Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The family garden keeps on giving.

There is nothing like a warm bowl of tomato soup on a cold blustery day especially when you can say you grew and preserved the ingredients. It is also very satisfying to know that pesticides and preservatives (all too typical of the grocery store brands) were not part of the process. This is a pic of our tomato basil soup. We got some recipes we liked from various friends and canning books and then modified some of the spices to suit our taste. My family tends to like their food a little on the spicy side so we included some serrannos and jalapenos to the mix. And yes...the basil garnish is also straight from the garden. Btw...when I say we "modified" some of the recipes I mean generally the spices only. You want to make sure to follow canning recipes very closely as any variations could result in...well...botulism or some other form of toxic soup! Also, I can't stress enough on following proper sanitation procedures when cooking and canning. You can get a lot of helpful information from the National Center for Home Preservation. http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/

It's hard to believe that we are still reaping the benefits of the garden and it is almost time to start all over again. This is really only our second season of serious canning so we are gaining a better perspective on how much food we need to get us through the winter. I think we overdid it on the pickles and the pickled peppers (the nursery rhyme how many peppers did Peter Piper pick has new meaning to me) but we were able to give away a lot of those to family and friends. Sharing the bounty is really half the fun for me anyway. Below is a pic of pickles mixed with various garden peppers. We made some into relish and it turned out really good.

Below the pickle picture is our mammoth dill plants. We go through lots of it during the pickling process. The dill plants really did great at my dad's garden. In fact, some reached nearly 5 feet tall. I think they did so well because they were planted behind the pole bean trellis which allowed for some partial shade in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, we had poor results with the dill at my home garden last year. The plants got some sort of bug and never recovered. (that's is why I have the philosophy that you can never have too many plants :) Needless to say, I have already ordered several packets!

Happy garden thoughts to all!


  1. Beautiful pictures! I especially loved the shot of the dill blossoms. We're going to attempt to preserve some of our harvest by canning for the first time this summer. I'm a bit nervous about it, to be honest. The idea of botulism is very off-putting.

    How hard is it to make pickles, I wonder? Your picture of the pickles with hot peppers is so colorful and inspiring...

  2. Dill has the most lovely flowers, great for filler in loose arrangements. Those pickled veggies look beautiful. I'm sure they are as tasty as they are lovely to look at!

  3. I had a green tomato soup for lunch today, made from the last of our tomatoes last year that didn't ripen before the cold weather set in. There is something very gratifying about producing delicious food from something you started with as seed. Your pickled vegetables are beautiful, and I hope to venture further into canning myself this year.

  4. Thanks Meredith. I canned with my mom and my grandma when I was pretty young so I remember the great care they took in sanitation etc...Making pickles is really very easy. There are lots of books on preserving you can buy. Once you start you won't look back. :)

  5. Thank you Sheila!

    Curbstone Valley> that sounds very interesting... What does green tomato soup taste like? I imagined it to be somewhat bitter...or perhaps you sweeten it? Good luck on the canning.

  6. That tomato soup sounds DELICIOUS! :D