Thanks to all you who commented on my last post. I know what I do here every late summer and fall is kind of “retro” and to some it would seem odd and superfluous. I mean, why bother canning fruits and vegetables when we have grocery stores for that sort of thing? I do it because I enjoy it. I get a kick out of rows of mason jars full of harvest bounty, even if the harvest isn’t my own.
My garden didn’t do all that well this year, between the heavy rains early in the season to the scorching heat late in the season. My thyme is buried, my onions are just not there, my zucchini rotted on the vine, and the berries aren’t producing this year anyway (it’s too early for the bushes to bear). I had a good laugh with Haus Meister, remembering our garden discussions before reading The Backyard Homestead and how we said we’d only plant tomatoes and peppers. Well, guess what–all that grew well in our garden this year were tomatoes and peppers. 😉 However, we are incurable optimists and are beginning to research whether we may be able to plant garlic in the fall.
Even our tomatoes aren’t giving us the amazing yield that we had last year. That’s another of the ironies of life–last year I was all prepared to go on a canning binge. I had prepared a list and was working on making the best homemade spaghetti sauce I could possibly make, when suddenly the first trimester pregnancy food aversion struck–and with Sunshine, it was tomato sauce and garlic. Only two of the staples in our house! So this summer, lacking such aversions, I viewed my huge tomato plants with gleeful expectation, envisioning jars upon jars of homemade salsa. Last year by this time I had well over 30 tomatoes from my backyard garden. This year, 11 tops, and six of those are still green on the vine. It also doesn’t help that Dinosaur keeps picking them and bringing them to me –“Here ya go, Mom. Green pumpkins!”
Ah well, that’s life, and fortunately we’re in an area by no means lacking in produce stands. In fact, tomorrow we plan to head to a nearby farm that sells produce in many of the area stores as well as at its own farm stand and in the Sunday Farmer’s Market. As I said before, I’m an incurable optimist and ambitious to boot, so a few days ago I sat down with my Ball Book of Canning and Preserving and made a list of recipes I wanted to try before winter. Here we go….
- Honey Spiced Peaches (done! 3 quarts)
- Peaches (done! 3.5 quarts)
- Sweet Potatoes (3 pints and counting)
- Tomato Sauce
- Diced Tomatoes
- Chili Sauce
- Sweet pickle relish (this one’s for Haus Meister)
- Blackberry jam
- Apple-Maple Jam
- Sweet Cider Apple Butter
- Cranberry Cider Jelly
- Cranberry Juice
Where am I going to put all of these? Heh heh…. don’t bother me with details. Let’s just see if I accomplish them first. I’m sure I can make room if I clean out my closet…. 😉 Oh, and if you’re wondering how I can do this and homeschool, well, I work on it after school with helpers if I can (they love to crank the apple peeler/corer/slicer under my supervision) or I wait until Haus Meister is home after work or wait for a weekend. Haus Meister is thrilled that I like to do this sort of thing–and he likes good homemade stuff–so he gives me time and help to do it. Yes, I am spoiled.