...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Prepping Garden Broccoli for Salad and Gathering Salsa Ingredients

Prepping veggies from the garden sometimes requires a little extra effort beyond what store-bought veggies need. Broccoli, for instance, needs a 30-minute soak in salty water imediately after you bring it in from the garden. You're not the only one who likes those broccoli florets; little green worms like them, too. And, they hide quite effectively even while you're washing the produce at the sink. Nothing discourages that tentative little broccoli-eater at your kitchen table like finding a small worm on his plate! He may like to play with worms, but he doesn't want to find one there! That salt water bath clears your broccoli of pests, making it ready to use, keeping your diners from looking up at you in horror as you bring that next serving dish to the table.

Even without the worms as an issues, I have a few family members who are not particular fans of broccoli, but I did find a salad recipe that seems to be a hit. In fact, the first time I served it, my husband rose to his feet--plate in hand--and while making his way back to the serving counter said, "Let it be noted: I'm going for a second helping!" It's a broccoli salad that includes bacon, raisins and red onions with a sweet dressing.

Here's the recipe I used:
Very tasty, but you can find many others with minor variations, so if this one doesn't suit your fancy, keep browsing.

I may have pulled the last remnant of the season's broccoli this morning, but the tomatoes are still producing in great volume! It does indeed look like tomorrow needs to be a salsa-making day, so here's a list of ingredients you'll need to make that salsa with me:

If you're a novice with canning recipes, you might like the pre-packaged option for your salsa. We'll use one tomorrow. If you go that route, all you absolutely need is six pounds of tomatoes (about 18 medium) and 1/2 C of white or cider vinegar per pouch of salsa mix. The mix gives directions not only for canning but also for freezing or for even for immediate use. Easiest choice of all: mix 6 cans of petite diced tomatoes and the salsa mix, let stand for 10 minutes and serve. But, after all, our goal is to learn a little about canning and to preserve that tasty, vine-ripened flavor for use all winter long, so we'll take the longer road and follow the canning recipe. If you want to enhance that commercial mix with a little extra kick, you can make it a "fiesta" salsa by adding some peeled and chopped cucumber, green pepper, green onion, diced garlic, and chopped jalapeno pepper. You might, however, be prepared to add a little cilantro, minced marjoram and salt because you're adding more veggies than your mix "expects" you to use. Seasoning to taste ought to suffice. One of the beauties of home-made salsa is that you get to be in charge of the ultimate flavor!

See you tomorrow. I'll be the one carrying the black enameled canner!

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