If you do, you might just miss summer’s end. I harvested elderberries tonight. The tomatoes are ripening and the string beans are just about done. I think the broccoli has another week and the then the cauliflower will be ready. IT has been a fairly good year for the garden. Not great; the drought certainly had an effect, but very good. I will have bumper crops of potatoes and onions and those are two crops that matter around here.
So what to do with all the produce? I have a preservation schedule (sort of) and I think it will provide us with the foundations for many excellent meals.
Tomato sauce: You just can’t have too much. The few jars I have leftover from last year are going to go into bar-b-que sauce and ketchup. I need a lot of sauce for pizza and pasta as well as juice for soups. I make a kind of V-8 juice with tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, celery, parsley, cucumbers and carrots. It all gets simmered together and then run through the Squeezo. Add some fried hamburger and corn and it makes a tasty winter soup.
Potatoes: Most will land in the root cellar but a good number will be canned. We loved the canned potatoes for quick meals. They are excellent fried with onions. I want to dehydrate some too, mostly for the fun of showing off how wonderful they are when they look so awful before sitting in simmering water for 30 minutes.
Onions: Again, most are stored in the kitchen but this year I plan to can a bunch of carmelized onions. I melt a stick of butter in my crock pot, add the sliced onions and then add more butter when they begin to cook down. It takes a good 10 hours to get them just right, then I can pressure can them in half-pint jars.
Peaches: I already canned a bunch. I even canned the juice and the leftover syrup I canned them in. Enough ginger and even peach water tastes pretty good. I got my first bushel of saucing apples today and that’s the most labor intensive fruit for us. I dry slices, make sauce and juice and then I make fruit leather with the apple sauce and whatever fruit I have handy. Raspberry is our favorite. The it’s time for jardinier with the bits and pieces of the garden. We are quite fond of cauliflower and carrot.
The beets are already pickled but I have a second crop just about ready. It’s time to pull the last of the radishes and check to see who has decent squash. I have good spaghetti squash but that’s it. The rest of my keeping squash is a complete bust.
I saw a nifty thing on-line and I plan to steal the idea. I’m keeping a preservation log so I’ll know how much I start with and how much I used. It will help with garden planning next year. Record keeping is not my strong suit but it does pay to do it right.
In the embarrassment department: I presented a preservation workshop at the NOFA conference this past weekend. It was looking like rain and I did take my umbrella with me but as I park in the parking garage and don’t go outside except for a quick trip to the registration tent I didn’t bother with anything else. I got unloaded and went to register and it started to rain. I don’t mean delicate little drops. I mean torrential rain and gusty winds. My umbrella was of no use at all. I was soaked by the time I got to the tent. On the trip back to the Campus Center the warning sirens were sounded with instructions to seek shelter immediately. Bruce and I high-tailed it to the building. I spent 10 minutes trying to dry off a bit by standing under the hand-drier in the ladies’ room but it was a lost cause. Even my underwear was dripping wet. I gave up on my shoes and just presented looking like a drowned rat and shivering with the cold from the air conditioners. I think it still went pretty well, all thing considered. When I got home I had to remove the money that had been in my wallet in my bag. Even that was wet enough to wring out. Did I have extra clothes? How about a raincoat? Of course not. I had taken everything out of my car to make room for the equipment. So much for being prepared.