Bumper Crops Day 4 – I’m Seeing Red!

Bushels of Tomatoes

Well, here it is, the last day of bumper crop week and I think I’ve saved the best for last. Tomatoes! If you’ve ever grown your own, you know you seem to go from “Man, when will I ever get a decent tomato to slice up for a salad or a sandwich?” to “What am I possibly going to do with all of these tomatoes? Can I somehow convince people that tomatoes are the new currency?” Even if you don’t grow your own, you’re bound to see bushels full at your local grocery stores and farmers market. So what can you do with all of these little red gems? Besides packing a few in your family’s lunches everyday trying to push the benefits of lycopene? (FYI tip: The lycopene found in tomatoes, is a powerful anti-oxidant, and studies have shown that it helps protect the blood vessels around the heart and neck better than vitamins A, E, or CoQ10, as well as having Cancer fighting properties. However in order for your body to properly absorb the lycopene, the tomatoes need to be cooked first, preferably in olive oil, which helps the body absorb the full benefits of the nutrient). The answer is easy! Tomato Sauce! You can set aside a few hours and make quarts and quarts of your own tomato sauce, varying between zesty, spicy, garlicky, you name it! You can make a day of it by putting on some opera, pouring a nice Chianti and pretending you’re in Rome for the day! Ciao Bella!

Chow Chow

Chow Chow Relish

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh green beans
1 cup of cauliflower, separated into florets (use frozen checked cauliflower)
⅓ cup fresh lima beans, shelled
⅓ cup fresh corn kernels
½ cup chopped onions
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup green tomatoes, chopped
1 ½ cups cider vinegar
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
¾ teaspoon celery seed
¾ teaspoon mustard seed
¾ teaspoon ground mustard powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Note: Canned green beans, lima beans and corn can be used in this recipe if fresh is unavailable.

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans, cauliflower, lima beans, and corn. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or just until tender; drain. If you are using canned vegetables, you can skip this step, as the vegetables are already par-cooked. Return vegetables to pot, and mix in onions, bell peppers, and green tomatoes. Heat vinegar in a separate saucepan until boiling. Stir in sugar, salt, celery seed, mustard seed, ground mustard powder, and ground turmeric until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over vegetables in pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a sterilized pint jar, and seal. Let the relish sit for a day or two in the fridge before using to give the flavours a chance to blend.

Bumper Crops Day 3 – A Condiment So Nice, They Named It Twice!

For those that don’t know what Chow Chow is, it’s a pickled vegetable relish that is popular in the Southern United States, and thanks to the curious palates of us Northerners, it is making its way up over the Mason-Dixie line. Chow Chow can be served with hot dogs and hamburgers, or on chicken or fish…. Really, it’s up to you, but once you taste it, you’ll be adding it to everything! A note about the use of cauliflower in this recipe: I suggest using frozen cauliflower florets that bear a reliable kosher symbol on the package. If you wish to use fresh however, please follow these guidelines:

Cauliflower

1) Cut the cauliflower into small pieces – ensure that the entire inside of each floret is visible.
2) Check 3 small pieces per head of cauliflower on a light box.
3) If even one insect is found, the entire head must be checked for more insects.
4) If three insects are found, the head of cauliflower is deemed to be infested and must be discarded; further washing is not permitted.
5) Add cold water and sufficient amount of vegetable wash or other similar soapy solution to a clean sink that has already been plugged or other similar container. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water.
6) Check 3 samples of the cauliflower after washing to ensure that no insects remain.
NOTE: This procedure must be performed on each individual head.

Bumper Crops Day 2 – Dill-licious!

Dill

Ahhh the dill pickle… could anything be more Jewish? Be it a new dill or an old dill, people love a pickle (say that 10 times fast!). With bushels of dill cukes coming in, now is the time to start putting up jars of pickles to last you until Pesach. While we are on the topic of dill however, some kashrus notes: The eating of fresh dill is not recommended due to possible insect contamination. With the pickles, since you are not eating the dill directly, rather just flavouring with it, it is recommended to either use dill that has a hechsher (some Israeli or NYC area herbs have them) or use greenhouse grown, and then rinse off the pickle before eating it. If neither of these options appeal to you, you can always use dried dill instead of fresh, I promise, I won’t tell a soul!

Bumper Crops – I love you, a bushel and a peck…

Bushels of Veg

As summer starts to fade, we become melancholy about all of long hazy, lazy days that we will miss now that Fall is approaching… But alas! Do not fret! For now is the PERFECT time for you Foodies out there, for it is now bumper crop season! Bushels and bushels of fresh fruits and vegetables are ours for the taking, and for the creating! All week I will be showcasing some great recipes for what to do with all those baskets of cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and more!