its fill as well.
Aside from one or two slicing tomatoes, we've only harvested from our sungold plants so far - picking nearly a half gallon each day! On Friday the weather cooled a bit so it felt like a good time to roast a few trays. Sungolds of course are not nearly as meaty as a plum or other large tomato, so they really do roast down to almost nothing. I see them more as a condiment than a substantial dish. But to enjoy their concentrated summer flavor on pizza, tossed in pasta, combined with rice or quinoa, or a whole jar mixed into a pot of soup - oh, I do look forward to such winter days.
Just a couple of jars into the freezer for now... more to come!
Yesterday I took a long look at our basil and realized it's time. No longer can I sit idly by just watching the basil grow. It was indeed pesto time. So, I harvested what I could, not making much of a dent in the row quite honestly, but still winding up with such a huge bundle to process.
I love to make pesto for the freezer. It comes together so quickly, there's no cooking involved, and the house never smells better than pesto making time. (I'm sure I will retract that statement when it is applesauce making time.) For our family of three, I generally freeze pesto in four ounce canning jars, with a few eight ounce jars thrown in for company and holidays.
There is still so much more to go, but this first batch reminded me just how yummy our pesto recipe is (if I may say so). It's vegan too! I'd love to share the recipe with you.
Print Recipe - Pesto Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes
This recipe also serves as a preview for Whole Food Kitchen (registration for the fall session opens next week). For the most part, Whole Food Kitchen and 30 Day Vegan have separate recipes. There are a few crossovers though, some of my favorites - I just have to share them in both workshops. This pesto recipe is one of them. And a bonus, it comes with a recipe (method really) for slow roasted tomatoes.
You can whip it up as recommended for a yummy pasta dinner, or you can make the two recipes separately with your garden harvest and freeze for winter enjoyment.
After making all that pesto yesterday we had a wonderful dinner (summertime in a pot) of veggie noodles with pesto and sliced fresh sungold tomatoes. What a perfect meal.
I drafted this post yesterday, before I learned of some sad family news this morning. (Oh, those too early in the morning phone calls are never good.) My father's mother, our Memere, passed away in her sleep last night. She has been living with Alzheimer's Disease for many years now, and has been in a nursing home for some time as her mental decline required round the clock care. She was not ill (physically), her vitals were fine just last night. It was just her time.
My mom, dad, and sister will be coming up from Florida to be with family. I'm worried about my dad travelling (even though he is doing really well).
Mom and Dad on their wedding day. Nineteen and Twenty years old. :)
I've yet to update how he is doing since the bone marrow transplant less than a month ago... in short, he is defying all medical logic with his resilience.
The doctors are kind of shrugging their shoulders. How well he took to the transplant and how quickly he recovered was not "the plan." He's been going to the gym (the gym!) for the past week or so. "Got to rebuild my strength, need to get up North and get on with life," he says.
Two weeks ago, when his hair started to fall out from the chemo, he gave himself a buzz cut and called it a day. But that's how my dad is. Take care of business and move on.
I mention all of this here because this week I was scheduled to wrap up my ebook, Mealtime Salads, and release it along with Whole Food Kitchen registration opening next week. (I was going to offer a free copy to everyone that registered in the first few days.) Whole Food Kitchen is still going to open for enrollment next week, but I need to shelve the completion of this ebook right now. My house is about to welcome family for several days and that needs to be where my energy and focus lies. And after that, we'll be shifting right into the first few weeks of homeschool - and that is always such a busy and exciting time of transition. The near complete ebook will still be there ready and waiting when I can come back to it in a few weeks. However, you will still be able to "Bring a Friend" for the first week of Whole Food Kitchen registration. It's always wonderful to see friends sign up together.
Okay, a little bit of cooking, a little bit of workshop talk, a little bit of family and life news to share. All as it should be, I suppose.
Wising you a lovely day friends, we'll talk soon.