Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apple Picking Season

We went apple picking 2 days ago - to a different farm (Shelburne Farm) this time.  It was a family outing through my husband's workplace.  It's never a bad idea to check out other farms, and this one is closer and was pretty nice.  We came home with a half-bushel of Empires and Cortlands and I promptly took a nap because I was working overnight.

Today I made a batch of chunky applesauce:  12 Cortlands, 1.5 cups sugar and 1.5 cups water.  This made exactly 2 quarts.  I still have 6.5 quarts of applesauce left over from last year so I don't need to make as much this year.  There will be a lot of baking in the next few days...

Also this morning I started a new batch of yogurt.  It'll be done this evening when I get home from work. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Almost Out of Jars!

Really, I think I have maybe 8 empty jars left.

This morning I made a batch of garden salsa, finishing off the tomatoes and scallions at least.  Still have a whole lot of peppers.  Also in the fridge:  leeks, a bulb of fennel, dill, cilantro, parsley, mustard greens, arugula, beets, turnips, hot peppers, bok choi, carrots, cabbage, and kohlrabi.  The less perishable things are in baskets:  potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatillos, spaghetti squash (2), 1 acorn and 1 carnival squash.  The batch started with 3 pints of chopped tomatoes and this made about 7 cups of salsa, 3 pints were canned and the rest is in the fridge.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hardly Making a Dent

You should see my fridge.  Not only is the vegetable drawer stuffed with produce, the bottom 2 shelves are stuffed as well.  AND there is more in a basket on the table - all the squashes and potatoes and tomatillos.  Today I made another triple batch of eggplant caponata which came to 7 pints.  This is now in my gift stash.

A friend moved to a house that used to have a vineyard attached and has a lot of residual grape vines - Zinfandel and Concord, mostly.  Those Concord grapes were so sweet!  We brought home a bunch over the weekend and I've extracted almost 2 quarts of juice.  Later today I plan to heat it up, add sugar, and then put it back in the fridge for the kids to drink.  Grape juice is a bit of a novelty, since usually I don't buy juice.

Tonight for dinner I am going to make a soup with the head of escarole I got from the farm.  That'll be something new for us, and it'd be nice to eat some of the greens instead of giving it all to the bunny!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Foraging Many Things

Over the past few weeks I picked a lot of wild grapes at the stables.  In addition to a small bag of mixed foraged fruits (grapes, elderberries, and blackberries so far) I got over 3 pounds of grapes to make a batch of jelly.  Today I extracted the juice from the grapes and left it to drain for a few hours while I ran a few errands.

One of those errands was to check out the foraging on the bike path.  Last year I'd found hops growing wild on the path so I went back to get more.  I must have just missed the peak of the season as many of the flowers had turned brown but I was still able to find enough to add to a batch of beer.  I'm drying them now and then I'll put them in the freezer until we're ready to brew.  The other thing I grabbed was a bunch of black walnuts.  I drove over them with the car to get the husks off and brought them home to dry.  I got about 20 but I think a few might be bad.  I won't really know until they're ready to crack open.

After I got home, I finished the batch of grape jelly - 9 cups in total.  I only canned 8 cups, though, and the rest is in the fridge.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Too Many Tomatoes

This afternoon I went out to the farm and picked up the share.  Even though I didn't pick up everything, I came home with:  an acorn squash, 2 pounds of beets, leeks, scallions, a head of lettuce, 1 kohlrabi, 1 cabbage, 3 pounds of potatoes, 2 heads of garlic, 2 eggplant, 8 peppers, 10 hot peppers, dill, cilantro, parsley, green beans, a watermelon, a half-peck of apples, and way too many tomatoes.

Since skinning and canning the tomatoes last week turned out to be pretty easy, I decided to do that again.  I had a bunch of plum tomatoes and a bunch of small slicing ones.  I was able to get 2 quarts of each type, canned whole.

As to the rest, I think I might see how far we can get with just eating everything and then, before the next pick up, have another marathon canning session.

Last Call for Raspberries

After making a batch each of raspberry jam and syrup, I'd wanted to go back and get enough berries for one more batch of jam.  We always seem to run out of it faster than anything else and, since 2 jars go to the fair, I was already down.  Today was the day I'd set aside for this; my timing couldn't have been better!  The berries were terrific.  I was able to fill my bucket, which holds 5 pints, in half a row and about 30 minutes.  After paying for them and putting them in berry baskets, I went back and picked one more quart.  That was just the right amount as 3 quarts makes one batch of seedless jam and now we have some for eating!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beach Plums

Last weekend, we went to the beach and flew kites for a while.  It was a perfect almost-Fall day, at least before it started to rain.  At least we were off the beach by then.  However, I noticed a fruit I'd never seen before and, after a minute, realized they had to be beach plums.  I took a little taste to confirm my suspicions and then, over the course of the afternoon, picked a few.  Half a pound, to be exact.

Clearly, this isn't enough to make a full batch of anything.  I put them in the freezer and thought about them for a few days and found I could make half a batch of jelly.  Today, that's sort of what I did.  Here's what I know:  it would have been smarter to pit them like cherries and then just make jam.  I boiled them with a little water and ran them through the food mill instead.  What happened?  Well the pits were too small and jammed the mill, so eventually I had to take the whole thing apart and then simmer the pits and pulp again.  This was strained and then I took out the pits by hand and put the pulp back into the pot.  When I had 2.25 cups of liquid and pulp I added half a package of powdered pectin and 3.25 cups of sugar.  This made 4 8-ounce jars of jam and a little leftover.