Here are some ideas I use to eat and store abundant amounts of vegetables.
Hot Pocket/ Burrito
Today I found myself with a little extra time and some available fruits of the garden. What to do? How about making a hot pocket/burrito for a snack? Here’s what I decided to make for a snack.
With a tortilla in hand and some spare cheese from the refrigerator, I started creating my meal. I and placed proceeded to cut my fresh garden picked Tomato, Bell and Anaheim Pepper, Oregano, Basil, Onion and Garlic tops. I then seasoned the vegetables with Salt and Black Pepper. Once this task was complete I laid out a tortilla the ingredients on along with the cheese.
this step complete, I started the traditional one handed burrito roll of the
tortilla.First I folded the left side
then the right all the while holding a camera. Next I folded the bottom up and
began the rolling.
Next step was to plate up my hot pocket burrito and microwave it. Two minutes later and a couple of more to cool down my garden treat were ready to eat. And oh it was so good!
A cool drink from my favorite cup and a tasty treat from the garden, just the way the Gardening Grandpa would make it.
Other Ideas for Abundance of Tomatoes
Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce
Store canned tomato sauce is a staple in our home. For the most part, we don’t use jar sauce; unless of course the sauce is our own homemade canned sauce. Store bought cans of crushed tomatoes are usually found in our pantry to make sauce. Once in a while when I luckily have way too many tomatoes, I will make sauce from scratch. Some folks just blend their extra tomatoes and cook them for a quick fix but I prefer to go the extra step. For me peeling tomatoes before blending them is the only way to go. This may sound difficult but just takes a little time and patience.
After collecting all the extra tomatoes from my garden, I simply take a sharp knife and score a few x-marks on each of them. The tomatoes then need to be placed in boiling water. In a few minutes if you do this, you will notice the skin starting to peel. After a considerable bit of skin has come loose, take a ladle or a set of tongs and carefully remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them in a pot of ice water. The ice water will stop the cooking process and make it easier to work the rest of the skin off the tomatoes. With the skin removed, you can blend or leave the tomatoes whole for the preferred type of sauce.
Now it’s time to make your basic homemade tomato sauce. In a large pot, place a few table spoons of oil. I prefer olive oil for its richness and health benefits.Next, roughly chop an onion and slightly brown it in the olive oil over the low heated stove top. Once the onion has caramelized add your tomatoes and cook on low for a few hours. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir occasionally. It is at this time I like to add a handful of garden basil. If your feeling adventurous, you can add fresh oregano for pizza sauce or any other garden herb. Just remember to not put too much in the pot to over power the sauce taste. If not making marinara sauce you con also add some of your fresh garden garlic. Now make sure the sauce doesn’t burn. Also don’t forget to get the tomato pulp from the sides of the pot. This is your free tomato paste and adds a rich, thick flavor. Cook it down and in a few hours you will have the best tomato sauce you ever had. Let your taste buds tell you when it’s ready.
Home Made Pesto from Home Grown Basil
Basil is one of my all time favorite herbs to grow. It is a staple in my garden and it's been growing in my Arizona backyard for over 20 years. Seeds are easy to save, as the plants bolt (flower) and produces thousands of seeds at a time. Just let the flowers get pollinated by your local bees or other insects, dry the buds out and the dropped seeds are good to be saved for your next season. My next season is basically every day. There are many types of basil. Basil has been known to be around since early India and has been used in ancient Greek foods as well as Chinese recipes. The Gardening Grandpa and Grandma use basil fresh every week in our tomato sauce, so when fresh growing leaves are unavailable we use fresh frozen leaves from our freezer supply or dried, dehydrated garden leaves. Another use for basil is to make Pesto sauce with it. Basil is the main ingredient for Pesto sauce. Pesto is the green sauce originated in Italy where basil is sometimes grown as a perennial. Since I have so much basil growing, I too have found myself learning to make Pesto sauce. Making Pesto is a wonderful way to use my surplus of basil leaves.
In the video below I show you just how easy it is to make fresh Pesto sauce. This recipe is very forgiving, so feel free to change the amounts of ingredients. Just remember to use lots of delicious basil. This sauce can be used on pasta, as a dip or any other way you can imagine. Give it a try.
Candied Sweet Potatoes
One way I like to use my abundant supply of backyard garden grown sweet potatoes is to candy them. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious. You may want to try these as a side dish,main course or a snack Ingredients: A few sweet potatoes 1 small onion 4 tablespoons of butter 1/4 cup of light brown sugar 1 teaspoon of salt (Optional)
Peel and wash your potatoes
Dice them into large bite size chunks
Bring about 4 cups of water to a rolling boil and add salt
Add cut potatoes, bring back to a boil and cook 4 minutes
Roughly chop a small onion
Combine drained potatoes, chopped onion, butter and light brown sugar to a pan
Cook on low to medium until onions are soft and potatoes start to brown. Stir frequently
Put in a serving dish and enjoy!
See how I grew these Sweet Potatoes on the November 2015 Blog by clicking here.
Homemade pickles, especially "Dill Pickles" are a great food to have around the house. I use them on sandwiches, hamburgers or just to snack on. I emphasize homemade because you just can't get that taste from a store bought jar. Another reason is I am the only one to know how many jars I made, so there is plenty to sample. This month cucumbers where on sale in a local market, 2 cukes for a dollar. I couldn't resist making a few jars of fresh pickles. In the following video I show you how to can Dill Pickles, but you don't need all that equipment for only a couple of jars. Just refrigerate your pickles after making them. The basic recipe to make a pickle brine is 3 cups of water, 2 cups of vinegar and 1 quarter cup of kosher or canning salt. It's that easy. Put your ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. While bringing your mixture to a boil, cut cucumbers in quarters or any way you like them. Sanitized mason jars and place two or three cloves of fresh garlic and a handful of fresh dill in each. Next stuff your cucumbers into the jars. After your brine mixture has come to a boil, pour it into your waiting mason jars. Put the lids on and store in the fridge for two or three weeks. Now your ready to try your first homemade dill pickles. Enjoy! In the below video, I show you step by step on how to make and can your pickles for long term storage. The reason I sometimes say you don't really need to do this is because homemade pickles are so good you will eat them super fast. One hint is to pick the firmest cucumbers you can find to pickle.Either that or use the chemical hardening agent found in the canning sections of the grocery store. I personally would rather have a pickle on the softer side than add any chemicals to my brine. Cucumbers do tend to soften in boiling brine but the natural flavor makes up for it.
I'm Still waiting on some friends to share their wonderful easy recipes. Send em' in folks!