Yesterday D poured the concrete for the chicken coop. Now we have a 10' x 11' slab out there for square dances. In the spring, we'll build the coop itself and then get our chickens. This daydream suddenly became more concrete (ahem) with the delivery of the concrete. I guess we'll be getting chickens then. Real ones.
While out there, waiting for D to need my help, I picked the rest of the tomatoes so that we can start putting the garden to bed. I know you can see the tomatoes up above, but look... there are more green ones...
It's sort of like a bad dream to have all of these green tomatoes again because I haven't properly recovered from last year (chronicled here, here, here, here, and here ). But I'm a good sport, yes? And I have done a good job of minimizing the waste of perfectly edible produce from the garden this year so I was game to give it another go. Green tomatoes are my friends. No one understands them as deeply as I do...
So I put them all in the Harsch crock, and we'll hope that they turn into the real pickled green tomatoes I remember from New York City. No vinegar. No canning. Real, fermented, crispy green tomatoes. At least that's the hope. They look pretty in the crock, don't they? They're waiting to get splashed with brine. In a week, they should be ready!
Actually, there are two Harsch crocks that are bubbling away right now. The left one holds the green tomatoes, and one on the right is making Beet Kvass. This is my first attempt and the first time I've used whey in my fermenting. I looked at hundreds of recipes for Beet Kvass, and I was unable to find one that didn't use whey so I figured it must be important. Beet Kvass is a fermented beet juice made with whey, salt, filtered water. I put ginger in mine and used much less salt than often suggested. It is supposed to be very healthy and very satisifying. I love beets and have a feeling I'll love this. We'll see in a couple of days.
But there were pretty red tomatoes out in the garden, too...
E doesn't eat tomato sauce on noodles so I wondered about making vegetable juice with these. Then I realized I could make the job quite easy if I used the new strainer from the estate sale. It worked magic! How did I live without this tool? (And, Stephanie, I really wonder if this would have helped make your grape project a lot easier? Please borrow this anytime!)
The jars of juice look so pretty. I used the recipe in the Ball Blue Book for Vegetable Juice and used less salt, and I think I could have even used less salt because the celery, onions, and lemon gave the tomatoes a nice twang.
The jar with the white cap is the pulp from the juicing. It tasted so good that I added some lime juice and hot peppers to it so that I have some salsa to use for the next couple of weeks. I didn't process this -- just froze some and put the rest in a jar in the fridge. I'm happy that even this bit of garden bounty didn't get wasted. It's satsifying to make the effort to turn leftovers into goodness.
So, yesterday: chicken coop/square dancing platform, picked tomatoes, made beet kvass, maked pickled green tomatoes, made tomato juice and salsa. Good, eh?