Category Archives: canning

garden update: into the fall

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We might have one more pumpkin in the field left to pick and a few winter squash.

Flowers are still producing well–and I enjoy getting down to pick them–nearly all zinnias this year. Such cheerful flowers.

We’ll probably pick the popcorn soon. Hythe is nearly desperate to do it and points out each time we are near the garden that “the corn is dead”.

The first turnips have been picked. Look at those greens–so many and so beautiful! I froze the greens to eat this winter, but I’m planning to cook the turnips tonight with bacon and onions.

Hythe got the first carrots out of the garden. Little baby ones, which he disdained after tasting. They are a little bitter at this point. But, it helps to thin those carrots a bit.

We are eating salads from the garden again (and still outside)! Lots of arugula and a little bit of leaf lettuce so far. I hope the rest of the lettuce I planted comes up. I put in a large row of an unknown lettuce seed (which I found at the bottom of my briefcase), but I am afraid the seed was not good. It has not come up.

The radishes are huge! They grew so fast with the wet warm weather. I’ve picked nearly all I planted and not knowing much else to do with a lot of large pretty radishes, I pickled them! These pickles are so delicious, especially with meat (especially BBQ pork), and they will last all winter in the refrigerator. Not only delicious, these pickles are beautiful, but they are a bit smelly (pungent-good smelly, but smelly). Recipe below.

Also, my ginger lilies are blooming. They don’t always make it here with our cold weather, but I’ve found a protected place for these with full sun and they are happy. The scent is heavenly! Plants, thanks to Nita (an almost-aunt) who is one of my gardener inspirations.

Recipe for Pickled Radishes (update):

Put in a jar:
3.5 cups sliced radishes
1 sweet onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic

Make brine and pour over radish mix:
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 star anise
1 tsp coriander seed
1 bay leaf
3 tsp kosher salt

apple saucing

With the apple harvest coming in, I have been making apple sauce every few days. It is a staple all year in our house–for breakfast, as a snack, with lunch, a side at supper, and often as dessert. So, I can as much apple sauce as I can stand (was that a pun?). Here’s my technique.

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I cut around each side of the core. This is a little more wasteful than quartering and coring, but a heck of a lot faster. I know I could use the core to make jelly but I just have not been able to get around to it. These cores (and rotten spots and rotten wholes) all go into our compost which feeds our garden. All good apple pieces go in a large pot with some water or cider and I cook on low until the apples are all soft. Our apples are unsprayed so they have a lot of spots, but I don’t worry about spots, just worms and rotten places.

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Then, I . . . well, actually, Hythe . . . grinds them through this counter stand food mill. I love this food mill because I can put a whole gallon of cooked apples in and Hythe cranks them through with no problems. Hythe is my major apple sauce cranker and I would hate to do it without him.

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As Hythe cranks, I get the canner, lids, and jars ready and start filling. I cook in the canner for about 30 minutes. While the apple sauce boils away in the canner, I clean up all spilled and dripped apple sauce and all the equipment because I learned years ago that warm apple sauce acts like a natural cementing glue if not wiped up right away.

Then, they are done! Well worth the effort.

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And now, I’ve got another bushel to get through this week!

seasonal flow . . . of jars

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For the last few  months, empty glass canning jars have been accumulating on our counters, in the pantry, on the cupboard shelves. They are the cleaned remnants of the jars of food that were stacked in the pantry over the past summer and fall. Full jars filled a few of the pantry shelves. We are now down to one shelf, 1/3 full. The empty jars inefficiently fill those shelves back up, to the extent that I have to start packing them in boxes and carting them off to the barn. They will start to come back into the house in another month or two or three when we start filling them with pickled beets, tomato juice, peach halves, and applesauce. I’ve come to see this as a seasonal activity — empty jars on shelves and counters (and then in the barn) in the winter and spring, full jars on shelves in the summer and fall. There is a seasonal flow of empty and full jars through the house and barn through the year.  It feels abundant, and I am grateful.

full jars