It seems that all of the rain we have had has caused the blight to thrive and shrivel the tomato vines, leaving the tomatoes hanging, looking like Christmas ornaments on dead trees out in the garden. Once they are picked, our tomato season is over. It’s a bit hard to accept since we usually have a good tomato harvest long into the fall, but we take it as the good Lord gives it.
The crisp mornings are eagerly accepted for taking care of all the chores, however, you usually don’t think about having to put the chicks in at night during the month of August. I understand that several of you have had to put a heat lamp out with your broilers at night. It is a strange month indeed.
We surely can all agree though, that these cooler days are a blessing, no matter how strange they may seem. The fields are green and lush, providing the cattle with full bellies and farmers a reprieve from last year’s drought, this summer almost seems like a vacation compared to last summer. I’m not sure that those of you who have been baling hay, day after day, feel like it’s much of a vacation, but it sure fills up the barns.
The latest abundance of produce are the heavy harvests of cucumbers. There are so many cucumbers, I finally had to break down and make some relish. Sweet pickle relish is delicious, but this year I was in the mood for it to have a bit of bite to it. I decided to try a friend’s sweet relish recipe, but add a few hot peppers in it for some added heat.
This recipe comes from way off the beaten path in southern Louisiana and its called Tickfaw Sweet Relish. It’s especially easy if you have a food processer to chop everything up. I’ll write out the recipe, but tell you a few things I changed in it. It calls for about 12 medium cucumbers and right off the bat I can tell you that I had about double that, but I didn’t double the amount of celery seed or mustard seed or anything else. Maybe their cucumbers were a lot bigger than mine!
First wash your cucumbers and cut the ends off, do not peel them. Cut them in half lengthwise and cut the seeds off. Chop them up in the food processor or by hand. Next, wash and deseed 10 sweet bell peppers and chop them up. Then chop up 8 onions. Here is where I added a half dozen jalapeno peppers too. If you add them, be sure to take the seeds out and chop them up too. If you like lots of heat, just leave the seeds in. Then put all of your chopped veggies in a large glass bowl. A metal bowl might make it taste funny. Sprinkle 4 Tablespoons of canning salt over all of it and let it set over night in the fridge. I mixed the salt in.
The next day, pour off the liquid and rinse the veggies in a strainer. Put the veggie mixture into a large pot and add 5 cups of vinegar and 5 cups of sugar, 4 Tablespoons of Mustard seed and 3 Tablespoons of Celery seed. The recipe calls for 6 Tablespoons of Celery seed, but it looked like way too much celery seed. Cook all of this on the stove, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. This recipe will make up 9 pints for canning. Be sure to follow regular relish canning directions for food safety purposes. It came out extremely yummy so I hope you like it.
Other than enjoying this beautiful weather, Olga has been pretty quiet lately, which can be a very good thing. With all of this cool weather, I’m itching to get out the sewing machine and start a rag quilt, however, I still can’t believe its August!
Ya’ll have a good week and be sure to take the time to enjoy your family!