Get Ready to Pickle with Hints for Choosing Pickling Jars, Vinegars, and More – Real Food – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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As the pickling season approaches, it is very helpful to have everything you’ll need on hand. Here are some notes that will help you get started pickling, from choosing the right vinegars and where to find spices, to hints for using pickling equipment well.

Source: Get Ready to Pickle with Hints for Choosing Pickling Jars, Vinegars, and More – Real Food – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

4 of 6 Zucchini Recipes (this one looks too good to pass up)

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Zucchini Gratin

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 zucchini, sliced into half moons 1/4-inch thick

2 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded

1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup grated sharp white Cheddar

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Instructions :

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish.

In a large heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and tomatoes, about 7 minutes Add thyme, and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Add mixture to the buttered casserole dish.

In a medium size bowl, add brown sugar, eggs, and half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the milk mixture over the zucchini and sprinkle with both of the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys

3 of 5 Zucchini Recipes

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Zucchini Corn Fritters

Total Time: 45 min

Prep: 25 min

Cook: 20 min

Yield:6 to 8 servings

2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 ears corn, kernels cut off 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

Vegetable oil, for frying

Toss the zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Wrap the zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze dry.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and egg in a large bowl, then stir in the corn-onion mixture and zucchini. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.

Heat about 1/8 inch vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, scoop scant 1/4 cupfuls of the batter into the oil and use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the scoops. Cook until the fritters are golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature. (You can make the fritters up to 2 hours ahead; reheat in a 375 degrees F oven on a rack set on a baking sheet.)

2 of 5 Zucchini Recipes For Those Who May Have Too Many (And Who Doesn’t?)

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Provencal Zucchini and Potato Gratin

Yield:6 side dish servings

Cooking spray

1 medium yellow summer squash (about 8 ounces)

1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces)

1 small Yukon gold potato, about 4 ounces, scrubbed and thinly sliced

1/4 small sweet onion, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Manchego cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly mist a shallow 2-quart baking or gratin dish with cooking spray.

Thinly slice the squash, zucchini, potato, and onion 1/4-inch thick with a mandolin or by hand. Shingle the vegetables in the prepared baking dish in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the rosemary leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove the foil; sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the cheese is browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes more. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Calories 87; Total Fat 5.2g (Sat Fat 2.2g, Mono Fat 1.7g, Poly Fat 0.3g) ; Protein 3g; Carb 8g; Fiber 1.5g; Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 163mg

This dish is based on a traditional Provencal dish called a tian, the perfect baked dish for showcasing summer vegetables. Try swapping rosemary for thyme or oregano, or adding thinly sliced summer eggplant to the mix.

One of Five Recipes that use Zucchini: Just In Case You Have A Lot!Zucchini Pancakes Recipe : Ina Garten : Food Network

 

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
2 tablespoons grated red onion
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Unsalted butter and vegetable oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large grating side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the onion and eggs. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the flour, the baking powder, salt, and pepper. (If the batter gets too thin from the liquid in the zucchini, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.)
Heat a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil together in the pan. When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place the pancakes on a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil to the pan, and continue to fry the pancakes until all the batter is used. The pancakes can stay warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved
© 2016 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/zucchini-pancakes-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback

Source: Zucchini Pancakes Recipe : Ina Garten : Food Network

Dwarf Tomato Project

I am trialing 6 dwarf tomatoes in pots this year.  So far I am happy with them. I will share some pictures and notes on it in a blog post to come. For now, check it out.

Here is some information on the project. Essentially, they are developing tomato plants that will not grow very large (2 to 4.5 feet) in order to give gardeners who have limited space a chance to grow larger tomatoes. It also works well for the rest of us with space. Slicers and dwarf plants don’t usually end up in the same sentence.

 

Source: Dwarf Tomato Project

Sunflower Jelly – The Nerdy Farm Wife

And you thought there was nothing new under the sun! I might try this. If you do, let me know.

 

I first got the idea for making sunflower jelly whilst I was pondering the happy row of flowers in my garden and wondering what other uses I could extract from them besides the seed. I remembered reading that the petals were edible and could be sprinkled in salads. During further research, I read that Native Americans used a decoction from the head for respiratory ailments. Whether this is completely true or not, I have no

Source: Sunflower Jelly – The Nerdy Farm Wife

Tomato Problems: Blossoms Drying Up and Weather Stress

I have received several emails lately asking why the blossoms are drying up and falling off before making little tomatoes. Without actually seeing the conditions they are growing in, I can only guesstimate.

As farmers and gardeners, one of the worst things we face, is that we can’t control Mother Nature. Here in Eastern Washington, the weather has been crazy, cold one day and hot the next. We are talking 20 – 30 degree jumps over the course of a couple of days. This stresses the plants. They don’t know whether they are coming or going. The good news is that if you give it time and just wait, they will eventually come out of it. When it is cool, they work on root development, which is a good thing, and then when it is hot, they starting growing again. When it gets really hot and stays that way, you will lose blossoms on some varieties. Tomatoes don’t actually love super hot weather. Some less than others. That’s why they grow special varieties that can handle the heat in southern climes like Florida.

The second reason you might have blossom drop could be lack of pollination. If they don’t get pollinated they won’t form a tomato. (Have you ever seen little squashes that start turning yellow without getting any bigger? That is lack of pollination) Tomatoes are self pollinating. Wind and the bees are prime pollinators. That’s why I like to plant flowers that attract bees around my tomato plants. Not to mention it is pretty. One thing you can do to help things out is to take a Q-Tip or a paint brush and move from blossom to blossom, sharing the pollen.

Take heart, it’s only June, well almost July and things are moving right along. Keep them watered and fertilized (although not too much nitrogen (the first number in the ratio) or you will have beautiful bushes and no tomatoes) and you will be picking tomatoes soon enough.