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For the love of Produce...

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  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member
    I'm getting tired of gazpacho. But -- so. many. tomatoes.

    So this time instead of cucumbers, I mixed them with zucchini. I don't grow zucchini. It's always around. I just got a few more today from a neighbor, so it was time to cook the ones I got from another neighbor a few days ago.

    Cooked up some brown basmati rice and black beans to accompany because I needed something with a little more substance than just vegetables. I've been gorging on veggies because it's that time of year.

    kxta7wyn3xub.jpg


    I also got the first batch of Bartlett pears in the dehydrator. I had a fresh one for dessert, and I am pretty sure that Harry and David has nothing on the pears from my back yard.

    1hf9n29f2d6w.jpg
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member
    @mtaratoot, apologies if you've said & I've forgotten, but have you experimented with smoking the tomatoes? Since roasting them reduces them and concentrates flavor, I'm wondering if smoking would do that plus add the smoke flavor?
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member
    @AnnPT77
    No apology necessary if you did ask. If you did, I missed it.

    I haven't tried them in the smoker yet. I was going to try to smoke some pears last time I ran the smoker, but none were ripe yet. I almost pulled something out of the freezer to thaw and smoke in a few days. Maybe I'll try some tomatoes. We don't really have a long enough growing season for okra, but if we did, I could go for some stewed with tomatoes. That plate was half of what I cooked, and I knew I'd be eating the whole thing. I needed the calories, and I'll have more to cook tomorrow. I had to fuel up for an "epic paddling adventure." Ha. It's just eight or nine miles of mild moving water that ends about a half mile from my house. I might pack some gazpacho for lunch....

    I just cooked these tasty fruits tonight in a saute pan with a few herbs and spices. I didn't even chop up an onion to go with them <gasp>. The other neighbor grows a pale green variety this year that I'm not as familiar with. They taste about the same.

  • Safari_Gal_Safari_Gal_ Member, Premium Posts: 859 Member Member, Premium Posts: 859 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    I'll start eating this produce soon:

    jfufzv75r9tc.jpg

    Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, raspberries, and grapes. I put a Bartlett pear in the picture since they are ripening after about 1.5 weeks or so in a box. This year I refrigerated unripe pears so I can ripen them slowly instead of being overrun. The Chojuro pear (Asian pear) tree will start having ripe fruit in a week or three.

    I made another batch of gazpacho with some of the cucumbers and tomatoes. I have enough for another batch. Maybe I should freeze some for winter. Nah. It's summer food!



    The Italian prune plum tree has a whole crapton of fruit that is just about ripe, too.


    wte58q0jddne.jpg

    OoooooooO
    That plum tree!!! 🙌🏻😋
  • Safari_Gal_Safari_Gal_ Member, Premium Posts: 859 Member Member, Premium Posts: 859 Member
    zxuzarsgnbya.jpeg

    My little brother is dog sitting and sent me the cutest text asking if he could eat my giant watermelon.
    My pandemic garden results have been mostly misses.. but he reports it is good!
    So happy. That would have been a huge amount of suck.

    Garden envy —- that watermelon 🍉 is inspiring!

    Going to go water my windowsill tiny baby basil now hehe. 😉
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    @AnnPT77
    No apology necessary if you did ask. If you did, I missed it.

    I haven't tried them in the smoker yet. I was going to try to smoke some pears last time I ran the smoker, but none were ripe yet. I almost pulled something out of the freezer to thaw and smoke in a few days. Maybe I'll try some tomatoes. We don't really have a long enough growing season for okra, but if we did, I could go for some stewed with tomatoes. That plate was half of what I cooked, and I knew I'd be eating the whole thing. I needed the calories, and I'll have more to cook tomorrow. I had to fuel up for an "epic paddling adventure." Ha. It's just eight or nine miles of mild moving water that ends about a half mile from my house. I might pack some gazpacho for lunch....

    I just cooked these tasty fruits tonight in a saute pan with a few herbs and spices. I didn't even chop up an onion to go with them <gasp>. The other neighbor grows a pale green variety this year that I'm not as familiar with. They taste about the same.

    I don't know the specifics of your growing conditions, which are very different from mine. However, in case it may be useful, I'll mention that Johnny's Selected Seeds, which specializes in Northern gardens, has at least one short-season okra (https://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetables/okra/). It looks like Jambalaya is their earliest current variety, at 50 days to maturity (from transplants, grow your own).

    I grew one of Johnny's short-season okras some years back here in Michigan (zone 5b, average last/first frost dates May 3 - Oct 7). I believe it was not Jambalaya, but an earlier variety, can't recall the name. For me, it was very successful. (And the okra flowers are lovely in the garden, as a bonus.) Knowing and trusting Johnny's after using their seeds for years, if they've replaced whatever I grew with a different early selection, the new one is better.
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member
    Thanks @AnnPT77

    Maybe next year I'll add some okra. Maybe I'll have a new bed dug in.

    I stopped by the farm market on the way back from the river and got a few ears of Bodacious; fresh picked daily. I'll be briefly steaming it and digging in tonight.

    I need to get someone to send me a bushel bag of green peanuts to boil because that's just not something I'm going to grow out here. But I miss 'em. Slippery salties.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    Thanks @AnnPT77

    Maybe next year I'll add some okra. Maybe I'll have a new bed dug in.

    I stopped by the farm market on the way back from the river and got a few ears of Bodacious; fresh picked daily. I'll be briefly steaming it and digging in tonight.

    I need to get someone to send me a bushel bag of green peanuts to boil because that's just not something I'm going to grow out here. But I miss 'em. Slippery salties.

    FWIW, my dad used to grow peanuts here, too, and they did quite nicely, if he could keep the deer and rabbits from dragging them off, plant and all. 😆 Of course, he did well with standard melons, too, and I was rarely successful in getting many of those to full ripeness. 🤷‍♀️
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member
    Peanuts can grow well in poor soil. They're legumes after all. We have really good soil where I am. That said, I don't have room for 'em. I probably don't have room for okra, either. Big plants! I guess I could dig out some of my artichokes. Or the gooseberry. Or the red currant.

    I solved my tomato conundrum. The pears were dried this morning so I unplugged them before we went paddling. I refilled the dehydrator with tomatoes, so now I only have one ripe tomato inside the house. I bet neighbors will give me more so I can use up the cucumbers and make more gazpacho. Mine are starting to ripen, too, and the blossom end rot has subsided. Plums will be along soon, and if I have time, a neighbor who is gone for the month has apples ripening that I can dry.

    Some folks here grow great melons. It's another space-hog in the garden, and they are so easy to by local and organic that it's something I can let others do for me. Fresh greens? That's something I like to do myself. And we all know what they say about homegrown tomatoes.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    Peanuts can grow well in poor soil. They're legumes after all. We have really good soil where I am. That said, I don't have room for 'em. I probably don't have room for okra, either. Big plants! I guess I could dig out some of my artichokes. Or the gooseberry. Or the red currant.

    I solved my tomato conundrum. The pears were dried this morning so I unplugged them before we went paddling. I refilled the dehydrator with tomatoes, so now I only have one ripe tomato inside the house. I bet neighbors will give me more so I can use up the cucumbers and make more gazpacho. Mine are starting to ripen, too, and the blossom end rot has subsided. Plums will be along soon, and if I have time, a neighbor who is gone for the month has apples ripening that I can dry.

    Some folks here grow great melons. It's another space-hog in the garden, and they are so easy to by local and organic that it's something I can let others do for me. Fresh greens? That's something I like to do myself. And we all know what they say about homegrown tomatoes.

    I didn't read the description of the new one closely, but the Johnny's okra I had was more of a dwarf plant, too - maybe part of its early maturity, who knows - but surprisingly space efficient. Dad's peanuts were kind of space-consuming, though, though a good yield per plant. Such an interesting growth habit, too, peanuts! One of the secret may be that dad had a nice sandy loam, with some richness to it, but well-drained. Lots of heavy clay-containing soil where I am.
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member
    Tomato chips!

    y9i1lpgfbbwv.jpg

    Slice ripened tomatoes from the garden about a quarter inch or so (0.6 cm). Dehydrate until crisp. Intense flavor and all the crunch you want. They won't last long, though. I have no idea how to log them. I should have made one tray a test batch and weighed them before and after dehydrating to know how much water weight was lost.

    You can go thinner and get them to end up paper thin, but they are harder to get them off the tray without sticking and then breaking into smaller pieces.

    I now have only one ripe tomato in the house, but two more in the window getting ripe and quite a few out in the garden.

    I also did some cherry tomatoes (you can see them on the tray below). They are good, but not AS good. There's more skin to meat since they start smaller. I will eat all of those today.

    This works for slicing tomatoes and Roma tomatoes.
    edited August 2020
  • acpgeeacpgee Member Posts: 5,630 Member Member Posts: 5,630 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    Tomato chips!

    You can go thinner and get them to end up paper thin, but they are harder to get them off the tray without sticking and then breaking into smaller pieces.

    Buy some of that silicon mesh sold for lining BBQs to prevent small items like prawns and asparagus from falling through the grates. you can cut them to size to line the dehydrator trays. Nothing sticks to that stuff. Also that mesh is flexible so it is easy to peel things off. I use the same product cut to size to line my air fryer basket, whose non stick coating has been destroyed in the dishwasher.
  • acpgeeacpgee Member Posts: 5,630 Member Member Posts: 5,630 Member
    My silicon mesh lined dehydrator trays.
    1dtjz7opblwh.jpeg
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member
    acpgee wrote: »
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    Tomato chips!

    You can go thinner and get them to end up paper thin, but they are harder to get them off the tray without sticking and then breaking into smaller pieces.

    Buy some of that silicon mesh sold for lining BBQs to prevent small items like prawns and asparagus from falling through the grates. you can cut them to size to line the dehydrator trays. Nothing sticks to that stuff. Also that mesh is flexible so it is easy to peel things off. I use the same product cut to size to line my air fryer basket, whose non stick coating has been destroyed in the dishwasher.

    That's a great idea; I will look for some of this. I may wait until I replace this dehydrator, which I planned to do before THIS year.

    The other liability of going much thinner than a quarter inch (or maybe just a little thinner for Roma tomatoes that don't have as much liquid) is they are so brittle they fall apart into dust. I polished off the 3/4 tray of dried cherry tomatoes yesterday. They turned out better this year than normal. Such concentrated tomato flavor!
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,191 Member
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    acpgee wrote: »
    mtaratoot wrote: »
    Tomato chips!

    You can go thinner and get them to end up paper thin, but they are harder to get them off the tray without sticking and then breaking into smaller pieces.

    Buy some of that silicon mesh sold for lining BBQs to prevent small items like prawns and asparagus from falling through the grates. you can cut them to size to line the dehydrator trays. Nothing sticks to that stuff. Also that mesh is flexible so it is easy to peel things off. I use the same product cut to size to line my air fryer basket, whose non stick coating has been destroyed in the dishwasher.

    That's a great idea; I will look for some of this. I may wait until I replace this dehydrator, which I planned to do before THIS year.

    The other liability of going much thinner than a quarter inch (or maybe just a little thinner for Roma tomatoes that don't have as much liquid) is they are so brittle they fall apart into dust. I polished off the 3/4 tray of dried cherry tomatoes yesterday. They turned out better this year than normal. Such concentrated tomato flavor!

    Throw some of those thin ones in the food processor (or mortar/pestle if you're old school) and make tomato powder. I do this with commercial dehydrated tomatoes, sometimes. Adds a nice flavor note to soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, salsa, salad dressings . . . .
  • mtaratootmtaratoot Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member Member, Premium Posts: 4,832 Member
    I just ate my last ripe Bartlett pear. It was like a plate of pear-flavored sugar. Oh my goodness.

    I took a few more out of the fridge a couple days ago to ripen; these have been out for almost two weeks. I guess I picked them at the ideal time. I put three trays in the dehydrator along with some cherry tomatoes, but saved the last one to eat fresh. It wouldn't have lasted another day or else I would have left another one for tomorrow.

    I repeat that Harry & David's pears got nothing on mine. Oh wow.

    The Chojuro will be ripe in a week or three. That's the Asian pear I have in my yard. Mmmmm. They don't dry as well, but heavens people love 'em.

    @AnnPT77 -- I hadn't thought to make tomato powder. I almost wouldn't need a mortar & pestle; I could just crumble them in my hands. But it's not going to happen. I like to just snack on them. Such an intense flavor.

    I have powderized dried chanterelles in a coffee grinder to add their umami. It's a much more delicate flavor, though, so it can be overpowered. I haven't had much luck in rehydrating dried chanterelles. When I get more that I can eat in a week, I saute batches then freeze and vacuum seal so I have them for the rest of the year. That reminds me....
  • purplefizzypurplefizzy Member Posts: 559 Member Member Posts: 559 Member
    fstrickl wrote: »
    Cashew Crunch Salad! Didn’t quite follow the recipe but that makes it more fun. All the veggies are from the CSA I’m part of too!

    My fave way to recipe... very approximately!

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