Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gardening. Show all posts


Homemade Tomato Paste

I sent my best friend a pic of my chili today which included a jar of my homemade tomato paste. Her immediate question was why had I not yet put that instructional on my blog.

As I’m clearly obligated to do.

Her wish command.

In the "good ole days" before I was a single mom working full-time and going to school...I would have just taken the time to make y'all a batch complete with step-by-step pictures.

But you're not getting that from me.

I will tell you that you won't regret making your own homemade tomato paste. It's easy, it tastes amazing, and is full of so much more flavor and health than the store-bought version. (That last part is totally scientific. I know because I made it up. But it sounds like it would be true.)

I mean just LOOK at the color in that sauce!

Homemade Tomato Paste, Canning

Homemade Tomato Paste, Canning
You can really see the color here after it's opened.
Homemade Tomato Paste, Canning, Vegan, Sweet Potato Chili, Crockpot
Tomato Paste topping Vegan Sweet Potato Chili
And no...making it isn't extremely difficult and doesn't even require canning. You can keep the final product in the fridge or freezer should you so desire.

Over on The Kitchn, Marisa McClellan does an excellent job of doing MY old job. She'll tell you how to make and preserve Tomato Paste and even has excellent links through her post on how to make and preserve other homemade tomato products including Tomato Sauce.

This blog is an excellent resource for those looking to cook from scratch and preserve foods!


The Sand Pool

If you've known me for long on Twitter, Facebook, or my old blog site, then you've heard me mention the "sand pool" more than a time or two.

It's easy to tell someone that our "sand pool" is just that: A pool...filled with sand. It just doesn't quite sink in, though, until you see it first-hand. It's at that point that you realize I'm not talking about a tiny kid's pool filled with sand. I'm talking about a giant, L-shaped pool that is 12 feet deep at it's deepest point, and is filled with sand.

It has taken us 2 summers to get this "pool" to where it is today. When we first acquired it, it was full of not only sand and rocks, but weeds...and LOTS of them! The weeds, combined with many, many sprouts of maple trees (thanks to "helicopter" seeds that are in over-abundance here) left this "pool" anything but fertile for growing anything "normal".

With the kind help of a neighbor and many new tools I didn't even know existed, we pulled, we dug, we plowed, we made it look pretty. After doing so for two summers, we have finally seen the fruits of our labor. This year, we had very little of the weeds and maple. We were finally just dealing with a sand pool with some rocks on the top.

What next? We really wanted a garden, but the entire rest of the back "yard" was concrete. Literally. All of it.

That left us a couple of flower beds and some pots in the front yard to grow in. The local rabbits would have been quite pleased had we chosen this option. (We did use pots for some snow peas and carrots and a show-down with the rabbits about left us having rabbit stew for dinner!)

After much research over two years, we decided to build a square foot garden...ON the sand pool!

I've got tons of pictures and fantastic fruits, veggies, berries, and herbs growing.

For now, have a look at what we started with (Ignore the green on the sides. The houses on either side of us BOTH went into foreclosure. To say there is overgrowth is an understatement. I've done all I can on my side. I'll be going over to the other side to try and fix the problem spots within the next couple of weeks.) Enjoy!