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Bringing in the Sheaves (or braids)

October 11th, 2014

Yesterday I started bringing in the onion crop. They have been drying in the top of the garage for a month or so. This year they were harvested a bit later than last, they didn’t get blown over like they did last year. The results were much larger onions, which I’m pretty happy about.
onion braids 1
I only braid the smaller onions, the big ones are put into wooden boxes in a single layer and stowed away in the basement where it’s nice and cool. Usually they last through early June of the following year, just in time for spring onions and small fresh onions. This is my best onion harvest so far, I’m guessing I harvested around a hundred and fifty pounds of onions.
onion braids 2
Onions are one of my favorite crops to grow, I love nurturing them from tiny seeds. Perhaps I love growing them so much because I really love eating them. Pretty much every meal around here begins with the chopping of an onion!

What’s your favorite crop to grow?

Picking Pecks of Peppers

September 25th, 2014

This year I had a bumper pepper harvest. I could have left them on the plants longer, but I wanted to clear out that spot in the garden to move the strawberries. Thus I ended up picking mountains of peppers. Most of them will be roasted over a fire and canned, some will be stuffed and frozen (here’s my recipe if you’re interested).
picking peppers 2
Some of them were given to neighbors, others have already been used for delicious meals. There are still a good many to process, looks like I’ll be busy tonight!
picking peppers 1
The small peppers are the Mini Bells I talked about last week, I’m thinking I’ll make mass quantities of bite sized peppers stuffed with sausage, onions, garlic, herbs and cheese. I made a batch of ricotta earlier this week just for them. I think popping a few of these beauties out of the freezer for a quick breakfast or dinner will be so convenient.

Do you like green peppers? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?

Let the Harvest Begin

August 23rd, 2014

I’ve been harvesting a few small cherry tomatoes here and there, but have been waiting for my main crop of canning tomatoes to ripen.  That happened this week.  Since I’ve been feeling under the weather, I let them sit on the vine.  Thankfully, they kept very well, but were in need of harvesting.  Along with the tomatoes I picked basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and parsley for my batches of passata. My harvest ended up being about twenty pounds yesterday, that should make four batches of passata.
Tomato Harvest (1)
I’ll also add onions and garlic to the mix along with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil.  Everything will be slow roasted in a low oven until the tomato sugar slightly caramelized and everything gets jammy.  Then I’ll put it through the food mill and can it in pints.  This type of sauce works for everything from pizza sauce to a savory tomato soup. If I have time I’ll write up the recipe next week, it’s definitely one of the few I make now.

What are you preserving from your garden this weekend?

Hello Poppy

August 11th, 2014

Yesterday I harvested seeds from my breadseed poppies. There weren’t tons, but enough for a recipe or two.
If you’d like to read a little more about growing your own poppy seeds, check out this article on the MOFGA website. I don’t usually bake with poppy seeds so I don’t know exactly what I will make.

What’s your favorite recipe for poppy seeds?

Weekly Harvest

July 22nd, 2014

This week I’m harvesting so many tasty things from the garden. I’ve been plucking a few new ‘Purple Majesty’ potatoes from under each plant to pair with large purple beets. My shallots and garlic have sized up nicely and I have a flush of ‘Jade’ beans from my first planting.
harvest basket 1
harvest basket 2
We’ve been enjoying meatless meals comprised of a wide variety of freshly harvested vegetables topped with butter and fresh herbs.  The bounty of the July garden is always overwhelming, I often forget just how many wonderful things are ready to harvest during the summer.  There are endless possibilities for quick, healthy meals comprised of things plucked fresh from the garden.

What’s in your harvest basket this week? 

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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.