Food Preservation

The house is hot and humid this morning. Which is drag, because it is easily the hottest day outside, in about a 10 day stretch. And I have many other, more “important” things on the never-ending “list”. But, the produce is coming off the fields now. It is time.

I got the idea to can some green beans earlier this week when I noticed that I have too many 500ml Mason jars to fit into storage. In other words, I am way behind. More jars being emptied than being filled, it seems.

Those were the reasons I found myself in the kitchen this morning, going through the ritual of preserving. I like to think of all the women who have done this before me. Slaving away in kitchens that were not as nice as mine. They would be extending their harvest to provide real nourishment during the long winter. I am merely making a nice compliment to my winter fare.

My Mother in law taught me how to can. One of the many great things I have learned from her. We have spent whole weekends putting up pounds of produce. She did for me, as she has no need for dozens of salsa jars. I don’t know why, but I continue to find the process extremely satisfying. Especially the “popping” of the lids. That final sign to let you know, all is well.

Can’t wait to open the first jar on a cool day this fall and think of the heat from this summer day.

Pickled beans dry packed_web

Canning jars_web


Pickled beans done_webSee also, from The Good Life List:

6 months later

“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”    ~Og Mandino

First day of fall and I started my tomato harvest. It was a complete joy to run around the garden to every plant and pick off the perfectly ripe and almost ripe tomatoes. A few green ones snuck in from the smaller bunches. Only 2 fruits were taken by insects before me. And the green tomatoes are everywhere still. If I am lucky, I have another 3 to 4 weeks before the rains come. I’ll be watching the weather carefully, with product boxes at the ready. When the time comes, everything will have to be picked. With any luck, we will have various types of fresh tomatoes through November.

All that was my reward. My lovely tray was full of the last round of field tomatoes from my 60 pound purchase. They had to be processed. So after arriving home from New York City yesterday, I had to roll up my sleeves and get to work. First, off came the skins. Then 8 cups went into a pot for salsa. After the 5 new jars were processed,  I was left with a dozen big skin less beauties. I was going to make sauce with them, but after dinner I lost my enthusiasm. The freezer got another big bag of tomatoes – sauce can easily be done on another day. (And the smell of summer will be fantastic when that chilly, rainy winter day comes.)

For today, there looks to be another 2 or 3 bags worth of apples that can be readied for pies. I’m already overflowing with applesauce and the kids don’t like my apple marmalade. Although, I may have to make some and give it away. To let the apples just fall and rot seems like a terrible waste.

There are plums galore this year. My neighbour has 4 children that love them. I may get my kids to pick everything they can today and then give away a fair amount. We will probably have a decent sized bucket leftover. Plums don’t take much to process, so I can see that happening today as well. The canned plums are great made into all kinds of deserts. Also great on ice cream. Which reminds me of the boozy cherries I have for ice cream. (Like we need so many excuses to eat ice cream.)

We had breakfast for dinner last night and with that meal hash browns made from my potatoes. While they can hold in the garden awhile longer, I already dug a bunch last weekend. They need to be washed and put in the fridge and eaten. So we’ll probably eat some version of potatoes all week. I may even go for a few soups where the potatoes provide the base.

I think what made all these efforts in the garden so worth it was my daughter yesterday. She found a last strawberry, perfectly ripe. She picked it and ate it. She said it tasted so wonderful. That made me smile.