KW Homestead

Pasture Raised Poultry from Our Family to Yours

Tag: tomatoes

Pickles, Pickles, Everywhere!

With the cucumbers doing so well this year, we’ve had to make a lot of pickles to preserve them! The paste tomatoes have also started coming in, as have the tomatillos. This means that fermented salsa is the way to go for us!

So far we’ve pickled a couple gallons of cucumbers and a few quarts of salsa.


White Wonder cucumber pickles on the left and tomato salsa on the right.

Our salsa has manifested into two distinct kinds:

  • Tomatillo salsa
  • Tomato salsa

Each of these salsas has a variety of garlic, basil, and jalapeño, and each of them has a touch of the other’s main ingredient (either tomatillo or tomato, depending).

One we’ve pureed the ingredients, we add 1 tablespoon of salt and 4 tablespoons of whey. This recipe is a variation on Sally Fallon’s recipe from her fantastic book, Nourishing Traditions.

This recipe has worked really well for us! We let them sit out in a room temperature space for a few days, “burping” them a few times a day. Daily taste tests reveal when they are ready, and afterwards they get refrigerated until we decide to eat them!

This is the original recipe that we use for pickles (this makes 1 quart):

  • Dill
  • Minced garlic
  • 1 cup of purified water
  • 4 tablespoons of whey
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Happy pickling!




What’s Happening in the Garden…

We planted some more today, and checked on a lot of our little plants. Here’s what’s growing around here… 


Provider greenbeans (first planting of three so far)


Baby pepper plants: bell peppers, cayennes, jalapenos, and aji.



Jason harvesting some greens for the chicken soup!


Baby paste tomato plants and their friend, basil!


Oregano and thyme that came back strong from last year’s planting.


Spearmint… What a wonderful smelling intruder!


Beans round 2.


The tomatillos are looking great!





Our little garden pond, beloved by fish, frogs, and our flowering comfrey plant.



This year we’re growing our Irish potatoes in straw instead of in the groind… Should be easier to harvest!



Our cilantro went to seed very early this year!



Thyme in a tire… What a perfect planter!



A bed of snow peas, green onions, and carrots.


snow peas

Snow peas!


A beautiful, volunteer chia plant. What symmetry!


Farm Food Friday: Rooster, Potato, and Tomato Soup!

The great thing about this soup, is that we raised almost all of the the ingredients!

Let me start by saying that the photographs do not do it justice… And you are going to need either a huge pot or two pots!


  • Bones and the partial meat of 3 teenage roosters
  • Lots of sweet potatoes
  • Lots of Irish potatoes
  • About 25 garlic cloves
  • 2 quarts of cubed tomatoes
  • 2 Large onions
  • Celery
  • 1 pint of corn
  • Basil, parsley, oregano, garlic powder, jalapeños


The first thing we did was butcher our roosters, and since that would take forever to explain, we’ll save that story for another time. We roasted and ate some of the roosters and left part of the meat on the bones for our soup.

We cooked the roosters in a large pot with water and a little salt to make the broth. We included all of the bones, even the feet (which had already been peeled). The next day is when we had planned to start the soup, and when we removed the pot from the fridge to de-bone the meat, we found that the entire concoction was gelatinous! Talk about good, healthy, fat! Even though these roosters were not fully matured and they are not a breed that is bred just for their meat, they had so much delicious fat on them!


Yummy, fatty, chicken!



Best broth ever!

I de-boned the meat and placed the bones in the crockpot so we could cook these down further and make bone broth.

Then we sauteed diced onions, the garlic cloves, and celery in some of the fat. The onions and the garlics were from my dad’s garden!

The rest of the fat/meat/broth jelly was added to the pot and it started to melt and become true broth again. We added some of our diced and frozen basil, parsley, and jalapeño from the garden and let this melt and mix together.

Next in was  the corn.


A lovely potato medley!

Then we added the potatoes (all from our garden) and once the soup was up to temperature again, we added the tomatoes. The tomato mix we used was a frozen bunch of cubed Cherokee Purples, San Marzanos, and Black Plums.

Then we added more basil, some oregano,salt, and garlic powder and continued to let it cook until the potatoes proved to be done!


The finished product!

And then we ate it! Last night for dinner and today for lunch and tonight for dinner… This soups is one of our favorites so far!


Farm Food Friday: Vegetable Venison Soup

This recipe is one of my favorites… Because it is basically my mom’s vegetable soup recipe with venison added! Yummy!

I recommend using your biggest pot for this one. You can see how big the one we used is:


What a big pot (with a medium-sized tea kettle for scale)!

1.  Begin by adding olive oil to your pot and cutting it on medium-low.

2.  Chop up 3 or 4 onions and approximately 1 head of celery. Add these to the pot with some salt and garlic powder and stir periodically while they saute.

3.  Chop your venison steaks up into small cubes and add them to the pot. Stir often.


Onions, celery, and venison sauteing in the pot with olive oil, garlic, and salt.

4.  Slice 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms and add them to the pot. Also add more salt and garlic powder.

5.  Add tomatoes. We used frozen tomatoes from our garden last year, mostly Cherokee Purples, San Marzano, and Black Plum paste tomatoes, but a few cherry tomatoes found their way in there too! If you are using tomatoes from the store, I would use 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes.

6.  Add 1 small can of tomato paste.

7.  Now add a spoonful or two of honey and some sprinkles of cocoa powder (all of this is to taste). This minimizes the acidic taste from the tomatoes and adds a creamy darkness.

8.  Add spices: paprika, basil,and oregano, and of course more salt and garlic powder!

9.  As the dish begins to simmer, add carrots (I used a little less than 2 pounds of halved baby carrots).

10.  Add 1 large can of greenbeans (we didn’t have any of our own greenbeans left over from last fall).


Adding greenbeans to the pot.

11.  I also like to add even more veggies… Frozen okra and frozen Lima beans (small bags of each) can also go in the pot now.


Adding okra to the pot.

12.  Add 2 small cans of corn.


Corn has been added!

13.  Cook the soup on medium-low for about an hour-and-a-half, and make sure to stir it frequently since this is a very dense soup and can stick to the bottom of the pot if you’re not keeping an eye on it!

14.  Check your soup and add more spices, if needed, and a little bit of soy sauce. Check to see how well softened the Lima beans and carrots are, and if you are satisfied with how done they are (and the spices), add 1 small bag of frozen peas. Stir them in and let the soup cook for about 15 minutes longer.

15.  Check your spices again… And if you like it, then it’s done!!! If not, add more spices!!!


All done! Yummy!



loads of peppers and tomatoes

after what seemed like a very long and tiresome weekend, we were finally able to get back out in the garden and do some much needed picking!

our black plum and san marzano paste tomatoes are doing really well right now, and some of our cherokee purples are still making it.

also, the jalapenos have kicked off to an unbelievable degree (i got 20 large ones from one plant yesterday, still leaving tons of medium-sized and smaller ones)!

some of the cayennes were ripe and also some of our aji peppers (a delicious pepper that jason and i learned to love while we were in peru).

my heavy picking basket, filled with tomatoes, peppers, and some basil.

my heavy picking basket, filled with tomatoes, peppers, and some basil.

after picking,i estimated that i got about 20 pounds of these ingredients all together. i made a blended up, salsa-like concoction that we’ve frozen to use in sops and pastes in the future. it’s probably very spicy (considering the amount of jalapenos in it), so it will have to be added to other ingredients when we cook with it.



too many tomatoes (is there such a thing?)

do you have too many tomatoes and you need to process them before they go bad?




why, make tomato sauce, of course!!!



farm food friday: homemade cherokee purple tomato sauce!

we’re finally back with another edition of farm food friday, and this recipe, once again, is all about tomatoes. i know we’ve been on a posting kick about tomatoes lately, but once you have one of our cherokee purples you’ll understand why…

the other day we made some homemade tomato sauce, and although i’ve frozen a ton of tomatoes for sauce ingredients, we had enough fresh ones to make use them for our sauce.

ingredients (keep in mind that you should add as much as you desire for each of these):

using our awesome new sauce pan (it's still shiny!).

using our awesome new sauce pan (it’s still shiny!).


  • we used our new, huge, awesome sauce pan to be sure we made a lot!
  • saute sliced garlics in olive oil and then add onions
  • once these have cooked for a few minutes, add your sliced/diced cherokee purple tomatoes (from the garden); cut the heat to medium
  • as this cooks begin boiling your water for the pasta
  • add capers, sriracha sauce, and salt and pepper to taste
  • let it cook down more, being careful to stir it often so the thickening tomato doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn
  • add sliced and diced bell peppers (our’s were from the garden)
  • add lemon thyme and basil (also from the garden)
  • continue letting it cook down and add a few pinches of parmesan cheese to thicken the sauce and make it a bit creamier… this also adds bite.
delicious cherokee purple tomato sauce!

delicious cherokee purple tomato sauce!

as i’ve mentioned before, cherokee purples are sweeter tasting and less acidic, so i find that there is no need to add anything to the sauce to tone down natural acidity. that makes this dish a delicious and easy-to-make meal any day of the week!

and the great thing about cooking in our kitchen: there’s always leftover scraps to feed to our flock of chickens!

this recipe's scraps... chickens here we come!

this recipe’s scraps… chickens here we come!

next up… making more of this sauce and freezing it in ready-to-go containers.


growing tomatoes: why we love our tomato varieties

let me start by saying that we will always grow tomatoes… no matter what! we are in love with freshly grown tomatoes! whether we’re pickling green ones or eating BOT sandwiches, we’ll certainly have tomatoes on the vine.

they are an amazing food: versatile, delicious, and if you pick the right variety, super duper nutritious.

our very favorite slicing tomato, one that i grew up eating and that we’ve recently realized also makes an excellent pasta sauce is the cherokee purple. supposedly the seeds from the cherokee were passed on from the cherokee  tribe beginning before the 1900s, and have been grown ever since. this makes it an heirloom tomato, and it sure is great. dark purple/red in color with a green top when ripe, we consider it to be a very meaty, dense tomato that tastes less acidic than your average tomato. this taste profile makes it fantastic on a tomato sandwich, especially when the slices are thick. it’s also great in soups and sauces since the sweetness of the tomato really shines through.

the ripened base of the cherokee purple, champion of tomatoes!

the ripened base of a cherokee purple, champion of tomatoes!

the top of the cherokee purple (yes, it's ripe... just cut around the very green spots).

the top of the cherokee purple (yes, it’s ripe… just cut around the very green spots). the brown lines are where the tomato burst open from all of the rain we got the last two days. you can see that the spots have healed over naturally.

we’re also growing two types of paste tomatoes, the san marzano and the black plum paste tomato. jason and i both feel that the black plum is the “cherokee purple” of paste tomatoes. colored much the same and similar in its less acidic flavor, it’s also super creamy. we were surprised by this, but i guess that’s what makes it a great paste tomato… being creamy instead of watery!

san marzano on the left, black plum on the right.

san marzano on the left, black plum on the right.

the san marzano is a bright red tomato that is also creamy. together, these two paste tomatoes give us the best of both worlds: the flavor of the black plum is superior but the san marzano seems to be more fruitful and grows larger tomatoes.

this tomato triad is an exciting combination for future soups and sauces. we’ve already frozen some mixed batches, with all three tomato types included. stay tuned for a farm food friday fresh tomato sauce recipe!


pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, and greenbeans!

today i spent a portion of the day pickling some our veggies for eating later in the year.

so far, jason has been the only pickling champion in the house so today i decided to try my hand at it.

i did 6 jars of veggies today… 2 jars of arkansas pickling cucumber slices, 1 jar of arkansas pickling cucumber spears, 1 jar of arkansas and white wonder cucumber spears, 1 jar of green tomatoes, and 1 jar of greenbeans.

i did some experimenting with spices, so we’ll see how that goes!

cucumber slices with garlic, dill, and jalapeno slices.

cucumber slices with garlic, dill, and jalapeno slices.

cucumber spears with garlic, dill, and jalapeno slices.

cucumber spears with garlic, dill, and jalapeno slices.

greenbeans with garlic and jalapeno slices.

greenbeans with garlic, jalapeno slices, and dill.

green tomato slices with garlic, thyme, and basil.

green tomato slices with garlic, thyme, and basil.

two weeks from now,  we’ll see how they taste!






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