Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Pickles and Sauce

Maureen C was asking if I use my excess cukes for pickles (as she was off making mango chutney).

Good Question!!!!

This is getting to one of my exciting times of the year. I used to make a fair bit of pickles, and one of them was based on the cukes, but we don't seem to eat as much of that now. And the pickles and chutneys I make are based more on tomatoes - green for pickles, ripe for chutneys. The other thing I tended to use a fair bit of in the pickles was beans, as I always had an excess. This year it is French beans.

But we don't seem to eat a lot any more - one year I made a sudden batch of twenty bottles for the CWA in a bushfire appeal, and they went off to help stock cupboards of farmers who had just been totally burnt out.

Right now it is approaching the Sacred Season of Sauce Making - almost 100% tomato sauce these days, as we never seem to use the plum sauce either.

Sauce making season is usually soon after Australia Day - I always seem to be at the Australia Day celebrations anxiously talking to other gardeners about when the tomato peak is going to hit - and from the dates on previous bottles (and reference to my Stillroom Journal, which I have been keeping for years longer than my Textile Visual Journal), I really start mid-February and often go well into March.

My system includes growing HEAPs of Tomatoes, and Grosse Lisse are still my favourite, although I do like Roma for ease of processing. Burnley Surecrop gets a look in as earliest for the table, and Apollo and KY1 occasionally get a run too.

Usually, as the excess hit, I just chop, boil down and put in the freezer in two cup portions, which later come out like that for cooking, but can make up quantities later in sauce.

Then, when the right day comes, and there are enough tommies, I start the first batch of sauce. And the next batch about a week later, and so on. I use a 6.8 litre pot, and usually make three to four batches at least.

Ezy Sauce???? You have got to be joking!!!! Real spices, and even fresh garden herbs in my Italian version (which really means grab a huge heap of my excess garlic, parley, etc and throw that in as well).

I'll dig the recipes for my basic tomato sauce out soon and post it - I have tried a few, and settled on one I like. Then I just "Italianize" it.

Last night, after a hot day, we had thunder, lightening and a down pour. Can't say how much rain (not heaps) as I didn't empty the rain gauge after the sprinkler was on. But the garden feels (and smells) wonderful this morning.

Rain-watching is also one of my favourite sports - whenever it is around I haunt the Bureau of Meterology Rain Radar online, to see where it is, and how heavy it is.


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