Saturday, August 12, 2006


First, thanks to Kolbi, I saw these little guys in our garden. They really are gorgeous and I'd never seen them before "in real life." They appear to be Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars. Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillars grow up to look like this:

That is not my photo but I couldn't find any information to get proper credit, so there you have it. That's a girl Black Swallowtail.

But for now we have about a half dozen on our carrots that look like this:

And here's a picture of Grandpa and Grandma Donna visiting three of their four grandsons.

And today I'm at home working and canning salsa. It's a new recipe because I don't have a whole half-bushel of tomatoes, but I'm using these in the recipe:

So I'm not really worried because with all of that good stuff in there, how can it come out badly? Only the tomatoes and cucumbers are from my garden (and the yellows aren't--they're from the grocery auction--but they only represent 2 of the 11 lbs of yummy tomatoes in that basket. The other 9 lbs are mine! Most of which I admit are burried in the photo.) but the rest are grown locally and it's all so YUMMY.


Risha said...

Alaska... the produce looks fantastic. But as a girl who grew up in So Cal, I have to ask... cucumbers in salsa?????

The Queen said...

Risha, I knoooooww, I know. I do!

But the Ball Canning boook (probably not written in So Cal) has a recipe for "Spicy Tomato Salsa" and another for "Fiesta Salsa." The Fiesta Salsa recipe calls for two cups of cucumbers, 2 cups banana peppers, some green onions some roasted anaheim peppers, 7 cups of tomatoes, cilantro, jalepenos, etc. etc.

I was mostly making the Spicy Tomato Salsa, but I was about a pound short of tomatoes to double the recipe exactly--so I subbed in the cucumbers instead. Worked out fine!

The raw salsa was good and tasted like spicy pico de gallo (I had about a cup left over after filling 13 pts). But the flavors tend to blend (and the garlic and spice tends to grow stronger) after a few weeks in the jars. I think this will be a nice batch of salsa with a strong kick (but not fire-house hot).

For canning/cooking nuts--I used a mix of the Pampered Chef food chopper and my trusty food processor for this batch. All of my batches last year were strictly knife chopped. This batch is thicker than my usual recipe--but I kind of miss the chunks. On the other hand, it looks somewhat like the "medium" salsa you get at mexican restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Girl, those little caterpillars are so incredibly CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am sooooo insanely jealous. The only host plants I have are milkweed, so I don't have anything totally awesome like swallowtail cats. What a blessing!!!

Okay, if cute caterpillars is your thing, then all you have to do is look on the

and see what is in your county. Then what you do is add some nectar plants.

There are nectar plants (flowers that the butterflies drink out of) and host plants (the ones that they lay eggs on, like what you've shown pictures of). If you increase the plantings of the nectar plants (the flowers the butterflies like to eat from) you will increase your caterpillars (because they'll come there to eat and notice the plants they need to lay eggs on and then they'll come back and lay the eggs there when the time is right).

I don't know if you have a lot of nectar flowers planted around there, but if you don't and you plant some you would be working on a mighty, mighty fine and highly visited butterfly garden that also grows veggies for you! :)

~Jo's Boys

p.s. Can I just say that you are my hero for growing your own food and canning your own food products? And can I also say that when I get to Portland and can finally plant a real veggie garden (the subdivision's covenants and restrictions here won't let me) I will be *beating down your door* for advice? Because I am just so impressed.

kristen said...

what wonderful garden friends you have. we've never had the caterpillars, but we often see western tiger swallowtails. they are yellow and black and really fabbbbbbo.

your salsa sounds splended.

Eden & James Grace said...

Hi Alaska. I just googled you and found your new blog. We've been out of touch for ages!! I was driving through State College two weeks ago, and I didn't know you were there. I haven't seen you since Rochester MN!! We still live in Kenya, happy missionaries. Write to me off-line. I miss you!

edeng at graces dot com