Canning and Preserving Tomatoes

Canning and Preserving Tomatoes

Canning & Preserving TomatoesCanning and Preserving tomatoes again, my feet hurt, I smell like a tomato and my fingers are sore from peeling tomatoes. Our Romas and San Marzanos are prolific this year and the Opalkas are giant! The color red that they turn when canned is just beautiful and they call out for the tomato soup and spaghetti sauce in the winter. There is a great sense of accomplishment when the first jars start filling up my cupboard where I keep the seasons harvest in jars. Corn is in the freezer and onions are dried and ready to use all year long. Our Blueberries were a bumper crop and made the most amazing jam! There is nothing like it in any grocery store anywhere! Continue reading

Fall is the best time of year!

I absolutely love fall. No question, hands down it is really the best for weather, for reorganizing and planning, for relaxing, for exercise and even for eating!

Nothing beats a walk in the woods for reflection as well as exercise. Doing it with other people is just as much fun as being alone. Not many things you can say that about! Fall always brings me into quiet reflective moods and helps me really focus on what I want to get done. I can sit and read by a fire and catch up on great books which really need the time I have available once our busy season is over and before the Holidays really kick in. My birthday is November 17th and even though I don’t like to think about that much, it does give me even more to think about such as measuring my success to date.

Mostly I love making soup. It is really the one task that everyone appreciates so much and brings such comfort and joy. My favorites are Shrimp or Lobster Bisque, Chicken Corn Chowder, Clam Chowder, and Minestrone Soup. Here is a recipe for my Minestrone…try it out on your family and friends!

Vegetable Minestrone Soup

2 tbsp. Olive oil
2 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 medium celery with leaves, chopped
1 fresh sprig Rosemary about 4″
1/4 cup fresh basil (you can also add marjoram, oregano, or thyme leaves) chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can chopped Tomatoes
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 oz. orzo pasta, (or any small type pasta such as shells or macaroni)
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
fresh Italian parsley, chopped for garnish

Saute the pancetta in a skillet until crisp. Add the onions, celery, carrots & garlic and saute until the onions are almost clear. Add next 6 ingredients to a large stock pot and simmer soup 30 minutes. Remove the Rosemary sprig, add the pasta and cook 15-20 minutes more until pasta is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread for soaking up the broth.