Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Roasted Chick Peas

Roasted chick peas are a healthy way to satisfy your need for a crunchy snack. Our whole family was munching on them today. They are high in fiber and have the same texture as nuts but much cheaper!

Roasted Chick Peas

1 can (15.5 ounces) chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 ° F. 
Drain the chick peas and rinse.
In a small bowl; mix together the chick peas, olive oil, seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper.
Spread mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet. For easy clean up you could line baking sheet with foil.
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring every 10 - 15 minutes.

Be creative with your seasonings: think Cajan, Italian, Indian.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Freezing Rhubarb

One of the most rewarding things about summer is enjoying what you have grown. Currently my rhubarb has been harvested but there is barely a strawberry in site to make Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam. So here is my tutorial on how to enjoy your rhubarb harvest throughout the year (when the strawberries are ready to be picked).

Here is what you will need:

cutting board
plastic freezer bags

Remove the leaves from the stalks by pulling off or cutting. The leaves of rhubarb contain Oxalic Acid which is poisonous and should never be consumed. The leaves are safe to be placed in the compost bin.
Wash rhubarb stalks with your preferred method of cleaning fruits and vegetables.
Some varieties of rhubarb have a tough outer skin that should be peeled off at this point. This skin comes off easily.
Chop rhubarb into small (amount 1/2 inch) pieces.
Measure rhubarb out by the cup.

Place the desired amount of rhubarb into plastic bags. Try to remove as much of the air from the bag prior to freezing.

Label with name, amount of rhubarb and date.
Lay flat in freezer until frozen then can be stored standing up if needed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Homemade Ketchup

I found myself over hauling our condiments in an effort to remove high fructose corn syrup and hopefully all corn syrup from our diets. I recently bought a bottle of "natural" ketchup without high fructose corn syrup for over 4 dollars a bottle for 32 ounces. I thought "I know I can make this and cheaper."



13 1/2 cups tomatoes or 111 oz can of tomatoes (sauce, pureed or diced)
3 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup salt
1 cup sugar or honey
1 onion chopped
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground mustard
additional optional spices: allspice, mustard seed, cinnamon, celery seed

Hot water canner
Large sauce pan or soup pot
Jar Lifter
Jars, lids, rims
Blender or Immersion Blender
Pour tomatoes to large sauce pan. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in tomato paste, salt, sugar or honey, onion, vinegar, paprika, and mustard. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the mixture from heat.
Blend sauce with immersion blender or place hot sauce in blender until smooth.

If you are new to Boiling-Water Bath Canning, I recommend reading my tutorial on this type of canning.

Get your jars ready. Jars should be clean, can run through the dishwasher or wash in hot soapy water. Place funnel on top of jar and fill leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe rims of jars clean with warm wash cloth. Place lids on jars and tighten with rims.

Process in a boiling-water canner for 30 minutes. Remove jars with jar remover carefully. Place hot jars on level surface. I cover my counter top with a double layered kitchen towel and place jars on top.Using a hot pad or glove, check that the rims are tightened.

As the jars cool, you will hear a "ping" when the lid seals. Make sure all of your jars have sealed. They are sealed if the button in the middle of the lid in depressed. If you have any jars that have not sealed, you can reprocess them or store the jar in the refrigerator for use.

Makes 10 pints or 5 quarts.

You can buy a large can of tomatoes at any warehouse store or check your grocery aisle for bulk foods.

Please check with your local extension office for any changes due to altitude for times or temperatures. 
Above instructions are for elevation 1000 feet or below.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Harvesting Rhubarb

Just like anything you grow in the garden, harvesting at the right time and the right way will go a long way. Rhubarb is not only easy to grow but extremely easy to harvest.

Rhubarb is a plant that provides you a great harvest without a lot of work. But you do need to be patient and here are some do's and dont's before eating this tangy plant.

Do not harvest your rhubarb the first year, give it time to establish a strong root system. The second year you can pick only a few stalks (stick to 2 larger stalks per plant.) But come the third year... it is harvest time!

The best time to harvest rhubarb is late spring all the way through summer.

To select a stalk for harvesting, look for one that is dark pink to maroon in color. The stalk should be 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter and firm.

To harvest rhubarb all you need is your hands. Hold the stalk as close to the ground as you can and gently twist the stalk until it is broken free. This twisting method of harvesting triggers the plant's roots to grow more. Never cut the stalk from the plant as you won't be encouraging future growth.

Continue to harvest the larger stalks until you have harvested only about 1/3 of the plant. Limiting your harvest will avoid shocking and stressing the plant.

Remove any flowering stalks from the plant. By doing this you re-focus the plants energy back to the root system.

Remove the leaves from the stalks by pulling off or cutting. The leaves of rhubarb contain Oxalic Acid which is poisonous and should never be consumed by you or your animals. The leaves are safe to be placed in the compost bin.

Watch for some tips on preserving and tasty recipes coming in the near future!