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Friday Favorite: Filling the Larder

September 8th, 2017

One of my favorite things time of of year is filling the freezer and the pantry with homegrown goodness. I’ve been making small batches of interesting things: pickled beans with garlic and basil, pickled garlic, pickled nasturtium pods, figs in brandy, minted onions, spiced peaches, and many more. The freezer is pretty much chocked full and the pantry shelves are starting to look lovely.


I have a few favorite canning books, most that provide small batch recipes, which are perfect for small amount of produce and small families. These books are constantly on my table, I leaf through them and read through recipes trying to decide what to make. A few recipes have become favorites and are used yearly, some are made every so often.

A few of my go-to books this time of year:
The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin
Preserving the Taste by Edon Waycott
Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone

I don’t can much, but the things that I do are throughly enjoyed in the middle of our long winters here in Maine. Every time we crack open a jar of pickles or preserves we are reminded of the delicious bounty from the garden.

What are you preserving from the garden this year?

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?

The Corn Bee

September 3rd, 2013

Yesterday, we celebrating Labor Day by processing corn with our neighbors. Having a bee, is a great way to make a big job much more fun, the work goes much faster when you have someone to talk to while working. It ended up being their best year yet. We spent the day husking, cooking, cooling, cutting and freezing dozens of ears of corn.
Corn Bee 1
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Corn Bee 11
We ended up coming home with quite a bit of corn for our freezer. This will certainly bring the taste of summer back on a few cold winter days.

Do you ever have group work days?

Stocking up for Winter

October 1st, 2011

I don’t spend much time canning in summer, I much prefer to eat vegetables fresh and in season. In winter my tastes lean more towards root vegetables roasted with venison or chicken. Hearty stews and crusty artisan breads are also on the menu quite often when the snow is on the ground. Learning to love root vegetables is quite nice because they don’t need much in the way of preservation, squash gets piled in a corner of the dining room, potatoes are tucked away in the garage, garlic and onions are in boxes in the basement, and cabbages are pounded with salt and stuffed into jars and stowed in the basement as well.

Every other year, I do spend some time putting up jam, jelly, relish, and chutney, but we have enough left from last year that I haven’t made any of that this year. The one thing I did spend some time putting in jars, tomatoes.

Over the past few weeks I have managed to put up a few dozen quart jars of tomato soup (recipe here if you’re interested) and some roasted tomato passata as well (recipe to come later). Hopefully I have just enough tomatoes left for a batch of ketchup and then my canner will retire to the basement shelf.

What summer bounty do spend the most time preserving?

It’s Going to be a Busy Saturday

August 28th, 2010

I went to my mom’s yesterday to spend a little time working in the garden. We share a garden at her house since she has great soil and a nice full sun area. This year we doubled the size of it from last year to grow more food. Every time I go, I come home with a carload of fruits and veggies that I have to can, freeze, dry or eat.

This is what I brought home yesterday, along with small bag of seckel pears that didn’t make it into the photo. Mr Chiots picked the pears, which weren’t as abundant as they were 3 years ago, but we still got a decent amount. The peppers were all getting red, which is what I’ve been waiting for to make a batch of fire roasted peppers.

Last night I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread, a batch of squash blossom sauce, and I put three trays of tomatoes in the oven to roast overnight. Since we have today off I’ll be spending my day making: ketchup with the roasted tomatoes, canning crushed tomatoes, fire roasting and canning the red peppers, pickling the Hungarian peppers, making up a batch of pesto, cooking up the green beans and broccoli for lunch and most like getting those pears in the oven to make pearsins. Whew, just thinking about all of that while I type this after midnight at the end of a long day makes me tired. But it’s the season and I know there are tons of you out there just like me spending long hours squirreling away garden goodies in the pantry for the long winter.

What have you been squirreling away lately?

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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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