Garden on Overdrive

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The calendar says September and that means a not-so-gradual stumbling into kids heading back to school, football games, aisles and aisles of Halloween candy showing up at the stores, and, for us, it means figuring out what to do with a garden and orchard that are kicking into overdrive to finish up their efforts before the colder weather comes to stay.  Apples, figs, tomatoes, and more…

DSCN7555We love our heirloom tomatoes just for eating and sharing with family, friends and neighbors but we’ve also had to stay focused on preserving all those Brandywines and Lillian’s Yellow Peaches (just to name a couple) that are so prolific in the garden this year.  We make and can a simple marinara sauce using up the abundant mix of tomatoes coming out the garden this time of year:

Raggedy Hen Marinara Sauce

Tomatoes, washed and cored and chopped into quarters or halves

Heat tomatoes on a medium high heat, smashing them a bit as they cook down.  (no need to add any water)

Cook for 20-25 minutes or until soft.  Use an immersion blender to puree.

Add seasonings to taste: garlic, onion (fresh or dried), oregano, rosemary, basil, etc. We use our Raggedy Hen Farm Seasoning Mix and use about 2 Tablespoons for every 10 cups of cooked tomatoes. Add some salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, if desired.  Cook this mixture on medium high heat while you prepare your jars, lids, and water bath canner*.

Ladle hot sauce into sterilized jars, put lids and rings on and process in a boiling hot water bath for 20 minutes.  Remove, cool, and make sure sealed before you label and store.

*Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water; rinse and keep warm on a baking sheet in an oven set to 250 degrees.  Sterilize lids by pouring boiling water over them.  Heat enough water in the canning pot to cover the jars while they process and heat this water to boiling.

DSCN7566In addition to all this drying, canning and preserving, the garden abundance this time of year makes for some amazing meals.  Including these chicken kabbobs we threw together with sweet cherry tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and onions from the garden and some boneless chicken breast.  We used our own Peach Barbecue Sauce (we’ll share this recipe another time!) and once cooked, ate this tossed over brown rice.  Delish!

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