Drying Onions

We had an awesome onion harvest this year, more than enough for our needs. The big onions are being stored fresh in the basement (I had intended to braid them up all cute like, but it just didn’t happen), for the little onions I decided to try something different.

I had about a half bushel of smaller onions, they had a really good flavor, but I just didn’t want to mess with little onions, to me they aren’t worth the effort to cook with them. BUT, they are still good food and it would wrong to just discard them.

So I decided to was going to dry them. I used dehydrated onions a lot in my cooking. I tend to get a little lazy at times and instead of chopping an onion I will throw a handful of dehydrated onions in soups or ground beef.

IMG_5064I was very simple, I just sliced them about a half inch and threw them in my dehydrator.

I set the dehydrator outside, I didn’t want the smell of onions to fill the house, and boy they were strong smelling too.

It took about twenty four hours and they had dried crisp and beautiful, perfect for throwing into a pot of soup.

They are stored in a gallon size glass jar in my pantry, a simple, easy way of storing and preserving onions.


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.

IMG_4822IMG_4823(Lou searching for a ripe tomato or two)

IMG_4870IMG_4872Lou 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.

IMG_4875Seventy 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.

Dilly Beans


The summer of 2013 will always be known as the year of the “bean” at the farm.
We had tons of beans.
Oodles of beans.
It was such a blessing, we had enough beans to eat fresh and can and enough beans to play around a bit.

This year we tried the Dilly Bean.
Canning Dilly Beans was a lot of fun and really simple, which is a huge plus for me, I just don’t have time to play around with complicated canning recipes.
I have lots of mouths to feed!

IMG_4766The preparation is very simple.  Simply wash the beans and cut them to the size of your jars, steam them until they are just tender.  That’s it.

IMG_4767IMG_4768In clean, sterilized jars place one dried chili pepper, one clove garlic and one half teaspoon dill seed. Pack the beans tightly in the jars, standing on end.

IMG_4769Bring 2 cups water, 2 cups apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup canning salt to a boil and pour over the beans, leaving about a half inch head space.  Screw the lids on tight and flip jars over.

IMG_4770Once the jars have cooled completely, flip them back and check the seal.  Store for a few weeks before serving, so the flavors can mix and mature.

Serve cold




Strawberry Jam

 In August I got a great deal on flats of strawberries.
(yes, I said August, I guess I’m a little behind on posting, I feel like my life skipped over most of September and all of October)
We hadn’t had strawberry jam in the house for years
(I refuse to buy jams)
so the girls and I went right to work making up loads of strawberry jam.

IMG_4675 IMG_4676 IMG_4677 IMG_4680


At the end of a very long day I was left with a bunch of strawberries, not enough for a full batch of jam, so I canned them in syrup, it was a grand experiment that paid off, these little gems are really good on top of yogurt or ice cream.IMG_4687Everything else made it into jars and jars of strawberry jam

Pepper Jelly

At the first of the season I was gifted two jalapeño plants.
We aren’t really pepper people, but I figured it would hurt to grow some, and maybe I would get enough to make salsa or chili sauce.  I then bought some regular bell peppers, just in case I could pull the salsa thing off.

Well it didn’t really work, I never got enough tomatoes the same time I got peppers to make it worth whipping up a batch of salsa, when I bottle things I go big, or go home.  If I can’t make a lot, it just isn’t worth it to me.

However, that isn’t always the case for a few specialty items, things I wouldn’t want to have dozens and dozens of jars.  Pepper jelly is one of those specialty items.  I love pepper jelly, but we don’t eat jars at a time, a dozen lasts us well over a year, so a dozen is what I make.

I mixed two recipes from the Ball Canning Books.  I didn’t make a true jelly, because I was way to lazy that day to let the pulp drip for hours to make a clear juice, it is more of a pepper jam.


I cut and seeded my peppers, using about a two to one ratio, more bell peppers than jalapeño, while I like the kick jalapeños give, I don’t like it to be too hot. IMG_4776 IMG_4778

Pretty green juice, the peppers all ground up ready to add to the cooking pot, along with sugar and pectin. It looks so pretty and green, but has a little bite if you breath too deeply. IMG_4779

(this is what happens if you get distracted by homeschooling the kiddos and the sugar mixture boils over.  I will say, a glass flat top stove makes cleaning up a mess like that a breeze) IMG_4783Pepper Jelly (jam) all bottled up and ready for cheese and crackers this winter.