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Quote of the Day: Preserving

September 13th, 2015

It is the natural course of events for food to be abundant for a little window in time. Blackberries will be lusciously ripe for just a couple weeks. Rich porcini flush quickly as the rain comes. They won’t wait for your schedule. Be it pickling or jelly making,r ally yourself for gathering and deal yourself into the working game in your kitchen. BEtter yet, deal in some friends or family too: have a working party. Putting up food together links you with thousands of years of human traditions. And it’s a blast.”

Connie Green and Sarah Scott The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes

This past week a lot of the garden has been at maximum production. It doesn’t matter how I plan, it seems everything comes ripe at once, and always before a trip or some other big event. The result is LONG days of frantically putting up food for the depths of winter.

Preserving the harvest 4
Preserving the harvest 3
This has been one of my best tomato years every, the bounty just keeps coming. So far I’ve canned around 40 pints of tomato soup, 15 quarts of tomatoes, along with putting a bushel in the freezer to be made into sauce when there is more time. I have also been drying my ‘Principe Borghese’ tomatoes, which are perfection. I grow this variety just for drying and I dry as many racks as I can. They are amazing in omelets and sprinkled on top of pizza.
Preserving the harvest 1
Preserving the harvest 5
My late flush of zucchini and beans are coming on strong, I did the first picking of beans yesterday and put a gallon of blanched haricots verts in the freezer. Zucchini was cubed and blanched, and grated as well, both varieties are tucked away in the freezer to be added to winter soups and frittatas.
Preserving the harvest 2
The apple trees are also producing by the bushel this year. One variety is ready even though I am not. I picked a half bushel for eating and then froze the rest to be turned into apple butter and some applesauce for Mr Chiots. Yesterday, I managed to preserve over 150 lbs of homegrown fruits and vegetables for us to feast on this winter. Not only will I save a bundle on my groceries, we’ll be eating healthfully as well. The satisfaction of nourishing yourself is an amazing feeling!

What are you putting by for winter?

Summer Saved

September 9th, 2015

I don’t do much canning, but I do put up a few jars of tomatoes every summer. There’s nothing quite like cracking open a jar of crushed tomatoes in the middle of a snowstorm. The smell brings you right back to summer.
canning_tomato_soup 2
Last night I worked late into the night getting 8 quarts and 4 pints of crushed tomatoes put up. Earlier this week I made 20 pints of tomato soup. I’m hoping to at least double this if the tomatoes hold on and the weather continues to be nice. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for no late blight and sunny days.

Do you jar up tomatoes? What’s your favorite recipe to use them in during the winter?

Friday Favorite: Vegetable Soup

August 28th, 2015

Since the garden is bursting with fresh vegetables, I’ve been making pots of vegetable soup. The soup gets ladled into wide mouth pint mason jars and tucked away in the freezer, ready for quick meals come cold weather. We eat some in the summer too, last night I made a pot of minestrone and we will be enjoying that this weekend. It was filled with: potatoes, cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, green beans, and herbs from the garden.
curried broccoli soup
I make soup with whatever vegetables are ready to harvest, curried broccoli, tomato, vegetable, etc. It’s nice to know that there are instant meals ready for fall days when I’d rather spend every drop of sunlight working in the garden. I also love using up all those bits of vegetable peels to make vegetable stock for all these soups. I feel like I’m making the most of the bounty of summer.

What’s your favorite kind of soup?

Pucker Up

August 12th, 2015

Sour cherries bring back memories of my childhood. My maternal grandmother had a big sour cherry tree in her back yard. When the cherries were ripe, my grandpa would erect scaffolding around the tree and we’d go down and pick cherries. We’d spend hours pitting them, then my mom would make a pie and the rest went into the freezer to make sauce for ham and maybe another pie or two.
sour cherries 1
I planted a few sour cherries trees in Ohio, but they didn’t produce much before we moved. I haven’t planted any here yet (not sure why). Lucky for me, the neighbors have a tree that produces much more than they want or need. Thus I am able to head down and pick cherries at their place.
sour cherries 2
They can’t remember for sure which variety it is, I’m fairly certain it’s a ‘Montmorency’. I’m happy to have a few pints of cherries tucked into the freezer to be made into scones when the snow flies outside. Personally, I much prefer sour cherries to sweet cherries. I have plans to add a few trees to the garden, in fact I saved a handful of these pits and they’re tucked in the fridge in a container of peat moss hoping they’ll sprout.

Do you grow sour cherries? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?

Making the Most of Each Harvest

July 21st, 2015

One of the things I find myself doing is trying to maximize what I can grow in the garden. I don’t like to waste anything, particularly things I grow. The result has been a lot of creative ways to use up things that might otherwise go into the compost, like broccoli stems.
broccoli stems 1
broccoli stems 2
I used to peel them and cut them up, then I started putting them in my mini food processor and dicing them finely. Then I make slaw with them or blanch and freeze them to be added to soups or sauces. I really love doing this because it essentially doubles my broccoli harvest. These shredded bits are particularly good in the curried broccoli soup I love to make.

Do you have any great tips for maximizing your vegetable harvests?

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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