My family and I are lucky enough to live on a large acreage. My husband and I bought it before 9/11 and the subsequent rise in housing prices, so we got it for a steal compared to prices today. We're outdoorsy-type people and we love that we can hike right from our backyard and that a creek and a gravel trail is walking distance from our house. We also love that we have the space for a (very) large garden. I have a black thumb but my husband has a green one and a passion for growing food. I just weed where he directs me and cook what we harvest from all of his hard work. We also live in an area with a lot of farms, so what we can't grow, we can buy at the market or a fruit stand.
My kids love to help me pick what's ripe in the garden and they love to help me cook in the kitchen. They may be somewhat picky when it comes to eating their veggies, but they will help me cook them and I hope that will translate into a love of vegetables as they grow up. Since starting our garden my kids have found a love for corn, strawberries, raspberries, snap peas and zucchini. They're not a fan of fresh tomatoes but like spaghetti sauce and salsa that I make with ingredients from our garden, so I think we're on the right path.
The other way we're trying to teach them to enjoy fruits and vegetables is by canning (jarring?) them. When my husband and I moved here and I saw all of the fresh produce grown here, I promptly taught myself how to can. Canned peaches, applesauce, tomato sauce, plum chutney and salsa are annual recipes I make. It takes work, yes, but seeing the jars all lined up in a row gives me a sense of accomplishment. And opening up a jar of peaches on a dreary November day is like having a bite of sunshine.
What I make the most of is salsa. I put salsa on almost everything and am a huge, huge fan of Mexican food. We rely on Old El Paso once my stores run out but until then I rely on a recipe given to me by a friend. The kids can't do any of the cutting, but they love to help put the ingredients in the pot and to stir the salsa as it simmers.
Her salsa recipe:
8 Jalapeno Peppers, seeds removed (I use 4. I used 8 once and it was too hot for me.)
7 cups chopped tomatoes (peeled, unless they are pesticide free)
1 cup chopped green pepper (I do two cups, and thrown in whatever color I have on hand.)
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic crushed
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
Make sure you wear rubber gloves when chopping the jalapenos. Trust me on this.
Mix everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until desired consistency.
Spoon into jars. Pass plastic spatula along sides to get rid of any air bubbles.
Put jars in canner. Boil 500ml jars for 20 min, 250 ml jars for 17 min.
Do you like to can preserves? Do you have any good recipes that you'd like to share?