Monday, July 23, 2018


Preserving your garden harvest makes all the work worth while.  Relish is a great way to water bath can and process vegetables.  Our tomato plants put out a huge crop but the heat, insects and birds were becoming a bit much.  We had a great run with the plants and they put out dozens of beautiful ripe tomatoes that we enjoyed, we were left with about three dozen green tomatoes that were not going to ripen.  Fried green tomatoes are always a treat but relish was a better option.

Does relish have health benefits?  Relish can aid in gut-friendly bacteria and digestion.  It also supplies vitamins and the vinegar can help control diabetes.  Relish is high in salt and consuming too much can raise blood pressure.  Salt is necessary in the pickling process as it helps preserve the ingredients canned but also keeps away bacteria, yeast and fungi.

I canned Piccalilli Relish this weekend.  Piccalilli is the type of relish you can improvise with what you have on hand. 


3 Dozen Green Tomatoes
6 Green Peppers
6  Medium Onions
2  Small Cabbages
1/2 Cup Salt
4 Cups of Vinegar
5 Cups of Light Brown Sugar
4 Tablespoons Pickling Spice

Chop all ingredients small, sprinkle with salt and let sit overnight.  Drain and cover with fresh water, let sit a little while than drain again.  Put into a large kettle and add vinegar and sugar.  Tie spices in a small cloth bag, I actually use a large tea ball for this.  Bring to boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes stirring frequently.  Remove the spice bag and put hot piccalilli into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head room; adjust lids and process at 185F for 10 minutes. 

Before starting cooking and canning I put the jars in the dish washer on the sterile setting and left them in there with the door closed when finished.  The dish washer stopped when I was ready to can.
I was able to put up 13 jars of relish.

You can adjust ratios of vegetables, half the recipes and use what you have on hand just be sure more that your mixture is mostly acidic (tomatoes, onions, peppers). 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Eating in Season

In an age where food can be shipped quickly or force grown, should you still eat in season?

There have been studies that show that foods grown in season have twice the nutrients of foods that have not.  Plants thrive in an environment that can support it's growth in season.

Buying food locally is an essential part of eating in season.  Once picked fruit and vegetables lose about 30% of it's nutrients within three days of being picked.  That is something to think about when you are in the grocery store with produce brought in by the truck load.  How far did it have to travel to get there?  Growing conditions where I live have been favorable, so much so that our local farmers market has expanded to two days a week.

Eating in season also helps support balanced health and a variety in diet.  Included in the past supplement articles, food that helps supply vitamins aren't in season all year.  Eating foods that are in season year round would help considerably with those requirements. 

Growing your own food is a great way to have food in season and learn about your environment.  I love the fact I can take a few steps outside to my garden and be able to use what I grow.  I know my tomatoes are flourishing now but in a short time I will have to combat stink bugs.  I was able to plant early so my loss will be minimal.  I can also plant a later batch.  Squash will be going in next. While some things are available in one part of the country they may not be available in another.  Here is an example of two states:

Mississippi                                                          Minnesota

Apples                                                                   Asparagus
Arugula                                                                 Basil
Asian Pears                                                           Beets
Basil                                                                      Black-Eyed Peas
Beets                                                                     Blackberries
Black-Eyed Peas                                                   Blueberries
Blackberries                                                          Brambles
Blueberries                                                            Broccoli
Brambles                                                               Cabbage
Cantaloupe                                                            Carrots
Carrots                                                                  Cauliflower
Cherries                                                                Celery
Chili Peppers                                                        Chard
Chives                                                                   Cherries
Cucumbers                                                            Chicories
Edamame                                                              Chili Peppers
Eggplant                                                                Cilantro   
Figs                                                                       Collard Greens
Gooseberries                                                         Corn
Grapes                                                                   Cucumbers
Ground Cherries                                                   Currants
Lamb's Quarters                                                    Endive
Lavender                                                               Fennel
Leeks                                                                    Garlic
Lettuce                                                                  Gooseberries
Lima Beans                                                           Green Beans
Melons                                                                  Green Onions    
Mint                                                                      Ground Cherries
Mushrooms                                                           Kohlrabi
Nectarines                                                             Lamb's Quarters
Okra                                                                      Lavender
Onions                                                                  Lettuce
Oregano                                                                Mint
Parsley                                                                 Mushrooms
Peaches                                                                Okra
Peanuts                                                                Oregano
Peppers                                                                Pea Shoots
Plums                                                                   Peas
Purslane                                                               Peppers
Raspberries                                                          Plumbs
Rosemary                                                             Potatoes
Sage                                                                     Radicchio
Shallots                                                                Raspberries
Shell Beans                                                          Rosemary
Snap Beans                                                          Sage
Snow Peas                                                           Sprouts
Spinach                                                               Strawberries
Summer Squash                                                  Summer Squash
Sun Chokes                                                         Tarragon
Tomatoes                                                             Thyme
Watercress                                                           Tomatillos
Watermelon                                                         Tomatoes
Zucchini                                                               Zucchini

There are a few differences in what is available in July but I wouldn't expect Minnesota to have as long as a growing season as Mississippi.  Keeping a garden notebook is very helpful.  I planted beans and while they started out with a bang, they quickly fizzled.  My notes for next year are to try to plant earlier but as I talked to other gardeners in my area, they also had the same problem.  Sometimes nature dictates and this was not a good year for beans.

If you are interested strictly as a consumer, there is a decent app through Seasonal Food Guide.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Supplements Part 2


Calcium:  Strong healthy bones and teeth.  Activates enzymes in fat and protein digestion, energy, regulates muscles, blood clotting and transmission of nerve impulses.  It can be found in cheese, yogurt, sardines, canned salmon, milk, edamame, tofu, collard greens, whey protein, rhubarb, beans, lentils, almonds and seeds.

Chromium Picolinate:  Activates enzymes in the body for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and glucose.  Aids in the transportation of amino acids to the liver and heart cells. It can be found in broccoli, grapes, potatoes, garlic, basil, grass fed beef, apples, oranges, green beans, bananas, apples and red wine.

Copper:   Helps in storage and release of iron, also in the absorption of Vitamin C.  Connective tissue formation and supports central nervous system.  It can be found in shellfish, salmon, catfish, orange roughy, tuna, beef, chicken, turkey, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, beans, peas, and lentils.

Iodine:  Function of the thyroid gland and thyroid hormones.  Nervous system and circulation and metabolism of most nutrients.  It can be found in iodized and pink salt, baked potato, milk, seaweed, cod fish, shrimp, turkey breast, dried prunes, navy beans, tuna, cheddar cheese, cranberries, strawberries, lobster, canned corn, boiled eggs, and green beans.

Iron:  Found in red blood cells in the form of hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body.  Found in myoglobin, a form of hemoglobin found in the muscles which store oxygen and releases it for extra energy.  It can be found in beef, lamb, pork, liver, liverwurst, dried beef, eggs, shellfish, tuna, mackerel, haddock, sardines, spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, string beans, beet greens, dandelion greens, collards, kale, chard, wheat bread, bran, corn meal, oats, rye, strawberries, watermelon, raisins, prunes, dried apricots and peaches, tofu, beans, lentils, corn syrup, molasses and maple syrup.

Magnesium:  Healthy strong bones and teeth, helps muscles relax and aids in the function of nerves and muscles including the regulation of a normal heart rhythm.  It can be found in leafy greens, dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, legumes, tofu, seeds, whole grains, and salmon.

Phosphorus:  Strengthens bones and teeth and plays a part in almost every chemical reaction of the body that has to do with carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  It is involved in energy metabolism, regulates materials transported in and out of cell walls.  It can be found in tuna, pork chops, tofu, milk, yogurt, chicken and turkey breast, lentils, squash, pumpkin seeds, beef and quinoa.

Potassium:  promotes normal muscle contraction and a regular heartbeat, preserves normal function of nerve cells, heart cells and skeletal muscle cells.  Maintains water balance in body tissue and cells.
It can be found in sweet and white potatoes, bananas, tomato sauce, watermelon, spinach, beets, chard, yogurt, canned salmon, edamame, butternut squash, white and black beans.

Selenium:  Present in all tissues but is concentrated in the kidneys, liver, spleen and pancreas.  Delays and stops the free radical reactions that damage body cells.  Preserves tissue elasticity.  It can be found in beef, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs, brown rice, sunflower seeds, baked beans, spinach, lentils, milk, yogurt, brazil nuts, fish, pork, cashews and bananas.

Zinc:  Synthesis of the nucleic acids RNA and DNA which are vital for cell division, cell repair and cell growth.  Also boosts immune system.  It can be found in lamb, pumpkin seeds, chick peas, cocoa powder, cashews, yogurt, mushrooms, spinach and chicken.

Pills can be a more convenient form but having a nutritional food balance is more beneficial.