A great dip for ripe tomatoes, plus tips for canning the rest

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Occasionally I will get phone calls regarding recipes I have had in this column or questions on ways to prepare different foods, or even questions about canning. I always feel flattered that the readers think I might have the answer to their particular dilemma. If I don’t know the answer, I will make every effort to find it out.


This week a reader called to inquire about canning tomatoes. A friend had given her a large bag of tomatoes, but her dilemma was whether or not she could still can them since they had already been refrigerated.

Frankly, I have never seen anything that says you cannot can tomatoes after refrigeration, and I have questioned others who can a lot as well and they agree. In fact, I have frozen whole tomatoes by just coring them and placing them in a freezer bag. When you take them out, just run the tomato under warm water and the peel will slip right off, then use them for your favorite dish.

When canning your tomatoes, it is so much easier to peel them  after blanching them in boiling water, immediately slip the tomato into ice cold water and the peel will come off without much effort.  It’s hard work and a very messy job when canning, but save yourself some time and make less work for yourself whenever you can.

Now that the tomatoes are finally ripening, here is a very good dip recipe to try with those delicious tomatoes. My girlfriend Brenda sent me this recipe and told me to use it in my column. I mind very well so,  I give you

Brenda’s California Dip

2 bunches chopped green onion (use all of the onion)

2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 small cans chopped black olives with the juice

2 small cans green chilies, drained and chopped (I used fresh chilies from my garden)

1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes with chilies, drained and chopped

1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

1-1/2 cups shredded, Monterey Jack cheese

8-ounces Italian salad dressing

1 Tbsp. Accent

3 or more dashes of Tabasco sauce (or according to your tastes)

Mix all ingredients together at least one day ahead to allow flavors to blend. Refrigerate. This makes about 6 cups.  I cut the recipe in half when I made it,  without any problem. I served it with tortilla chips for a board game night special.


Here is another dip that is fantastic with vegetables or your favorite chips or cracker.  Normally, I am not a big Bleu Cheese fan, however, this recipe hits the spot for me.

Heavenly Bleu Cheese Dip

2 cups sour cream

1-1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. white pepper

4-ounces crumbled Bleu cheese

Mix all ingredients together; refrigerate.


I think I will call this, Dip Day, because here is another great dip recipe to add to your party menus.

Hot Virginia Dip

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 cup sour cream

1 large jar Chipped Beef

1/4 cup diced onion

Garlic powder to taste

1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans (whatever you like)

Round loaf of bread

Open the jar of chipped beef and fill with water; let it soak  for about 30 minutes, to get out the salt. Drain the beef and chop.

Mix all ingredients, place in microwave safe bowl; heat in microwave until bubbly (watch closely).

Scoop out round loaf of bread (use your favorite type of bread).  Pour dip into center of bread. Cut pieces of the bread you scooped out and place under broiler to lightly brown. Serve with the bread, chips or crackers.