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Bamboo companion planting

posted by: MiaOKC on 03.09.2014 at 11:28 am in Bamboo Forum

Hello! We are mid-renovation of our pool area in the backyard in zone 7. Part of the renovation is getting the bamboo beaten back into a more manageable area (neglected by a former owner and it had run all over the yard), and installing a barrier along at least part of its run. We're pushing the poolside retaining wall back five feet, so in some areas we will have bamboo right up to the wall (with the barrier on the backside of the wall) but further along we will have a space between the er bamboo and the wall for some more plantings. I want things hardy to zone 7 and "clean" to keep leaves and blooms from dropping in the pool. I've got an Asian pear tree in the bamboo already, and between it and the bamboo I have plenty of skimming to do - don't want to add more. I think tropical-looking plants will look best with the bamboo backdrop, maybe cannas and banana trees? Any other suggestions or pictures of other possibilities? I have yellow groove bamboo.

Last summer, previous location of retaining wall:
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Last year - the wall is being relocated just about to the base of the bamboo here:
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This pic shows the overview a little better. The framing on the far side of the pool is the new wall's location. On the left, there is about 6' deep x 20' long empty area behind the wall until you get to the bamboo. That's where I can plant other items. I also plan to put some kind of fountain in that area.

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I know I could let the bamboo fill in all the way to the wall (similar to this rendering) but since I have about 100'+ running along our suburban lot I think I have plenty and would like some variety.

pool render two

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clipped on: 03.09.2014 at 02:14 pm    last updated on: 03.09.2014 at 02:16 pm

RE: New Pool Build in Los Angeles, lots of pics and QUESTIONS! (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: poolguynj on 01.24.2012 at 06:26 am in Pools & Spas Forum

With plaster, there will be no salt added for about a month. No heater either! New plaster is at it's most vulnerable to staining so the initial cure process is vital.

The plaster will need brushing twice a day and it's pH checked daily for the 1st week. Then its daily brushing an pH checked every couple three days for the next couple weeks. Muriatic acid will be used to reduce the pH to a near neutral 7.2 (+/- 0.2) Always brush from the shallow end to the deep end, with the skimmers off and drains on. This will help draw the dust out that the brushing raises.

Have the fill water checked for calcium, copper and iron prior to filling. If they are there, a phosphonic acid based sequesterant should be added and used regularly, will keep the metal ions occupied so they can't form stains. Jack Purple Stuff is good for initial dosing and HTH's metal control is OK for maintenance at a lower cost.

The filter pressure will need checking and a 10 PSI rise from the starting pressure will indicate its time to backwash or clean the cartridges (I'm being too lazy to go back and look to see which you have).

Bleach or 12% liquid should be used after five days or so to bring the chlorine level to 1 or 2 ppm. Bleach has no stabilizer in it nor does it have and dissolving issues. Fortunately, cold water holds chlorine better so the sun won't burn it off too quickly.

After 15 days, stabilizer, aka CYA or cyanuric acid, can be poured into a white cotton tube sock and hung in front of a return or set in the skimmer(s). Target enough to bring the CYA level to about 50 ppm, plus or minus 10 ppm. It dissolves slowly and can take up to a week for tests to fully show. Later in the summer, you can expect to need to bring this level up to about 70 ppm.

Checking you calcium hardness level after a few weeks will help you to target the correct pH, alk levels. This has to do with what is called the Calcium Saturation Index, which you want to target a level of -0.1 to prevent scale from forming and to prevent etching of the plaster.

Salt can be added added after 27 days. It's gets poured in. I usually do it along the shallow end to make brushing it into solution easier. Again, shallow to deep end. Allow 24 hours of filter run time for a complete dispersion. Remember, if the water is 55 or colder, the cell will not generate. The salt makes the water conduct electricity so the cell works but this effect is diminished with cooler water.

The more closely you follow the curing procedures, the better the results will be. Your planned travels will require you to have someone continue the brushing and chem feedings while you are away. Make sure they KNOW what is needed and when.

No vacuuming or pool sweeps for at least three weeks. The plaster is too soft, may delaminate (separate from the shell) or show track marks.

Again, read Pool School and use the Pool Calculator.

Scott

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clipped on: 11.23.2013 at 09:26 am    last updated on: 11.23.2013 at 09:26 am

building a greenhouse out of old windows

posted by: tbranan on 06.11.2006 at 03:02 am in Greenhouses & Garden Structures Forum

so my mom is having all the windows on her house replaced with storm windows. she likes to garden and lives on a large piece of land. currently she has a tiny hobby greenhouse made out of plastic and pvc tubing thats starting to fall apart.
so I got the idea of building her a new greenhouse out of the old single paned windows off the house. there's about 460 square feet of window and I figure if the first 3 feet or so are some non window material and the roof is polycarbonate sheeting, she could have a good sized greenhouse to work with.
so I figured it would be a good summer project but I was wondering if anyone has tried this option before and is aware of any pitfalls to be aware of or to watch out for.

I figure to put it on a concrete block foundation. pouring a foundation seems a little extreme.

I'm guessing with a lot of different sized windows it'll look a little funky but I'm trying to find a design that'll account for that so it doesn't look like a hobo shack.

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clipped on: 07.27.2013 at 11:31 am    last updated on: 07.27.2013 at 11:31 am

Planning the Fall Garden: It's Hard!

posted by: okiedawn on 05.30.2008 at 11:23 am in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Well, today I sat down with a notebook and started trying to figure out what plants are going to go where in the fall garden. Every year this drives me nuts, because I have to figure out where plants will go a month or two from now.

Everything in the garden looks great right now and it is hard to imagine the lovely lush plants I see won't last forever. BUT, experience tells me that a garden that is lovely and green and productive in late May or early June will be mostly burnt up and used up by mid-July to late-July or early August.

So, for anyone else who wants to plant a fall garden, here are some planting dates to use in your planning. This first set of dates is from OSU's fall planting guide. I kind of follow them, but not totally.

JULY 15-AUG 15:

Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots
Parsnips

AUG 1 - AUG 15:

Beets
Irish Potato
Leaf Lettuce (This is the date recommmended by OSU, but I think it is too hot in southern OK in August, so I wait at least until Sept. 1)

AUG 1 - AUG 25:
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Cauliflower

AUG 1 - SEPT 1:
Collards

AUG 1 - SEPT 15:
Swiss Chard
Turnip

AUG 15 - SEPT 1:
Peas (green, not southern)

AUG 15 - SEPT 15:
Rutabaga

AUG 15 - OCT 10:
Radish

SEPT 1:
Kale Kohlrabi
Leek
Onions

SEPT 1 - OCT 15:
Garlic

SEPT 5 - SEPT 25:
Spinach

SEPT 10 - OCT 10:
Mustard

Because I lived in Texas forever, I still use my fall gardening dates from Texas to help me figure out what to plant when. Here's their planting dates for the part of North Texas that is just across the Red River from me.

These dates are for SEED sown directly into the garden.

JUNE 15:
Eggplant
Pepper
Tomato

JULY 1:
Southern Peas (Black-eyes, cream, crowder, etc.)
Pumpkin
Winter Squash

JULY 25:
Bush Lima Beans

AUGUST 1:
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Cucumber
Garlic (from cloves, not seed)
Irish Potato

AUG 10:
Sweet Corn

AUG 15:
Bush beans (green, purple, yellow or bicolor)
Carrots
Swiss Chard
Summer Squash

SEPT 1:
Beets
Kohlrabi
Leaf Lettuce
Mustard
Spinach

OCT 1:
Parsley (overwinters)
Radish

OCT 15:
Turnip

If Planting From TRANSPLANTS:

JUL 10:
Eggplant
Pepper
Tomato

AUG 20:
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower

One reason it is so hard to figure out what to plant when and where is that the summer garden sometimes is still going strong when it is time to plant fall crops. I use several creative ways to get around this. For example, if the okra survives the repeated deer attacks and is still productive, I plant lettuce on the east or north side of the okra (depending on which way that year's okra bed runs) and let the okra shade it.

If the summer tomatoes are somehow surviving the annual onslaught of disease and bugs, I often cut them back, or only remove sickly or less-productive ones. Then, I put some of the fall crops where I took out those particular spring-planted tomatoes.

Sometimes I feel like I simply CANNOT touch the spring-planted garden because it is going like gangbusters. In those cases, I get out the tiller and make the garden still larger so I can plant fall plants.

Usually, though, I put in fall crops as I harvest spring-planted crops like onions, potatoes, earlier beans, early or mid-season corn, etc.

And for some plants, like Cucumbers, that produce as expected and then decline fairly quickly in our heat, I'll take out the old ones and plant seed for new ones in the exact same spot.

Planting a fall garden is hard. Sometimes I wish I had an entire second garden plot just for fall crops. I could plant a cover crop in it in early Spring, till the cover crop into the ground in late-May, and start planting the fall garden in June. (I don't think my DH would like this plan at all. And, truthfully, I dread the idea of having to till up soil, remove grass roots, enrich the soil, build raised beds, etc. all over again.)

Fall gardening can be just as risky, frost and freeze-wise, as spring gardening. In my location, the average fall frost usually arrives in November and sometimes as late as mid-December. However, in other years it is MUCH earlier--either our first or second year here, we had a very hard killing frost on September 30th.

For me, planting fall tomatoes is the hardest part of it. They need a lot of room to grow and I hate taking out the spring tomatoes as long as they are still bearing. When I decide to carry over all the spring-planted tomatoes, I usually regret it, though. In July or August, it is almost a given the spring-planted tomatoes will get hit by either spider mites or stink bugs. Fresh plants are not really susceptible to either--the pests seem to go for the older, stressed plants, so I know it is important to plant new ones for fall.

In a year like this where the cool nights hang on forever, the garden might be just reaching its' most productive point at the time that I need to plant the new fall crops. Sometimes I get around this by starting plants in paper cups instead of direct seeding them. That way, I can harvest the "old" plants for 2 or 3 weeks longer. I then plant, cup and all, to reduce transplant shock and the "new" plants usually take off pretty fast as long as they are being watered.

Dawn

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clipped on: 07.26.2013 at 03:52 pm    last updated on: 07.26.2013 at 03:53 pm

Spring Fling recipes.

posted by: joellenh on 04.20.2013 at 10:01 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

I loved EVERYTHING I ate here. I stuffed myself. I know there were several requests for recipes, including my BBQ chicken.

I grew up on this chicken, It originated near my home town, and we had it for every festival and party. It is called Cornell Chicken. NOTE!!! I always marinate for 2-3 DAYS. It is much better after that amount of time. The chicken I served at the party was only marinated for 6 hours.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cornell-chicken-marinade/

Original recipe makes 3 cups I double it and make a bunch.

1 egg
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cider vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Crack the egg into a medium bowl and whisk until beaten. Slowly whisk in the oil until fully blended. Then whisk in the vinegar, salt, poultry seasoning, and ground black pepper. Set some of the sauce aside to use for basting while grilling. Place chicken in shallow baking dish, and coat with sauce. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

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clipped on: 06.02.2013 at 12:57 pm    last updated on: 06.02.2013 at 12:57 pm

Time To Plan Your 'Fall' Plantings

posted by: okiedawn on 06.03.2011 at 09:05 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

I know that right now the fall garden seems far away, and yet, in just a few weeks it will be time to put plants into the ground for the fall garden.

If your garden is full, lush and producing well right now, you may not think you need new plants for fall, and maybe you don't or won't. However, often you will find that fresh plants that have not had to struggle with the heat, wind, pests, etc. will produce better than the older plants which have had to endure harsh weather conditions and the onslaught of our usual summer pests and diseases.

I've linked the OSU Fall Garden Guide below for anyone who wants to look at it. Remember that the fall dates are the opposite of the spring dates, so those of you in the more northern parts of the state need to go with the earlier date in a given range of dates while those of us in southern parts of the state can go with the later dates since our first average autumn freeze falls later.

If you have questions about fall gardening, feel free to post them here. We have a lot of folks who garden deeply into fall and even into winter, so someone should be able to answer your questions.

If you're wanting to plant fresh eggplant, pepper or tomato plants for fall, you need to start the seed ASAP as those need to go into the ground in the first half of July.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Document: Fall Gardening

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clipped on: 04.15.2013 at 12:34 pm    last updated on: 04.15.2013 at 12:35 pm

Planting Tips For Cool-Season Crops

posted by: okiedawn on 02.18.2011 at 03:04 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

This info is partly for Brandy who asked about planting calendars on another thread, but it also is info I've wanted to pull together into one thread for a while because we increase our odds of success with cool-season crops if we plant them when the temperatures are right for them.

This is about cool-season crops. Within the category of cool-season crops, there are two basic sub-categories, although at least one more crop could sort of fit into a third category.

There are cold hardy crops, which are those that can tolerate some sub-freezing temperatures at least down to a certain level, and they can be planted before our average last frost dates. These cool-season crops are hardy ones: aspargus, rhubarb, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, onion, peas, spinach, radishes, turnips and rutabagas.

There are semi-hardy crops, which are those that will be damaged by sub-freezing temperatures, but which otherwise will grow well in cool weather and generally are not harmed by a very light frost or brief periods of freezing temperatures. Cool season crops that are semi-hardy are carrots, cauliflowers, Irish potatoes, beets, lettuce and beets.

Swiss chard, technically speaking is semi-tender and needs warmer temperatures, but it is closely related to beets and in my garden I treat it like a semi-hardy crop. However, it has better heat-tolerance than true cool-season crops.

Each crop has specific temperatures it needs in order to perform best. Sometimes in our highly variable climate it can be difficult to get each crop into the ground at the right time, but we increase our harvest potential when we're able to do so. I plant more by soil temperature, air temperature and 10-day forecast than by a calendar and I base planting decisions on knowing what each crop needs as detailed below.

BEETS: You can sow beet seed into the ground 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date, but if you sow it too early, it takes so long to germinate that the seed might rot before it sprouts. For best results, sow your beet seeds after your soil temperature at planting depth has reached 45 degrees and is staying there consistently. For the best-quality crop, plant as early as you reasonably can so your crop can mature before daytime high temperatures are regularly exceeding 65 degrees.

If you plant too early and your plants happen to sprout and grow quickly, they can be "endangered" if you have a long cold spell of a couple of weeks of 45 degrees or lower once your plants are 4-6" tall. This can cause them to go dormant and then when temperatures warm up again they can bolt and go to seed. This is a common problem with all cool-season biennial vegetables.

BROCCOLI: Broccoli produces more reliably when you start your plants inside and set them out when they have 3 to 5 leaves or when they are about 3 to 5 weeks old. Your broccoli will give you the best possible harvest when it grows and matures when temperatures are between 45 and 75 degrees, and in our climate, that's a fairly brief period, which is why it is best to start with seedlings. As with beets, a prolonged period of cold temperatures (40 degrees and below for broccoli) once plants are 4-6" tall can induce dormancy, and then often the plants will form only small button heads once their dormancy breaks. Temperatures below the mid-20s can kill your broccoli plants so try to transplant them into the ground after your 20-degree nights have passed. Warm temperatures can cause your plants to bolt, or flower and go to seed, so you need to plant early enough that your plants have time to form harvestable heads before it gets too hot.

Some forms of sprouting broccoli tolerate warmer temperatures and continue forming small sideshoots in pretty warm temperatures.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS: In the warmer parts of our area, this does better as a fall crop, but in northern parts of OK and northward it sometimes performs well in the spring. Brussels sprouts have very specific temperature needs and will give the best crop if it can mature when temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees. Brussels sprouts can tolerate cooler temperatures, but doesn't produce well at much higher temperatures. As with other cool-season biennial crops, prolonged temperatures below 40 degrees can induce bolting, but otherwise the plants themselves are cold hardy to temperatures down to about 20-degrees. It is better to start with transplants as that helps increase your odds of harvesting a good crop before the heat arrives.

CABBAGE: Cabbage is very cold tolerant and can handle temperatures down into the low 20s, but if direct sown from seed, germinates and grows best once soil temperatures are at or above 50 degrees. This is one reason many people start transplants indoors where the seeds will germinate more quickly than those sown directly into the ground. As with other cool-season crops, long-term exposure to temperatures below 40 degrees once the cabbage are a certain size can induce dormancy followed by bolting. If temperatures get too hot too fast, the heads can become puffy and misshapen although I haven't noticed that often, even with cabbage that isn't harvested until June or July.

CARROTS: Carrots have a reputation (somewhat justified) for being hard to grow, but they are not that hard if you are able to meet their needs. Carrots produce best and have the best flavor if they grow and mature when temperatures are between 45 and 85 degrees. Generally you want to plant your seed about 90 days before your daytime high temperatures begin regularly exceeding 85 degrees. Unfortunately, in our climate those mid-80s can arrive pretty early and carrot seed can be slow to sprout in cool soils. Sow your carrot seed after soil temps have warmed to 45 degrees. It is important to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, and one way to do this is to place a board, a piece of cardboard, or a sheet of plastic over the bed where carrot seeds have been sown. Check underneath it daily, mist the soil surface lightly and remove the covering for good once you see the earliest sprouts. Carrots are fairly cold tolerant, but temperatures in the low 20s can kill the plants. Like other cool-season biennial crops, carrots can bolt if subject to long-term temperatures below 45 degrees while already a good sized plant. If you leave your carrots in the ground too long, even though they seem fine, their flavor will be negatively impacted and they may become tough.

CAULIFLOWER: This does best in southern OK as a fall crop, but folks from central OK northward might have more luck with it as a spring crop than we do down here. Cauliflower produces the best-quality harvest when the heads mature before daytime highs begin regularly exceeding 75 degrees, which can be a problem in areas where your temperatures warm up very quickly. Some newer hybrids mature more quickly than older OP varieties and may increase your chance of success. Because of the heat issues, Cauliflower is easiest when grown from transplants and can tolerate very cool temperatures if well-hardened off.

COLLARDS/KALE: These grow best between 45 and 75 degrees but will tolerate a very wide range of temperatures. You can direct-seed collards and kale seeds once soil temperatures reach 40 degrees. For many people they grow better as a fall crop than as a spring crop, although in long cool springs they perform well. Even though they can
"survive" in warm temperaturs, their flavor can become very hot or strong. Often they will overwinter (might not have done so in NE OK last week!) if planted in fall a month or two before your first fall froze. You can plant them in fall, harvest from them during the winter and into spring, but warm spring temps will cause them to bolt.

KOHLRABI: Technically a cool-season temperature but can tolerate pretty warm temperatures. The best quality harvest will come before daytime highs regularly are exceeding 75 degrees. You can direct-sow kohlrabi after soil temps are at 45 degrees or above. Temperatures below 20 degrees can kill kohlrabi plants and, like other cool-season biennals, prolonged exposure to temps below 40 degrees once the plants are a certain size can cause bolting.

LETTUCE: In our climate, lettuce is strictly a cool-season crop although some people grow it indoors year-round. You can direct-seed lettuce about 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date although temperatures in the mid- to upper-20s can kill some varieties. A few varieties are somewhat more cold-tolerant. Very few lettuce varieties have any heat tolerance in terms of what we consider "heat" here in this part of the country. Those lettuce varieties described as "heat-tolerant" may be hate-tolerant in Pennsylvania or Michigan or New Hampshire, but onlly because their summer heat is not as extreme as ours. The most heat-tolerant lettuces I've found are those from very hot parts of the world, like Australia or Israel. Your best quality harvest will be that harvested before your daytime high temps are exceeding 80 degrees.

MUSTARD: Mustard greens need to mature at cooler temperatures are the flavor can become more strong than most taste buds can bear. Plant mustard greens about 3 to 4 weeks before the last killing frost, and aim to harvest your crop before daytime highs begin regularly exceeding 70 degrees.

PEAS: This refers to English peas, snow peas and snap peas. All other peas like black-eyed, purplehull pinkeye, cream, zipper and lady peas are warm-season crops generally referred to as "southern peas".

Peas are highest in quality when they mature before daytime highs regularly exceed 75 degrees. You can direct sow them but they can be so slow to germinate in cool soil that they rot before sprouting. Pre-sprouting them indoors in a damp coffee filter or paper towel placed in a ziplock bag can help work your way around that issue. You should plant your peas late enough that they receive as little exposure as possible to temperatures in the low- to mid-20s. While small, pea plants tolerate cold temps and even snow, but once the plants are blooming, freezing temps can freeze back the tips of the plants and can knock the blossoms off the plants. Smooth-seeded varieties are more cold-tolerant than wrinkle-seeded ones.

POTATOES: This refers to Irist potatoes and not to sweet potatoes, which are a warm-season crop. Potatoes grow and produce best when they have nighttime lows between 45 and 55 degrees and daytime highs between 60 and 75 degrees, a period of time that is all too brief in our climate. Plant your seed potatoes in the ground about 4 weeks before your average frost date. Late plantings will produce smaller crops because your plants need to set and size their tubers before your temps are hitting 85 degrees. Heavy mulching can keep the ground somewhat cooler, but don't mulch until foliage is up above the ground.

RADISHES: These are very easy. You can sow radish seed once your soil temp is exceeding 45 degeres and can continue to succession every week or two until about a month before your daytime highs begin exceeding 80 degrees. Radishes harvested once temps are that high often have a strong, unpleasant flavor and pithy texture.

SPINACH: A true cool-season crop, spinach matures best before daytime highs regularly exceed 50 degrees, so often performs better here as a fall crop than a spring one. Spinach seed sprouts best once soil temps are 45 degrees or warmer, which is one reason it is hard to get a spring crop.

TURNIPS/RUTABAGAS: These grow best at temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees. You can sow the seed pretty early in spring or even in late winter but not so early that your plants will be exposed to temperatures below 20 degrees.

ONIONS: These have very specific needs and you must plant precisely at the correct times in order to maximize your harvest. You want to plant as early as possible so the plants can get as large as possible before bulbing is initiated by daylength. This is where onions from transplants have the advantage over those sown from seed in our climate. Generally, the best time to plant is 4-6 weeks before your average last frost date.

Many people experience trouble with onions bolting(flowering and going to seed). As with other cool-season biennial crops, this occurs once plants of a certain size are exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees for about 10 to 14 days. The size? Roughly one-quarter inch, or about when the plant has formed 6 leaves. There is little you can do to avoid this other than planting at the proper time, planting at the proper depth (planting too deeply harms them) and hoping for consistently cool weather. Always choose the right type of plants for your climate, selecting either short day, intermediate or long-day types as recommended for your specific region. Onions bulb when daylength (i.e. number of hours of daily sunlight) reaches a certain level no matter when you planted them. So, earlier planting (as long as it isn't so early they'll freeze or bolt) gives you the best chance of raising nice big onions.

In our climate, you just have to accept that some years the weather is so erratic and bolting will occur.

I'm linking Tom Clothier's seed germination/temperature data base as I often do when we're discussing seed-starting and germination issues. It is full of useful information, but you cannot go to it and just pick the best germination temperature that gives you the highest percentage of seed germinated in the shortest number of days. Why? Because if you do that, you'll be planting much too late for many cool-season crops. Carrots, for example, germinate best at 77 degrees, with 96% of the seeds germinated in 6 days. However, carrots grow and produce best when grown at air temps between 45 and 85 degrees, and if you wait until your soil temp is 77, your air temps likely will be in the upper 70s or 80s already and soon to move into the 90s. So, you have to compare the temperatures each crop needs for good growing conditions to the seed-germination temperatures and choose a temperature that will get your crop growing in time to take advantage of the best growing temperatures.

Hope this info is helpful.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Germination Temperature Charts

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clipped on: 04.06.2013 at 10:18 am    last updated on: 04.06.2013 at 10:19 am

Planning Your Plantings In the Edible Garden

posted by: okiedawn on 01.13.2013 at 07:30 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

We've been talking about what we plant and how and why, and I promised to start a thread on how different plants can be arranged together in the garden.

While I refer to the fenced, edible garden at our house as "the veggie garden", it is a true cottage-style garden, with flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables all planted together. Sometimes it might look randomly planted, but each variety is planted where it is for a specific purpose.

On a different thread we discussed some of the various companion plants that can be used for different purposes...to attract beneficial insects including pollinators to the garden, to repel some pests from certain plants, to improve soil or to grow compost crops specifically to be harvested and put onto the compost pile, but the purpose of this thread is to talk about how we deliberately mix all those various things together along with the veggies, herbs and fruit that we grow to eat.

Essentially, when you are companion planting 2 or more different types of plants together, your intent is to put together different plants whose growth will assist or benefit each other. Or, at the very least, you're hoping they have a neutral affect on one another and do not negatively impact each other. You also are hoping that you will be getting the best use possible of the planting area that you have available to you.

I'll start by saying that variety is the spice of life, so that I don't plant the garden the same way every year. I'm always experimenting to see if option A works better than option B or if maybe option C is better than both A and B. Don't be afraid to experiment because you'll learn something from it one way or another.

What we often refer to as companion planting also is known as interplanting or intercropping. Many books bave been written on this topic, some based on traditional knowledge passed down from one generation to another and others based on research showing what works, how it works or even questioning whether it works. If the big question is "does companion planting work?" in terms of helping you have a better garden, then I guess the best answer is that it sometimes works. There's so many variables that it can be hard at times to know what is working or what isn't working particularly with our erratic weather.

INTERCROPPING: This involves planting 2 or more different edible crops together in the same space. You would do it for various reasons. Intercropping allows you to make better use of your space, can make it harder for some pests to find their favorite plants to eat, can help some plants by shading them from sun or by making it easier for them to germinate or whatever. Here's some examples:

RADISHES + CARROTS: Radishes have relatively big seeds that germinate quickly and the seedlings pop right up out of the ground in just a few days. Carrots, on the other hand, have tiny seeds that are slower to germinate. If your soil has dried out and crusted over as soil tends to do, sometimes the little tiny carrot sprouts cannot break through the soil surface so that they essentially try and fail, and the tiny seedlings die before they see the light of day. As you look at that bare spot of ground where carrots should be growing, you cannot know that they tried to sprout but couldn't break through the soil, so all you know is that your carrot seed didn't germinate. The issues with soil crusting over is more common in dry years than wet ones, but it can happen at any time.

You can interplant your carrot seed and radish seed together, just putting a radish seed in the ground every inch or two in the row or block planting of carrot seeds. The radishes will pop up first and loosen the soil, which helps make it easier for the carrots to sprout. Because spring radishes mature in just a few weeks (in as little as about 3 weeks), you carefully pull out the radishes, leaving more space for the carrots. As the carrots enlarge and grow, they'll fill in the space left behind by the removal of the radishes. This is an old traditional planting scheme that's been used for generations, and you've just gotten 2 crops out of space that otherwise would have given you only one.

RADISHES + CARROTS + LETTUCE: I often add lettuceto the radishes and carrots planting. The part of the radishes and carrots we eat are below ground, leaving lots of useful space above ground. The part of the lettuce we eat that grows above ground can expand that space. Obviously you don't want to plant too much lettuce too close to radishes or carrots because you don't want to shade them out, but the three can be successfully grown in unison.

LETTUCE + ANY TALLER PLANT: Lettuce is pretty much neutral. It will benefit from being grown in partial shade provided by any taller plant because heat will make lettuce bolt. Keeping it partially shaded keep it cooler Lettuce doesn't really hurt anything, and it makes a lovely ground cover that will shade the ground under taller plants. By shading the ground, it cools the soil, reduces the evaportation of water from the soil and inhibts weeds from sprouting. I am not saying the weeds won't sprout, but with lettuce plants cutting off the sunshine to the ground, the weed seeds maybe won't get as much sun and heat as they need to sprout, or they'll struggle to compete with the lettuce. If you weed early and often while the lettuce is small, it won't be weedy and you'll have a lot less weeding to do after the plants gain some size.

SPINACH + BIBB LETTUCE: Planting spinach and bibb lettuce together is another traditional planting scheme. I don't know why, and I don't know if scientists even yet can explain it, but bibb lettuce grows better when interplanted with spinach.

We know that with some companion plants, exudates from the root of one plant can pass into the root zone or the actual root of the other plant, perhaps benefitting the plant in some way by making it grow better or repel insects or whatever, but I don't know if anyone knows why bibb lettuce grows better when it is interplanted with spinach in close proximity. I think the most commonly used ratio is one spinach plant for every four lettuce plants.

POTATOES + BUSH BEANS: The theory behind planting these two together is that the potatoes protect the beans from Mexican bean beetles and the beans protect the potatoes from Colorado Potato Beetles. I think it works, but I don't think it is easy to achieve this. I have problems with the potato plants outgrowing the bush beans and shading them out if I plant the potatoes too close to the bush beans. And, by the way, pole beans don't confer the same protection on the potatoes as the bush beans do. The first time I did this, I tried to alternate, planting one square foot of potatoes, then the next square foot of beans. All I got was bean plants that were too shaded by the taller potato plants to produce well, but I didn't see any potato bugs or bean beetles. The next year, I planted the potatoes in the north half of the bed and the beans in the southern half. It was a long rectagular bed that ran east-west. That worked out better. In between the two I planted a row of petunias, because traditionally it is believed that potatoes grow better when grown with petunias. All of that seemed to work out really well. As a further Colorado Potato Beetle deterrent, I planted 4 horseradish roots into 2 gallon pots and sunk them into the ground so they looked like they were growing in the ground. I had one at each corner of the bed. Horseradish is said to repel Colorado Potato Beetles. However it is very invasive, which is why it was in pots. You also can add several dead nettle plants and flax plants to your potato bed as both are to repel CPBs, and to improve their growth and flavor. The flax and dead nettle also likely attract beneficial insects. You can tuck a few marigold seedlings into this bed with everything else because marigolds are said to repel Mexican bean beetles. Obviously you should have the marigolds closer to the beans than to the potatoes. Rosemary also is said to repel Mexican bean beetles so you can put one of these plants into the groundin this bed. Watch your plants as they grow and you'll see many beneficial insects moving from one flower or herb plant to another. All of the insect activity will help keep down the number of pests you spot.

THE THREE SISTERS....OR MAKE IT 4 OR 5 SISTERS: The native tribes who lived in North America long before the white men arrived here traditionally grew the three sisters: corn, beans and pumpkin (winter squash) together, although they didn't necessarily grown them in the same way. Each tribe, or maybe I should say the various tribes in each region, altered the planting layout to suit their climate and soil. The reasons behind planting these together are interesting. Corn, which loves nitrogen, is a heavy feeder. Beans, as with all legumes, fix nitrogen from the air so that they can return it to the soil over time (but only if you incorporate the plants into the ground after you've harvested all the beans). So, your beans are going to put nitrogen back into the soil to help make up for all the nitrogen the corn took out of the soil. This is crop rotation over time. What is the purpose of the pumpkins or winter squash? They are large sprawling plants that will shade the ground beneath the corn and beans, serving as a living mulch that reduces weeding by shading out weeds and that keeps the ground more moist by blocking the rays of sunlight from hitting the ground. Best of all, the big coarse pumpkin or winter squash leaves often are somewhat prickly and it is believed they help keep the raccoons out of the corn. I have found that sometimes they keep the raccoons out of the corn and sometimes they don't, but I plant them together anyway. It is a great use of space, giving you at least three different veggies from space normally used for one.

In order to make this work in our modern gardens, we have to tweak it a little bit. The types of corn traditionally grown by the native Americans, depending on their geographic location, tended to be dent corn, flour corn or field corn. These types of corn grow taller and sturdier than most of our modern day sweet corn varieties, which tend to be wimps by comparison. I find it somewhat problematic to plant most varieties of modern day corn with pole beans as the weight of the pole bean plant can pull down the corn plants. You can do it, though, if you choose a really strong, sturdy variety of sweet corn. I like to do it with Texas Honey June which is a monstser plant that often gets 8-9' tall in my garden. I'd never try it with a small variety like Early Sunglow. Sometimes the vines twine around the ears as they are growing and impede their growth. So, while I love to plant three sisters style, I will alter it a little bit. Sometmes I will plant my beans on the garden fence adjacent to the corn planting. I might plant it on one or two of the four sides of the pen, Then I'll plant the pumpkins. It helps to plant the corn first and let it make some growth and achieve some height first so the winter squash or pumpkin doesn't shade it while it is too young. This is pretty easy to do because corn can go into cooler soils than winter squash can. So, if you just naturally plant your sweet corn at the right temperatures, then by the time the soil warms up enough to plant winter squash or pumpkins, the corn plants will be gowing nicely and too tall for the squash to shade them out. I usually plant the corn first, the pole beans 2 or 3 weeks later, and then the squash a few weeks after that.

How about a fourth or fifth sister? Because I sometimes grow my corn in a corn cage (picture a dog kennel type pen with a chicken wire fencing roof to completely exclude raccoons), I have fencing on all four sides of the corn patch. So, I'll come back and plant a pole type of lima bean (like Worchester Indian Red or Christmas Pole) or southern pea (like Red Ripper/Mandy) on the other two sides. Last year I planted Yard-long Bean on the fence alongside one side of my mid-season corn patch. Since they are legumes, they'll give back to the soil just as the beans will. The fifth sister I plant is sunflowers, which also are traditionally grown as a fourth sister by many native American tribes. I didn't know that until I read the utterly fascinating book "Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden". Sometimes I plant edible golden purslane or the ornamental flowering purslane on the ground just on the edge of the garden kind of between the fence with its legumes growing on it and the first row of corn. Along with the pumpkins it serves as a living mulch to help keep down weeds, but it is so small it doesn't compete and steal water away from anything else. The flowers attract beneficial insects, as do the flowers of the sunflowers. I also like to have a small patch of buckwheat near the winter squash and corn. Buckwheat flowers pretty early from seed--in about 5 or 6 weeks, and the flowers attract lots of the types of beneficial insects that attack corn and squash pests. The buckwheat can be pulled later on and put on the compost pile, pulled and laid on the ground where it will serve as a mulch until it decomposes, or can be dug into the soil or rototilled into it at the end of the season.

One of the biggest challenges with a Three (or more) Sisters Garden will be how to harvest the ears of corn or the beans without breaking the squash plants. I just try to watch where I put my feet and hope that if I step on the squash plants, they'll forgive me. I usually just leave the bean and corn plants in the ground after I harvest from them. Sometimes the beans meander over from their fence/trellis and climb on bean plants and I just let them. Sometimes the winter squash or pumpkin plants do the same thing. No harm, no foul. Last year, I crammed leftover okra plants down at one end of my five-sisters garden, with a few ornamental gourds on the fence at that end so I had a Seven Sisters garden in a space where some people only would have planted corn. It is your garden. If you want to grow multiple plants in the same area, do it. Does Mother Nature have all of one kind of plant in one corner of a field, and something else in another isolated spot? No. They all grow together and benefit one another in various ways.

TOMATOES: It is tempting to just plant your rows of carefully spaced tomato plants all in big beautiful rows and call it a day. That way nothing else is in the way when you're picking tomatoes. But....it is so boring, and there's nothing growing there around the tomato plants to help them. When you grow in a monoculture, you invite both diseases and pests that feed on the monocultured crop to come have a feast. Instead, you can create a polyculture and sow carrot, radish and lettuce seeds to grow in the shade of the tomato plants. To do that, I usually plant the lettuce, carrots and radishes first, leaving an open spot periodically where I'll come along later and plug in the tomato transplants. The carrots, radishes and lettuce all will be done and out of there almost before the tomato harvest begins, except with the earliest tomato varieties. The lettuce will benefit from being shaded by the tomato plants as they grow and the shade may keep them from bolting quite as early once the air temps are getting hotter than the lettuce likes.

I like to plant basil and borage with the tomato plants. I just stick one in the ground every few feet. Basil is said to improve the growth and flavor of tomatoes and borage is said to help repel tomato horn worms, which I happen to believe as I seldom see any tomato or tobacco hornworms in my garden even though I grow tons of tomatoes and quite a few flowering tobacco (nicotiana) plants. I plant chervil and chives along the wooden edge of the beds, where they help repel pests and/or help attract beneficial insects. Chives are said to improve the growth and flavor of carrots while chervil performs the same function for radishes. Mint is said to improve the health and growth of tomatoes, but I'd never put an invasive plant like mint into the ground near my tomatoes, to I put it in pots near them. I usually add a few nasturium plants to any bare spot in the bed, and do the same with the The Three Sisters Garden. Nasturtiums attract many beneficial insects and improves the growth and flavor of the radishes. Over in the Three Sisters Garden, the nasturtiums will repel squash bugs, aphids and striped cucumber beetles (which attack all cucurbits and most any other plant they find as well).

Because I plant several raised beds of tomato plants, I vary my companion plants a lot. I will add green onions (to be harvested as scallions), parsley, and chives to some beds. I'll add short, compact zinnias and sweet alyssum to attract beneficial insects. If I put onions in a tomato bed, I'll interplant the onions with chamomile because it is said to improve their growth and flavor. I'll plant white-flowered borage in some tomato beds and blue-flowered borage in others. I'll use different types of bush nasturstiums to different tomato beds. Sometimes I plant marigolds, but I am careful about which kind I select. Some of them will attract spider mites, which are a major problem in my rural area. They literally blow in on the wind and that makes them more difficult to fight. Often, they will congregate on marigolds. If that happens, once the marigolds have a lot of spider mites, I sacrifice them as a trap crop, pulling them up and bagging them and trashing them in order to get rid of the spider mites. More mites will come later, but at least I've taken out all of that bunch of spider mites.

CUCUMBERS can be grown in your three sisters garden if you have space, but I usually plant them alone near a trellis or garden fence they can climb. They like to grow with sunflowers, so I plant a sunflower every 2 or 3 feet. You also can underplant your cukes with radishes or lettuce or both. I like to get a lot of cucumbers at one tine in pickling years so I can make many batches of pickles, and then not worry about pickles again for a year or two. I usually grow my cucumbers on the north garden fence bordering the woods because the pests are slower to find them there than if I grow them on the south garden fence near the driveway. I used to grow tansy inside the garden as it attracts many beneficials and repels some pest insects, but it is a rampant grower and was hard to control. Nowadays I plant it outside the fenced garden in the space between the north garden fence. It is a good companion for cucumbers grown there because it deters cucumber beetles, which surely are the bane of a cucumber grower's existence as they spread disease. I usually plant nasturtiums at the feet of the cucumber plants to both serve as a living mulch and to attract beneficials. You also can grow peas, beans, lettuce or radishes with your cukes. I like to plant rat-tail radishes near all members of the cucurbit family because their flowers attract beneficial insects that prey upon some pests of the cucurbits.

EDIBLE PODDED PEAS + ROOT CROPS + sweet alyssum. Sugar snap peas and snow peas are two of the earliest crops to go into the garden. If you plant the vining kind and let them climb a fence or trellis, you can underplant them with turnips or rutabagas planted at about the same time (or even a little earlier), or you can underplant them with nasturtiums or buckwheat. The nasturtiums and buckwheat attract beneficial insects that will help control pest insects like pea aphids.

ASPARAGUS + TOMATOES are said to be good companions to one another, but I don't interplant them. My asparagus is in a bed more or less by itself because it is a perennial crop and I don't want to disturb it. Last year, Laura Bush petunias (which live all summer and laugh at the heat and then reseed themselves too) popped up in the aspargus bed so I thinned out most of them, but let some stay as a living mulch to keep the soil cool and shaded. That seemed to work out pretty well. I did grow tomato plants in their own bed next door to the asparagus though. I also had a row of parsley down one side of the bed along the wooden edging and a row of basil down the other long side of the bed along the wooden edging.

OKRA + WATERMELONS: I use fairly wide spacing with the okra plants when I use branching varieties and underplant them with watermelons. It is just a good way to get more use from the space, and the watermelons shade the ground and serve as a living mulch for the okra and the okra helps shade the melon fruit and keep them from sunburning. It seems to be a mutually beneficial relationship. I usually have a few zinnias and nasturtiums in that bed, along with some flowering nicotines. If you've never grown nicotianas, you may not realize that the backs of their leaves are sort of sticky and insects can become stuck to those leaves....like a natural form of flypaper. I've grown these plants together for several years and they seem to grow as well together as they do apart.

CABBAGE FAMILY CROPS: (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi). The types of plants I interplant with these are chosen for their ability to repel the dreaded broccoli worms. For this purpose I interplant with chamomile, dill and sage. If I have leftover onion plants (bulbing or green onions), I'll put one in the bed here and there. You can add any sort of aromatic plant known to repel moths, which includes chamomile, dill, sage, rosemary, and thyme. There are some other plants known to repel moths but you have to handle them differently. All mints are repellents, but are very invasive, so I have them nearby in pots. Wormwood is an excellent deterrent, but I like to plant it about 3' away, outside the garden fence if possible, because it has root exudates that can have an alleopathic effect and negatively impact the root growth of desirable plants. If the cabbage family plants are in the middle of the garden, I just put a few wormwood plants in pots near them. I like to leave a lot of my permanent herbs in pots, so I can move them around the garden every year without digging them up.

BEETS + ONIONS -- both are root crops, both go into the ground early, and they seem compatible with one another. Otherwise, I don't interplant too much with the main bulbing onion crop. They really don't like competition from weeds or from other interplanted crops, so I leave them alone for the most part, although every now and then I'll put a little sweet alyssum plant here or there to attract beneficial insects. I've never really had a problem with pests on onions, and if you have an issue in your garden with western flower thrips, I would keep all flowers away from the onions.

EGGPLANT grows well with potatoes or with beans, but I don't grow a lot of eggplant because no one in my family especially likes to eat it. Sometimes in the past I also companion-planted it with hot peppers and they seemed to peacefully co-exist with one another and with nasturtiums really well.

PUMPKINS + CORN, ETC. About the only way I ever grow pumpkins and winter squash is with corn. They grow just fine by themselves too, but I always like to grow buckwheat and nasturtiums around them to attract beneficial insects.

SUMMER SQUASH: These are such big sprawling plants that I don't really plant much else with them as an edible compaion, but I like to plant buckwheat, nasturtiums and rat-tail radishes with them. Actually, I usually plant the nasturtiums, rat-tail radishes and buckwheat first, and then transplant the squash plants into the ground (you can direct-seed them if you prefer). I feel like the companion plants need to be up and growing fast so they can attract beneficials as the squash grows. Since squash grows so fast, plant the companion plants a little further away so they won't be buried under the squash plants.

PEPPER PLANTS + OKRA: Okra is tall, peppers are medium-high. Okras love sunshine, peppers like some sunshine but suffer mightily if they are in full sun in our hot summers from sunup to sunset. I usually plant my okra and pepper plants together, letting the okra plants shade the peppers. Of course, I usually have a few herbs and flowers in the bed with them....often nasturiums early in the season, but dwarf zinnias and Laura Bush petunias later in the season as the nasturtiums sort of falter in the heat. I also often plant basil and parsley in the same bed with them.

SOUTHERN PEAS: These are almost always treated as succession plants in my garden, often going into the ground in May or early June to replace earlier crops like broccoli, snap peas, spinach, kale, etc. Being heat-loving legumes, they are happy pretty much anywhere. I especially like to plant them in any bed from which I've just removed heavy feeders (pretty much everything we like to eat except for root crops are heavy feeders). I try to plant the southern peas in beds where no beans or peas grew the year before. My garden is very large, so it isn't hard to rotate legumes into beds where no legumes were grown recently. Last year I grew legumes on one portion of the north fence, and muskmelons and cuckes on another portion of the garden fence, so for crop rotation, this year I simply grow the legumes where last year's cucurbits grew and will plant the cucurbits in the area where last year's legumes grow. I don't drive myself crazy trying to maintain the heavy giver, light feeder, heavy feeder cycle because when you intercrop a lot, it is almost too much to keep up with. Anyway, since I garden organically and work continually to add compost and other organic matter to the soil, I don't think the giver-taker rotation is a critical as it otherwise would be.

Well, I'm sure I failed to mention some sort of crop, but I'm tired of typing and anyone who's made it this far is likely tired of reading.

For those of you who had questions about how to interplant to create a garden that is its own little ecosystem of plants who help one another, I hope this post gives you food for thought. For the many types of companion plantsing that I didn't specifically mention, I just routinely scatter them around the entire garden. There's really no wrong place, for example, to plant lemon balm or Mexican mint marigold.

Got questions? I'm ready.

I'm not going to go back and proofread for errors, so forgive any typos.

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 04.04.2013 at 06:52 pm    last updated on: 04.04.2013 at 06:56 pm

Warm Season Veggie Planting Dates

posted by: okiedawn on 04.04.2013 at 06:18 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Now that most of us have our last freeze and/or frost behind us, here's the recommended planting dates for warm-season crops:

MAR 25 - APR 30
Sweet Corn (can plant old-fashioned corn earlier, but supersweet types near soil temps greater than 60 degrees)

APR 10-30
Beans (except Lima,perhaps)
Eggplant
Tomato

APR 10-30 OR LATER
Cucumber
Okra
Pepper
Pumpkin
Summer Squash

APR 15-30
Lima Bean (needs soil temp at 65 in order to germinate well)

MAY 1 - 20
Watermelon
Cantaloupe, muskmelon and other assorted melons

MAY 1 - JUNE 10
Southern Pea
Sweet Potato

MAY 15 - JUNE 15
Winter Squash

For most of the above, you need soil temperatures of at least 60 degrees to get good, quick seed germination. The later their recommended planting date on this list, the warmer they like the soil, so for most of the veggies that have May recommended planting dates, soil temps of 60-70 degrees are even better,

Often people plant tomatoes and peppers at the same time, but tomatoes are more tolerant of cool air and soil temps. Peppers do better if you wait a couple of weeks after putting tomatoes in the ground.

So, y'all, let the planting games begin!

Dawn

NOTES:

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clipped on: 04.04.2013 at 06:50 pm    last updated on: 04.04.2013 at 06:50 pm

Your Greatest Hit Recipes for Leesa - The Condensed Version...

posted by: ccaggiano on 09.26.2009 at 06:12 pm in Harvest Forum

Summer Fruit Jam [from Foodland Ontario]

Yield: 8 cups

3 c Peaches, peeled & chopped
3 c Apricots, chopped
2 c yellow plums, sliced
2 Tb lemon juice
6 c Sugar

In a Dutch oven, combine 2 c each of the peaches & apricots with the
remaining ingredients excepting the margarine. Mash enough to break
the fruit. Stir in the remaining peaches & apricots.

Bring to a slow boil, stirring. Boil, continuing to stir frequently,
for 20 minutes or until setting point is reached.

Ladle into sterile 250mL (half-pint) canning jars leaving 1/2" headspace. Wipe
rim & seal. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove,
cool, label & store.
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Cranapple Relish
(from _Canadian Living_ magazine)

For each pint of relish:

2 apples
1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup golden raisins
4 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
dash hot pepper sauce

Peel, core, and chop apples. Chop cranberries coarsely. In heavy saucepan,
stir together apples, cranberries, 3/4 cup water, sugar, onion, raisins, vinegar, cinnamon,
salt, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer,
stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until thickened and no liquid remains. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal. (Or simply refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

* I never bother to chop the cranberries.
* I assumed processing was 20 minutes, like for applesauce.
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Oven dried tomatoes

In large bowl combine:
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp. Lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh chopped (or dried) Parsley
1 Tbl. chopped Rosemary
Dried Pepper flacks to your taste, oppt.
Salt & Pepper to taste

Leave skin on and cut tomatoes in to bite size pieces.
Take out any seeds.
Place tomatoes in the mixture and refrg. for at least 2 hours.
Set oven on lowest temp. Max. 200 degrees.
Take tomatoes out of mixture and spread on cookie sheet. It's OK if they touch.
They will need to Oven dry for about 14 to 16 hours. Size of pieces will determine time.
I put mine in about 7pm and get them out the next morning around 10:30am.

Amount of tomatoes is up to you.
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Sour Cream Walnuts

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups walnuts

Cook and stir sugars and sour cream to soft ball stage (240 degress F on candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add walnuts stirring gently til coated. Spread on pan to cool [no stick wax paper helps later removal]
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This next recipe came from KatieC & Annie....

Plum Sauce

4lbs plums
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbls mustard seed
2 tbls chopped green chili peppers (I used jalapeno)
1 1/4x1 piece of fresh ginger (I used 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
1 tbls salt
1 clove mined garlic
1 cup cider vinegar

Pit & chop plums [don't peel], Combine remiaining ingredients in a large pot, bring to boil, reduce heat. Add plums, cook until thick and syrupy, about 1 1/2 hrs. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust caps and process 20 minutes in a BWB.

Yeild: about 4 pints.

I adore this on egg rolls and chicken fingers (I don't even like chicken). I also like a bit of it mixed w/ balsamic vinager and over a salad.
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This is my husband's favorite. We've made it when we cut all the green tomatoes off the vines before a hurricane (the vines lived to produce many more) and then at the end of the season when it was going to freeze.

Pickled Sweet Green Tomatoes
10 to 11 lbs of green tomatoes (16 cups sliced)
2 cups sliced onions
1/4 cup canning or pickling salt
3 cups brown sugar
4 cups vinegar (5 percent)
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp celery seed
1 tbsp whole cloves
Yield: About 9 pints

Procedure: Wash and slice tomatoes and onions. Place in bowl, sprinkle with 1/4 cup salt, and let stand 4 to 6 hours. Drain. Heat and stir sugar in vinegar until dissolved. Tie mustard seed, allspice, celery seed, and cloves in a spice bag. Add to vinegar with tomatoes and onions. If needed, add minimum water to cover pieces. Bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent burning. Tomatoes should be tender and transparent when properly cooked. Remove spice bag. Fill jar and cover with hot pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Pickled Sweet Green Tomatoes in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 10 min 15 20
Quarts 15 20 25

This document was extracted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA. Revised 1994.
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Linda Lou's Apple Pie Jam
4 cups tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
4 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 box pectin
1/2 teaspoon butter
Add water to chopped apples to measure 4 cups. Place apples and water into large, heavy saucepan. Stir in lemon juice, cinnamon and allspice. Measure sugars. Stir pectin into fruit. Add butter. Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in both sugars. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. Ladle quickly into hot, clean jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands on finger tight. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
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Roasted Red Pepper Spread
6 lb. large red sweet peppers
1 lb. Roma tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves
1 small white onion
2 Tbsp. minced basil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Roast peppers under broiler or on a grill at 425 degrees until skin wrinkles and chars in spots. Turn over and roast other side. Remove from heat.Place in a paper bag, secure opening, cool 15 minutes. Roast tomatoes, onion, and garlic under broiler or grill 10 - 15 minutes. Place tomatoes in a paper bag. Peel onion and garlic. Finely mince onion and garlic.
Measure 1/4 cup and set aside. Peel and seed tomatoes and peppers. Puree in food processor or blender. Combine in a large pan.Bring to a boil over med.high heat, stir to prevent sticking. Reduce heat, simmer until spread thickens. Ladle hot spread into hot jars, leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.
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ANNIES SALSA

8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2 cups chopped onion
1 cups chopped green pepper
3 5 chopped jalapenos
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp pepper
1/8 cup canning salt
cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
16 oz. tomato sauce
16 oz tomato paste
Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil, boil 10 minutes. Pour into hot jars, process at 10 lbs of pressure for 30 minutes for pints.

Makes 6 pints
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Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup
Recipe By :Katie
12 tomatoes -- *see Note
2 carrots -- cut in 1" pieces
1 large onion -- quartered
2 whole heads garlic -- peeled (or more, to taste)
olive oil
2 cups chicken broth -- (or 3)

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil -- (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
Core tomatoes and cut in half. Place, cut side up, on foil covered cookie sheet with carrots, onion and garlic. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 400F for about an hour, or until vegies are roasted and a little blackened. Place in a large saucepan with the chicken broth and basil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Blend with a stick blender (or in small batches in a blender) until almost smooth. To can: Process in a pressure canner, pints for 60 min. and quarts for 70 min.For dial gauge canners use 11 pounds pressure at 0-2000 ft., 12 lbs. at 2001-4000 ft., 13 lbs. at 4001-6000 ft. and 14 lbs. above 6000 ft. For weighted gauge canners use 10 lbs. pressure at 0-1000 ft., and 15 lbs. over 1000 ft. *Note: These measurements are approximate...I use whatever it takes to cover the cookie sheet. This makes 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of soup. Cream may be added to taste when the soup is served.
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Habanero Gold Jelly

1/3 cup finely sliced dried apricots
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 up finely diced red onion
1/4 cup finely diced sweet red pepper
1/4 cup finely diced habanero peppers, including seeds
OR 1/4 cup diced, combined jalapeno and Scotch Bonnet peppers
3 cups granulated sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin

Cut apricots into 1/8 inch slices. Measure into a large deep stainless steel saucepan with vinegar; let stand 4 hours. Individually, cut onion and seeded peppers into 1/8 inch slices; cut slices into 1/4 inch dice. Measure each ingredient; add to apricots. Stir in sugar.
Over high heat, bring to a full roiling boil. Stirring constantly, boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in pectin, mixing well.
Pour jelly into hot jar, dividing solids equally among jars and filling each jar to within 1/4 inch of top rim. Wipe rims. Apply lids.

Process 10 minutes in BWB. Cool upright, until lids pop down, about 30 minutes. When lids are concave but the jelly is still hot, carefully grasp jar without disturbing lid and invert, twist, or rotate each jar to distribute solids throughout jelly. The jar can be inverted temporarily but do not allow it to stand upside-down for prolonged periods.

Repeat as necessary during the cooling/setting time, until solids remain suspended in the jelly.
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Caraway Pickled Beets

1 quart beets, (about 2 lbs)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 TBLSP caraway seeds
1/2 tsp pickling salt (optional)
I cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey

Scrub beets, remove tops but leave tap root and 2 inches of stem. Cook beets in boiling water to cover until the beets test tender to a fork. This will take 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Cool beets, slip off the stems and slice or dice them. Combine the beets with the caraway weeds, onion and salt.

For each quart of beets, heat together i cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 cup sugar. While brine heats, pack the beets into a clean hot quart jar, (NOTE: I pack these in pints, I would never finish a quart of pickled beets). Leave about 1/2 inch head space. Pour the hot brine over the beets to cover. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not open for 6 weeks to allow the flavor to develop.
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My other big hit is peach maple jam. This stuff doesn't keep too well once opened, so I put it up in small jars.

5 lbs. peaches
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon

Yields about 10 half pints.

Blanch the peaces in boiling water to cover for 1 minute to loosen the skins. Drain, cool and peel. Remove the pits and chop the peaches very finely. You can use a food processor.

I a large nonaluminum pot, combine the peaches, lemon juice, maple syrup and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and gently boil for 10 minutes until thick. The jam is ready when it begins to hold its shape when dropped onto a cold plate.
(NOTE: I find that I have to cook these jams much longer than the recipe says to get them to firm up. I use the cold plate method to test them that I outlined in the "No pectin jams" thread.)
Skim off any foam on the surface and ladle into hot, sterilized jars, (1/2 pint or 6 oz.), leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
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Raspberry Plum Jam

I made this with sour cherries instead of plums

2 cups pitted, finely diced plums (about 1 1/4 lbs)
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
5 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 pouch 3 oz. liquid pectin

Mix plums and raspberries in a heavy nonaluminum pot. Add sugar and lemon juice until well blended. Bring to a full, rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin all at once. Return to a full rolling boil, then boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. (NOTE: I'd probably add a 1/2 tsp of butter to prevent excessive foaming). Ladle into hot sterlized 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a BWB for 5 minutes. Or can also freeeze.
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Last but not least, my salsa recipe. I got it from an old Woman's Day Magazine or some such, from an article about people who ran produce stands and their favorite recipes. It has more spices and ingredients than most salsa recipes, but that's what I like about it. It is pretty vinegary, so I guess you could use some lemon juice or lime juice, and also distilled vinegar.

Irene's Sassy Salsa

6 lbs. tomatoes, peeled and cut up
4 green sweet peppers (I ususally use a mix of some mild, some bannana, and some poblanos or anaheims if they have them in the store. Be careful, because you don't want more peppers than the recipe calls for)
3 red sweet peppers
1 lb. (2 large) onions, peeled and cut up
at least two jalepenos
1-2 stalks celery
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley or cilantro
2 TBLSP sugar
2 TBLSP paprika (You can use hot or mild, depending on your taste)
1 TBLSP salt
2 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 TBLSP dry mustard
1 TBLSP garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups vinegar (or part lemon or lime juice)

Put the chopped veggies and seasonings in a big heavy duty nonreactive pot. Add the vinegar. Bring to a boil, then simmer at least 30 minutes, until very thick. Ladle into hot sterilized jars, (I use the wide mouth 1/2 pints). Process 15 minutes in a BWB.
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GRAPE JAM
2 qts. stemmed Concord grapes
6 c. sugar
Separate pulp from skins of grapes. If desired, chop skins in a food blender or chopper. Cook skins gently 15 to 20 minutes, adding only enough water to prevent sticking (about 1/2 cup). Cook pulp without water until soft; press through a sieve or food mill to remove seeds. Combine pulp, skins and sugar. Bring slowly to boiling, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly almost to jellying point, about 10 minutes.
As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour, boiling hot, into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield about 3 pints.
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CERTO Pineapple Chutney
Prep Time: 45 min
Total Time: 45 min
Makes: about 8 (1-cup) jars or 128 servings, 1 Tbsp. each

4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 1-1/2 fully ripe medium pineapples)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
5 cups granulated sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine (optional)
1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin

BRING boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.

PARE and core pineapples; finely chop or grind fruit. Measure exactly 4 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot. Add raisins, vinegar, onion, lemon juice, ginger, salt and spices; mix well.

STIR sugars into fruit mixture in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming, if desired. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

LADLE immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)
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Here are two tomato sauce recipes we really enjoy. Both are from the "Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving."

* Exported from MasterCook *

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
8 cups (2 L) coarsely chopped peeled tomatoes -- (about 9-12 tomatoes or 4 lb/2 kg)
1 cup chopped onion -- (250 mL)
3 cloves garlic -- minced
2/3 cup red wine -- (150 mL)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (5 % strength) -- (75 mL)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil -- (125 mL)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley -- (15 mL)
1 teaspoon pickling salt -- (5 mL)
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar -- (2 mL)
1 6-oz/156 mL) can tomato paste

Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, wine, vinegar, basil, parsley, salt, sugar and tomato paste in a very large non-reactive pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency, stirring frequently.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim (head space). Process 35 minutes for pin (500 mL) jars and 40 minutes for quart (1 L) jars in a BWB.

Yield: "8 cups"

Note: This sauce also makes an excellent base for a quick pizza.
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* Exported from MasterCook *

Multi-Use Tomato Sauce

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
10 plum tomatoes -- (about 2 1/2 lbs./1 kg)
10 large tomatoes -- peeled and chopped (about 4 lbs./2 kg)
4 large garlic cloves -- minced
2 large stalks celery -- chopped
2 medium carrots -- chopped
1 large onion -- chopped
1 large zucchini -- chopped
1 large sweet green pepper -- chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes -- (125 mL)
2/3 cup dry red wine -- (150 mL)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (5% strength or more) -- (125 mL)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon pickling salt -- (15 mL)
2 teaspoons dried oregano -- (10 mL)
2 teaspoons dried basil -- (10 mL)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar -- (5 mL) (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon -- (2 mL) (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper -- (2 mL)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley -- (50 mL)

Combine tomatoes, celery, garlic, onion, zucchini and green pepper in a very large non-reactive pan. Add 1 cup (250 mL) water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, covered, for 25 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Soak sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water until softened. Drain and dice. Add to sauce with wine, vinegar, bay leaves, salt, oregano, basil, sugar, cinamon and pepper. Continue to boil gently until desired consistency, stirring frequently. Discard bay leaves and stir in parsley.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim (head space). Process in a BWB 35 minutes for pint (500 mL) jars and 40 minutes for quart (1 L) jars.

Yield:"12 cups"
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I'm the second generation to make this pickle recipe. It originally appeared in an old USDA bulletin: "Making Pickles and Relishes at Home," but it can still be found on several Extension Service sites.

Crosscut Pickle Slices
(Bread & Butter Pickles)
4 quarts sliced medium cucumber, about 6 pounds
1 1/2 cups sliced onions
2 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup salt
2 quarts crushed ice or ice cubes
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
3 cups vinegar
Wash cucumbers thoroughly, using a vegetable brush; drain on rack. Slice unpeeled cucumbers into 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices; discard ends. Add onions and garlic. Add salt and mix thoroughly; cover with ice; let stand 3 hours. Drain thoroughly; remove garlic cloves. Combine sugar, spices and vinegar. Heat just to boiling. Add drained cucumber and onion slices and heat 5 minutes. Pack hot pickles loosely in clean, hot pint jars to 1/2 inch of top. Adjust jar lids. Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes (jars will cool the water, so start to count processing time as soon as water in canner returns to boiling). Remove jars and complete seals, if necessary. Set jars upright to cool. Yield: 7 pints.
Note: Process 10 minutes BWB for elevations 1001 feet and above.
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Kosher Dill (Heinz Recipe)

4 lbs pickling cukes
14 cloves garlic, peeled & split
1/4 cup canning salt
3 cups distilled or apple cider vinegar, 5 % acidity
3 cups water
12-14 sprigs fresh dill weed
28 peppercorns

Wash cucumbers; cut in half lengthwise. Combine garlic and next 3 ingredients; heat to boiling. Remove garlic and place 4 halves into each clean jar, then pack cucumbers, adding 2 sprigs of dill and 4 peppercorns. Pour hot vinegar solution over cucumbers to within 1/2 inch of top. Immediately adjust covers as jar manufacturer directs. Process 10 minutes in BWB. Makes 6-7 pints.
Banana Jam

Prep Time: 45 min
Total Time: 2 hr min
Makes: about 8 (1-cup) jars.
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Zucchini Relish

10 cups ground zucchini
3 cups ground onion
5 tablespoons salt
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 red bell pepper, ground
1 green bell pepper, ground

Using coarse grinder, grind zucchini and onion. If large zucchini are used, remove seeds before grinding. Combine zucchini and onion with salt and let stand overnight in the refrigerator. Drain thoroughly.

Combine sugar, dry mustard, turmeric, celery seed, pepper, vinegar and nutmeg. Cook over medium heat until it begins to thicken; then add ground bell peppers and cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.

Pour into pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Adjust lids.

Process in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 pints
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Pecan Praline Syrup
2 cups dark corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine syrup, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Stir in pecans and vanilla extract. Simmer for 5 minutes. Ladle hot syrup into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust 2-piece lids, and water bath for 10 minutes.

Yields about 4 half pints.
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No Pectin Strawberry Jam

4 cups strawberries hulled and cut about 1/4 inch pieces
- this takes about 2 quarts whole berries
between 2 and 2-1/2 cups cane sugar according to tartness of berries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Fruit Fresh (vitamin C and citric acid powder) or 2 tablespoons more lemon juice
4 half-pint canning jars

Put strawberries only into graniteware or stainless steel pot Mash a bit with a masher or flat bottom glass to bring out juices. Cover. Cook on medium low just until simmering stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to maintain gentle simmer. After about 5 minutes a lot of water will come out of the berries. Uncover pot and simmer 15-20 minutes stirring often until reduced, thicker, not watery. Add sugar, lemon juice,fruit fresh. Mix well and bring to simmer over medium low heat. Do not leave pot alone or cook higher than low, or medium low heat. If the sugars overheat they can burn on the bottom of the pan, and ruin the jam. You can't ruin it on a low simmer if you watch. Cook another 15-20 minutes, stirring often until mixture is reduced like a thin jam. You can test it by putting a teaspoon on a saucer and putting in the freezer for a minute or two. If the tester is jam-like it is ready. It doesnt have to be super thick. Total cooking time should be 25-30 minutes not counting times to bring up to a simmer. Don't try to boil it super thick
Fill half pint jars to 1/4 inch of top. Make sure water is 1-1/2 to 2 inches above tops of the jars. Put in canner covered with 1 to 2 inches boiling water. Bring to boil, cover, and process 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove canner lid. Let jars sit in water 5 minutes. Remove jars to a towel to cool. Let sit 12 to 24 hours before testing the seal. Should store for one year. Refrigerate after opening. Should be good for a week or two, or maybe more, after opening.
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Creamy Tomato Sauce/Fondue

1/2 pint heavy cream
1 oz marinated tomatoes, pureed *
1/8 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Sautee garlic in olive oil. Add other ingredients and cook to desired thickness. As a sauce, try over chicken breasts. As fondue, use sour dough bread and prawns for dipping.

*Marinated: rehydrate dried tomatoes, then pack in extra virgin olive oil with or without spices. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
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Surprise Cheese Puffs (a snack/hor d'oeuvre)

1/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp garlic salt
1 cup flour
3 Tbsp dried tomato powder
Marinated dried tomatoes

Blend cheese and butter until smooth. Combine dry ingredients and add to cheese mixture. Drain marinated tomatoes; chop. Wrap about 1 1/2 Tbsp of cheese around small amount of tomatoes. Roll into ball. Chill balls for 1 hour before baking on ungreased cookie sheet (400 degrees f) 15 minutes. Serve warm.
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Tomato Spread (perk-up breads, crackers, celery sticks...)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz marinated tomatoes
1 lb cream cheese

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed to get the right texture. Enhance with other spices to taste.
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Refilled Baked Potatoes

Scoop out the inside of a baked potato. Combine and mash with potato:
marinated dried tomatoes (or dried tomato flakes)
green onions, chopped
sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Refill the potato skin. Top with grated cheese and return to oven (350 degrees f) until cheese melts.
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Salads (tossed green, potato, pasta)
Any salad can be easily enhanced by tossing ingredients with chopped, marinated, dried tomatoes or by topping salads with dried tomato flakes. Dried tomatoes are particularly great for full tomato flavor and color in winter when fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes are not available.

1. Dried Tomatoes: Eat slices as a nutritious snack or make tomato flakes or powder for recipe ingredient. Flakes/powder are easily made by putting a bag of dried tomatoes into the freezer for about 15 minutes (until brittle). Remove from freezer then chop or grind in food processor (or crumble in the bag by hand).
2. Rehydrated: Steam dried tomatoes in a colander over boiling water (covered container) for 4-5 minutes or put tomatoes in a sieve and dip quickly in and out of boiling water; drain.
3. Pureed: Use food processor or blender to puree rehydrated dried tomatoes (add a little water or olive oil). Sotre in sealed container in refrigerator until ready to use.
4. Marinated: Rehydrate dried tomatoes, then pack in extra virgin olilve oil with or without spices. Store in refrigerator until ready for use.
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Pear and Currant Chutney

Makes 2 - 3 cups
1 cup dried currants
6 tbls pear brandy
4 pears, peeled, cored and cut into " pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into " pieces
cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
pinch cayenne

Put currants and brandy into a medium saucepan and simmer over medium heat until currants are plump and have absorbed most of the liquor, about 7 minutes. Add pears, celery, sugar, lemon juice, ginger and cayenne and stir well. Return to simmer, reduce head to medium low and simmer until pears are very soft and translucent and juices are thick and syrupy, about 1 hour.

Put chutney into a clean jar with a tight lid or hot water bath 10 minutes. If not processed, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Allow chutney to sit for a couple of weeks, the flavor improves with age.
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Pear Apple'n Cranberry Chutney

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Makes 6 half-pints

2 Cinnamon Sticks , broken in half
1 teaspoon Whole Allspice
1/2 teaspoon Whole Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Whole Black Pepper
2 pounds pears, peeled, cored, and finely chopped, (about 5 cups)
1 1/2 pounds green apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped, (about 4 cups)
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 package (6 ounces) dried cranberries or one 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped, (1 cup)
1/3 cup Crystallized Ginger, finely chopped
1. Tie cinnamon, allspice, cloves and pepper in a cheesecloth bag.
2. Combine all ingredients in 6-quart saucepot; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Cook until thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. As mixture starts to thicken, stir more frequently. Remove spice bag; discard.
3. Ladle into hot half-pint-size canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Run thin, non-metallic utensil down inside of jars to remove air bubbles. Wipe rim of jars clean with damp cloth.
4. Cover jars with metal lids and screw on bands. Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
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APPLE CHUTNEY

8 C chopped apples (I use Northern Spy's)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 XL sweet red pepper, chopped (or 2 med)
1 lb golden raisins
1 lb black raisins
2 jalepenos, chopped
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
4 C apple cider vinegar
2 med onions, chopped
4 C brown sugar
1/4 C fresh ginger, chopped (no need to peel)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp grd allspice
2 tsp grd cinnamon
2 tsp grd cloves

Combine all in a large kettle and bring slowly to a boil, stirring often to keep from sticking. Boil till thick. Pour into hot jars, adjust lids and process in BWB 10 min.

Yield: 12 to 14 half pints (maybe?)
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5 PEPPER JALEPENO JELLY
1/2 c. fresh peppers, stemmed and seeded, I use jalepeno, serrano, habanero, tabasco and pequin.
1 lg. red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut up
2 c. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 c. dried apricots, chopped (you can also use peaches or pears)
6 c. granulated sugar
1 (3oz.) pkg. liquid pectin
Put peppers and apricots in food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Stir in vinegar.
Put in large saucepan. Add sugar and bring to a boil, boil for 5 min. stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Let cool for 2 min. Mix in pectin. Pour into jars and seal in water bath. Makes about 7 half pint jars. A few weeks ago I had several couples over and this got rave reviews and is our favorite over any jalepeno jelly that I have made.
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Apple Chutney
2 quarts chopped, cored, pared tart apples (about 10 medium)
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped sweet red bell peppers (about 2 medium)
2 hot red peppers, seeded and chopped
1 pounds seedless raisins
4 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons canning salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 quart white vinegar (5%)
Yield: About 6 pint jars

Procedure: Combine all ingredients; simmer until thick, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. As mixture thickens stir frequently to prevent sticking.

Pour boiling hot chutney into hot jars, leaving inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner 10 minutes for pints or 1/2 pints.
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Katie's Peach Salsa

6 cups peaches -- diced (I used frozen for convenience)
1 1/4 cups red onion -- chopped
4 jalapeno pepper -- chopped*
1 red pepper -- chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro -- loosely packed
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3 cloves garlic -- finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Simmer all ingredients for 5-10 minutes. Pack into hot jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (0-1000 ft.), 15 minutes (1001-6000 ft.), and 20 minutes (above 6000 ft.).
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Kiwi Daiquiri Jam Recipe

Ingredients
5 kiwifruit, peeled
3 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 pouch (85 ml/3 ounces) liquid pectin
Green food color, optional
4 Tbsp rum

Instructions
Fill boiling water canner with water. Place 4 clean half-pint mason jars in canner. Cover, bring water to a boil; boil at least 10 minutes to sterilize jars at altitudes up to 1000 ft.

Place snap lids in boiling water, boil 5 minutes to soften sealing compound.

In a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan, mash kiwifruit to applesauce consistency. Stir in sugar, pineapple and lime juice. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stirring constantly, boil vigorously for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in pectin. Continue stirring 5 minutes to prevent floating fruit. (If desired, add green food coloring to create a more lively, intensely green jam.) Stir in rum.

Ladle jam into a hot sterilized jar to within 1/4 inch of top rim. Remove air bubbles by sliding rubber spatula between glass and food; readjust head space to 1/4 inch. Wipe jar rim removing any stickiness. Center snap lid on jar; apply screw band just until fingertip tight. Place jar in canner. Repeat for remaining jam.

Cover canner, return water to a boil, process 5 minutes at altitudes up to 1000 ft. Remove jars. Cool 24 hours. Check jar seals. (Sealed lids curve downward.) Remove screw bands. Wipe jars, label and store in a cool dark place.

Yield: 4 half-pints
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1 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1 crunchy apple
1 whole orange
1`cup of sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or a couple of lumps of candied ginger finely chopped)
1 cup pomagranate ariols
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

In food processor, place cranberries, apple quartered/cored, sugar, 2 teaspoons of fresh orange zest, peeled and seeded orange, and ginger. If you want to add dried apricots or a slice of fresh pineapple as I did this year, go ahead. Grind all to a pea to bb sized mix. Remove to bowl and rest overnight in refrigerator to blend flavors. Taste test for sugar next day. Add sugar if necessary (I never do as I like it tart) and add toasted chopped nuts and pomagrante ariols (if you have them). If you don't have the ariols, don't worry as it will still be delicious. Remember, you have to make it the day before to let flavors blend. Don't know how long it keeps as it is always gone in less than a week. Try on pancakes, toast, chicken, turkey, pork, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, in pie filling with apples, let your mind wander.
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Here's one that is a favorite around our house and is a good way to get some use out of those big baseball bat size zuc's and yellow squash.

Doesn't have a name, that I know of, but maybe someone already knows this recipe and can help me out with the name.

1- baseball bat zuc/squash; peel, seed and dice into smaller chunks
1- large white/yellow onion; diced
2-3 ripe tomatoes; blanch, peel and cut into 1/2" slices
Prego
1 package Mozaerella cheese

In 11x13(??, a bigger baking dish) baking dish mix together zuc and onion to form bottom layer. Add fresh tomato slices on top and stick into a 350 deg oven for 15-20 minutes. Once zuc is semi fork soft, take out of oven and drain excess water that has come from the veggies. Place a thin layer of Prego over the dish and then a package of cheese to coat everything. Back in the oven until cheese it melted and your done.

A fan favorite around here at get togethers and such. My mom makes batches of this and freezes them, of just the base three ingredients, for the winter time and they are extremely tasty when it's -10F out.
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Dilly Beans (from USDA, original poster Linda Lou)

4 lbs fresh tender green or yellow beans (5 to 6 inches long)
8 to 16 heads fresh dill
8 cloves garlic (optional)
1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
4 cups white vinegar (5 percent)
4 cups water
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
Yield: About 8 pints

Procedure: Wash and trim ends from beans and cut to 4-inch lengths. In each sterile pint jar, place 1 to 2 dill heads and, if desired, 1 clove of garlic. Place whole beans upright in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Trim beans to ensure proper fit, if necessary. Combine salt, vinegar water, and pepper flakes (if desired). Bring to a boil. Add hot solution to beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process 5 min.
If you want to skip the boiling of the jars first, then process in the BWB for 10 min. I do it, and they are good and crisp still. You can also use Pickle Crisp if you want pickled things really crunchy. Cider vinegar will seem less tart, but it will make the brine darker. Adding a pinch of sugar is a good idea, too.
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PEAR MINCEMEAT:

7 lbs. pears, peeled, cored & cut into eighths
2 lemons, unpeeled & cut into eighths
2 oranges, unpeeled & cut into eighths
2 c. raisins
6 c. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. vinegar

Position knife blade in food processor bowl. Add about 1 cup pears; process until finely chopped. Repeat with remaining pears, lemons, oranges and raisins.
Combine chopped fruit and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Pour hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Cover at once with metal lids and screw bands tight. Process in boiling water bath for 25 minutes. Serve alone as a relish or use to make Pear Mincemeat Pie and Pear Mincemeat Cookies.

Makes 7 1/2 pints.
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ZUCCHINI BREAD

*from _A Century of Canadian Home Cooking_, Carol Ferguson & Margaret Fraser, Prentice Hall Canada, 1990

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups packed finely shredded zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts

In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir in zucchini.

Stir together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in raisins and nuts.

Stir dry ingredients into zucchini mixture.

Pour into two greased 8- x 4-inch loaf pans.

Bake in 350 degree F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Makes 2 loaves.
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How is chocolate-raspberry jam missing from this thread? This is from Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber.

Raspberry with Chocolate
2 3/4 lbs (1.2 kg) raspberries, or 2 1/4 lbs (1 kg) net
3 1/2 cups (750g) sugar
Juice of one lemon
9 oz (250g) extra bittersweet chocolate (68% cocoa)

Pick over the raspberries. Omit rinsing them so as to keep their fragrance. Put the raspberries through a food mill (fine disk). In a preserving pan, mix the raspberry pulp with the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, stirring gently and skimming carefully. Add the chocolate, grated. Mix and then pour into a ceramic bowl. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate overnight.

Next day return the mixture to a boil. Continue cooking on high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring and skimming if needed. Return to a boil. Check the set. Put the jam into jars immediately and seal.

Notes:

After discussion with Melly, I used 4 oz bittersweet chocolate and 1 oz unsweetened. I used a mix of red and black raspberries but I think you want whatever berries have the richest, deepest flavor.

Also, you should process this in a BWB for 10 minutes (use half-pint jars). Good on ice cream, or swirled through yogurt, or spread on popovers.
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Spiced Red Cabbage

12 pounds red cabbage (about 3 large heads)
1/2 cup canning salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mustard seed
1/4 cup mace
2 quarts red wine vinegar
1/4 cup whole cloves
1/4 cup whole allspice
1/4 cup peppercorns
1/4 cup celery seed
2 sticks cinnamon

Remove outer leaves of cabbage; core and shred. Layer cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Cover; let stand 24 hours. Rinse. Drain thoroughly on paper towel-lined trays, about 6 hours. Combine sugar, mustard seed, mace and vinegar in a large saucepot. Tie whole spices in a spice bag; add spice bag to vinegar. Boil 5 minutes. Remove spice bag. pack cabbage into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
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Habanero Cranberry Jelly (I call it Turkeys Revenge).

I created (ok, not wholly created LOL) this variation of Mellys Cran-Jalapeno Jelly. Using Mellys as a starting point and tweaking it with the kind assistance and encouragement of Zabby, the end result is a fiery hot cranberry jelly for cold fall and winter nights. Heck, its great in the summer too!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups 100% unsweetened cranberry juice
1/2 cup finely diced habanero pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 3/4 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 pkg liquid pectin
5 cups sugar

Procedure:
1. Finely dice peppers and onion and coarsely chop cranberries
2. In a large sauce pan, combine cranberries, pepper, onion, vinegars, and juice
3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low
4. Simmer 15 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend and to soften up cranberries
5. Add sugar and return to a hard boil for 1 minute
6. Remove from heat and stir liquid pectin in well
7. Add jelly to hot sterilized jars
8. Wipe rim of jars with a clean damp towel
9. Position lids as per usual instructions
10. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes
11. Remove jars and allow them to cool
12. During the cooling, periodically "gently" invert jars to distribute solids.

Yield 7 or 8 - 250ml (1 cup) jars
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Bandy Peppercorn Sauce

For those who like this type of sauce, this one (IMHO) is decadent! A little bit of effort but well worth it. It freezes well.

I dont recall where I originally found the recipe.

1 cup (250 mL) red wine
1 tsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 cups (500 mL) beef or veal stock
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
1 tsp (5 mL) cracked pink peppercorns
1 tsp (15 mL) cracked green peppercorns
1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black peppercorns
2 tbsp (25 mL) brandy

1. Add wine and balsamic vinegar to pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Boil until only 2 tbsp (25 mL) liquid remains, about 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Add stock and bring to boil. Continue to cook about 10 minutes until sauce reduces to 1 cup (250 mL).
3. Add cream and reduce again until sauce is thick and glossy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in peppercorns and brandy and simmer 2 more minutes to amalgamate flavours. Salt to taste.

Makes about 3/4 cup (175 mL)
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Caramelized Leek Soup (Gourmet : January 1998)

Given the simple ingredients, we were amazed at how tasty this soup turned out. Its a bit time consuming but worth the effort. It can be served as is but we prefer to puree it, turns out like a cream soup but without the cream. The pureed version freezes very well.

Ingredients
2 pounds leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 bunches)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup vermouth
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
Garnish: 4 teaspoons finely sliced fresh chives

Preparation
1. Halve leeks lengthwise and thinly slice crosswise. In a large bowl of cold water wash leeks well and lift from water into a large sieve to drain.
2. In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook leeks in butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until some begin to turn golden, about 40 minutes.
3. Stir in sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
4. Stir in vermouth and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and most leeks are golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Deglaze kettle with 1/2 cup broth and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes more, until liquid is evaporated and leeks are deep golden.
6. Add remaining 3 cups broth and bring soup just to a boil.
7. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Makes about 5 cups, serving 4 as a first course.
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Tomato Jam

1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeo or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste. (I used two Thai bird peppers and included the seeds)
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.
Yield: About 1 pint.
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Parmigian Sun-Dried Tomato Bread (Bread Machine)
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons oil that tomatoes are in
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups white bread flour
6 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 Tblsp Parmigiana cheese

Add Yeast, Water, Salt, Flour, Lemon Juice, Powdered Milk,
Add remaining ingredients last 3minutes of final knead cycle.

I stop the machine after the second kneed cycle. I roll the dough into 2" balls and place them in a Pam sprayed muffin pan. Allow to rise double in size. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. This is a dense bread. They freeze beautifully. I allow them to cool and then place all ina ziplock or vacuum bag. Easy to grab a couple out when you want them.
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Asparagus Pesto

1 bunch asparagus spears (about 1 lb), trimmed of tough ends and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 half lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

Toast pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet set on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a medium pan, bring salted water to a boil and drop in the asparagus. Cook only 2 or 3 minutes until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain under cool water to stop the cooking process.

Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, parmesan, and pine nuts to a food processor. Puree and, with the motor running drizzle in the olive oil until a paste is formed. Add lemon juice and salt. Adjust to taste.

I have used swisschard and it tastes great. Also have skipped the salt at the end and used roasted salted sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. Yum.

This freezes well if you can keep your spoon out of it long enough to have some left, that is. Tastes even better the next day. We like this better than basil pesto now.
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Spinach con Queso

2 C. Queso (quick melt) cheese, shredded
3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 C half & half
1/3 C. onion, finely chopped
1 teas.cumin
1 T. roasted red pepper, chopped (this is approx.)I add it for color.
1/2 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and I chopped it again.

Heat all ingred. in double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Makes about 2 cups.

Don't let the simplicity of this recipe fool you....it is awesome and you might as well double it to begin with.
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Zucchini-banana-date-spice bread (or muffins)

3 cups zucchini shredded finely
4 bananas, mashed
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup strong hot coffee
1 1/4 cups pitted minced dates
1 tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup yellow raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp grated fresh ginger

Pour hot coffee on minced dates and let soak a few minutes. Add
bananas, mash, and add all the sugar and spices, salt. Squeeze juice
from shredded zucchini and set aside (use in a soup or veggie stock or
in mix if too dry). Add drained shredded zucchini to the
banana-coffee-date mix. Add raisins, pecans and sift flour with soda
and baking powder. Add flour mix into zucchini banana mix and stir
lightly. It should not be very wet, use some reserved zucchini juice
if too dry. Pour batter in oiled muffin tins or in oiled bread pan
and bake at 350F oven for 15-20-30-45 minutes (depending on type of
pan, muffins take a lot less, small muffin tins even less, a large
bread pan will be closer to 45 minutes).
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Asian Style Pork Tenderloin

Take a boneless pork tenderloin and sear on all sides in a hot, lightly oiled saute pan.

Place tenderloin in a baking dish, slather about 1/2 a jar of plum sauce all over the meat, and bake at 350 for about 12-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the meat rest, covered with foil, for 10 min.

Heat remaining jar of sauce gently and spoon on the plate, fan out four or five slices of pork over the sauce.

Voila! Fancy-schmancy dinner in less than 30 min.
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I'm sorry, I wish I had noted what the yield was for this, but didn't copy it over. I think it makes 4 half pints.

Roasted Red Pepper Spread

6 lb. large red sweet peppers
1 lb. Roma tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves
1 small white onion
2 Tbsp. minced basil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Roast peppers under broiler or on a grill at 425 degrees until skin wrinkles and chars in spots. Turn over and roast other side. Remove from heat. Place in a paper bag, secure opening, cool 15 minutes. Roast tomatoes, onion, and garlic under broiler or grill 10 - 15 minutes. Place tomatoes in a paper bag. Peel onion and garlic. Finely mince onion and garlic.
Measure 1/4 cup and set aside. Peel and seed tomatoes and peppers. Puree in food processor or blender. Combine in a large pan. Bring to a boil over med.high heat, stir to prevent sticking. Reduce heat, simmer until spread thickens. Ladle hot spread into hot jars, leave 1/4 inch headspace. Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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We have pear trees everywhere, and this is a huge hit!

Ingredients
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple with syrup
16 cups (about 6 pounds) peeled, cored, and chopped pears
10 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Special Equipment: 12 to 16 (1/2-pint) canning jars with lids
Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook until pears are tender and mixture thickens, approximately 30 minutes. Transfer to sterilized jars and seal while still hot*.

*Cook's Note: Follow USDA guidelines for proper sterilization and canning procedures.
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Totally unrelated to home canning and such, but its a favorite of mine since I was a kid and my mom made cakes filled with it for our birthdays. Simple recipe.
Cream filling:

3 tablespoons flour (instant type is best to reduce lumps)
1/2 cup milk
scant 1/2 cup shortening with part butter
1/2 cup sugar (or Splenda for sugar free)
1 tsp. vanilla

Carefully mix milk and flour together to avoid lumps. Cook over low to medium heat until it thickens to a stiff paste. Place shortening and butter mix in a small mixing bowl with the sugar. Mix them at medium and then high speed for about 1-2 minutes. Once the cooked milk and flour paste has cooled to lukewarm (NOT HOT!), add it to the sugar shortening mixture. Mix in the vanilla, and a dash of salt and beat at high speed for about 2-3 minutes. You end up the a nice cream filling better tasting than what you find in Hostess Twinkies. Its spread bewteen cake layers and any left over can go ito the frosting. I make chocolate muffins and use a pastry bag to 'inject' the filling into the muffins, just like a Hostess cupcake. If you like it to be a chocolate flavor, add some unsweetend cocoa, about 2-3 tablespoons when creaming the shortening sugar, and increase the sugar by 1/4 cup. Never add any granulated sugar AFTER the milk flour paste is mixed in, as it will be gritty and wil not dissolve. Its the slight warmth of the paste that mixes with the granulated sugar that mkes it dissolve.
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GRANDMA'S OLD FASHIONED APPLE BUTTER

6 lbs apples, quartered
2 quarts sweet cider
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Cook apples in cider until tender and press through sieve or food mill. Measure 3 quarts apple pulp. Cook pulp until thick enough to round up in a spoon. As it thickens stir frequently. Add sugar an spices and cook slowing until thick, stirring frequently, about 1 hour. Por into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process 10 minutes in BWB.

Makes about 5 pints

Now, for technique. I don't cook apple butter on the stove, stirring and sticking and dodging those little apple butter volcanos that explode onto your forearms when the butter gets thick. I dump the whole mess into a large enameled roaster and put it in the oven at about 300-350, stirring every hour or so until it's thick enough. The house smells wonderful, I can do other things, and the apple butter gets as thick as you like it, depending on how long you cook it.

I've also done it in the crockpot, but you have to uncover the crockpot for the last couple of hours. I've also used my handy-dandy peeler/slicer and just put apple slices into the crockpot, added some sugar and spices and let it cook with no liquid at all other than a splash of apple juice in the very bottom, 1/2 cup at most. When the apples are soft, I mash 'em with the potato masher and check the thickness, then cook until it reaches a good consistency.

Be sure to use the frozen plate test if you do this, because it's thicker when cool than when it's warm.
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Apple-Apricot Pie

Can be made for fresh eating or frozen in the crust for baking later. Serves 6-8

Pie crust for 1 9" deep dish pie
6 large apples peeled, sliced in thin wedges,cored
1/2 cup dried apricots snipped into bite size pieces
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 T apricot jam (we prefer one of the "only fruit" types)
1/4 cup water or apple juice

Directions:

Saute apple slices, dried apricots in water, jam and spices then cover and cook till soft with lid on. Scoop with a slotted spoon into bottom pie shell. If planning to bake immediately pre-bake the bottom shell just a bit. Pile the apples and apricots higher in the middle of the pie. Dot with pats of margarine and dribble about 1/2 of the sauce remaining in the pan over all.

Apply top crust with vent shape of your choice in the center. Lightly brush crust with water and sprinkle with 1 T. sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 mins. until crust is light golden brown.

Serve warm with caramel flavored ice cream. ;)

If planning to freeze, place unbaked pie on a cookie sheet to freeze then vacuum seal or wrap well and place in freezer. Bake frozen, not thawed.
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Plum Pepper Jam
3 1/4 cups finely chopped plums
1 1/2 cups chopped green or red peppers
1/2 cup chopped jalapeno peppers
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups cider vinegar
1 box low sugar pectin

In a 8 quart sauce pot stir in plums, peppers and vinegar.

Measure the sugar into a separate bowl. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and box of low sugar pectin in a small bowl.

Stir pectin-sugar mixture into fruit in sauce pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired.

Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.

Stir in remaining sugar quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.

Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Cover, bring water to gentle boil. Process jams 10 minutes. Adjust processing time according to Altitude chart. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars seal, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If the lip springs back, lit is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.

Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Store unopened jam in cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year.

NOTES:

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clipped on: 06.25.2012 at 05:26 pm    last updated on: 06.25.2012 at 05:26 pm

RE: Everyone's pics in this one thread (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: angs_pool on 04.05.2005 at 02:04 pm in Pools & Spas Forum

Here's mine~~
16/34 freeform
Tahoe Blue pebble tec
moss/canyon rock waterfall
baja shelf
3 1/2 to 6 1/2 feet deep
jump rock
Image hosted by TinyPic.com
Image hosted by TinyPic.com
Image hosted by TinyPic.com
Image hosted by TinyPic.com
Thanks everyone for posting your pictures!! I LOVE LOOKING AT THEM!!!!
Angie

NOTES:

pool color
clipped on: 05.08.2012 at 11:19 pm    last updated on: 05.08.2012 at 11:20 pm

RE: Pool water is HOT!!!!! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: goyom on 06.23.2010 at 06:42 am in Pools & Spas Forum

OK, I ran a test last night using only my aerator.
If you are wondering what that is here is a pic of one, its not my pool but its pretty much identical to the one I have.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/skyblue2/2656738741/

I checked water temp last night at 5 PM.
93 degrees

Ran aerator from Mignight till 5:30 AM.

Pool temp 87 degrees.

Its funny, I actually did not want this item, but our sales guy insisted in Texas it might well be the best $100 upgrade we could add.

I am glad we listened to him.

NOTES:

Add aerator to the list of rebuild pool items
clipped on: 05.08.2012 at 11:56 am    last updated on: 05.08.2012 at 11:56 am

RE: Dry, shade recommendations. (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: susanlynne48 on 05.06.2012 at 07:16 pm in Oklahoma Gardening Forum

Dry shade is a problem for a lot of shade loving perennials in Oklahoma, but I have found the following work well. My backyard is all part shade surrounded by trees, which soak up the moisture quickly. Hence, dry shade. The following have worked well for me and survived last year's drought without skipping a beat. I did not water at all in my back yard.

Acanthus mollis - it may die back without any water, but it grows from a tuberous tap root, so once it is established, it will survive. The tall flower stalks remind me of Foxglove.

Variegated Solomon's Seal. Patch will increase each year and they really brighten up a shady spot.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Interesting plants in the Aroid family. Grow from tubers.

Spigelia marilandica = heautiful plants with red tubular blooms that hummers love.

Grape Hyacinths - spring bloomers.

Hellebores - foliage evergreen in winter; blooms very early spring.

For shrubs, Itea virginicas do well; white bottlebrush blooms in spring; red foliage in fall. 'Little Henry' is a nice cultivar.

Mahonia aquifolium or Grape Holly is a very attractive evergren shrub.

Holly ferns do very well in dry shade.

Epimediums are known for their tolerance to dry shady conditions.

Carex - ornamental, small grasses - just about any - come in colorful shades and interesting growth habits.

Susan

NOTES:

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clipped on: 05.06.2012 at 10:42 pm    last updated on: 05.06.2012 at 10:42 pm