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July Harvest Totals

August 1st, 2009

July has come and gone and the garden harvest is finally starting to add up nicely (yesterday I picked over 10 pounds of stuff). August should be the best month with the tomatoes being in full force by then.
I’ve been dutifully weighing just about everything I harvest, although I’m sure I’ve missed a few things here and there. Keeping track is such a great way to know how much a difference you’re making in your diet (and your pocketbook)!
So what came from the garden this month?
10.3 lbs of wild black raspberries
8.5 lbs of tomatoes
7.5 lbs of cucumbers (all nicely tucked away in pickle form)
7.5 lbs of garlic (all drying in the attic)
4 lbs of zucchini
.5 lbs of peppers (I have a bunch on the plants I’m allowing to ripen so I can can roasted red peppers)
.5 lbs of peas (the last of them)
3 ozs of herbs

What have you harvested from you garden this July? (post your blog link if you blog it)

My First ‘Ronde de Nice’ Squash

July 15th, 2009

My first ‘Ronde de Nice’ squash was ready to harvest on Sunday!
I’ve had a few female flowers open before this one, but they weren’t pollinated fully so the fruits didn’t grow this big. This one I hand pollinated (I need Chicago Mike to send me some squash bees).
This squash weighed in at 9 ounces. I picked it small because it’s the perfect size for Mr Chiots and I to eat in one meal. I love squash fixed in so many ways: sauteed, steamed with olive oil and pepper, battered & fried, au gratin, in omelets, in lasagna, and many other ways. I have 4 squash plants so pretty soon we’ll be eating squash every day I think, and it will really help my garden harvest totals for the Garden Harvest Challenge!

What’s your favorite summer squash recipe?

Making Pickles

July 14th, 2009

On Sunday evening I went out and picked 4 Boston Pickling Cucumbers that were the perfect size for pickling in spears. I have been reading through the book I got the other day and I settled on a quick pickle recipe.
I reduced the recipe because most of them call for several pounds of cucumbers and I only had about 1 and a quarter pound. So I found a recipe that made 1 quart. I changed it a bit, because I just can’t seem to follow a recipe by the book.
We’ll see how they turn out, I didn’t can them because it was such a small batch. I’m basically brining them in the fridge for a month or so.
Here’s the recipe I used:

Quick Small Batch Dill Pickles
4 pickling cucumbers (around 1 pound)
1 cup water
7/8 cup of white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of pickling salt
2 garlic cloves
8 peppercorns
2 teaspoons of pickling spice (or a pinch of flaked red pepper)
fresh dill sprigs
8 sour cherry leaves (they’re supposed to promote crispness) or 3-4 grape leaves

Bring water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Meanwhile scrub and cut pickles into desired sizes. Add pickling spices, peppercorns, fresh dill, cherry leaves to quart canning jar. Add pickles to jar and pour brine over the pickles. Seal with lid and put in refrigerator for at least one month. Alternately you can water bath can pints or quarts for 10 minutes .

I’ll let you know in a month or so how they turned out. My next batch will probably be using a different recipe, perhaps I’ll try soaking the cucumbers in salt before I pickle them. Or perhaps I’ll make some fermented pickles.

Do you like sour or sweet pickles?

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?

My First Ripe Tomato of 2009

July 6th, 2009

I harvested my first ripe tomato on Saturday morning (actually I harvested 2, I took one to my mom). It’s one of my Tumbling Tom Tomatoes that’s planted in a hanging basket. I thought my Sub-Arctic tomato would be my first ripe one, but they’re all still green. The plants are loaded with tomatoes though, they should be ripening any day now.
I haven’t eaten it yet. I think I’m going to cut it in half, salt it and share it with Mr Chiots. I’m looking forward to many more tomatoes this summer!

Any ripe tomatoes from your gardens yet?

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.