Tuesday, September 24, 2013



As if we did'nt know that! But it does show up in the garden and yard, and the farmers see it too....We are finally getting some much needed rain in Ohio, and the leaves are dropping. The first ones to go are Black Walnut trees, you will notice them because they are yellow,  thin, leaves. When you notice the leaves falling, go look to see if the walnuts are ready to drop...they will be big as a golf ball, and green. They will start falling soon after a lot of leaves are gone, they will drop, green, or brown- they turn color, either color is fine...then it is time to go walnut stomping!!! wear heavy boots, or a pair of shoes that have sturdy soles and heels, take a pair of old garden gloves, and a basket. Locate your black walnut patch, and if they have dropped, then start stomping them!!! You have to get that outer covering off-and it is HARD, and also will stain anything it touches. The heel of the shoe works well, you will not crack the walnut
 doing this..it is too hard, but you will get the outer covering off. Stomp, rub it a little with your foot to help remove the casing, then pick up your walnut and put in the basket. do this over and over again, collect as many as you want or need.
When you get back home, lay the gloves and boots out in the sun to dry...they are stained.When they are dry....they will not transfer the stain to your hands, or anywhere else.
Now, lay your walnuts on papers, I lay mine on top of the big chest freezer....single layer, but real close to each other. and let them sit. In the old days, I would lay them outside to dry, but the competition got to be too much! Every nut rodent was in my walnuts! I just moved them indoors. every few days, turn them all, this will take weeks.They may get a whitish "bloom" on the shells, it is harmless, and does not affect the nutmeats what so ever.when they are completely dry, they will be lighter in weight, and then you can wipe them off, they will get a bit dusty sitting around for a few weeks. They have to dry...not just the stain left on the walnut, but the inside nut meat has to dry.Could take til Christmas. It is a good holiday activity, when snowed in, cracking the walnuts! They are a very hard nut to crack- we use a strong hammer- it is more like smashed walnuts at times!!! Then comes the sorting..picking out the nut meats, and at the same time
 picking out the shell pieces you do not want to eat!!! If you work on this a bit each day, they will all be done in a week. You can freeze the nutmeats, or you can dry can them, if you have enough.
Use regular canning pint jars, seals and lids.Fill the jars full with the nutmeats, attach a hot seal, add a canning ring, twist tight,,THEN,,,,,,,,on a cookie sheet, place the jars in the oven , set at 225degrees for 2 hrs. When you bring them out, you will hear the "pop" of the seals! Let them cool down, then store on a pantry shelf. Handy, and ready for your baking.
Black walnuts have a stronger nut flavor than English walnuts, but I like them in breads, cakes, they add a flavor,that surprises. It is fun to go walnut stomping with kids...even little 2 and 3 yrs old have fun And, you can take some girl friends along too....By the time they have dried, and you have cracked a lot....you may say to yourself, NO MORE!!! LOL!! well...take the ones you don't want, and place them all around in trees and bushes...feed the winter guys out there! The shells left over, are good to toss in your flower beds.
It is also time to be watching for mushrooms-it has been cool enough, just, and the rain has been enough, just, for the" pink unders " ( field mushrooms), to come up! I found 3 today, and that tells me, tomorrow I will find 3 or 4 times that amount! End of Sept, moving into Oct, is the last hurrah for all things growing.
You have one last time to prune off the dead rose heads, the next blooms that come on, leave them die, and don't prune..it is time for them to make rose hips, and get the roots set for winter.
This is the time of year, to make tomato soup! Freeze it, can it, make a huge pot and put in the fridge and eat all week, whatever suits you.

                                   TOMATO SOUP
28 lbs. tomatoes( don't be afraid of that number!!! 2 lbs. tomatoes equals a quart)
7 med. size onions
1 stalk celery
14 sprigs parsley( I have used 7 T dried)
3 bay leaves
14 T flour
14 T butter
3 T salt (regular salt)
8 T sugar
2 t black pepper

( I do this in a 2 day process, is much easier to handle)
Rough chop tomatoes, (core them only), onions, celery ( I run them thru a food processor).
Add them to a large pot, and cook til all are soft, and cooked down by about 2" in the pot. (I leave this covered over night on the stove)
The next day, run all thru a food mill. Add remaining ingredients, except the flour and butter. cook til cooked down by 2 ".
Add melted butter to the flour and whisk really well, til smooth. Add 2 C hot soup to flour mixture and whisk til smooth. Add this mixture to the soup, and whisk well, so there are no lumps, let cook on simmer, a half hour. remove bay leaves, and serve, or freeze, or can, hot water bath, 25 mins.
You can easily cut this recipe in half.

                                  CHEESE  STRAWS
( to go with your soup!)

1/2 c butter
1, 8 oz. pkg. shredded cheese, cheddar
1 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper(optional)

combine softened butter and cheese in mixing bowl. Blend in flour, salt, cayenne pepper.
Form mixture into 3 or 4 balls. Roll each ball out til thin, cut into strips , place on a greased baking sheet ( I use parchment paper), Bake- 425 degrees, 10 mins, or til just golden brown. I KNOW you will not be able to eat just one!!!!!
I use a rotating pizza cutter, to cut the strips, and use a spatula to get them onto the baking sheet- cut them in 1/2 " wide strips. You get a yield, according to how long, and how wide, you cut the strips.

                                  PUMPKIN DIP

16 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. 10x sugar
15 oz. canned pumpkin( NOT pie filling)
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
Mix all together well, chill.
FANTASTIC on ginger snaps and graham crackers!

Enjoy the beauties of Fall, breathe in a little happiness, a little change, a little hope. Most of all, enjoy this circle of life we are all traveling!!!!


ga447 said...

Thank you for the recipe for the soup. My DH will love it. I don't have walnut trees in this area but I was in TX and they have them. How much fun to do with the children.

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning ga447,

Glad you like the recipe. We have walnut trees in our area, but it isn't time for them to get ripe yet.

I like the peanut butter dip, too.


New York State Of Mind said...

I ment pumpkin dip. I haven't finished my cup of coffee yet, so I'm not thinking straight.


Countryside Reflections said...

I love the pumpkin dip too. I love anything with pumpkin in it, and this looks especially good.

Black walnuts make a very nice natural dye for wool. I've never worked with it, but several members of our spinning guild have, and I remember them commenting to be sure to wear rubber gloves or the black will have to wear off your hands over a long period of time. I think they said they drove over the walnuts with a car to break the outer shell.


New York State Of Mind said...

Thank you Doreen, for your advice. I know we had a nut cracker my Mom used. In fact, I still have it here. It was only to be used on walnuts and nothing else.


SueAnn said...

A lot of people mention driving over the walnuts to break the husks off, but, look at all the fun you miss!!
It is a good fabric dye, and a very ancient one too. If you get the brown stain on your skin, it will take forever to wear off, it goes away, as fast as your skin sluffs off! So..takes a while! Native Americans were known to use this for a dye, is many things, as well as decorating themselves. also, was used as a hair dye....even up into the early 1900's, for men and women.

Anonymous said...

I think to be on the safe side, you have to pressure can the soup when you add the flour and butter to it. I just freeze mine. Or add the flour/butter when you open a jar! Enjoy!

SueAnn said...

No, hot water bath the soup- or freeze it, the flour and butter do not affect the canning of the soup- especially since the other vegetables are already gone when run thru the food mill- all that is left is the essence of the flavor of the vegetables. Even in canning books dating back to the 1900's, and up, tomato soup is hot water bath. Besides, I am still alive, after about 60 yrs of eating canned tomato soup along with dozens of friends and family members. I have looked on line also, and hot water bath is what is suggested. You can use a pressure canner, if you want, uses less water to heat but...does not make a difference in the quality of the soup- nor does hot water bath make the soup "bad".
You can still add the flour and butter, to make the roux, prior to freezing, does not affect the soup, in texture nor taste. why make extra work for yourself? But then, everyone has a way of doing things.
I just do not want anyone here to think I don't know what I am talking about and that hot water bath the soup puts them in danger. It does not.
I wanted to add to the recipe and forgot, I sometimes add green peppers from the freezer, for the amount in the recipe I would use 6 small, or 3 med peppers. They cook down with all the other veggies, and are processed thru the food mill too. Adds a little different flavor to the soup.