Putting Food By
I’ve been getting into canning more and more over the last few years, and this year we put away more food for the winter than ever before. Two of my old standbys that I’ve been making for several years are lemon cucumber garlic dill pickles and roasted tomatoes, so of course I made several batches of those. I made applesauce from the trees at the farm again this year, and since the apples are red skinned the applesauce turns out a very pretty shade of pink. I went a little overboard while shopping for tomato starts last spring, so I ended up with 14 tomato plants in the garden this year. We’ve had tons of tomatoes in all sizes and colors, and I’ve put up 18 quarts of tomato sauce. There’s lots of fruit from the farm in the freezer ready to be made into pies or tarts this winter: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and golden plums. Sean pitched in and did his share of canning too. He brought home about 40 pounds of tuna from a fishing trip this summer and spent a day and a half canning several dozen pints and half pints of tuna. Fresh canned tuna is so much better than canned tuna from the store, and it is excellent in salads since it’s in nice big pieces.
We’ve also got a small stockpile of potatoes, onions, and garlic in storage in the basement. This was my first year growing potatoes, and I didn’t spend much effort on them and it shows. We had a very small harvest despite what I’ve heard about 2 pounds of seed potatoes yielding 50 pounds of potatoes. Next year I am going to have Sean build me a wooden potato box to grow them in, and I’ll fill it with composted chicken manure which I’m sure will yield much better results. The onions were on the small side this year since I planted them pretty late, so I will have to get them in earlier next year. Nonetheless, we still have several dozen onions in storage, as well as a few dozen leeks which are still in the ground. The garlic patch yielded about 4 dozen cloves of garlic which is just about right. They grew very well in the repurposed hot tub herb garden, so I will plant them there again this fall.
We’re fortunate to have family and friends that also can, and they do an excellent job with jams, chutneys, and relishes so I haven’t had to learn how to make those myself yet. I would like to experiment with pickling more vegetables – beans, asparagus, peppers, and cabbage to name a few. Since we’ll be growing all of those veggies in the garden next year, learning how to pickle them is definitely on the top of the list so we can add them to the pantry next year. I did not get around to making and freezing pesto this year, and I’m regretting it already. I froze about a dozen half pints of pesto last year, and it was so nice to have it to add to meals throughout the winter. I’m not sure what I’ll use to spice things up this winter, I just may have to try my luck with pickling winter vegetables. Darn, just when I thought my to do list was getting shorter….