Heirloom tomatoes are in and our lone peach tree is so laden with fruit that the branches are touching the ground. Yesterday I canned a dozen jars of diced tomatoes and started a batch of spicy ketchup.
Today I canned the ketchup, made a large batch of zucchini bread for the freezer and picked the first batch of peaches from our little tree.
I really love all the wonder food our little corner of the world produces.
Canning season has officially started in my household. This past week corn, kale, snow peas, and fruit cocktail have been canned and shelved for the winter months. Today I canned a lovey peach and mango salsa that turned out so well that I wanted to share the recipe with all of you.
The recipe makes about 11 half-pints so adjust the ingredients according to your needs.
6 cups seeded, peeled and diced peaches (~4 large fruits)
6 cups peeled, seeded and diced, firm ripe mangos
2 cups diced orange or yellow bell peper
1 1/2 cups finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 diced fresh jalapeños
Juice and zest of a fresh lime
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sterilize canning jars and tops.
place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
scoop the salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.
It is just about the end of our vegetable gardens for this year, which allows for some small batch processing of special treats. Today I made apple chips, pickled jalapeños and a few jars of spicy green tomatoes.
Later today I will be pulling out the last of the kale and dehydrating it for the winter.
Harvest season is in full force on our homestead so there is little time to do anything other than can and dehydrate the bounty. After a couple of weeks of picking and processing the fruits and vegetables from the garden we were able to escape for a long weekend with friends to a lakefront cabin for a bit of kayaking and a lot of talking. We returned home to a lot of ripe produce, especially tomatoes that needed to be picked and processed.
Pickled hot peppers, green beans and pasta sauce canned from yesterday’s harvest
Today I prepared and canned green beans, eggplant and tomato pasta sauce, pickled hot peppers, and also filled the dehydrator with tomato slices and skins that were processed into tomato powder and stored as slices for winter dishes.
Dehydrated tomato slices, 1/4 inch pieces dried down to these thin wafers. They make a great snack if the slices are sprinkled with an herb salt prior to being dehydrated.
We try to not waste anything in our kitchen. These dehydrated skins will be ground and added to the tomato powder.
I also dehydrated some almond pulp leftover from almond milk we made, and started a batch of goat cheese (goat milk was from a farm near the camp).
Dried almond pulp that will be ground into flour
Ground almond flour ready to be used in baked goods
It is alsotime to start working on vinegars for dressings and marinades. This season I am making chive, wild violet, peach, pear and apple vinegars. The fruit vinegars are a great way to use up skins and other bits that are left over from canning projects.
Dehydrated tomato slices, peach vinegar on its second ferment, apple cider vinegar on the first ferment, and tomato powderthat is used as a replacement for tomato paste
Now it is time to clean the kitchen and kick back for a while.
It is currently the point in the growing season where I spend a large portion of my time in the kitchen. This morning I filled the dehydrator with some of the items picked from our gardens last night (they will be used in soups and stews), started some pasta sauce in the crockpot (will can it in pint containers tomorrow), made some eggplant meatless balls for the freezer, made a peach crumble (oven was already on so why not), and started a batch of peach scraps fermentingfor salad dressings and marinades.
With the very warm wet summer this year we have a bumper crop of green beans, tomatoes and eggplant. This morning I used 12 pounds of our tomatoes and 4 pounds of eggplant to make some lovely jars of aubergine pasta sauce.
The recipe I use is as follows. Please keep in mind that the canning method is the one that I use in my house. Please follow the canning method and times that are appropriate for your household.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion , chopped
6 garlic cloves , chopped
1 large bell pepper , chopped
2 lbs eggplants, cubed
8 cups tomatoes , peeled & cubed
1/4 cup tomato powder or 1-6 ounce can of tomato paste
4 tablespoons fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dry oregano
1/3 cup date sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup dry red wine
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic; cook until the onion is soft.
Add tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato paste, basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, sugar, salt, pepper, and wine; stir.
Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Blend mixture with an emersion blender.
Put into hot jars and add prepared lids and rings. Screw rings on until finger tight.
Process in hot water bath for 40 minutes.
No matter how much canning I do, the reduction in volume when fresh produce is processed always amazes me.
It was time to thin the kale this morning. The cutting rendered 8 pints of greens and a half gallon container chopped stems for fermenting.
While waiting on the pressure canner I blanched yesterday’s green bean harvest and placed them in the dehydrator for drying. We really prefer to use dehydrated green beans rather than frozen in winter soups and stews. For the next month or so our dehydrator, pressure cooker and water bath canner will be running almost daily.
Our gardens are starting to produce fairly well so I have been doing a lot of canning and dehydrating of vegetables, which has also produces a lot veggie scraps. By the end of this weekend I had enough to fill a large crockpot and make a batch of vegitable broth this afternoon.
I find that making my own vegitable broth saves us a fair amount of money and taste better than any brand I have found in the market. To make your own broth fill a slow cooker with vegitable scraps. For this batch I used onion, mushroom stems, celery, tomatoes, beets, kale stems, broccoli, cabbage, carrot tops, and green bean tips (keep in mind that you can always store scraps in the freezer until you have enough to make a batch of broth). Cover the scraps with water until it is about an inch above the scraps, add salt, pepper and herbs to the pot and cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
Run the cooked scrap mixture through press to render as much liquid as possible and then pour through a fine mesh seive to remove the larger vegitable particles that made it through the press.
Place the pressed scraps in to your compost container.
Pour the the warm broth into prepared canning jars and pressure cook for 75 minutes at the pressure recommended for pressure in your area.
Thanks to a nice neighbor who lets us pick blueberries in their orchard, I was able to process 18 jars of berries in a very light syrup for snacking fall through spring. I just love the pinging sound the lids make when they seal.
The next picking of berries will be mixed with our raspberries and turned into juice.
It is time to start vegetable fermentation today. Each year a portion of our veritable are set aside to be fermented. This process provides very healthy products that require little or not refrigeration.
I wanted to try a different flavor profile for sauerkraut so a small batch taster was started. If we like the flavor I will start a large stone crock of the flavored sauerkraut, if not we will make a large batch of a more traditional flavor. A jar of spicy green beans was also started. It is to bad that we have to wait three months to dig into those lovely green gems.
Tomorrow I will start carrots and korhabi fermenting. What type of vegetables do you ferment?
Now that the days are longer our birds have been providing us with a large quantity of eggs. Some have been sold, dozens are frozen for the fall when the birds molt, and a number have been used in various baked goods. Today I useda dozen of the duck eggs to make a batch of lemon curd for cakes and toast in the winter months. We will really enjoy this liquid sunshine during the cold months…
Gathering season has started. The dehydrator is running almost daily and canning will start next week. This year between the mild winter and drought this summer, we have more wild life than I care for during growing season. The deer ate most of the low hang fruit and nuts, a variety of creatures finished off the hazelnuts, pears, carrots, and beets before they were ready to pick. The birds fought us for cherries and blueberries. We really don’t mind feeding wildlife, but we wish that they would share.
Although we lost a fair amount of fruit and nuts this season, the vegetables out did themselves. We have had several harvest of kale, summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, kidney beans, cucumbers and herbs. The pie pumpkins came in early and large, and potatoes came in on schedule. Both are sitting in the utility room seasoning before being moved to winter storage.
For the past week the dehydrator has been working overtime to process various vegetables and herbs for winter soups and stews.
Yesterday I processed a large batch of kale into a dried powder for use in smoothies and soups.
A few of the kale stems were also given to the dogs as treats…for some reason our dogs love veggies.
Apples are also starting to mature, so the first batch of apple cider vinegar has been started in the crock.
Do you grow your own produce? If so, how are your gardens doing and how do you process the harvest?
August was so packed with activity that it came and went very quickly. During the month we took a road trip to visit with family in PA, picked blueberries and blackberries, harvested and canned a number of vegetables, and dehydrated a large number of herbs and root veggies.
We canned green beans, carrots, various types of tomatoes, cucumbers, condiments, fruit jams, and small batch specialty items (even made some tomato jam for my mother). The dehydrator ran almost daily packed with dill, basil, flat and curly parsley, sage, cilantro, kohlrabi, carrots, green beans, kale chips, apple chips and various greens.
Mid-month I also started the first batch of sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar to fermenting.
The cool summer caused a number of our herbs to bolt so we let them go to seed thus allowing us to collect things like dill seed and coriander for the pantry.
At this in time point in time most of the flat surfaces in the kitchen are covered with trays of beans and seeds in various stages of the drying cycle.
In general, we got a lot of winter food prep done this month, but we didn’t get in any kayaking or hiking… hopefully we will have better luck in September.
How have your gardens been doing? What type of items have you preserved?
June was a wet and cool month here in the northeast. Our temperatures were below normal and rainfall levels at a record high. Most of our plants loved the weather and the wetness allowed us to get a number of things done indoors. The herb garden has allowed me to dehydrate a number of different items for the fall. The asparagus bed provided and is still providing tasty treats, and the radish beds have provided for some tasty roasted morsels and enough greens to make pesto for the the entire fall.
The yummy treats on fruit trees, berry bushes and grape vines are coming along nicely. A number of our flowers made a quick showing before the rains drove them away, but the blooms on the houseplants made up for the short garden showing.
Kale coming along but not liking all the rain and cook weather
Lupine heading into the woods in the back of our house
carrots and parsnips taking hold well
Potato towers starting to show signs of life — used fall leaves as the brown matter for the towers
Collards starting to branch out — hoping to can several quarts of greens this fall
Day lilies starting to bloom, telling us that summer will start to wind down soon
Lemons starting to grow on the plant in the house
Luna playing in the day lily garden
Wood split and stacked for winter 2015
Tomatoes coming along nicely
Bush beans starting to flower
Easter cactus sharing a few blooms with us
We ere able to enjoy some peonies between rain storms
Herb garden — have already filled the dehydrator a few times with cuttings from the garden
Luna and Ginger enjoying a bit of sunshine
apples doing great. I see lots and apple sauce and crisps on the fall to do list
love the passion flowers on the vines in our reading room
I finished a number of potholders that will go in holiday baskets for friends and family this year, canned two dozen jars of strawberry and carrot cake jam, and got a bit of work done on a few needlepoint projects (have 4 going at once at the moment).
On the sunny days this month we tried to keep up with weeds in the garden (an impossible task), split and stacked food for the winter, played fetch with the dogs, took in an outdoor concert, did a bit of hiking and even got out kayaks on the water one day. All in all it was a very good month.
We plan on kayaking part of the Connecticut river on the fourth of July weekend after a few items on the honey do list are completed. Hope you all have a wonder 4th.