Tag Archives: Gardening In Arkansas

Visit my 2013 Gardening Blog

Today, imagine 50 to 60 degree days, the grass is turning greener, the undergrowth in the woods or your yard coming up green and lush covering the ground, daffodils showing their sunny yellow blooms, and the local Wal-Mart and Farmers Co-op getting their gardening centers ready.  This is what it is like here where I live and it has caused me to have gardening fever.  So…

The 2013 gardening Blog is located at

http://arkansasfarmerette2013.wordpress.com

Come garden and preserve with me this year.

The 2013 Planting Calendar is posted. You’ll find the link to it at the top of the page above the large picture.

Hope to see and hear from you all this year.  Here’s hoping this summer’s not a scorcher again.
REMEMBER to “Follow” this years blog; it is separate from last years.

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Dried Apricot Jam


I love morning walks in our woods when Fall is sneeking in.  The nights turn cool bringing the morning dew.  This morning fog was settleing in and then it disappeared only to come back again 20 minutes later.  The crows were all abuzz about something and I happened upon the deer who snorted at each other saying I was near.  Peaceful.

Yesterday I posted about my canning withdrawls so you’ll understad I had to make something.  I have a recipe for Apricot Grand Manier Conserve that I’ve been wanting to make.  The recipe calls for dried apricots, 1 tart apple, orange juice or Grand Manier, sugar and lemon juice. I bought one 12 oz. pkg. of dried apricots and one Granny Smith apple at the store yesterday, but I forgot the orange juice.  So I decided to look up a recipe for Dried Apricot Jam, use it as an example and make my own recipe.
  First I cut the apricots in small pieces (sissors are easiest) and soaked them overnight; quite a sticky endevor.  Be sure to cut them into small pieces; doing the same with the apple.  The recipe I was using as a referral didn’t mention where to sit the apricots overnight so I opted to place them in the refrigerator before I went to bed; they had sat on the kitchen  counter for 5 hours.  The today I put them in a large pot to boil.  While they were heating up I preped the apple and added it to the pot.  I noticed that my jam was a bit junky and that the dried apricots were not going to add any creamyness.  I decided to whirl up about 2 cups in my food processor.  This gave it the creamyness I wanted.  Neither the Conserve or Jam recipe I was refering to listed pectin as an ingredient, but thought that it could use a bit so I added three tablespoons; stirring after each tablespoon.  The jam became immediately thicker and I had high hopes it would jell.  I guessed on my amount of sugar and 2 cups made the jam sweeeet.  I cooked the jam for about another 15 minutes to get the stickyness I wanted.  I was using my wooden spoon to stir with and I noticed that eventually between stirs the jam was jelling on my spoon.  I immediately placed the jam in the jars.

If the jam I licked off the spoon tastes like that in the jars I can’t wait to try it in the morning.
I WILL be making this again.

Dried Apricot Jam
Makes 3 pints

1 (12 oz.pkg.) dried apricots
3 pints water
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, chopped small
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Low Sugar Pectin
2 c. sugar

1.  Cut apricots up small.
2.  Put apricots and water in large bowl or tupperware-ish container and cover.  Let soak overnight in refrigerator.
3.  Next day place apricots with the water in a enamel or stainless steel pot.  Add chopped apples.  Simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.
     Meanwhile remove 2 to 3 cups of apricots and apples and slightly puree in a food processor; return to pot.
4.  Bring to a boil, after 15 minutes add Pectin.  Stir well to combine.
5.  Add sugar and stir well again.  Bring to a slow (low) boil and allow to cook like this till jam is sticky; about another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often.
6.  Meanwhile, prepare jars, lids and hot water bath.
7.  Fill jars and place lids and rings on.
8.  Place in hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove and wait for lids to seal. POP!

Links to Canning Recipes

I guess I am having canning withdrawls I’ve been looking at websites with canning recipes.
The garden is burnt up from the HOT weather and drought we’ve had; at least I thought so. I went up into the garden this morning and discovered that 3 of the cantalope plants are full of blooms and there are 2 little green cantalopes on the vine.  Small wonders.  I’m guessing it’s been the little bit of rains we’ve been getting this past week or so.  I used my shovel and dug down to see how far down the ground was wet and it was about an inch.

Anyway, Judy at  http://grandparentsplus2.wordpress.com/   wrote me and wanted a refrigerator pickle recipe.  I’ve been remiss in getting to that; life getting in the way and all.  I found this one today at Nina Corbett’s blog Put Up or Shut Up.  Perhaps I’ll give it a try next year.

Dan George’s Kick-Ass Westport River Barrel Cukes
http://www.putsup.com/2009/08/pickles.html

One more link to get you dreaming about canning also.
You can’t make just one of these. :O)
Food In Jars recipe index
http://www.foodinjars.com/recipe-index/
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I over heard this at Mc Donalds the other morning.

1st Elderly Man: I have “sometimers”.
2nd Elderly Man: I have “whatever-timers”.
3rd Elderly Man:  I have CRS.
2nd Elderly Man:  What’s that?
3rd Elderly Man:  Can’t remember sh_t.
2nd Elderly Man: Ha! I’ll have to remember that; if I can.

Canning Recipes

I was looking through one of my mother’s old cookbooks today and found some canning recipes to share.  The book is called ‘The Lily Wallace New American Cook Book’ printed in 1941.

While these recipes do not call for a boiling water bath, I would do it just the same, for at least 10 to 15 mins.
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The Boiling-Water Bath
     For processing acid foods, the water bath is the most generally saisfactory method in the home.  The water is boiled in an open vessel or in one in which the top is not clamped down.  In processing fruits and other acid food in the water bath, be sure that the jars are far enough apart and that the rack on which they are supported is so arranged that the water can circulate freely under and around them.
     Have the water in the vessel or canner boiling before putting in the jars of food.  In order to keep the glass jars from breaking they must be preheated in water or filled with hot food.
     When the jars are in the vessel or canner, see taht the water come over the tops at least 1 or 2 inches.  Add more boiling water as needed to keep this level.
     Count time as soon as the water begins to boil vigorously.  Keep the bath boiling constantly during all of the processing period.
     As soon as the processing time is up, remove the glass jars from the water one at a time and place on a towel in a draft-free place.  Do not tip or shake the jars until they have cooled and sealed.

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Chili Sauce

4 quarts chopped and peeled tomatoes
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 small hot, red pepper
3 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. white mustard seed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
2 1/2 cups vinegar

     Combine the vegetables, salt, and sugar, and cook until the mixture begins to thicken. 
     Add vinegar and whole spices, in bag, and cook until the mixture becomes a thick sauce.
     Pour into hot jars and seal immediately. 
  NOTE: Drain juice from vegetables before adding vinegar.  This will shorten the cooking period.
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Bread and Butter Pickles

6 quarts sliced medium cucumbers
1 1/2 quarts vinegar
6 cups sugar
6 onions, medium-sized, sliced
1 cup salt
1/2 cup mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed
1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper

     Combine cucumbers, onions, and salt and let stand 3 hours.  Drain.  Combine seasoning and vinegar and boil.
     Add cucumbers and onions.  Heat to simmering and pack hot.  Be careful to avoid boiling as that makes pickles soft.  Pack while hot in clean jars and seal immediately.
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Chutney

24 ripe tomatoes, medium-sized
6 onions, medium-sized
3 red peppers
3 green peppers
12 tart apples
1 pound seedless raisins
1 cup celery. cut fine
2 quarts vinegar
3 cups sugar
Salt

Chop vegetables first and then the apples.  Cut celery. Combine ingredients and cook chutney until it is thick and clear.  Pour immediately into clean hot jars, and seal at once.

 
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Strawberry Jamin’

This morning I was up early even though the alarm wasn’t set.  I was treated out the kitchen window with the site of a deer and her baby up in the field behind the garden.  The little deer scampered and ran all over the field.  So cute.  The mama grazed for quite awhile before moving along into the tree line.  With the lack of rain I’ve been wondering where they’ve been getting a drink.  Our spring dried up a couple of weeks ago. 

Speaking of deer, last Wednesday morning I was suprised to see two bucks up in the same field.  They were grazing and playing together.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they were the set of twins I saw two years ago.  I scanned the field for other deer and was even more suprised to see another small buck and a 6 point Stag.  He stood so majestically looking down toward the house I was in awe.  These are the times I wish for a large camera with a zoom lense.

Last Monday my friend gave me more green tomatoes (yeah.).  I mentioned in a earlier post that I’m supposed to be making, friends request, Green Tomato Relish but I didn’t have all my ingredients last week.  No excuses now.  I immediately prepped the green tomatoes, chopped up the cabbage and put them in the fridge till the next day.  On Tuesday I got off work early so as soon as I hit the door I started making the relish.  Again the recipe and pics are here

http://arkansasfarmerette.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/green-tomato-relish/.  I ended up with 4 pints and 4 half pints.  The half pints were for me and the pints went to my friend.  Thursday when I took them to her she asked, “I’ll probely be picking more green tomatoes next Tuesday do you want them?”  Ah…SURE! :O)

I made Oatmeal Hermits cookies before breakfast today.  I wanted to get them done while it was cool this morning.  These are neat drop cookies made with Karo syrup; my first time making them.  Easy to mix together and good for ya oatmeal how could you go wrong except for the brown sugar and syrup.  Ah we all need some “sweet” every once in a while. In honor of that I added chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Hermits

Here’s the recipe:
Oatmeal Hermits – A Karo® Vintage Recipe
Corn syrup keeps these soft cookies moist for several days.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

2 cups quick oats (not instant)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp, salt
2 tsp. Argo® Baking Powder
1 tsp. Spice Islands® Ground Saigon Cinnamon
1/2 cup Karo® Dark Corn Syrup
1/2 cup Mazola® Corn Oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Mix oats, brown sugar and raisins in a large bowl; add flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well. 
Whisk together corn syrup, oil and eggs in a small bowl.  Add to dry ingredients and mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned around edges.  Remove cookies to wire rack to cool.

Variation:  Try substituting 1 cup chocolate chips for the raisins.  Omit cinnamon and add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to the corn syrup mixture.

Today I’m making strawberry jam. Yesterday Wal-Mart had them on sale for 98 cents a pack.  What canning nut could resist?  Not me!  I bought 5 packs and then after cleaning them up I wanted more so…my brother and sister-in-law are picking me up 5 more packs and some more No Sugar Needed Pectin later today.
(Note from later today: Sister-in-law called and the 98 cent strawberries are all gone; price up to $1.98 so I told her not to get them.)
 
In the meantime…
Simply Sweet Strawberry Jam
   Oh what a mess I made…in the kitchen.  Dad and I are cutting back on sugar so I wanted a recipe that called for Splenda.  I found just what I needed on their site.   I doubled the recipe and made 6 half-pint jars with about 1/3 c. left over.  Don’t do like me a forget the water in the recipe.  I couldn’t tell if it made a difference in the taste.  I am hoping it doesn’t make a difference in the jam “setting”. 
BTW, a pastry blender works real well to crush/chop up the strawberries.

Recipe From  http://splenda.tastebook.com/recipes/1397108-Simply-Sweet-Strawberry-Jam
Strawberry Jam
3 cups  prepared strawberries (buy about 3 pt. fully ripe strawberries)

3/4 cup  water
1 box  SURE-JELL For Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes Premium Fruit Pectin
1/2 cup  SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated or 12 SPLENDA® Packets No Calorie Sweetener

1. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Fill boiling-water canner half full with water; add jars and water to cover. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Place lids in water to cover in a small saucepan; bring water to a simmer. Simmer until ready to use. Remove and drain jars and lids, one at a time, as needed for filling.
2. Cut strawberries in half; crush using potato masher or food processor. Place exactly 3 cups of crushed strawberries in a large saucepan; stir in water. Gradually add pectin, stirring until blended.
3. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) over medium-high heat.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, stirring until SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener dissolves. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. Allow to stand for 5 minutes to minimize separation of fruit and liquid.
4. Ladle hot jam into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4-inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with 2-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on rack in canner. (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add boiling water, if necessary.) Cover; bring water to gentle boil.
5. Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing center of lid with finger. (If lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)  Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, store refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.
Yield: 3 half-pint jars

After making the Jam I used my canning Boiling Water Bath to dunk some tomatoes in to make them easier to peel.  I have so many on the table I needed to peel and cut them up to put in the freezer.  I was just finishing when…
I had so many plans today, but I didn’t get but a few of them done.  At noon I ended up taking my Dad to the emergency room.  His new knee replacement, 3 mos. old, was hot and swollen.  We were told that all is well with the knee, no infection he could find.  The ER Dr. consulted with Dad’s orthropedic Dr. and decided to do a fluid withdrawal of the fluid around his knee to check for infection that way.  We’re to call on Monday to set that up.   So back at it tomorrow.  Tonight I write, post and watch TV.

IT RAINED HERE AT MY HOUSE TODAY!!!  YEAH!!!

Quickie Post


~ Picked 5 cantaloupes tonight that makes 8 total so far.  I plan on putting (mashing) one up in the freezer to make cantaloupe Bread later this year.  (If you’d like the recipe, just ask.)

~ Picked 22 tomatoes.  I’ve not been counting but I’d say I’ve picked over 60 all together.

My pretty Arkansas Traveler tomato

My pretty Arkansas Traveler tomato

The city of Warren, AR celebrates with a Pink Tomato Festival every year in June.  The festival is famous for its Heavenly Tomato Cake.  The tomatoes grown for the festival are Arkansas Travelers which grow really well here in AR.  I’ve not make this cake, yet. :O)

Heavenly Tomato Cake

2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup water, hot
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup pecans, chopped, toasted

Instructions
Line a 15 ½ x 10 ½ x 1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray.

Cream together margarine, shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each.

Sift together cocoa, flour and soda. Add to butter mixture, combining thoroughly.

Combine tomato juice, hot water and marshmallows; add to batter.

Add vanilla. Batter will be thin and marshmallows will come to top.

Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 35 minutes.

Turn cake out onto a cutting board and start on the icing.

Combine 1/2 c. margarine, 1/4 c. tomato juice, 2 Tbsp. water, 4 Tbsp. cocoa and 1/4 tsp. salt in a sauce pan and heat until boiling. Pour this mixture over 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted and beat well. Stir in the nuts.

Spread the hot icing over the cake. The icing sets up quickly so you have to work fast.

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Sorry I forgot about posting the Historic Canning recipes; perhaps later this week.

Dill Pickle Relish

Gifted vegies are the best; ‘course the ones you grow are too. :O)  Anyway,  I was given a long cucumber and I don’t like to eat them raw, so I made 3 half-pint jars of Dill Pickle Relish.
Dill Pickle Relish
Dill Pickle Relish

2 cups chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped small green tomatoes
1/3 cup red bell pepper
1 cup cider vinegar
3 tsp. dill seed
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp. canning salt

Place all ingredients in an enamel or stainless steel pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle into jars and seal.  Place in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove, sit on a towel, and wait for the popping sealing sound.