Tomatoes. I have to admit that since I learned the trick about freezing tomatoes to peel them, I've been tossing all the ripe ones that we don't eat, into the freezer to save to make juice and sauce later. :) This has relieved me of some of the time pressure that comes with a heavily producing garden. After I had two plastic shopping bags I got to work...
Tomatoes preserved in August:
- tomato juice, 16 quarts canned
- pizza sauce, 3 pints
I also used garden tomatoes in the chicken & okra gumbo I canned.
|Chicken & okra gumbo. Just add rice.|
Preserved this month:
- chicken & okra gumbo with tomatoes, 11 quarts canned
Okra. Of that, I'm still getting more than I need. Besides the gumbo, I've also made and canned okra pickles.
We've never tried these before, but so many of you recommended them last month, that I just had to give them a try.
Okra preserved this month:
- okra pickles, 6 pints canned
- frozen, sliced, 6 more quarts
|My prettiest pepper so far|
Even these haven't done well however, due to blossom end rot, the dryness, and the heat.
I like to preserve these by slicing and freezing for pizza and pepper and egg sandwiches. We won't get much for that I'm afraid.
Preserved this month:
- a handful, frozen
Figs. For two quick weeks at the beginning of the month, we had figs galore.
|Bucket of ripe fresh figs|
Besides the traditional August fresh fig cake, we don't eat these fresh, so all are preserved. I still have plenty of canned figs from last year, so this year I decided to preserve by making jam and dehydrating.
|Halved figs ready to dehydrate|
I wondered if I could substitute dried figs for raisins in recipes ....
|Oatmeal fig cookies|
The answer to that is, yup. They rehydrate well too, for cakes or muffins. One of these days I'd like to try making a filled fig cookie too. Anybody have a good recipe?
Figs preserved this month:
- fig jam, 13 pints canned
- dehydrated, 1/2 gallon
Melons have been ripening and we've been enjoying both watermelon and green nutmeg melons.
|Sugar Baby watermelon|
We eat our fill and dehydrate what we don't eat. The nice thing about drying melon, is that it's a good option for both under or overripe ones. It makes a candy sweet, sort of fruit leather, perfect to snack on.
Melons preserved in August
- watermelon, dehydrated, 1 quart
- green nutmeg melon, dehydrated, 1 quart
|Elderberries (what the birds didn't get)|
I'm afraid the birds got most of these. They start eating them green (as they do the figs & pecans) so the humans don't seem to stand as much of a chance. My bushes are still young and just beginning to produce, so the elderberry harvest will only improve as the years go by.
Rose Hips. I also harvested my first handful of rugosa rose hips. A couple years ago I researched rose hips for jelly making and I read that they are best after a frost. Well, our frost isn't for another two months yet look....
|Rugosa rosa hips|
Some of them are drying out and shriveling. They simply won't last until October on the bush. So I picked them. It was just a handful, but it's a start.
|Kentucky wonder pole beans on left|
Hutterite soup beans in middle
Cowpeas on right
The Kentucky Wonders in the corn, I've given up on. The last time I picked there was just a handful of fresh eating size to be found, so I'm just going to let them dry to collect for seed. Fortunately we still have plenty of canned green beans from last year, so I decided not to worry about it except for fresh eating.
The Hutterite soup beans are being picked regularly. We have yet to do a taste test, so I don't know whether or not we'll grow these again next year. I do like a good white soup bean though.
Cowpeas continue to produce, but I'm saving all for seed next year. I'll grow them in the field then for feed.
Beans preserved this month:
- Kentucky Wonders - dried for seed
- Hutterite Soup Beans - 1.5 pints dried
- Cowpeas - also for dried seed
Black Oil Sunflowers (BOSS)
|The drooping heads of black oil sunflowers|
I planted these in two places; in the garden as companions to squash and melon, and in the field, on their own. The ones in the garden have done much, much better than the ones in the field. The ones in the field were disappointing, engulfed by weeds, small heads, many empty shells. The ones in the garden produced well. So well in fact, that I've been in competition with the birds for them
|Several of the heads were bird pecked|
Sure enough they were ready. So I cut off the heads and put them on our screened front porch to dry. Without the ones in the field, I won't have a lot for feed, but I figure, live and learn, and I've got a start.
With September right around the corner, I have to say that both the garden and food preservation are winding down. Soon I'll be able to count the summer totals for my efforts, and put my summer garden to bed until next spring.