Friday, August 2, 2013

Bountiful is thy harvest! RELISH in it!

My garden is doing really well this summer. It's amazing what a bit of rain and some cool weather will do for growing plants! The last two summers were practically 3 months straight 100 degree and higher days with no rain. This summer however, we've actually had rain! Nothing like back home in Indiana but we've had a few inches of rian this summer. The cool temps have been nice too. We've even had some days down into the 80's! 

My carrot patch is doing well. I've been able to pick some carrots every few days. There isn't anything better than fresh veggies from the garden and I just love the smell of garden carrots. 

A couple little eggplants, some zucchini and some kale. My biggest garden blessing however has been cucumbers! Last week I picked two dozen in the span of two days. Every summer when y cucumbers first come on Yip, Yap and Yahoo have no problem eating any cucumber I pick but inevitably, as the summer goes by their willingness to eat all the cucumbers dwindles. This morning I found myself with a refrigerator full of cucumbers which means it was time to do some canning! 

I decided it was time for relish. 

I ground up my veggies in my food processor. Do you know how painful it is to grind up 12 onions?  Lots of tears in my kitchen this mornin'! 

The veggies were ground up and a bit of salt stirred in and then allowed to sit for an hour. Then I drained the juice off. I had a huge bowl of ground cukes and I found it easiest to place my cutting board over my bowl of veggies. 

After adding some vinegar and spices we set the relish to boil. I had to break it up into two batches! Whew, that's a lot of relish! 

I ended up with 15 pints of relish AND 11 pints of dill pickles. I think it might be wise not to plant cucumbers next year. Someone better remind me of that come May!

My relish recipe was one I received from a dear friend from back home in Indiana. 

Jenine's Relish

2 quarts ground cucumbers and/or zucchini
12 small onions, ground (about 1 qt)
4 peppers
2 1/2 t. salt

Grind up all veggies and add salt and mix together. Allow to sit for 1 hour. Drain the juice then add the following; 

3 cups of sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. tumeric
2 t. celery seed
2 cups vinegar 

Bring relish to a boil. Ladle into hot jars then allow to self seal. 

*I know that it's not recommended to allow jars to self seal when canning but when I get a recipe from someone who's been canning for longer than I've been alive well, I tend to trust them. If Jenine told me to allow jars to self seal I trust I won't die!*

I've even had so many cucumbers that I've given lots and LOTS away. A friend of mine took a bag full then brought me this the next day. 

Fresh Cucumber Salad

7 cups unpeeled pickling cucumbers sliced thin (about 7 large dills)
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced bell peppers
1 T salt
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed

Mix cucumbers, onions, peppers and salt; set a side
Put vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed in a pot and bring to a boil
Remove from heat and let cool for one hour
Pour mixture over cucumbers
Put in jars and store in refrigerator
Will keep up to 2 months

Makes 2 quart jars

Yes, I've had a blessed garden this year. Now, if only I could say that my tomatoes were blessed as well. They've been hammered by blight! Half of them have died and half of those that survived aren't producing tomatoes. *sigh* maybe next year my tomatoes will be better. 

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