Zucchini “Applesauce”*

The inspiration for this recipe came from http://www.allrecipes.com where you can find several variations of zucchini “applesauce.” I wasn’t quite satisfied with the one I tried, so I added some spices and a few real apples for texture.  (I just didn’t think the texture was authentic without the apples).  I also think you could use stevia as a sweetener if you wanted to avoid the sugar.  (1/2 tsp. stevia equals 1 cup sugar, so add gradually and adjust according to your taste).  This recipe is a surprising way to use up those last few zucchini now that apple season is upon us.

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Ingredients:

2 large zucchini, peeled and chopped.  (If the seeds are large and starting to get hard discard them and use only the fleshy parts)

3 lg. peeled apples (I used Granny Smith), cut into chunks

1/3  c. apple cider vinegar

1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. sugar

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice

Method:

Put all ingredients into a large pot. There is no need to add water because there is a lot of water in the zucchini already.  Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and cook for 30 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Cooking time depends on the zucchini.)

When the mixture has cooled then you want to blend it until mushy like applesauce.  I used a Foley Mill to do this (the old fashioned way).  You could also puree the cooled mixture in a blender or food processor.

*One of our favorite ways to eat any kind of applesauce is to pair it with a peanut butter sandwich for a very kid-friendly lunch 🙂

Freeze Your Tomato Harvest

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I grew up helping my mother can tomatoes the old fashioned way. We spent hours skinning the tomatoes in boiling water, sterilizing glass quart jars, and then processing the tomato-filled jars in a boiling water bath and waiting to hear the “pop” as each jar cooled and sealed. It was an all day project that most gardeners endured in order to enjoy the fruit of their labor during the long winter months.

Later, as a young wife, my mother-in-law taught me how to freeze fresh tomatoes. It still involved skinning the tomatoes in boiling water, and then slicing them into eighths. But, instead of the canning process, you just had to pack and freeze them in plastic quart containers. I thought this system was a real time saver, and did it that way for years.

Imagine my surprise when I learned just last year that there is a MUCH simpler way to freeze all the tomatoes we harvest from our garden, and now this is how I do it:

First, wash and core (cut out the stem end) your whole tomatoes.

Place the cored tomatoes on a tray with sides (leave a little space around each one — you don’t want them to touch) and place the tray in the freezer. (notice that you DO NOT have to peel the tomatoes). IMG_0177

When they are completely frozen (like the next day), put the whole frozen tomatoes in a gallon size plastic freezer bag, zip closed, and store in the freezer until needed.

When you are ready to use, simply remove however many tomatoes you need and hold each one under hot running water. The skin will easily slip off the frozen tomato. Then let them defrost just long enough to be able to slice or chop.

That’s it! You can easily fit this method of preserving your tomato harvest into even the busiest day and be satisfied with the results.

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Refrigerator Cucumber Slices

I took this to a covered dish picnic today and had several requests for the recipe. It’s really quite simple, so here it is for you to try:)

1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

Combine in a cup:  1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. Nayonaise (soy Miracle Whip type dressing)

2 Tbsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. dry dill weed or one sprig of fresh dill

Pour sauce over cucumber slices and toss lightly until all slices are coated. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes before serving for flavors to blend. This recipe may be doubled or tripled — adjust salt measurement to your preference.