Bloody Mary Mix From Scratch

5 11 2016

20161105_110841This summer was a strange one in our garden. The early spring was really wet so it was hard to get outside and get the garden boxes cleaned out. Then later when the weather was good, we were busy every weekend (yeah big surprise there). Finally, Fathers Day weekend, we finally got around to planting a few things. Tomatoes, poblano peppers, etc.

That’s super late to expect an epic harvest but the plants really took off so I was hopeful. Fruit set, the annual volunteer cherry tomatoes started feeding us all (yeah the dogs have learned to pick the low ones and munch away), the San Marzano and Russian Pink heirloom plants looked good and I thought maybe, just maybe, I’d still be able to make some tomato sauce to can.

Fast forward to October, a ton of green tomatoes, some ripe and weather of the wet and cold variety was on it’s way. I gathered the family up and got help picking every last tomato. Certainly not enough to make sauce, too many to eat fresh before they turn. What is a boy to do?

Bloody Mary mix of course. I’d be wanting to do this forever but never took the time. Today was the day. Here’s the process I took. I canned mine in a water bath but you could also refrigerate it and use it within a few weeks.

20161001_123124The first step was to make tomato juice. This is easy enough. I put them all in a large sauce pan, added just a little water, put the stove on medium and put the lid on. I came back in about 20 minutes and they had started to break down. I gave it another 15 minutes or so then brought out the food mill to remove the seeds and skins and there we had it, tomato juice. If you want to skip this step completely and buy tomato juice you certainly can but you know that garden fresh stuff is the best.

The recipe below is scaled for each three cups of tomato juice you have, multiply as needed (do the math before you drink too much). Read the rest of this entry »


Dilly Beans – Adventures in Pickling Vol. 1

16 08 2014

dillybeansOne of my earliest memories in a kitchen was my grandmother canning. When I say canning, I mean it. She was serious. She did cherries, plums, apricots, peaches…and horrible pickles! See, grandma was on a salt restricted diet and that meant making pickles with NO SALT. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they were foul, nasty little cucumber bombs. I loved my grandma more than anything but I still can’t see past those horrible little things.

You’d think that those early memories would sour my relationship with pickles but you’d be oh so wrong, I love em! Sour, sweet, salty, spicy or any combination thereof, bring em on.

I kind of lost touch with canning and pickling for the better part of three decades but in the last few years, it’s been reawakened by my wife’s family, notably my mother-in-law Nancy. She’s got all sorts of goodness in her cupboards and last season I had some fun helping her put some of it up. This year, she surprised me with an early birthday bonanza of my very own canning rig and accessories and it got the wheels turning in my head about the possibilities.

She also supplied a nice bunch of fresh green beans from their garden that same day and from there, only one thing could happen, DILLY BEANS. Read the rest of this entry »


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