I am finished with canning, at least for this week. After 13 jars of tomato sauce, 8 quarts of giardiniera, and 6 jars of ketchup, I'm done.
Giardiniera, btw, is an Italian pickled vegetable recipe. It's basically vegetables cut up into small chunks and cooked in a mix of crushed tomatoes, vinegar, oil, salt and sugar. It's heavenly. I could probably bribe a few of my friends to do just about anything if I promised them a jar of giardiniera. As it happens, I've been promising those same friends to teach them the recipe. Which means I won't have bribing capabilities anymore.
The garden was looking good yesterday. Some of the peppers are finally getting mature. They've been turning red on only the side that faces up, while staying green underneath. Some of them have now turned partially a color closer to brown. I'm not sure if that means they're done changing colors, or if it's a step between green and red. Overall, they're disappointingly small and most of them have spots of thin papery brown skin where I believe they have burned. I'll have to chalk it up to a learning experience. Except that buying peppers is so damn expensive.
The good news is that the tomatoes are still doing well. After my huge canning spree the other day, I have brought home two more baskets of tomatoes, and I just have to decide if I want to make more ketchup or just make sauce. I also keep bringing more heirlooms, but they finally seem to be slacking off, thank goodness.
I cut back one of my areas of basil about halfway, to see what will happen. I haven't been able to keep this section pinched back enough, so I was constantly fighting the basil in an attempt to keep it from flowering. So I finally decided to just cut it all back and turn it into pesto. I'm starting to get a bit tired of making pesto. We have plenty for ourselves at this point, and the garden just keeps producing basil. I've grown it in pots before, and it never grew much, so when I decided to put it in the garden I tried to make up for what I thought was slow growth by planting a lot. Now I'm drowning in it.
I'm probably almost not going to the garden today, I need a day off. Especially after I cut my finger open trying to cut peppers off the plant. I will probably be making the pretzel recipe from the Fresh Loaf website (see link to the right), which is an excellent recipe, but requires a lot of reading to figure out which version of the recipe to make. I do the easy version and dunk the bagels in a bath of 1tbsp. baking soda to 1 cup water, and it turns out really well. Highly recommended!