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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?

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?

Freezing Wild Black Raspberries

July 9th, 2009

My mom has a nice area in her back yard where a lot of wild black raspberries grow. She’s had a bumper crop this year, so she invited me over to pick the extra berries she didn’t want.
I went over several days last week and one day this week and I spent about an hour each time. So far I’ve been able to pick 10.5 pounds of wild black raspberries for our freezer! I’m heading over again today so I should be able to add another 2-3 pounds to that total. That means I won’t have to go to the local blueberry farm to buy blueberries this year since I have so many raspberries.
I freeze the berries on a cookie sheet so that they don’t freeze together in the bags. When they’re frozen, I scoop them up and put them in a freezer bag.
This way I can easily measure out what I need for a recipe from the bags and I don’t have to pre-measure into smaller freezer bags. I prefer freezing my berries and dealing with them later when I have more time and when the weather’s cooler outside.
I’m looking forward to making some jam this winter and perhaps some cobbler or some black raspberry scones.

How do you preserve berries for those long winter months?

On the Preservation Front: In the Freezer

November 25th, 2008

I am part of the Harvest Keepers Challenge over at Freedom Gardens, so I’ve been trying to preserve some of the things I’ve grown, been given or bought at the Farmer’s Market. I’m not a big fan of canning, but I do all this to be more environmentally friendly and reduce the frequent flier miles of our fruits & veggies and because it’s much healthier to eat locally and preserve your own. I made a detailed post about everything I have canned in jars last week. I do like freezing, it’s so easy: put food in containers, chill in the fridge, then put in the freezer. So what have I been preserving in the freezer?

Throughout the summer when we bought sweet corn I froze the left-over corn. In the freezer I have 24 containers of frozen corn (each one should be enough for 2 meals).

The freezer is also stocked with berries galore. I have 40 bags of blueberries (2 cups each), 15 bags of black raspberries (2 cups each), 21 bags of blackberries (4 cups each). I can’t wait for winter cobblers & pies. I may even make up a batch of blackberry jelly for Christmas gifts.

I also have 7 quarts of frozen roasted tomatoes and 7 containers of grilled peppers (green & poblano peppers) in the freezer. The peppers & roasted tomatoes are layered between wax paper so I can easily grab some when I need it for pizza or sauces. I also have a jar of frozen basil in olive oil and a jar parsley in olive oil as well as a few containers of frozen greens (turnip & beet) that will make their way into some veggie soup this winter.

My freezer is also stocked with a few pastured chickens that I bought from our local farm as well as 2 turkeys (one will be Thanksgiving dinner, the other will be made into sausage). I also have a small amount of venison from my dad’s hunting season last year. I’m hoping he gets another deer for us this year and we’ll be set for meat for the next year.

So what’s nestled in your freezer for the winter?

When Life Gives You a Wind Storm

September 18th, 2008

When life gives you a wind storm, build a fire with the fallen branches. Chiot’s Run is surrounded on 3 sides by mature woods with towering trees.

When strong winds blow, sticks litter our yard. On Sunday evening, we were hoping just sticks would be littering our yard and not whole trees. We did lose a huge branch from an old oak tree, fortunately the wind was coming from a different direction than normal, so it fell into the woods and not on our garage!

On Monday morning, we went out and picked up sticks all around the yard. We decided since it was cool, it would be the perfect day for a campfire.

I remembered all those poblano peppers I bought at the farmer’s market. I was going to grill them but I decided fire roasting them would be much tastier.

We found 2 old cinderblocks and an old grill grate and fashioned a grill over the fire. The peppers were neatly lined up shoulder to shoulder over the fire.

I grilled several batches (I bought 4 quarts of them at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday). Poblano peppers have a great flavor to begin with and when grilled they’re fantastic. These peppers fire roasted will add that perfect smoky flavor to anything we put them in.

After grilling, I trimmed them and they were neatly stowed away in freezer containers. I can hardly wait to make up a pizza or a batch of chili.

What kinds of veggies do you grill with success?

Reading & Watching

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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.