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Saturday, August 16

Mambo Italiano (Rosemary Clooney)

I have a confession to make : I hate tomatoes.  Ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato soup - those are acceptable, but not straight tomatoes.  However, our garden did not get the memo, and it produces about four times more tomatoes than anything else.  They're coming in quickly, and it'd be a shame to let this great homegrown food go to waste...
So here is last night's pick.  My bicycle basket was so full that the bike tipped over!!  The boys got everything washed and prepped for preservation.  It's too humid this week for canning - so we're going to pull out the dehydrator...
After getting everything washed, dried, and prepped, I sent the boys out with leftover pieces to add to our compost pile.  If you don't have your own little bucket for compost, you're missing out on an opportunity to create rich, nourishing soil for free.  Rather than toss that leftover produce into the trash, use it to generate humus for next year's garden.  For more information on this, allow me to recommend the free unit and book Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ .
We had so MANY trays of tomatoes, that I had to climb up on the stool to continue working!!  After getting the tomatoes laid out for "sun" drying, I sprinkled a combination of herbs on top.  Don't use too much...after they've dried, a small amount of herbs packs a big punch!
We had two extra trays, and some mangoes that needed to be dealt with, so I went ahead and dried them.  Also, we cut huge handfuls of mint and basil from the herb garden to dry.  Those will be used for cooking and making tea.
The kitchen was already a mess, and we were having sweet-tooth cravings, so the kids got creative in the kitchen.  We took cocoa krispies and some marshmallows that were leftover from making s'mores to make chocolate krispie treats.  My oldest got the idea to add mint extract (half a bottle...but who's keeping track here?) to make them "super-minty."  They were!  BUT, they were delicious.  It was like having a crunchy peppermint pattie - I highly recommend making these!  Sad to say, the pan did not last very long with all of us picking at it...
The next day, we took all of the trays off the dehydrator and had a gallon of sun-dried tomatoes, a jar of mangoes, bags full of mint and basil, and a little bit of peppermint-patty treats left.
We have also been experimenting with Kool-Aid for the kids.  This idea came from the book The Art of Fermentation, and turned out pretty well.  We soaked raspberries in water with a cup of honey, and left it sitting out for three days.  Then we strained the raspberries and put it in the fridge to stop / slow fermentation.  I put it into the regular Kool-Aid pitcher to keep them from whining about something new...and they seem to like it!
Now I have a bunch of onions....but those preserve fairly well in a cool, dry place!
 

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