Try Something New: Big Cheef Dwarf Tomato

big-cheef.jpgYes, these came from a dwarf tomato plant. Part of the Dwarf Tomato Project. It was very tasty and produced an ample supply of tomatoes for such a small plant. Staked, in a large pot, it was maybe 4 feet. Perfect for someone who wants to grow slicing tomatoes without taking up much room, such as a deck or apartment balcony. A very pretty dark pinkish fruit.

Information about the Dwarf Tomato Project. I’d put the link to their website but apparently the server has gone down.

This remarkable project was started in 2005 by Patrina Nuske-Small of Australia and Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh, North Carolina, and by February 2011 it had over 250 volunteers growing out various tomato crosses and segregation lines, selecting for new dwarf varieties with the best taste and unique color characteristics. This project is still continuing, and it will yield many more tomato varieties with heirloom taste and perfect for space-challenged home gardeners.

This is the very first all volunteer world-wide tomato breeding project in documented gardening history. None involved are botanists or horticulturists – just avid gardeners with a keen interest in learning about tomato genetics or discovering interesting new tomatoes.

All Tomato Dwarf Project varieties are associated with the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI)

The OSSI Pledge – “ You have the freedom to use these OSSI seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents, or other means, and to include this pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.” The seed packets that you share or sell should include this information.

Delicious Pumpkin Pie With Lower Sugar

This a delicious pumpkin pie recipe that uses splenda and a little bit of brown sugar. It’s very good and hard to tell it’s low sugar. I roast my own pie pumpkins.

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How to roast pumpkins: Buying cans of pumpkin is easy but in my opinion you never know how long that pumpkin has been in the can. It is incredibly easy to raost your own. Pie pumpkins are better for baking than the ones people use for jack 0’lanterns. They are smaller, less stringy and sweeter.

To roast a pumpkin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half, scrape seeds out (you save them for roasting), place pumpkin halves, cut side down on a rimmed cookie sheet covered in foil. By placing them upside down, they don’t dry out (form a crust) and they steam.Bake pumpkin for about 30 – 50 mintues, dependent on size of the pumpkin, until they are easily pierced through the skin  with a fork. They sometimes look like they are collapsing. Let them cool. I scrape the pumpkin straight from the baking pan into the blender.

Here’s a tip: pour in the half and half (3/4 cup)and then place enough pumpkin that the liquid rised to the 2 3/4 cup line on the blender. 

I love this recipe because it is so simple and doesn’t dirty up every dish in the house. Put all your ingredients into the blender, blend and pour.

Ingredients:
1/2 Package pie crust
2 Cup mashed pumpkins
3/4 Cup splenda
1/3 Cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamom
2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Pinch Salt
3/4 Cup half and half
3 Large Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla

Note: You can use 1 tablesppom of premade pumpkin pie spice instead of mixing your own

Instructions : Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fit piecrust to pie plate. Mix all ingredients in a blender, pour into pie plate. I put the pie pan on the oven rack and then fill, it keeps spills to a minimum. Bake 50 – 60 minutes or until set in the center

Update on the Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert Squash in My Last Post

I tried the smallest Uncle David”s Dakota Dessert squash and it was really good, First I roasted it with nothing on it to get the flavor. The first bite was a little vegetal, the next, in the thicker part of the piece was dry and slightly sweet. I was a little concerned I wouldn’t get full flavor since it was the smallest and least developed off the bunch.

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Once I tasted it for unadulterated flavor, I threw some butter, brown sugar and spices; mace and allspice on top. You could also use apple pie spice or nutmeg. I put the dish back into the oven, at 350 degrees until it melted. Oh boy was it good!

Winter Squash Harvest 2016

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Check out all my squashes! This is what we harvested after our first frost.New England Pie pumpkins (although two of them got a little ahead of themselves and grew a bit bigger than they should have, but I am sure they will be as delectable and sweet for pies as their smaller brethren), Aunt Reba’s acron squash and Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert squash. Whew, what a name. For those of you who wonder where I got my seed, I found a new seed company called Fedco . Frdco Seeds Can’t wait to try these. I like my winter squash sweet and dry so here’s hoping they are as good as their descriptions.

pumpkins-and-squash-2016---4.jpgThe pie pumpkins were not all the way orange but are turning. They also took over the garden, even running up into a pile of pots we had on the side of the shop.

pumpkins-and-squash-2016---3.jpgUncle David’s Dakota was almost as exuberant. However, I am pleased to say that Aunt Reb’s, as advertised, was not about to take over the world. It stayed in a 3 to 4 foot area, behaving very politely to it’s neighbors. don’t we all wish our own neighbors were as well behaved!

So, you couldn’t feed the neighborhood with this harvest but there are only two of us now and it is enough. My husband would rather have a root canal without out anesthesia than eat winter squash so it’s all on me. Yummmmmmm/

What I do With My Tomatoes – Canning and More Canning

2014-table-of-tomatoes  Here is a picture of one day’s harvest of tomatoes, which finally started ripening, (I swear in our neck of the woods it’s a fall crop now). I canned 31 quarts of tomatoes, so far and there will be many more2014-canned-tomatoes-2.

I like to do it this way because I can use them for just about anything, sauces, as an ingredient in a recipe, pepper steak, even soup. I mix all the colors together which I think is very pretty and strengthens the flavors, making it more complex.2014-canned-tomatoes