Friday, September 17, 2010

Stupid Dogs, Sweet Potatoes, and Relish

I know I have complained of my dog eating anything she has access to in the yard.  She is a classic example of being smart and stupid at the same time.  In reality, she is wise to help herself to all things edible, but in my anger I mutter how stupid she is all day long.  She has figured out how to get the gate open in the garden if things are not aligned properly.  Leeks have been trampled, uncountable numbers of tomatoes have been gorged on, and then thrown up.  Ewe.  She is constantly coming in the house with a big green tomato in her mouth.  So thanks to my stupid dog and her appetite for both ripe and unripe tomatoes I had to make a pathetically small pot of sauce yesterday.  This pathetically small pot even has some freezer tomatoes from last year in it.  A shame.  (Insert mumbles about the 'stupid dog' here.)

There is barely an inch of cooked-down sauce in the crock-pot.

I also decided to be a bit proactive and take some of those green tomatoes for myself.  I have a recipe for Green Tomato Relish that is quite tasty on a hot dog, at least that is how I first came to sample it at a birthday party.  I promptly asked for the recipe.

I hope it is as good as I remember it, because even after halving the recipe I have eight 1/2-pint jars of it sitting on the counter.  By my calculations that is two years worth after gifting a few jars to family.  For anyone that might be interested in away to use up those green tomatoes at season's end, or just to spite your 'stupid' Labrador Retriever, here it is:


3 qt green tomatoes (5 lb)
4 lg onions, chopped
2 sweet red peppers, chopped
2 sweet green peppers, chopped
1 qt vinegar
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 T mustard seed
2 T celery seed
3 C white sugar
2 T salt

Put green tomatoes through chopper, strain, and measure.
(I took this to mean that the 3 qt or 5 lb of green tomatoes
 should be post chopping and straining.)

Add chopped onions, peppers, and spices.  Boil 1 hour.  Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.
(I also assumed the vinegar and sugar were to go in the pot for the 1 hour boil.
I left over a 1/4 inch of head space (but less than 1/2 inch) and boiled for 10 minutes.)

Now back to the subject of those sweet potatoes from yesterday!  Sweet potatoes are said to double in size (or was it weight??) every 2 weeks.  Either way the "babes" will mature if given another couple of weeks, but the "big daddies" of the bunch don't need any bulking.  I initially thought I could root around for the larger tubers and leave the smaller ones intact, but this was next to impossible.  So I harvested about half of the bed and will leave the others for a week's time or so.  We had some more sweet potato greens last night with dinner, and I gave some to my neighbor that so kindly shared a fig tree with me.

The sweet slips were planted in a 4 x 4 raised bed, in mounds which were covered in black plastic to help retain heat.  Initially a dozen were planted but I lost at least three or four in the early weeks.
This is looking in from outside the fence.

Here is another view, the tomatoes have gone over into the potato bed, 
and the potato vines have in turn made their way into the tomato jungle.

I harvested 6 lbs of sweets yesterday (and one dahlia tuber), and they are curing in my bathroom.  
Odd I know, but they like warm temps and humidity so I figured that was the best place for them to hang out for the next couple of weeks.



Engineeredgarden said...

Early on, I had to train my dog that the garden was off limits - except for the occasional green bean I give to her while picking. Those sweet potatoes look really good, and you've got some nice sized ones, too!

Lorie said...

Bet those huge beauties will be delish. Never ate the greens before.

Thanks for the green tomato relish recipe. Sounds yummy. Will certainly give that a try. There are always those late bloomers come October and I never really know what to do with them. One cans only eat so many fried green tomatoes.

Annie's Granny said...

Now you've given me the idea to try some green tomatoes, in place of cucumbers or zucchini, in my sweet pickle relish. Well, darn....I canned enough sweet relish this year and last year to last us a lifetime! Maybe I can stand at the street and throw all those green tomatoes at speeding cars ;-)

I have to keep my "stupid dogs" out of the garden since I've begun using grass clippings as mulch. They love to roll in them when they're wet and stinky, and eat them, then throw up all over the house. I found a big chunk of dried grass vomit under the cushion of our old sofa when we moved it out yesterday. How gross! And how did it get UNDER the cushion?

Kelly said...

Lol, that is a very good question (about the placement) AG. This relish tastes different than the sweet relish I make due to the different spices. This has a stronger tumeric flavor but I assume you could substitute any spices you like to make it more like a traditional sweet relish.

EG- The dogs garden interest is partly my falt. I always feed my dogs veggies (good nutrtition) so she smartened up and decided to take matters into her own hands rather than waiting for me to toss a goody over the fence.

Lori- I have never had fried green tomatoes! I hope you like this recipe. :)

Erin said...

Need more pictures of the stupid dogs! Mine are stupid too, or so they get called on a daily basis! Actually now that I think of it, only the young one is, but she drives me so crazy the well behaved one is guilty by association!

meemsnyc said...

Oh my goodness! That tomato relish looks amazing! I'll have to try that next time I have green tomatoes.

Kelly said...

We had hot dogs today for lunch, I was dying to try the relish. Hubby and I give it 2 thumbs up as is, I don't think I will alter any spices in the next batch.

Annie's Granny said...

With two thumbs up, it had to be added to my recipe file! I have a pet peeve, though (not with you, with recipes). Why do most recipes call for one green pepper or one yellow pepper or one red pepper, etc. Why don't they say 1/2 cup chopped or whatever? I have some sweet peppers that might be 1/4 cup chopped, others might be a full cup. That's a lot of difference! Same with onions. I'd sure prefer measurements rather than numbers.

Thomas said...

We don't really eat sweet potatoes but this seems like a fun experiment to try. I'd like to grow my own slip next spring for sh*ts and giggles.

Kelly said...

Thomas, I can only grow slips when I am not trying. (Sigh.) I would love to grow my own this year as well though.

I can't belive you don't eat sweet potatoes, are you alright over there? ;)

Ruralrose said...

Looks like sweet potatoes are worth a try, even though they need a little extra care. That you can eat the greens is definitely a bonus. I brought all my tomatoes in the first week of September, they have all ripened already. I lost too much to frost last year at this time I did not want to chance it. The frost never came, but we have had 3 times the amount of rain on record for this month - the ones still in the garden are rotting like most everything else left out there. I moved the immature tomato plants under a light so I still hold hope for that chocolate tomato you sent me. Fried green tomatoes (thick slices, rolled in corn flour) are awesome because of the texture they take on when cooked, cook 'em like a pancake (turn once). They are very creamy and sweet, salt them before you eat them so they keep their shape in cooking. We have such hopes in the spring . . . and now we will dream all winter - peace