Making tomato sauce and cleaning carrots
April 13th, Lisa Bano asked a question, in comments about leaving tomato sauce/paste in the oven on low. She assumed this direction was for your wood stove, and wanted to know what temperature you would use on another (gas or electric) stove? I read that comments do not receive a response so I’m repeating her question here.
I don’t have a wood stove, so can’t use one of the lids from it as an insulator, but I do have cast iron, and I use one of the cast iron griddles on the burner (gas stove), and put the cooking pot on the griddle. This gives great insulation. No sticking or scorching. I only need to stir once in a while. I used to also put an old aluminum pie pan (large size) on the griddle first, then the pot. It was my idea to keep the pot from boiling over on to the griddle, when I use to have a tendency to over fill a pot and/or turn the heat up too high.
From another letter, a while ago, a reader asked about cleaning fresh carrots without using a peeler. Good tips were given. For cleaning carrots, I use one of the plastic donut shaped pot scrubbers. Just run it up and down the carrots, under running water, or with a pot of water to rinse, and it takes off the roots and surface smudges.
Good tips. I use both my gas oven and my wood range oven to slowly cook down tomato sauces. I turn my gas oven down to its lowest setting, which is about 175 degrees, leaving the sauce in overnight. Depending on the thickness of the tomato puree, it may or may not be ready to can that morning, but if not, I just leave it in longer. I, too, have used a cast iron plate on top of my burner to keep from scorching stovetop sauces. I just use one of the lids from my wood range if I’m using my gas stove.
I also don’t peel carrots; I either use a nylon scrubbie on smooth carrots or scrape them with a paring knife if they’re less than pristine. — Jackie
Growing Brussels sprouts
For two years I have tried to grow Brussels sprouts and tried it in two separate places. Both times the sprouts grew but they were so covered with bugs (aphids I think) that there was no way to eat them. I soaked them in salt water etc. but still it was just gross. Any ideas on how to safely keep the buggers from covering the plants and sprouts?
First of all, plant your Brussels sprouts late enough in the year so that they begin getting larger after the weather is getting cooler; even a few light frosts are fine. That way, the plants are getting the weather they love and the bugs are NOT! At the first sign of insect damage, try spraying or dusting your plants with a rotenone product. It is quite safe and very effective. You will probably have to repeat after overhead watering or rain. But you will be able to eat your Brussels sprouts. — Jackie