Of course, you have read about my vegetable garden and all the delicious fresh products that results from it :). This year is a good year! Basically everything I’ve planted is doing great. Because I had a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers, and we can’t all just eat them as a salad, I decided to cook some delicious tomato sauce and pickle the cucumbers. And with success, if I say so myself ;).
This year I have beautiful large, juicy tomatoes and I started with those first. I don’t have a standard recipe, which I always use, but I just search the internet for a recipe that I think looks good. The recipe I used is for “mezga”, as they call tomato paste here. But my experience is that it is more tomato sauce than paste. This year, all ingredients for the sauce come from my own garden. How great is that! First I chopped a nice large onion and fried it in olive oil until shiny. I skinned the tomatoes by simply peeling them, like an apple or potato. That works the fastest and easiest for me. I cut the skinned tomatoes into pieces and added them to the onions.
I then let this stew boil for over an hour. The longer you let it cook, the thicker your sauce/paste will become. I then added salt to taste and mashed everything with the hand blender. Finally, I stirred in some fresh basil and chives.
In the meantime, I disinfected the cleaned glass jars by putting them in a preheated oven (160 degrees) for 15 minutes. I put the lids in boiling water for a while.
Then I put the still boiling sauce in the still warm glasses and tighten the lids. I then put the glasses upside down on a tea towel so that they draw a good vacuum. You then have to let them cool down slowly under a kitchen towel before putting them away. This way, you can keep them in a dark, cool place for up to 12 months (but they won’t last that long ;)). Unfortunately, the cellar is not ready yet, so now they are temporarily stored in the boiler room where it is also cool and dark at the moment because we are not heating ;). You can use the sauce as a base for your pasta dishes, but you can also make tasty tomato soup from it by simply adding water.
A day later I devoted myself to the cucumbers. Here, often only the small cucumbers (gherkins) are preserved and then only pickled in vinegar. I’m not big a fan of that. So I started looking for a recipe for sweet and sour cucumber pieces. They will be delicious with a rice dish or in a salad. I washed the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise, not peeled, and scraped out the seeds with a teaspoon. Then I cut them into small pieces. I also cut an onion into thin strips and boiled white vinegar with salt, sugar, and some peppercorns and dill.
I then filled the jars with the cucumber pieces and onions and next I poured the sweet and sour mix over them, to an inch below the rim. Then I again tightened the lids and put the pots upside down. The same also applies here; allow to cool slowly (overnight) under a kitchen towel.
I can recommend it to everyone because it is really fun to process your own grown vegetables in this way and then be able to use them for months to come :). There is a lot of information and all kinds of delicious recipes on the internet, so let’s get started! And if anyone has a good recipe, please let me know!