Monday, September 26, 2011

Squash, round 1

We finally gave up on the squash plants. Their dried up leaves are done with the sun and their stalks are withered. Their job is done.

These are the first squash taken.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weights and measures of tomatoes

We picked the ripe tomatoes from the garden this evening and processed them through the, now thoroughly loved, food mill. I did weigh them before processing. I came up with around 30lbs, a couple pounds short I'm pretty sure. That means that the last batch we processed was around 25lbs. There are a few more pickings, assuming they ripen, to be had before we are picked out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nine Eggplants a'roasting

One exploded prior to me pricking them to release the steam.
Or, I should say that one exploded, reminding me that I should
prick them to release the pressure of roasting.
This is the last big haul from the plants and is on it's way to some variant of baba ghanoush. There are a few eggplant still on the single remaining plant. I noticed that it even has a new blossom. I think it is a little late for that, my little green friend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pickles, success!

I sampled the first of the fermented pickles yesterday. It was a little crunchy, a little spicy, and hasn't made me sick yet. They have been in the jar for 17 days. The recipe advised 3-5 weeks. Give that, I should expect them to take on more flavor in the coming weeks? I'll find out. so far, so good.

Cans of our labors

Shari canned the tomatoes yesterday, first reducing them a bit more and adding spices.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tomato Prep

A little water bath to get things started.
The house is filled with the aroma and moisture of reducing tomatoes. This year won't be a repeat of last year's disaster, where we didn't can a single tomato. This year, the weather was seemingly worse, but our preparations seemingly better. Whatever the combination, it worked and is working. Tonight we are putting away our second round of tomatoes. I probably should have weighed them, but I didn't. I'm happy that we'll have enough to see us through the year by the time it is all done.

Two of these heaping were run through tonight.
We bought a food mill a couple weeks ago. I've been eyeing them for a couple years, but couldn't bring myself to buy. It works wonders and has saved us good amounts of time so far. Luke loves it, also, and that makes it worthwhile right there. He and I spent the evening washing, quartering and running them through our new little machine. He tired himself out quite nicely, cranking through what must have been around 20lbs of tomatoes. I didn't weigh the tomatoes, but I did weigh the skins and seeds after we were done, about 3lbs.

Luke dropped the shirt half way through his duties.
The initial product prior to reducing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pickles - now & then

It has been 14 days since the jar on the right looked like the jar on the left. The fresh green color faded by week two. Both of these are fermenting in our kitchen. The brine in the right jar is made from water, salt and vinegar. The brine for today's batch doesn't have vinegar. Its brine is two tablespoons of salt per quart of water. The key for fermentation, be it pickles or beer is to prevent bacterial growth. With beer, you boil the wort long enough to kill everything and then use and airlock to keep any airborne bugs from getting in. With  pickles, the key is to keep the cucumbers below the brine's level. I've never done this before, but I suspect I'll survive. I'll given them a try sometime next week. The recipe called out 3-5 weeks.
Fermenting dills. Started 9/17 & 9/3

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pickles, leather, pickles

Today was a good day for preserving.  We put away four pounds of pickles and a bit of squash. We don't eat a lot of pickles, so four pounds is pretty good for us. I put two pounds into a jar to ferment and canned the other two. Shari made some bread & butter pickles the other week. Basically, we are playing the pickle field for now. I'm glad to say that I still like squash-leather. It is going to let me free up some much needed space in the freezer. That space is probably going to go to beans and to a fall crop of broccoli that is coming on much earlier than I anticipated. 
Fermenting pickles

2 Cups of Squash comes to this