How To Ripen Green Tomatoes

It’s a sad day when the weatherman forecasts an overnight frost and you still have so many tomatoes on the vine. But though it will be the end of the tomato plants, it doesn’t mean the end of your garden tomatoes.

Just before the frost descends, collect all your tomatoes, at any stage of ripeness, and set them out in bowls on counters or tables. Almost all of them will eventually ripen. Refrigerate them as they ripen and extend the taste of summer into winter.

Many green tomatoes will ripen if left out in bowls.

Many green tomatoes will ripen if left out in bowls.

Refrigerate ones that have ripened to red.

Refrigerate ones that have ripened to red.

Late Summer Garden Zucchinis. Not only large, but long-lasting too.

You can always tell when fall is approaching and squash plants are nearing the end of their lives. The leaves turn yellowish and dry, though it might still be weeks before the first frost. If you would like to enjoy the fruits of these plants well through the winter, allow them to grow large with firm outer shells in the late growing season. They will last in cool dry temperatures for months.

This garden zucchini has been kept in a cool place for months and photographed in February

This garden zucchini has been kept in a cool place for months and photographed in February

Try this delicious zucchini bread recipe

Or this heavenly zucchini lemongrass soup

 

 

Pop The Peppers In The Freezer

When the summer bell peppers are coming in thick and fast, you can choose to let the peppers fully mature and turn red, which usually slows down production of new fruits, or you can pick the peppers green to encourage another round of pepper production and simply freeze any excess peppers for winter consumption. It’s so easy to freeze peppers. Cut them in half and remove the core and seeds. Then place them on a tray and set them in the freezer. After an hour or so remove the peppers from the tray and store in plastic freezer bags.

First freeze the pepper halves for an hour on trays.  Then store in plastic freezer bags.

First freeze the pepper halves for an hour on trays. Then store in plastic freezer bags.

 

Freezing Kale. It couldn’t be easier.

Last fall, just before frigid winter temperatures set in, I had a lot of vibrant green dinosaur kale in the garden. However, I didn’t have time for my usual kale freezing protocols of blanching, chilling in ice water, squeezing out excess moisture, and storing in plastic freezer bags.  The kale leaves were so abundant and inviting and healthy looking that I thought I would just try throwing them in the freezer anyway. So I took a chance and simply cut off the kale leaves, bundled them dry in two layers of plastic grocery bags and stuck them in the freezer.

The results were much better than expected. The kale emerged from the bags just a tiny bit wilted. Now in January and February when my fresh garden stocks are low, there’s plenty of this delicious, frozen kale ready to cook up and enjoy.

The outer of two plastic shopping bags

The outer of two plastic shopping bags

The inner of two plastic shopping bags

The inner of two plastic shopping bags

Frozen kale straight from the freezer

Frozen kale straight from the freezer

Heavenly Zucchini Lemon Grass Soup

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA delicious recipe for all your garden zucchini

2 tsp of vegetable oil (preferably coconut oil)

½ cup of coarsely chopped onion

4 cups of zucchini chunks

½ cup coconut milk

1 cup water

1 lemon grass stalk, rinsed clean or 2 tsp of lemon grass paste

1 tsp curry powder or to taste

¼ tsp nutmeg

Salt to taste

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSaute the onion in the oil in a saucepan at moderate heat until cooked.

Add the zucchini chunks to the saucepan.

Add the coconut milk and the water.

If using a stalk of lemon grass, loosely tie it into a knot and add to the pot or add the lemon grass paste.

Simmer for fifteen minutes or until the zucchini is soft.

Add the curry powder, nutmeg and salt.

Run the soup through a blender until it is thoroughly liquefied.

Reheat and serve

Makes about four cups

Stirring Natural Peanut Butter — The Easy Way

Stir natural peanut butter with one blade in an electric mixer

Keeping it simple and quick.

Stirring natural peanut butter can be a long sloppy mess as the oil on top more easily spills off than blends into the peanut butter.  And it takes a while too.  The job goes more quickly and is more thoroughly blended with a single mixer blade running at low speed.  Pour off some of the oil into a small bowl.  Insert the mixer blade into the peanut butter.  Blend, gradually adding all the oil back into the peanut butter.  Scrape excess peanut butter off the blade and into the jar.

Turmeric Capsules — Make your own daily dose

Filling a gel capsule with turmeric

Turmeric powder can be easily filled into plant or animal gelatin capsules as a dietary supplement

Turmeric is a root from South Asia with a long list of beneficial uses, including as a yellow dye. Turmeric is a good source of curcumin a natural biochemical that scientists have studied for potential medical applications.

Research has shown that Turmeric has proven Antibacterial and Antifungal properties. It has also been shown to have Anti-inflammatory benefits as well.

Preliminary scientific research is also suggesting that Turmeric may yield other health promoting effects as well, such as:

Anti-cancer properties

Anti-neuro-degenerative disease properties such as for: Alzheimer’s disease

Lowering blood cholesterol levels

Anti-atherosclerosis properties that may promote heart health.

To fill a gel capsule with turmeric, fold a small piece of cardboard in half, sprinkle turmeric powder into the cardboard’s fold and slide the turmeric off the cardboard and into the capsule. Or use a small funnel to fill the capsule.  Indian grocery stores are good places to buy turmeric powder in bulk.

A standard dose, according to the NIH, is capsules from 400 milligrams to 3 grams divided over the course of a day. Overuse may lead to side effects including stomach upset, nausea and diarrhea. Turmeric may also cause heartburn in people with ulcers.

Grow Towers of Great Tomatoes

Here’s our advice on growing lots of delicious tomatoes  Watch this video for new tips on  planting, spacing, supporting, pollinating, fertilizing and shading tomato plants.  Click on photo below to watch the video.

Tomato video cover

The plants in early August.

The plants in early August.

Five quarts canned.

Five quarts canned.

August 21st

August 21st

Many more tomatoes will be harvested and canned before the cold weather arrives!

Just before the first frost occurs, collect all the tomatoes at any stage of ripening and leave them in in bowls on a counter or table.  Almost all of then will eventually ripen!

Many green tomatoes will ripen if left out in bowls.

Many green tomatoes will ripen if left out in bowls.

Now look at them a week or so later

Tomatoes ripening 2Refrigerate the ripened tomatoes and make the taste of summer last into winter.