Pickled Mini Tomatoes

WIN_20150812_110518If you have a bumper crop of miniature tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes or pear tomatoes, give this recipe a whirl. Salty, tangy, and laced with rosemary, this recipe is delicious served with French bread or as a Bloody Mary garnish. Pretty jars of Pickled Mini Tomatoes make great gifts, too!

WIN_20150812_105501Ingredients (Makes 3 pints)

3 cups assorted cherry tomatoes and/or pear tomatoes (any color)

3 small cucumbers, about 3-4 inches long, sliced thin

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

WIN_20150812_1055072 cups white vinegar

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns


Step 1) Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, and garlic in a large bowl. Divide evenly between three sterilized, pint size jars.

Step 2) Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, rosemary, and peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil gently for 10 minutes.

WIN_20150812_110046Step 3) Using a wide mouth funnel, pour brine into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Run a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar to remove air bubbles. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Be sure to review Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines!

Not interested in canning? No problem! Simply place your tomato mixture in any jar or container appropriate for the refrigerator. Pour brine over tomatoes and refrigerate for at least a week! As long as you keep the tomatoes covered with brine, they will last a month in the refrigerator.

Best Ever Canned Salsa

WIN_20150809_154501I look forward to canning salsa every spring and well into summer… often, I can be found daydreaming of this salsa recipe when I am planting seedlings in my garden soon after the snow melts! I can several dozen jars of this salsa every August, to enjoy throughout the winter. It’s delicious with tortilla chips, of course, but also useful for main dish slow cooker meals. One quart of this salsa, combined with a few pounds of spare ribs, chicken pieces, or a beef roast makes a fantastic winter meal after about 8 hours in a slow cooker set to “low.”

The mildness or spiciness of this recipe is entirely up to you. If you want mild salsa, stick with mild bell peppers. For just a bit of heat, add one or two jalapeno peppers with the seeds removed (wear gloves!). To really knock your socks off, add several jalapenos, habaneros, or Thai chilies, seeds and all.

Please make sure you review Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines before you get started!

WIN_20150808_122610Ingredients (Makes 5 quarts or 10 pints)

18 cups chopped tomatoes (I started with 20 large tomatoes and 4 cups of whole cherry tomatoes)

6 cups assorted chopped peppers (I started with 2 jumbo bell peppers, 6 mild banana peppers, and 1 jalapeno)

WIN_20150809_1442146 cups chopped red onion (about 6 large onions)

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup ground cumin

1/4 cup chili powder (I used medium-hot)

6 cloves garlic, minced

WIN_20150809_1451341 small can tomato paste

2 cups chopped cilantro

Bottled lemon juice (2 tablespoons per pint, 4 tablespoons per quart)


Step 1) Bring tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste to a gentle boil in a large stockpot. Add salt, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to incorporate seasonings. Remove from heat.

Step 2) Ladle salsa into sterilized jars (see canning instructions) until jars are half full. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each pint jar, and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP – it is very important to add lemon juice for food safety!

WIN_20150809_145246Step 3) Finish filling jars with salsa, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by pulling a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place seals and bands on each jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Enjoy throughout the winter!

Green Tomato Cinnamon Bread

WIN_20150724_120008My garden has more green tomatoes than red tomatoes right now, and that’s just fine. Green tomatoes are delicious in many recipes, and this recipe for Green Tomato Cinnamon Bread is one of my very favorites. What I’ve written below is a lower-fat adaptation on a recipe I read years ago on frugalupstate.com. When I first read about baking bread with green tomatoes, I was skeptical. If you’re raising your eyebrows, I understand. Seriously, give this a try. When it becomes one of your favorite recipes, send me a message!  🙂

WIN_20150724_095635Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves)

2 cups of pureed, whole green tomatoes (small chunks are OK)

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

WIN_20150724_1004111/2 cup applesauce (real applesauce, no sugar added)

2 eggs

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups sugar

WIN_20150724_1000401 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups flour


Step 1) Grease two bread pans and “flour” using granulated sugar. This adds a WIN_20150724_101754wonderful flavor to the bread, and actually allows us to use less sugar overall, because some of the sugar is concentrated on the outside of each slice.

Step 2) Mix together pureed tomatoes, almond extract, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Add sugar and stir until well combined.

Step 3) Add remaining dry ingredients, a little at a while, until all ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be pretty stiff, and that’s OK. As the bread bakes, any little chunks of tomatoes will release liquid, and your bread will not be dry.

Step 4) Bake loaves in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

This bread freezes wonderfully – just cool and wrap in foil. When thawed, it will taste as good as fresh. Slices of this bread are delicious packed in school lunches!