Putting By

This is an archaic term that I use each year as the garden, orchard, and in years past, the Farmers Market begin to provide fresh food in quantity that is greater than daily use demands. It is a time when foods are prepared by blanching and freezing, or canning to put away for the times of the year where the only fresh foods are imported. The peas were the first produce in enough quantity to put some away as I shelled, blanched, and froze a gallon of fresh peas. That isn’t enough to get us through the winter, but it will be about 16 meals for the two of us.

About a week ago, I used the last pint of last summer’s herbed tomato sauce that was a base for pasta sauce. The freezer had two 2 gallon bags of whole frozen tomatoes, so today, they were peeled, chopped, and cooked down with about a quart or so of chopped and sauteed peppers, onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, and large handfuls of herbs. I am not ready to pull down the pressure canner that lives in the kitchen from late summer through fall, and the sauce had too many additives to be safe to water bath can, so 13 pints were packed in wide mouth glass jars and will be frozen once they cool down to refrigerator temperature. Another pint was served with angel hair pasta and a salad for our dinner. We have a chest freezer and the refrigerator freezer, so most of the vegetables are frozen, but sauces and salsas are usually canned. With that many jars of pasta sauce prepared, the tomatoes that come from the garden this summer will be canned as plain tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, pizza sauce, and salsa. Tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes can be amended to make pasta sauce as needed and with some of the diced frozen jalapenos can be used to make chili tomatoes.

Soon the green beans will begin and as I don’t like mushy canned green beans, they will be blanched and frozen. As the pea plants are pulled, a second planting of bush beans will be planted.

Cucumbers are pickled, potatoes, onions, and garlic will be stored in the part of the basement that is not climate controlled. The tomatillos are used to make sauces and tomatillo jalapeno jam and if they are prolific, they can be frozen. I am enjoying a handful of cultivated berries every few days, but there may not be any berry jams if I can’t get to the wild berry patches around the fields.

We will enjoy fresh corn until we can’t stand another ear then it will become frozen cut corn and corn relish. The apples become applesauce, the Asian pears become pear sauce and Pear Marmalade. Hot peppers are canned and made into vinegars and hot sauces and bell peppers chopped and frozen to use in cooking during the winter. I am hopeful that a fall garden will produce carrots, spinach, kale, lettuce, and maybe fall peas. A couple of pumpkins vines produce many more pumpkins than are needed for pies and stuffed pumpkin, but the smaller Seminoles make good winter treats for the hens.

The summer season is busy and often heats up the kitchen, but the results are enjoyed through out the winter.

I am wondering if I can build an A frame that can be covered with heavy plastic to give the fall garden a few extra weeks of growing season. I think there is some left over PVC pipe in the barn that I could use if I get the correct fittings.

When not in the garden or putting by, I am spinning and knitting. The shawl that I finished and showed blocked a couple of days ago is here.

And it perfectly matches my felt hat I got last winter.

My fiber and two of my spindles ready to the Jenkins Team Tour de Fleece that begins tomorrow. I should finish the last little bit of Shetland tonight on the wheel. Once it is washed, I will measure out the yarn for my sweater and hope that I have enough or can figure another yarn to add to make it enough.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.