The surprising foods you should eat to banish garlic breath

bacon purslane tomato

Purslane (Portulaca olearacea) is free foraged food for us, it grows absolutely everywhere. Boldly our gravely driveway, aggressively in our potted plants, lovelingly next to the compost pile. And it’s good for you full vitamin C and Omega-3’s (brain food!) and tastes like a cucumber. I use it in place of salad or lettuce like this homemade Bacon-P-Tomato and bean, tomato and garlic salad with purslane.

When I have just too much, I pickle it for a rainy day. Just as our grandmothers did a hundred years ago or more in France, purslane has been used at a salad here for centuries. Purslane may be preserved for winter use by pickling in apple cider vinegar with garlic cloves and peppercorns and pickling spices. I used mustard seed, coriander seeds, bay leaves and a red hot pepper and blanch it first for 30 seconds in boiling water.

ton of tomatoes

A friend sent me an apron (and one for Amaya for foraging) and with it her infectious “canning” can-do spirit must have cast a spell on me when I opened her generous package yesterday because when we went to the chicken farm, look what I found? The incredibly hunky tanned southern French farmer was sitting on a crate in only his swim trunks sorting tomatoes. I greeted him with a smile and a capricious “it would be better to do that next to the pool, wouldn’t it?”

He laughed and bugged me about not coming as often as I should (though he is only open two days a week since he doenst have enough for everyone) to buy his freshly killed that day chickens. I said that I was there to stock up to save on gas money. When I eyed the misfit tomatoes, “will you sell me the ugly ones so I can make ketchup? I asked.

He joshed, “Is there a grandma inside of you? Are you sure you are American? You can have 20 kilos (44 pounds) for lets say €5…” as if I was at a bargain garage sale (we were after all in his garage). I could hardly control my excitement. After my tomato crop being dried out like the Sahara dessert while we were gone, I didn’t know if we would have canned tomatoes, tomato juice (like a V8), tomato puree and ketchup and bbq sauce for this winter or not.

The sky started to get dark and cool, I thanked my lucky stars because I knew I would be canning tonight. I wont lie and say I didn’t sweat, but I didn’t as much as I would if our 100F weather had kept up. At 9pm the half price electric hour started and so did I. I was in bed by midnight with the house smelling like a heavenly Italian pizzeria.

8 liters of canned, peeled, packed in citric acid and Portuguese salt tomatoes, a gallon of tomato puree spiced with sweet onions, carrots and bell peppers, a gallon of v8 tomato juice, and the ketchup and bbq sauce are still cooking (two day process) but I think I will get 6 pint jars of each when its all said and done, canned and put up. In a masochistic way, I want to do it again soon. A good excuse to go back to the chicken farm on a sultry hot day, isn’t it?

Homemade v8 tomato juice
4 pounds homegrown tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch celery, chopped
8 peppers, hot ones if you like it spicy
1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 bell pepper
3 bay leaves
2 Tbs oregano, basil and other spices that you like (I added two little all spices)
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and thrown in
4 Tbs salt (half celery salt, if you have it)
4 Tbs sugar

Optional: spinach, cabbage leaves, kale, watercress, parsley,other greens that you have to make it more nutritious

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except the sugar, bring to a boil, and cook at a steady boil for 2 hours.

Remove from heat and strain through a relatively fine mesh, making sure to express all the liquid you can.

Reserve the pulp to make something else, return the liquid to the pot, and boil for another couple of hours, or until the liquid is reduced to roughly three quarts. Add four tablespoons of sugar, remove from heat, stir, and let cool.

Ketchup
1 peck tomatoes (I just love saying that, its about 8 quarts)
3 large carrots, sliced
2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 cups cider vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Feel free to add cinnamon sticks, mace, cayenne or Piri Piri pepper, celery salt, bell peppers, what ever strikes your fancy. ie horse radish, curry, yumm

Make Templar X across the tops of each tomato. Scald in boiling hot water for a minute, then drop into cold water; now the peels come off easily. Cut out the hard stem tops. Let simmer slowly for 3 hours with the other ingredients (or for an hour in a pressure cooker is what I did) I pushed it all through a ricer to make it fine and then cooked again until it was thick and rich. Pour into hot sterilized 1-pint jars and seal. Process for 15 minutes in pressure canner.