Gardening and a Sweet Harvest!

What a wonderful harvest we are having and so early this year! Perfect tomatoes, no cracking except the birds love them this year too!! We have never had tomatoes this early. Picked our first one in MAY!!! My tomatoes are always late. Had loads of kale and beets just when Charlie needed them for his juices-praise God! Picking a basket full of goodies almost every morning! Thank you Lord!

Canning Season-Honey Pickled Beets!!

Preserving Beets

Measurements not exact because beet sizes vary. I usually pull mine out of the garden when they are as big as a small orange. When they get old they are tougher, have thready fiber through them, the old ones I use for juicing, the tender, silky sweet ones I like to make borscht with, beet salad or pickle them for winter.

Pickled Beets are so yummy any time!

Pickled Beets are so yummy any time!

Have ready 4-5 sterilized quart canning jars and matching rings and new lids.

18 smallish fresh beets, boil, peel 1 C beet cooking water 1 C fresh lemon juice 1/2 C honey 1 tsp salt (if you like to add cinnamon sticks, allspice etc. you may add that to the boiling syrup and simmer 15 minutes. Then remove the cinnamon sticks and other spices before pouring into jars)

DIRECTIONS: Pull your beets out of the garden (or from the farmer's market), cut off the tops being careful not to cut into the beet itself because if you do some of the flavor will bleed out into the water while boiling. Cut the long tail off the tip but not into the beet bulb itself. Now scrub the beets clean of all dirt with a sturdy brush. Put them into a big pot and cover with 2-3" hot water. Use a bigger pot because they sputter and the red water makes a mess! Bring to boil. Simmer for about 1 hour or till the largest beet is soft when you poke it with a fork. Pour off the water but save about 1 quart of it in a jar. This cooking water will be used for canning, for this reason the beets were scrubbed diligently! Now, cover the beets but keep them off the stove. The beets will cool down and sweat in the pot so as soon as they are cool enough to handle the skin will slip off easily. You can also peel them under cold water. Working with cold water does not pull out the flavor so don't worry. After the beets are peeled you can slice them into a bowl. You can make sticks or squares or plain slices. I usually cut the beets in half and 1/4" slice. Everything these beets touch will turn pink so you may want to wear gloves and an apron.

Easy to can these!

Easy to can these!

Now pack the sliced beets snugly into the jars until full to 1/2" from the top. Get your canner ready. Now take 1 cup of the cooking liquid which you have saved, put it into a small saucepan with 1 cup lemon juice, 1/2 Cup honey, 1 tsp. sea salt, optional spices. Bring to a boil. If your canner is ready then ladle the boiling syrup over the beets to the top of the beets, leaving 1/2" headspace. Put the lids on and into the boiling water canner. Process 30 minutes. Remove and set aside for 24 hours. Check your seals and store in a cool dark place for up to a year at least if necessary.

PS If you need more syrup just make more quickly to fill up all the jars.

ENJOY!!!

Paella with Spanish Olive Oil

Paella with fresh spring garden ingredients!!

Paella with fresh spring garden ingredients!!

Great Recipe for the kids and whole family to help pick, shell, chop, veggies fresh from the garden! Preparation time 15 min. Cook time 15-20

Paella-Solo Las Plantas

  • 2 T Spanish Olive Oil
  • 1 C diced onion
  • 1 C coarsely chopped green pepper
  • 1 C chopped tofu or gluten or tofu dogs
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can plain artichoke hearts, canned
  • 2 C sliced zucchini or yellow squash, or young green butternut or a mix
  • 1 C sliced carrots
  • 1 C fresh peas or frozen peas
  • 14 oz can or 2 C fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 T Bill's best veggie chicken seasoning (optional)
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 2 C cooked rice
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/4 chopped parsley
  • Salt and red pepper to taste

Saute oil, onion, pepper 2 min. Med-high heat. Add garlic, stir and saute a minute, add tomatoes and bay leaf, chopped gluten or tofu and stir, continue sauteing 2 minutes. Now add all the veggies, salt and seasoning. Cover 5 minutes or so while cooking. Add rice. Stir. Cover 2 more minutes. Taste test. Add parsley and serve with whole wheat french bread or any other whole grain yummy bread and salad!

(Flowing Gold Selections will soon have a most delightful virgin olive oil, superb flavor.) . This is a great way to use your left over cooked brown rice from yesterday!