Re: [gardeners] Fall harvest stuff

George Shirley (
Thu, 11 Nov 1999 14:20:48 -0600

Ron Hay wrote:
> Good morning, George,
> It sounds as if your garden is coming along very nicely, if at a bit slower
> pace. Ours is, too. I picked about 50 serrano chiles yesterday, which were a
> beautiful fire engine red. Used some of them in a garden fritatta which I
> made on Tuesday, using garlic, basil, sweet onions, yellow bell pepper and
> queso anejo (a variety of queso cotija), and it was absolutely delicious.
> Still haven't picked the persimmons, but will this weekend, now that
> houseguests and church choir concert are behind us. Pomegranates look ripe,
> too.
> Limes continue to fall, ripe, in abundance, and have learned a wonderful
> recipe for limeade from Mark Bittman's _How to Cook Everything_. Side
> benefit: it makes wonderful vodka gimlets:)
> Our birds of paradise continue to amaze us. It must have been dumb luck on
> the part of the landscaping-impaired former owner to plant the Strelitzia
> nicolaii where she did, because when the sun rises in the morning, it
> backlights the flowers beautifully, suffusing the garden wall with a lovely
> peachy glow.
> The pole beans and broccoli really perked up after our first rain of the
> season, and have grown measurably, despite our suddenly cooler
> temperatures...which should rise to the low 80s tomorrow and Saturday.
> Something we noticed after the rain was the sprouting of a myriad epazote
> plants, the famous Mexican bean-degassing herb. We knew that when we pulled
> the mother plant out two weeks ago that some seeds had scattered, but had no
> idea how many would germinate! If we don't pull most out or give them away,
> we will have a forest of epazote, which can grow to 6', when it goes to
> seed.

Pull each plant as it peeks out of the ground or you will be overrun
with epazote. I finally got all of mine out of the herb garden and moved
some over in a fence corner where they can reseed all that want. Epazote
quickly becomes a pest in warm climates.

> Speaking of going to seed, our Italian parsley has set no flowers either,
> neither has it had any nibbling caterpillars. As a result, it is lush and
> green, a delight to put into pasta sauces and my Indian dishes.
> Basil is still beautiful lush and green, and we are enjoying using it at
> every opportunity. The fragrance is amazing, even when just watering it.
> Heavenly.
> George, would you mind sharing your hot pepper jelly recipe? We have dried
> well over 500 serranos, but might find it fun to use some of the lovely red
> fruit in jelly, to give as gifts at Christmas.

I got the recipe from recipes a few years ago. It goes like
this:  2 cups hot chiles, 2 cups sweet chiles, 2 cups water, 1.5 cups
vinegar, 1 pkg Sure-Jell or 6 ounces Certo, 4 cups sugar, food coloring
of your choice if desired.  Clean and dice the chiles (I just whiz them
in the food processor and use the chopped chiles seed and all). Add the
water and then boil the mix for 15 minutes. Strain and cool the juice.
Mix vinegar and 1.5 cups pepper liquid (add water to make 1.5 cups if
needed). Add a drop or two of your desired food color (I've made green,
red, and yellow so far. The prettiest is the natural red from using
nothing but red chiles.) Mix in the pectin and boil for 1 minute. Add
the sugar and then boil until a candy thermometer reads 222 degrees F.
Remove from heat, skim foam, place in sterilized jars and put on lid and
ring. Be sure jars, lids, and rings are prepared in accordance with
package directions. You then boiling water bath the jelly for 10
minutes. Remove from bath, put on a towel on the counter, don't let the
jars touch, leave for 24 hours. You can then remove the rings and get
the jars ready for storage. So far I've made 18 half pints yesterday and
today. Have a batch that is a pale red (natural chile color), another
that is deep red (food coloring), and another that is sort of deep peach
(yellow chiles with a drop of red coloring). Some of the jelly is sorta
hot, some is mild, and one batch will take your breath away. ;-)
> I must say, although I am not a veteran (both brothers are; my blood
> pressure was too high), it was characteristically kind of  you to
> acknowledge the contributions of those who keep and have kept our country
> safe. God bless them all.

Well, thank you. Miz Anne and I went down to the local Dairy Queen for
breakfast this morning and they were serving it free to all the vets
plus I got hugs from the help. Always good to be recognized. Yesterday a
number of us attended ceremonies at the local schools, our oldest vet
was an 85 year old WWII vet and the youngest was an 18-year old just
back from Kosovo. Hope the middle school kiddos learned something from
the veterans and we learned that we aren't forgotten.
> Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine on  your
> shoulders on a deliciously cool fall day.
> Ron
> Van Nuys, CA
It's been that way here today also, cool with lots of sunshine. The sort
of day that makes you want to get out and do things in the garden.
Veteran's Day is a state and local holiday here in SW Louisiana so lots
of folks are off today and barbecuing and working in the yard. Kids are
out of school and biking, skating, and just running all over. Pretty