Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Busy Life and Frozen Tomato Trials

The thunder is rolling in.  Its August 19th and we are having the first thunder storm of the month.  Something isnt quite right about this weather we have (not) been having.  Lowest temps on record and the garden shows it.

Face bling...aka staples. 
Two weekends ago J and I drove down to Unionville/Bloomington for a much needed weekend away from it all.  We ate good food, hiked, wandered through an heirloom garden in the pouring rain, and visited a friend.  It was a nice change of pace but a weekend away definitely has a way of speeding up the week on either end of it!  Upon our return there was the harvest from the garden, processing for freezing 2 dozen corn from the Bloomington Farmers' Market, and a canine encounter with a squirrel.  While the dog ultimately won in the game of life, she didnt come out unscathed which is exactly what we needed on a Sunday evening upon returning home from vacation.  It certainly made reality return faster than we had hoped.

This last weekend I was finally able to catch up.  I put up another 3 dozen corn for the freezer, pickled 3 pints of baby beets, jarred some fermented pickles so they were shelf stable, canned 10 quarts of tomatoes, made some dill pickle spears, and started a ferment on some pickled sandwich slices.  I illegally harvested some oak leaves from the Yellow Wood State Park while on vacation and added them to this recent patch of fermented pickles so we will see if they stay crisper.  As long as the flavor is good, I dont care too much if the slices are crunchy, but its a worthy experiment.

Last year we went through about 5 dozen ears of corn from the freezer.  We had just purchased our freezer and were still getting used to having produce on hand, so I am sure our usage will go up this year.  We are now more accustomed to dashing trudging through the snow for a freezer harvest so I will put up a few dozen more corn cobs.
Frozen tomatoes
I also learned, the hard way, to core your tomatoes BEFORE putting them in the freezer.  I didnt have enough tomatoes to can and, perhaps more truthfully, didnt have the time to heat up that giant pot of water and wait an hour while it boiled away with a single can in it, so I stuck the tomatoes that were ready to harvest after our vacation in the freezer.  Needlesstosay, when I retrieved them last weekend, they turned into a water-logged mess while trying to get those damned cores out.  I have flagged those cans for usage in soup to recover that batch.  This makes two canning lessons I have learned this year: one lesson about letting the cool jars touch the hot bottom of the canner, and one about prepping tomatoes before they are frozen if the ultimate goal is to can them.  I am glad I am getting these lessons out of the way now!

1 comment:

  1. Lots of lessons to be learned from gardening and from preserving, that's for sure! Sorry to hear about the squirrel encounter. Possums and raccoons are also hard on pets.