Friday, August 30, 2013


And, that's all I have to say about it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jammin' Time

It's been nice to get back to making jam - altho I have not gone as wacho crazy as I did last year - when I ended up with more than eight dozen (sic!) jars of yummy good jam and pickles!  I hate to even think how many cups of sugar I used! 
A quick chop and into the pan.
This year I've held it down to small batches of jam from raspberries, black and blueberries, blackberries, cherries and plums, peaches, and the annual favorite tomato jam.  All recipes are from the wonderful Food in Jars blog and cookbook.
Roma tomatoes cooking down with spices, lemon juice and sugar.
There really is something satisfying about the process, plus the bonus of good jam all year for toast - or to give away.  And all of these recipes make small batches (3-6 jars) and can be done quickly
This is Stone Fruit Jam, not tomato.  Just one of many!
without special equipment.  I use my 12-in fryer to cook down the jam and my soup pot for sterilizing the jars and the actual water bath.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

In Love with Basil

Clear skies, cooler days and it's time to start thinking of fall clean up.  The spring and early summer perennials are dying back and even starting their basal growth, so the first place I always look is the xerigarden. 
It is one of my best two-season spaces, with the sedum just getting ready to burst into bloom and the agastache and salvia finishing their cycles and ready for a trim back.  This year, that also meant cleaning up the herb garden that now shares the space. 
The smaller of the two basil plants.
 Mostly I have kept it under control, but there were still two huge basils that I had planned to pull out.  It's time for pesto making!
The larger basil waiting to be "picked"
Apparently basil loves the cooler, more rainy summer that we have had.  The proof is in the size of these plants.  Most summers I am lucky to get them to survive, much less thrive.  But this year I had plants that looked like woody shrubs!

Note to self:  more water for future summer.
Strong new stems coming up.
And I learned something new.  As I starting hacking off big branches to get back to the ground so I could pull up the plant .... I discovered new growth at the base!  I have strong new stems growing.  So a change of tactic and I left those new stems for late season picking.  (I put in a new plant two weeks ago, but these are ready for picking now.)

Tomato Pie for dinner and pesto for ... well, pesto!  It's that time of summer!