Garden Bounty

With garden bounty aplenty, it is time to switch to canning and preserving gear.  First, I must confess that I have let far too much rot in my garden, or if it made it out of my garden, then into my refrigerator.  My SIL is a champ, and she does so much with her bounty.

Your tax dollars work far harder than you might imagine.  You'd be surprised how much GREAT information is out there.  Today, I want to share with you the USDA's National Center for Home Food Preservation.  AT this website you will find wondrous, free ( though you did technically pay for it) information on canning and preserving.  I actually ordered the book many, many years ago.  Alas, there it is free on the internet available to all with a computer and a PDF reader.

I tried to freeze tomatoes once.  That was a bust.  Currently I'm sticking with hot pepper relish.  I know how to do it; and it turns out great.  No fuss, no muss.  Well...there is some fuss and muss, and the canning guide will tell you all of that. Some vindication.  Maybe I'll can some tomatoes--or at the very least make some salsa.  We'll see.

Having said that, I also wanted to share with you a great recipe that I found at (one of my most favorite cooking sites. ) It requires no more prep than picking a couple of cucumbers, dicing a fresh tomato, crumbling some feta cheese and whisking a bit of oil, vinegar and sugar together.

I had all of the ingredients on hand.  It is simply dressed allowing all of the fresh flavors to come through.  I would NOT make this salad with anything but fresh stuff from the garden.  Several reviewers added onions, olives and other things....sometimes you just need the essence of just a few flavors.  We grow "sweet slice cucumbers" which are the sweetest, delicious cucumber you could ask for.  Our second tomato of the season (it will be exponential, I'll have 30 in a couple of days) was used in this dish.  I doubled this, and I used my cut up garden tomato.  This accompanied succulent roasted chicken (butterflied then grilled) and garden potatoes that I truly steamed.  Set them up over the water (used my pasta pot and insert), covered, and steamed.  Perfectly done.

Anyway, give this a try--and if you need more drama in the salad, by all means put in some onions, green peppers and olives!

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Yield: Serves 2


  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves


In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, the sugar, the oil, and salt and pepper to taste, add the tomatoes, the cucumber, the Feta, and the basil, and toss the salad well.


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