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Tips for Freezing Fruits and Vegetables

June 30th, 2010

I like to freeze fruits and some vegetables to preserve them for winter eating. I especially like freezing all varieties of berries and peas, most other fruits and vegetables are better if canned.

Since freezer space is at a premium, I have to make sure I store things in the most efficient way possible. Generally I don’t like using plastic around my food, but when it comes to freezing large quantities of things, zippered bags are so convenient. Some things still get stored in glass mason jars, but the berries and peas are in zippered bags (although I’m considering half gallon jars for the future).

Of course you could measure out specific amounts and freeze in small bags, but I prefer freezing things on a cookie sheet so they’re frozen individually. This allows me to put them in larger bags and simply measure out what I need from the large bag. (remember to blanch peas & veggies before freezing).

Do you have any tips for freezing fruits and vegetables?

She loved the air after a hard rain…

June 29th, 2010

For some reason I really enjoy the rain. I suppose it might be from my childhood. I grew up in a tropical city in Colombia. It was generally very hot, but the rain would bring coolness which was always nice.

I was reading yesterday right before the rain came and had to blog this quote I came across right before the rain hit.

She loved the air after a hard rain, and the way a forest of dripping leaves fills itself with a sibilant percussion that empties your head of words.

-Barbara Kingsolver (Prodigal Summer)

I especially love it when the rain comes during the day and I can grab my camera to get a few photos. I know many of you are having too much rain in your gardens, but we’re not having enough. The rain was a wonderful gift yesterday afternoon, it will bring with it some cool weather which will be perfect for gardening. Here’s a little glimpse of our rainy afternoon.



The garden is so lovely after a good rain, the colors seem more vibrant, and everything shimmers with drops of rain. When that time coincides with late evening it’s a perfect pair, everything is bathed in a golden glow.





I’d have to say this is one of my favorite times to stroll around the garden. There’s something so peaceful about being in outside after a good rainstorm, still feeling a few drops falling from the trees. I always feel that the plants seem more alive since they’ve had a good drink.

How’s your weather this year, have you had enough rain or do you need more?

Winter Gardening

June 28th, 2010

Earlier this month I spent some time going through Eliot Coleman’s Book, The Winter Harvest Handbook and wrote all the dates for starting fall/winter crops on my calendar (my Chiot’s Run calendar of course). I thought I’d post a reminder for all you other zone 4-5 gardeners that are interested in winter gardening.

Usually for me, seed starting is limited to spring, so it seems weird to be starting seeds in June. I really want to have a fall/winter harvest, and that means it’s time to start fall cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. It’s also time to start leek seeds for overwintering. Next week it will also be time to start carrots for harvesting in October. I actually ordered some of the ‘Early Napoli’ carrots from Johnny’s that Eliot grows for overwintering.

I have all my fall planted crops organized in folders by type in my Seed Stash, so they’re super easy to find. I’ll be starting: ‘Long Island Improved’ brussels sprouts, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Glory of Enkhuizen’ cabbage, ‘DeCicco’ broccoli, and ‘Tadorna’ Leeks. I’m hoping all my efforts will yield a bounty of delicious veggies throughout the winter months to save me time canning and freezing this summer. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Are you trying to garden throughout the seasons?

Quote of the Day: Howard Zinn

June 27th, 2010

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. Howard Zinn
It can get overwhelming when you start listening to the news. You hear stories of corruption and greed. Stories of the involvement of corporations in politics, about judges and politicians favoring companies that donate large amounts of money to their campaigns. It seems everyone is taking advantage of others, lying, stealing, and trying to get something for nothing. You can easily feel overwhelmed by it all. But remember, you can make a difference. Focus on the the small scale, even if it’s only a small seemingly meaningless thing. Talk to the people you meet throughout the day, smile at someone, be kind, find a charity to be involved in, or send some money to help someone less fortunate than yourself. Perhaps you can take some time to teach someone how to garden, or grow their own food. Take some time to do something nice today, be a voice of compassion in our corrupt world. You’ll be amazed at how it will foster hopefulness in you and those around you!

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you hear about all the corruption in the world?

I Spy Something Exciting!

June 26th, 2010

Earlier this week while tying up tomatoes I spotted a tiny green tomato. Oddly enough I posted last year on June 22 about spotting baby tomatoes. Seems that even though I started my tomatoes earlier last year, this warm spring has made my tomatoes very productive. It is the same variety of tomato as the first last year, it’s a Zapotec Pleated Tomato.

I don’t think I’ll be getting my first ripe one on July 6 like I did last year. I don’t have any cherry tomatoes this year. I must remember to start some each year for early tomatoes. Perhaps I’ll also try starting my Sub-Arctics in January and put them outside in April in order to get tomatoes as early as possible.

Any tiny tomatoes in your garden yet?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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