• Canning,  Food,  Garden

    Tomato Canning – My Favorite Tips

    As we start getting more tomatoes than we can eat, I sauce them in the food processor and put the sauce in half gallon ice cream containers in the freezer. When we run out of freezer space, it’s time to can! If you’re new to canning tomatoes, here’s the official instructions. This year we also picked up three boxes of canning tomatoes (read: busted and bruised) at the end of the farmers market for $10. I DO NOT: take off seeds and skins. I’m sure they’re full of nutrients, but more importantly, I don’t mind a chunky sauce and un-chunking the sauce is a serious amount of work. I bring…

  • Food,  Garden

    How to Process Amaranth

    We planted Hopi Red  Dye Amaranth this year and last year. It’s SUCH a beautiful plant and probably our most asked about plant. It gets about 6-7 feet tall with no fuss. I think it’s a great plant just as a decorative xeriscaping. But it’s also edible! And hot pink! It does however, crowd and re-seed a bit vigorously, but it’s not that hard to pull out or mow when it’s small. You can eat the scarlet leaves raw when it’s small, and eat them cooked as it gets bigger. And of course, hypothetically, you can eat the grain. I got it, in fact, because I liked the idea of growing…

  • Canning,  Food,  Garden

    Mulberry Picking

    I adore berries! Mulberries, to me, are the most adult-tasting berry. They aren’t super sweet or super tart, but have a really pleasant mellowness to them. Not as bitter as blackberries can be. I like them best in sorbets (with a sweetish wine – port, white wine, or cheap country wine of any sort!) or frozen dropped into my cereal bowl. They are also good in yogurt. I have never canned or baked much with them, because I think you’d have to add so much lemon juice and sugar it wouldn’t have that subtle mulberry taste.   Saturday morning we went to the park behind my house that is teeming…

  • Canning,  Food,  Garden,  Quilts,  Uncategorized

    Cherry Blossoms and Other Berries

    I’m not sure exactly why I love cherry blossoms, since they are responsible for a terrible, horrible, no good sinus infection I got once while coordinating an event in DC. Luckily I had a good team that took over when I went down. Cherry blossoms 1; Dana 0. These flowers are cheesy, but I like them. I keep wanting to think of ways to class them up, but maybe they are fine sweet and simple. And in the realm of berries that don’t try to kill me, I got a goumi bush last fall, which apparently is invasive in much of the US! Very frustrating to learn that, but the…

  • Canning,  Food

    A Jelly Good Time

    Matt and I used the rainy day Saturday to have a day in the kitchen – we haven’t done this in a while. Put on the podcasts and start boiling water. We made an English IPA, some wine from a kit, and dandelion wine from this recipe: I had more dandelion mixture than would fit in my one gallon jug, so I used it to make some dandelion-orange marmalade using oranges we had leftover from our trip down South.   Then I made some Violet Jelly from this recipe. It hasn’t set yet! Fingers crossed…  

  • Food,  Product Placement/Reviews,  Tutorials

    Deer Repellents

    Back in May we had deer issues – not too bad, and I think we nipped their interest in our plants in the bud. (Get it?) The first night they came in and chomped down several feet of tomatoes and pepper plants. We put out Irish Spring soap all around those plants by taking plastic cups, placing a half-bar of soap inside, and wrapping tulle or pantyhose around the cup. Then we hung the cups UPSIDE DOWN so the soap doesn’t get wet and wash our garden in the rain. The tulle keeps the soap in and lets smell can get out, We hung our fancy contraptions from the tomato cages.…

  • Preserve Your GreensBlanch and Freeze by WaterPenny
    Food,  Other Stuff I Made,  Tutorials

    How to Preserve Your Huge Quantities of Greens

    While there is no such thing as too many greens, I have not been able to bring myself to put a dent in all the mustard greens coming out of our garden. I just don’t like it as much as the kale, spinach and chard, which are putting out a serving+ a day of greens, which in addition to the salad for lunch every day, well, we’re just not that healthy around here folks. I do however love having frozen spinach on hand, and thought maybe I would love having frozen mustard greens too. So, time to preserve our first round of food for the season! I picked off 75%…

  • Food,  Garden,  Other Stuff I Made,  Quilts

    Roll On, Ohio!

    Woody Guthrie wrote the song “Roll On, Columbia”  in 1941 as an advertisement for hydroelectric power.  As much as I don’t generally like product placement, it’s a fun song to sing about wherever you are. This weekend I took an urban tour of Ohio, top to bottom, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland. Glancing at facebook this morning, I see that many of my friends were adventuring through dramatic woods, mountains, rock climbing. When did I start going to so many cities? When I was younger I was pretty terrified of cities, and the mix of exhilaration and exploration and “I AM HAVING AN EXPERIENCE HERE, RIGHT NOW” I got when I did nervously…

  • Beer,  Food,  Garden

    How’s It Growing?

    I want to obsess over my yard for a moment. I have always lived in small towns or rural areas until I moved to Charleston, WV, which at around 50,000 people isn’t that powerful of a city. So, I was wondering if I’d be miserable moving to Columbus, which has over a million people in the metro area. But, I’m not! I love it! We have a tiny house with a south facing yard next to a river. Aaand we are within walking distance to a vegan bakery! I often say though, you can take a girl out of the country, but you can’t take the trash out of her…

  • Canning,  Food

    Black Bean Sweet Potato CHILI

    This weekend my elbow was on the Charleston, WV evening news coverage of a zombie parade. It was pretty amazing. More importantly: Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili 1 can of black beans (because you forgot to soak the dry ones) onion stupid fancy local organic soft neck garlic that takes FOREVER to peel. 3 carrots 1 big ol’ Sweet potato about a pepper worth of sweet peppers frozen in the freezer Cilantro you froze in july A jar of tomato sauce you canned a jar of salsa you canned some veggie stock (Better than Bullion or BUST!) tablespoon of cumin tablespoon of chili powder some squeezes of lime juice a…