Finally, after weeks of waiting we are starting to pull in a harvest. The beans have come on, about 6 weeks late, and we are getting more and more each day. I’m beginning to believe that I might have food to store for the winter!
Today I canned my first batch of beans, a modest 6 quarts out of the 50 or 60 I hope to do this fall, it’s a small start, but a start.
While 2013 was the year of the beans, it will also be known as the year of the big tomato failure.
Temperatures were just too hot this year, we went from mild and cool spring weather to record breaking heat in a matter of a week. We missed out on the few weeks of temperatures needed to set tomato fruit, therefore the harvest was very slim. Around the end of the season things picked up a bit, but not in the quantities we needed for storage through the winter.
Sadly I had to buy boxes of tomatoes, maybe next year will be better.
(Lou searching for a ripe tomato or two)
Lou was our faithful tomato grower this year, even though it wasn’t the bumper crop we were hoping for she was still very diligent in caring for her tomatoes and when canning time came around she was right there doing her duty.
Seventy quarts later we have our tomatoes for the year. I just can pain stewed tomatoes so I can go quickly, and any other tomato products that are needed throughout the year can be make from them.
Sassy was our pickle girl this year.
This spring she carefully planted the pickle patch.
Through the summer she weeded it carefully.
She took note of the first blossoms and waited anxiously for the first baby fruits to appear.
Then as they started to ripen she picked and picked and picked.
Every few days when she had picked enough cucumbers she diligently scrubbed each one, divided up the dill, boiled the brine and made pickles.
Six weeks later we were able to sample the first batches,
and they were a huge success!
Thanks Sassy for growing us a pickle patch and helping to fill our larder!
Apples are one of my favorite fall fruits. I love everything about them, the colors, the flavors, the many varieties. I especially love that every part of the apple can be used in one form or another and lends itself very well to home preserving.
This year we were able to pick many, many bushels of apples from our neighbors orchard. Unfortunately for me, apple harvest was right around the time we lost our Little Angel, so I wasn’t able to do as much as I wanted. However, Dadzoo came to the rescue and while I watched he canned and cut and dried and buttered and froze all our apples. I’ve been so blessed in marriage.
We did sliced apples in a spiced syrup, dried apples, apple butter and apple pie filling. Had I been able I would have added apple jelly and apple vinegar, but it just wasn’t to be this year. Right now we have four little apple trees that were planted this summer on the farm, we plan on adding a couple more and someday we won’t have to buy our apples but will have big apple picking parties from our very own trees!
A farm girls dream.
My garden, this year, has been a sad little shadow of my past gardens. The combination of a late, cold, wet spring and me being great with child for the first half of the summer, and nursing a hungry little monkey for the second half has made for a very late, very neglected, very low producing garden.
One item that has done very well, which it should since it is pretty much a no-brainer in gardening circles, are my green beans. I planted a lot this year hoping that I would have enough to can, which I did. And, as luck would have it, the all decided to ripen just as Baby Girl was born and when we came home there were pounds of beans that needed picking. And as luck would have it, I have a whole bunch of little fingers that are really good at picking beans, and snapping them.
The great thing about canning beans, is that they need little preparation, they aren’t like jellies and jams, they aren’t like tomatoes that need peeling either. The only thing that needs to be done to the beans to get them ready for canning is a good washing, and snapping them to the size desired. I then raw packed them in pint sized jars, added a half teaspoon sea salt, and hot water. I then processed them for 20 minutes at 12 pounds pressure (the pounds of pressure needed is determined by altitude). Simple and easy.
I was able to can 24 pints, and the bean bushing are still producing like crazy, there will be many jars of beans on the shelves at our house to feed us all winter long!