Red Currant Jam

I made red currant jam. I picked 500 g from our red currant bush and made jam by adding 250 g of sugar and a bit of vanilla extract. I also added Gelierfix, a pectin-based gelling agent, according to the instructions to help the jam set. I canned the jam in a water bath for ten minutes, so it is shelf-stable. Looking forward to eating the jam for breakfast or using it for baking in the winter months.

Porch Update Early June

The porch looks great. I have a nice mix of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Despite my vow to not grow tomatoes on the porch this year, I have two cherry tomato plants: one Black Strawberry (grown from seed) and one Super Sweet 100 (given to me by a friend). I also have three pepper plants: Thai, Jalapeno and Sweet Pickle, one big container of basil and numerous other herbs (rosemary, sage, mint, thyme, chives, Thai basil, cilantro, parsley). Plus a big pot with Swiss Chard, which I have been harvesting and eating (for example sauteed with garlic over pan-fried lemon garlic flounder) over the past few days. A couple of days ago, I reseeded salad greens in two of the pepper containers (May Queen with the Jalapeno and Salanova Mix with the Sweet Pickle). The third pepper container (Thai) contains the Thai basil.

Almost all of my porch plantings. On the other end of the porch are my potted palm, a (tiny) bitter orange tree, lemon grass, calendula and cilantro.

The Garden Still Feeds Us Through the Winter

Harissa-roasted squash, Brussels sprouts and leeks with goat cheese and pepitas

I now really finished the last of my butternut squash. I had cubed it and stored it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I roasted it with some leeks and Brussels that were past their prime and topped everything with goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds. Delicious! The next morning, for breakfast I had the leftovers over sauteed kale, topped with a fried egg. So good.

Before it went into the oven

Eating from the Garden in January

I finally roasted the last home-grown beets today and made an arugula/beet/goat cheese salad with toasted pepitas. I still have three butternuts and plenty of garlic in my pantry (I am at the last head of hardneck but still have almost the entire braid of softnecks left). The beets (Golden and Chiogga and regular) were super sweet and yummy. I had harvested them at the end of October and they kept very well in the fridge. So good to still be enjoying my harvest.

Thai Hot Sauce

I finally harvested my Thai peppers today. I had one plant in a container on my back porch and it gave me two cups of hot peppers. Most of them were red, some (about a third of them total) still green. I cut off the entire plant and then picked the peppers to make hot sauce. I followed this recipe for Thai hot sauce but I lowered the amount of vinegar because I wanted it thicker. I also do not have a food mill, so it is just hot sauce, seeds and all. It is super spicy and I am looking forward to using it instead of store-bought Sriracha sauce and Chili garlic sauce.

Before picking
After picking
After roasting at 450 for 15 minutes (I also roasted three cloves of home-grown garlic wrapped in foil for 20 minutes)
After blending
Finished product (after boiling down)

Preserving – Thai Basil Pesto, Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Pickles

I have so many tomatoes, we cannot keep up with eating them raw. So, I slow-roasted two baking sheets of tomatoes for a few hours (at 325F, but that was too hot, so I reduced it to 250F) and then packed them in olive oil and stored them in the fridge for use in pasta sauces and on pizza.

I had a ton of Thai basil on my back porch and turned it into Thai basil peanut pesto. I served it over pan-seared trout last night for dinner. Delicious!

And I made more quick refrigerator pickles with the pickling cucumbers form the plot. Yum! The cucumbers are coming to an end, it seems.

Garlic Scape Pesto

I made a small batch of garlic scape pesto with about half the scapes I harvested (15) and home-grown basil leaves (the basil leaves from the porch are huge!). I just pureed all of it with olive oil and salt. No cheese, no nuts. More versatile this way. I froze the surplus for future use. This pesto is so great on pasta, pizza, roasted veggies, or mixed into a pesto mayo for sandwiches …

Garlic scape pesto topped off with olive oil for the freezer (the color is kind of strange on the screen; it was bright green)