Despite a brutally hot start to our summer, it has been very nice last part of July, and August was very nice. We got a good amount of rain, the weather was cooler and the garden responded.
I have been putting by Pear Butter from fruit off my son Tobias' pear trees. And I have been freezing yard long green beans and okra for those cold winter months. Next I will try my hand at some pickles. I will be happy to pull them out of the freezer or my cupboard and add a little summer to a meal or to a winter stew by then.
Canning? Freezing? Drying? What are you putting by for your winter meals?
I've been putting up lots of peppers. We are growing many varieties. I've put up a few mixed jars but am mostly trying to separate flavors. I have pickled both traditional Boston picklers and Asian cukes, making Asian ones with onions, rice wine vinegar, fresh grated ginger, peppercorns, Thai basil, garlic and toasted sesame oil. The others have dill, garlic, etc. I have also done dilled beans and, as I type, I have a mixture of less then perfect habaneros, jalapenos and lemon peppers in a salt ferment to make a hot pepper sauce. SO is charring eggplants from our garden tomorrow and I will make baba ghanoush for future appetizers. It freezes well. I have canned tomatoes, but nothing like last year. This year I grew half cherry varieties to use for DD's wedding weekend. So, with a huge amount of cherries, I am roasting them in olive oil, garlic, sea salt and then freezing. They are great used in pastas, rice dishes, or defrosted and served with cheeses later in the year.
I think it is charming and quaint to see the terminology used by different folks for their post-gardening activities. Brenda is "putting by" and Laurel is "putting up" the fruits of their labors. My family has always said "putting up" for freezing and canning veggies in the late summer and fall. I think some folks say their crops were "laid by" when they were harvested. What different terminologies have you heard used?
Since the only veggies I planted this year were tomatoes (and I was so proud of myself for doing even that), I will be pickling and "putting up" my greenies left over when the weather gets cold. I planted them late and will have tomatoes on into the fall. Here is the first harvest from farmer Judy's garden ... (these are Big Boy tomatoes in memory of my father ... that's what he used to plant)
You grow girl! My family was from New York. They didn't know from putting up food. Maybe more like putting down food.
I forgot to mention the lovely braids of garlic hanging from the ceiling beams in Maypop's kitchen. The less than perfect heads went into the food processor and are stored in the refrigerator buried in olive oil. I use the garlic and flavored oil, replenishing the oil as needed. I have an old glass milk bottle with a dried bouquet of Florence fennel heads. The seeds find their way into our meals and I will plant some soon. Also have an old found flask in the kitchen window with short sprigs of parsley seeds. Some of them were strategically placed before the recent rains. There are now parsley seedlings for winter/spring.
I bought decorative cracker jars http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodStorage/canisters?productId=10007363 to store the many kinds of beans we grow. The beans dry for a few weeks in an open pickle crock and then go in the jars. I keep a lot of wicker baskets in the kitchen for picking. Over the fridge, hanging from beams, arranged on the walls of the vestibule, etc.. We get them for bargain prices at Goodwill. I use the smallest baskets to harvest my multitude of zinnia heads as they go over the hill. They dry in the baskets and eventually graduate to larger baskets. I keep adding layers of my favorite "sports" as they present and keep increasing the basket size. The color remains for many months but eventually the fades leaving a lovely basket of brown zinnias on display through late winter. Come spring, I broadcast the seed throughout the garden and down the slopes. The flowers attract all kinds of birds(including hummers), bees and other pollinators. I've got to grab the drying seed heads of favorite colors and forms before the finches get at them.
We won't even start with all the seed I ferment and dry for saving each year. It's an obsession. Tomatoes, basils, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants beans, okra, tomatillos, cilantro, arugula and more.
Have you ever heard the term gleaning? We are part of a food redistribution project here in the city and it has a modern meaning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleaning We always leave a little symbolic something, at the end of the season, of each crop in the garden while we take our excess to the local food pantry.
Any suggestions on freezing spaghetti squash? Have given it a try, but not confident in how I'm prepping it.
My garden did poorly this year. A combination of hot and dry early on and mismanagement of weeds on my part.
Peppers and eggplants were best producers. Oh, and my spaghetti squash and pie pumpkins did great and are still putting out some gourds. Rabbits got to our sweet potatoes before we adequately sealed the fence.
Found a suggestion on how to freeze the spaghetti squash in another forum. (just learning about this site) Tried cutting about 6 squash in half lengthwise, removing the seeds, placing cut side down in large cake pan with water and baking at 350 for about and hour, Placed small whole halves and halved again large halves in freezer bags, sucked out the air and put them in the freezer. Will be trying one of the frozen halves next week end. We just do not have the facility yet to store them in cellar like conditions.