Delicious and Easy No Recipe Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

tomatillos, peppers, onion, garlic, lime, on table with roasting pan

This delicious and easy no recipe roasted tomatillo salsa is a must when its harvest time in the garden or if you have found yourself blessed with some tomatillos from the farmers market.  

Tomatillos are considered distant cousins of tomatoes and they grow very similarly in your garden.  Just like tomatoes, when it is time to harvest, there will be quite an abundance. What better way to use them than up than to make an easy and delicious green salsa to pair with some chips or use in any Mexican style dish you desire.  

Simple Ingredients

The main ingredients for this roasted tomatillo salsa consists of tomatillos, onion, and peppers. No recipe means flexibility! For instance, you can utilize white or red onions, spring onions, or chives based on what you have available. When it comes to the peppers, a combination of whatever types you have on hand will yield satisfying results. You can opt for bell peppers, sweet peppers, or a variety of hot peppers like banana or jalapeños to add some heat if you like.

If you prefer a green end color, make sure that the ingredients you use are yellow/green in color. Additionally, if you happen to have a zucchini, it can be a clever way to incorporate more vegetables, especially for picky eaters.  Garlic, lime, cumin, parsley or cilantro, and salt and pepper will be wonderful additions to boost and round out the flavor.  

tomatillos in bowls, lims, peppers, onion, garlic, roasting pan on table

How to Make Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

First, remove the husks from the tomatillos. Tomatillos tend to have a sticky residue so give them a rinse. Depending on their size slice in half or quarters.  If they are small leaving them whole is fine. Then dice your peppers, onions, and optional zucchini to a similar size and place along with the garlic on the roasting pan.  

Give it a drizzle of avocado oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 min.  You will know it is done when the tomatillos start to char a bit on top.  Carefully remove and transfer the all the ingredients to a high speed blender or a food processor.  Blend completely smooth or leave a little chunkier if you like a thicker texture. Finally, add some lime juice, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Learning to cook without a recipe takes some time but trust your taste buds and adjust accordingly.

This delicious and easy roasted tomatillo salsa is fantastic cold with chips or tacos but it also tastes great warm and makes a wonderful enchilada sauce.  Roasted tomatillo salsa can be frozen for later or if you have a freeze dryer that is a great option for long term storage. an

I store my freeze dried goods that I will use within the next year in mason jars with an oxygen absorber and then I seal the jar. The jar sealer that I have is no longer available but this is a similar one. Mason Jar Vacuum Sealer. They are super helpful to have for dehydrated and freeze dried goods. Use an oxygen absorber to keep moisture out and keep your food fresh longer.

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How to Make and Use Simple Pretty Pink Beet Powder 

diced beets on tray

Growing Beets

Beets are a statement vegetable for sure with their bold and vibrant color. This simple pretty pink beet powder showcases their beauty and is going to be a versatile pantry staple you do not want to be without.    

Beets are a great and easy addition in the garden and typically can be grown throughout the spring, summer, and fall.  If you have an abundance of them this pink beet powder is a great way to preserve the harvest so that you can enjoy them in many different ways all year long.

Have you ever noticed or thought about how God’s design seems to be all over nature. Specifically it is displayed in the appearance of some fruit and vegetables.  It’s like God said I need to lay it out pretty clearly so people will make the connection between the food I have provided for them and the organ or body system it will help promote health in.  I love this!

Beets are one such food.  After one slice in a beet you immediately are met with that beautiful red/purple color and you can’t dismiss the fact that it looks and acts an awful lot like blood.  

Health Benefits of Beets

Lets take a quick look at some of the health benefits of beets.

  • loaded with vitamins and minerals 
  • high fiber content which is helpful for gut health
  • anti inflammatory
  • high in antioxidants 
  • great for improving blood and heart health… specifically blood pressure and blood sugar regulation
  • can help lower cholesterol
  • assist with liver and kidney health
  • can aid in exercise and athletic performance

Here’s a link to a bunch of research articles regarding the research on the potential health benefits of beets

https://greenmedinfo.com/substance/beet

Sounds good to me.  So let’s talk about how to make this powder and what to do with it so we can enjoy some of these health benefits.

How to Make Simple Pretty Pink Beet Powder

Remove greens…wash and use as you would any cooking green no need to throw them away.  Because beets like to leave their mark on everything be warned that wearing gloves, an apron and protecting the surface of your working area are all good ideas.  If you don’t mind pink hands then just proceed by washing the beets, cutting off tops and bottoms and using a peeler to remove the skins.  

Dehydrating Beets

If dehydrating you could use a dehydrator such as an Excalibur or a Nesco.  When I first became interested in dehydrating I invested in a Nesco Dehydrator and I had it for around 10 years before it quit working. I then invested in an Excalibur Dehydrator. A Sun Oven can also be used, which is great if you want to invest in something that allows you to cook and dehydrate without electricity.  I have had fun experimenting with mine and I love the idea of having some things that allow you to be self sufficient and this fits the bill. 

You also could potentially use your oven on the lowest setting with the door open if you don’t own a dehydrator of any kind. 

Slice or dice your beets just try to keep them uniform in size so that they dry at the same rate. Place the beets on the drying racks and dehydrate until completely dry.  You can be flexible with the temp from 105-140 degrees.  They will likely take 12-24 hrs. No moisture will be present when they are fully dehydrated.

If you have a freeze drying such as a Harvest Right, place on trays and put into the freeze dryer. Follow the promts on the scrren to complete the cycle. 

When your beets are fully dry you can give them a good blitz in a high speed blender and you will get this beautiful pink powder.

Uses for Simple Pretty Pink Beet Powder

Here are some ideas for using this slightly sweet and earthy beet power.

  • juice…make a straight up beet juice by adding water or add a sprinkle to another juice such as grape or pomegranate.
  • smoothies…many different smoothies could be boosted with a teaspoon of beet powder
  • sauces/dressings/dips…a little added to a homemade salad dressing could be a fun way to top a berry salad or maybe a sprinkle added to hummus or a tahini sauce 
  • homemade ice cream…frozen bananas make a wonderful healthy ice cream add some frozen berries and a touch of powder and it will give it a beautiful color
  • breakfast bowls…sprinkle a touch on top of yogurt or oatmeal bowls
  • natural food coloring…add to homemade batter to make pink cinnamon rolls, pancakes, or waffles which would be fun for the holidays or for lovers of pink in your house:)
  • cosmetics…make your own blush or lip balm using beet powder and other ingredients such as arrowroot or shea butter and beeswax

Enjoy growing and preserving your beets with this simple beet powder!

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Quick and Simple Homemade No Recipe Roasted Spaghetti Sauce

Tomatoes, peppers, and onions, on roasting pan

Believe me…you’re going to want to try this quick and simple homemade roasted spaghetti sauce when your garden tomato plants are in full swing.  If you are new to gardening let me tell you tomatoes are worth growing because they are high yield plants.  One plant is going to give you dozens and dozens and dozens of tomatoes!  We all know a fresh tomato blows away anything you can get at the store…that alone makes them worthy of growing.

No Recipe Benefits

This roasted spaghetti sauce in particular has many benefits.  The first is that you can use any variety or size of tomato.  You don’t have to stick to the Roma tomatoes that spaghetti sauce typically calls for.  From small cherry, to big beefsteak, to plum tomatoes any and all will do.  The color doesn’t matter either.  You can include red, orange, or yellow…whatever color ripe tomato you have is great.  I grow small Sungold tomatoes in my garden because I absolutely love their flavor and sweetness.  They make a great addition to this sauce.

Homemade Sauce and Bonus Juice

Making a traditional stovetop sauce can take a fair amount of simmering time to thicken.  This sauce is made roasting the tomatoes in the oven which allows for two things.  One, the tomatoes will be done after about 20-30min.  Two, you will end up with tomato juice as well.  I don’t know about you but getting two things accomplished at the same time is my kind of multitasking.

Getting Creative with Optional Additions

While you’re gathering your tomatoes take a stroll through your garden and see what other things you have that need to be used or that you think would be a good addition.  I like to add some sort of onion.  It could be a yellow onion, scallion, leek, or even chives.  Peppers are a wonderful addition.  You could add a sweet green, yellow, orange, or red pepper.  Summer squash such as zucchini, yellow, or patty pan are also great to include and trust me the picky eaters in your life won’t even know.  If you have herbs growing…gather some of them.  Basil, oregano, sage, thyme, and rosemary are all great options.  Garlic is also fantastic.  If you have whole cloves great.

Roasting the Sauce

Grab a couple rimmed roasting pans.  Cut out the tops of the tomatoes and then fill your pan with up with them.  If they are really big tomatoes you can cut them in half or in fourths.  Cut up whatever onion you have or any squash or peppers.  Just try to cut things about the same size so things cook evenly.  Garlic you don’t have to peel till after it comes out of the oven if you don’t want to.  The skins will slide off easily then. 

This sauce is also good with just tomatoes so don’t feel you have to add in all the extras.  I like to drizzle some avocado oil over the tomatoes but it is not necessary if you don’t want to add it.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 min.  You will know it is done when the tomatoes start to char a bit on top.  

Blending the Sauce

Carefully remove the tray from the oven.  Using a ladle remove the liquid and put it in a jar.  Be careful because working with hot liquid can be tricky and no one likes a burnt arm.  If you are not in a rush you can let the pan cool a bit, which makes it a touch easier to work with.  Next transfer your tomatoes and extras into a high speed blender. I bought a refurbished Vitamix 10 years ago and it has served me well. The high speed blender does a great job at blending the skins of the tomatoes.

If you only have dried herbs that’s fine! If you only have fresh that’s fine too!  I like to add a combination of fresh and dried herbs and salt to taste.  Trust yourself and experiment with different flavors.  Any italian herbs will work in this sauce.  Taste and adjust to get the flavor you like .  Some people like a sweeter sauce and if so you could add a bit of sugar.  Cherry tomatoes help add natural sweetness to the sauce so I don’t find sugar necessary.  You may have to work in batches blending some then adding it to a pot and then blending more and tasting till you like the flavor.  I find the thickness tends to be pretty much spot on but feel free to add some of your juice back in if you need to.

Adjusting Sauce Color

If the color of this sauce is not as red as you’d like to due to the variety of tomatoes you used feel free to add in some tomato paste.  This will also impart a stronger tomato flavor.  Then you can add some of your juice back in if you need to thin out the sauce because the paste will make it thicker.

Saving the Sauce for Later

Now your quick and simple homemade spaghetti sauce is ready for you to use for dinner!  You could also keep it in the fridge to use within the next few days.  Feel free to make a ton of spaghetti sauce if you need to use up those tomatoes. It can be easily stored for later.  Just put in freezer safe containers and transfer to the freezer.  The sauce would be great in many Italian dishes and tomato juice is great to use in soups, stews, and chili.

Another way to preserve this sauce is by freeze drying.  Place on trays and let the freeze dryer do its thing.  Store the freeze dried sauce in a jar with an oxygen absorber to keep out moisture.  When you want to use just spoon out what you need and add enough water to get the consistency you like.  We like to use it for quick tortilla pizzas.  We have a Harvest Right and absolutely love it.  It is an investment but if you are looking to preserve garden bounty it is phenomenal for preserving individual ingredients as well as fully cooked things such as this spaghetti sauce.

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Simple Healthy Lacto-Fermented Pickles to Preserve the Garden Harvest

cucumbers laying in mulch

Garden Abundance

Learning how to preserve your garden harvest is a wonderful skill to incorporate when the garden is in full swing and there is an abundance of produce begging to picked with regularity. While enjoying fresh food in the moment is a true pleasure it can quickly turn from you feeling immense joy and satisfaction to complete overwhelm and burden when there is more than you know what to do with. Seeing good food that you have grown go to waste is not an option.

Let’s take cucumbers for example. Cucumbers are amazing fresh and a delight to bring into multiple dishes but what do when you have a ton of them? You can preserve them to enjoy later using lacto-fermentation! If you have any pickle lovers in your home like I do this is sure to be a hit.

garden harvest pickles laying on table ready for lacto-fermentation

Lacto-fermentation

Who doesn’t love multi-tasking? Lacto-fermentation is one of my favorite forms of preservation because of its multi-tasking abilities. I love being able to extend the life of produce and at the same time amp up its nutritional value. Fermentation in this way adds some beneficial probiotics to the cucumbers. Who doesn’t need more of those? Another plus…it’s easy. No fancy tools are needed so anyone regardless of skill or fancy equipment can give this a try.

I also appreciate that with lacto-fermentation you don’t have to be precise. Don’t get me wrong following a recipe can be super helpful but sometimes you don’t have the exact things called for or you don’t have a clean hand to pull out your cookbook or search on your phone. This is where basic guidelines and formulas come into play, which allows for more freedom and creativity in the kitchen.

Basic Fermentation Brine

To create a basic brine I like to combine 4 T of real salt to a half gallon of water. I do this mainly because it is easy to remember but know there is even flexibility here. Some people will add a little less and some a bit more depending on the percentage of salt they want in their brine. Use this as a starting point and in future ferments you can adjust to your taste. You can add a bit of warm water to the glass to help dissolve the salt faster and then top off with cold water the rest of the way. If you end up with extra brine you can put it in the fridge for the next time you have veggies to work with. The basic brine is all you need to create your ferment.

healthy cucumbers, spices, herbs, and jar on cutting board lying on table prepared for fermentation

Creative Additions

Let’s talk about extras you can try to give your ferment a boost in flavor. If you want that classic dill pickle taste adding some mustard seeds, peppercorns, garlic and dill are all great options. If you like some heat you could add a hot pepper. I find that including a bay leaf or two helps to keep the final pickle a bit crisper. With lacto-fermentation combining multiple types of veggies or changing up herbs and spices allows you to use up what you have on hand and find some flavor combinations that you enjoy the best.

Again, no measuring required just place the spices you want in the jar and put in your cucumbers. Any type of cucumber you have will work and they can be whole, sliced, or cut into spears, whichever you prefer. Small pickling cucumbers are great to add whole. If you missed a cucumber in the garden and it got bigger than you’d like, or you grew a different variety, or if you want them ready for a sandwich later, then slicing is a great option.

Keeping Cucumbers Below the Brine

The most important part about fermenting is to make sure the vegetables stay below the water line. Weigh them down with something. This prevents mold from forming. No one wants mold. You could use a cabbage leaf or a weight of some kind. If you find out you like this process these are the weights I use and find to be very convenient.

Fermentation Glass Weights

There are specific lids you can buy for fermenting but you don’t have to have them, any lid will do. Here are some that I have purchased. They are nice because you can mark the date you started the ferment which is helpful to know. If your anything like me I have a tendency to forget how many days my ferment has been sitting on the counter. These lids also let air out but do not let any in which is what we want with fermentation.

Airlock Fermentation Lids

jar lids and fermenting weights on table to help with preserving

Wait and Enjoy

After your ferment has sat on the counter out of direct sunlight for about 3-5 days you can take the weight out and give them a try. If you like the flavor transfer to the fridge for storage. You can let them go longer for a stronger flavor. Just keep trying and experimenting. And there you have it…easy and simple lacto-fermented pickles using the cucumbers you harvested from the garden.

sliced cucumbers in jar fermenting with lid on sitting on cutting board
three jars of lacto-fermented pickles made laying on table

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried making these simple healthy lacto-fermented pickles for preserving your garden harvest.

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