Saturday, September 7, 2013

Storing the Garden’s Bounty

Between the heat we had and the rain we have not had in the last few weeks, our garden is about finished. Except the pumpkins. Those babies are still going strong! The tomatoes are growing and getting ripe, but could use a little more rain to help them finish the season strong.

Farmer Doc and I have been doing a lot of canning and freezing around here to store all the good stuff that has been coming out of our garden. We spent our entire day on Labor day canning tomatoes and cucumbers. (Well, except for the part of the day when he had to go deliver a calf. Nothing like a laboring cow on Labor Day!)

This was the first time we had used the Sauce Master to deal with our tomatoes. Holy smoke – why did we not get one of these earlier?!? This beats the HECK out of blanching, skinning, and seeding the tomatoes… Just wash them, chop them up into quarters, toss them in the hopper, and crank away!

sauce master setup
Ta da! In less than 10 minutes, we had a whole batch of thick, beautiful tomato juice ready to go!

sauce master in action
We made it into pizza sauce, pasta sauce, and chili base. (We use pre-packaged mixes for all those things – just add tomato juice and sugar!)

We have seriously hard water here, and we forgot to add vinegar to the water we used for the boiling water bath during processing. So this is what the first batch of jars looked like when they cam out of the water bath… Whoops.

hard water canning
A little vinegar on a paper towel, and all those hard water deposits wipe right off the outside of the jar – no harm, no foul! (And believe me, we added the vinegar as soon as we realized what we had done!)

cleaned jar
In one day, we canned:  10 quarts of chili base, 10 pints of pasta sauce, 10 pints of pizza sauce, 12 pints of sweet pickle relish, 4 quarts + 6 pints of Polish dill pickles, 2 quarts + 9 pints of Kosher dill pickles, and 2 quarts + 10 pints of bread and butter pickles.

one day of canning
We added the new stuff to the stash that we had already accumulated in our basement – 51 quarts of green beans and 15 pints of sweet pickled banana peppers. (Guess what my parent will be taking home when they come to visit Baby Doc in October?)

canned produce
We’ve been freezing a bunch of stuff, too. Earlier this summer we picked and froze blackberries. We’ve got over 10 1-gallon bags of frozen blackberries. These make fantastic homemade ice cream and cobbler!

frozen blackberries
We also have 20 bags of shredded zucchini, and 5 bags of chopped summer squash. There is enough zucchini in there to make 40 loaves of zucchini bread. I am not sure what all I will use these for, but they are certain to make an appearance hidden in some tomato sauce later this winter…

frozen zucchini
We have over 20 bags of frozen sweet corn. I stopped counting after 20. There’s a lot in there.

frozen sweet corn
There are two gallon bags of frozen chopped bell peppers. Plus a few bags of honeydew melon and cantaloupe stashed in here, too.

frozen bell peppers
The freezer is pretty well stocked already!

well stocked freezer
I’m going to need to do some rearranging so I can fit in all the bounty from our big #FarmGirlsFreeze party later today! It's a good thing we also have that giant chest freezer in the background! (Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter, and watch the hashtags #FreezerCooking and #FarmGirlsFreeze to see all the fun the Real Farmwives of America & Friends are freezing up with Gooseberry Patch!)

Farm Girls Freeze badge LG
Just in case you thought we were all finished for the season… We have some butternut squash that are ready.

butternut squash
And a few more honeydew melons with a bunch of cantaloupes. (We have easily given away this many cantaloupes already.)

cantaloupes and honeydew melons
Remember all those tomatoes we processed on Labor Day? Well, Farmer Doc picked these two days later. And I’m sure there are about this many more that are ready (or getting close) still out there. Salsa, here we come!

(There are a few more summer squash that haven’t quite given up yet. And the watermelons are just starting to get ripe…)

And don't forget the pumpkins that will be ready to pick and process just about the same time the baby is "ripe"...

I love summer… I love summer… I love summer…

Help me remember that, won’t you?

Well, at least I will love it when we get to do things like make cantaloupe ice cream in November, eat blackberry cobbler at Christmas, and have our very own sweet corn and green beans in January. But, holy cow, it is a ton of work to be able to do that later on!

What is your favorite summer veggie to have as a treat in the winter?

{Affiliate links were used in this post. Momma needs a car seat!}

1 comment:

  1. Please tell me the type of Tomato plants you use in garden. they look so pretty.


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