As the days of summer grow shorter and the mornings have a slight chill I know that the time has come to use or lose the remaining vegetables in my garden.
My summer squash and zucchini plants have pretty much resigned in defeat to the cucumber beetle, with little hope of producing again. I was able to make a zucchini bread and several stuffed zucchinis, yummy. I also love to cut up and put in salads and found a true love for zucchini on the grill this year. Simmered with garlic, onions and fresh tomatoes is another family favorite.
My tomato plants are thriving with loads of tomatoes, however it seems as though my chipmunk neighbors also adore vine ripened tomatoes. I was not aware how much damage those little critters can do. I have resolved to picking the tomatoes green and letting them ripen on my porch. I am sure I will be able to can some just not the amount I normally am able to. I may go to the local farm stand to buy some so that I am able to can a supply large enough to hold us through the winter.
The beets were fabulous and delicious although I was not aware of exactly how much effort it takes to cook fresh beets. Their sweetness is worth the work and I gladly will grow them again.
The green beans are still producing strong and are absolutely scrumptious when simmered with some fresh garlic and served with just about anything off of the grill. Another favorite of mine is to cook them slowly with some fresh cut tomatoes and garlic.
Ironically, as I mentioned, my garden has a problem with the cucumber beetle, yet all but two of my cucumber plants are doing great. They are still putting out great specimens and we are lucky enough to have fresh cucumbers slices with almost every meal.
Lastly my pepper plants, the bell pepper plants are doing OK, slow and steady. My jalepeno plants, on the other hand, are producing at an astounding rate. I can hardly keep up with them. This year I am attempting to can them. In years past, I have never really had enough to attempt this. I am not sure how they will be but, I will try. I am hoping that they keep some of their crunch.
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Prepare your peppers by washing them and slicing into 1/4 pieces and placing them in clean, sterile, pint-size canning jars. Pack loosely so the fluid can get all around your peppers. Place one bay leaf in each jar.
In a saucepan bring the following ingredients to a boil:
1 Cup white vinegar (cider vinegar may be substituted if you like)
1 Tbsp pickling spices, (you may tie in a bag if you prefer)
1 tsp canning salt
I also added a clove of garlic and some sliced onions to each jar, that is optional.
After the liquid has come to a boil pour over your peppers leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Wipe rims with a clean cloth and place lids and rings on. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.