links: sample a new novel, can tomatoes and more
I SPENT SOME OF A RAINY holiday weekend clicking about online, often with consecutive batches of tomato sauce bubbling on the stove. The result (besides a freezer stash of marinara): links to share! They include the first chapter of a new botanical-themed novel by “Eat, Pray, Love” author Liz Gilbert; how to save “dry” seed (the ones in pods, rather than inside fruits like a tomato); and a simple step-by-step in words and pictures of canning tomatoes, among other goodies.
chapter 1: download liz gilbert’s latest
I WON’T tell you much about “The Signature of All Things,” the novel due out October 1 from Elizabeth Gilbert that I read in galley form this summer, except this: The backdrop of this historical tale is brilliantly botanical, and you can download the first chapter free right now, by clicking here. (More on this great read after publication, including a giveaway of some copies I’ve pre-ordered to share with you.)
how-to: canning whole peeled tomatoes
I SAID I’ve been making tomato sauce to freeze, but perhaps you are thinking about canning whole peeled tomatoes. I love this simple how-to in photos and words from the Food in Jars’ website author, Marisa McClellan. Note that she has updated her processing times since she first published the how-to in 2009. Total time in the hot-water bath or pressure canner is always under discussion, even among experts on food safety. Other references to compare to, for the range of thinking on that score: the Center for Home Food Preservation; the Oregon State University Extension, or Iowa State Extension.
seasonal bounty…of fruit flies?
MY KITCHEN COUNTER is heaped with fruit and vegetables this time of year, each awaiting their turn in the pot or on the plate, but that means I’m also keeping company with fruit flies. I loved this ode to them from the Edible Manhattan blog, who says vinegar is “even more crack-like than fruit itself” and uses a splash of it in a special jar to lure them. My friend Gayla Trail at You Grow Girl uses leftover wine and a homemade trap, like this.
harvesting ‘dry’ seeds with feet, truck tires, and more
I WAS FASCINATED by High Mowing Organic Seeds’ blog post about their technique for harvesting crops with “dry” seed (seeds that form in pods, seedheads, or capsules, instead of inside a “wet” fruit, the way a tomato or eggplant does). Apparently it’s not just wine-makers who stomp, barefoot, on their harvest—the seed farmers at High Mowing in Vermont, do, too, and they drive their pickup truck over the harvest as well. No kidding.
Even though average gardeners aren’t processing a giant crop of a particular seed as these farmers might, the article included helpful advice for anyone saving seed. For instance: From the moment you sow in spring, you have to be watchful to insure a top-quality seed crop months later. Roguing out any “off-looking” individual plants before pollination, for instance, prevents less-than-ideal specimens from contributing to the genetics of your future seed supply. Follow a crop of seed from sowing to harvest in this story.