Canning has commenced

and putting by continues. The garlic is ready to braid. I can braid hair, surely I can figure out how to braid garlic. The onions are nearly ready to relocate to the cooler, drier basement out of the hot humid garage. The potato tops are nearly all brown. I dug one plant to have new potatoes with fresh green beans, cucumbers and vinaigrette, and sauteed Chinese cabbage and onion with last night pork loin roast. I will give the potatoes about a week more to toughen the skins, then dig them and put on the wire shelves in the basement as well. The cucumbers are producing prolifically. We have been enjoying the first of them in salads and with onions in vinaigrette, but there were finally enough to make the first batch of pickles today. Son 1’s family, especially DIL and grandson 1 really like a recipe that I modified several years ago. Food in Jars by Melissa McClellan has a Bread and Butter pickle recipe in it. I substituted about 1/2 c of sliced Jalapenos for some of the sweet red pepper that it called for and it make a sweet and spicy pickle. I had red, yellow, and orange peppers sliced in the freezer and a pint bag of sliced jalapenos, a huge yellow sweet onion and all the spices I needed. The veggies were cut, tossed with the pickling salt, covered and put in the refrigerator this morning early.

My giant pottery bread bowl was called into service. After dinner tonight, the water bath canner was hauled down off the high shelf, filled with pint jars and water and set on the stove to heat up. The veggies were rinsed, the brine made, the veggies cooked in the brine until hot and packed in the jars. I had put an extra 12 ounce jar in the canner because the recipe says it makes 5 pints. I have had it make more and less, so I want to be prepared. It made 5 3/4 pints this time.

I need to put a note in the recipe that it take almost twice the amount of brine that she calls for and every year I end up in the middle of loading the jars, making more brine. The jars are cooling on the counter. At lunch today, I opened one of the last jars from last year’s batch. They are put out at family meals, I use them in tuna salad, but otherwise I am stingy with the ones I keep for me. Most of them will go to Son 1’s family. The next big batch of cucumbers will be made into dill spears, or whole dills if I can catch enough small ones at the same time.

While the pickles were processing, I shredded a cabbage and salted it. The salt is massaged in until the liquid begins to weep out. It will sit for an hour and then be packed tightly into a sterile quart jar and set up to ferment for sauerkraut. The dilly beans from a few days ago are perfect and I have already enjoyed a few of them.

The versatile big bowl in service for the second time today. The refrigerator style pickles and ferments were made in greater quantity when there was a second old refrigerator in the basement, but it gave up two years ago, so the ferments are more limited now. If the second or third planting of bush beans are as prolific as the first planting was, I will made some canned dilly beans that will keep on the shelves.

Between rain storms this afternoon, I planted a third planting of bush green beans. I had used all of my seed, but Southern Exposure Seed company where I get most of my seed still have the one I plant in stock, so I ordered a packet when I ordered my fall vegetable seed and they came yesterday. The first planting of beans are spent, the plants will be pulled soon and the cucumbers can run in that direction too. Their leaf cover will help hold down weed growth in that end of the bed. I thought the cucumbers were semi bush variety, but they have vines 6 or 8 feet long already. Last year the only thing planted in the same bed were sunflowers so I guess they just climbed them. The fence I placed for them is way too short.

Soon there will be tomatoes and pepper to process and in about a month, the fall veggies planted. I thought the Chinese Cabbage second planting was a failure, but they must just be very slow to germinate as it appears that there may be a dozen or so plants coming up. They will be thinned out to give them space. The one I cooked is more like Napa cabbage than head cabbage, the leaves are bright green.

That is the one I picked yesterday on the left of the picture. I don’t know how well they will keep. I don’t think they will freeze well, but maybe there will be some Kimchee in the future, or Napa style sauerkraut.

It is nice to be adding to the larder instead of just using from it. It was exciting to do an entire meal except for the protein from the garden last night. When I planted the beans today, I also planted a short season ground cherry. I have never planted them before and want to try to make some jam from them if they are successful. I hope we get a decent thunderstorm, the earlier one rained only about 15 minutes and it didn’t even wet the soil in the garden. I may have to set up the sprinkler.

In my post day before yesterday, I showed the results of the Tour de Fleece spinning. Today I took the ply balls and plied them on the wheel. The lighter teal ended up 334.5 yards, less than 2.5 ounces, 16 WPI (light fingering weight) yarn. The darker shiny blue is still on the bobbin as it didn’t fill the bobbin and I have more to spin which I will add before measuring it off.

There is still about an ounce and a half of that fiber, but no more would fit on the bobbin. I don’t know if I will put it in the shop or knit something for the shop. The fiber is from Three Waters Farm and is Merino, Superwash Merino, and Silk, so very soft and drapey.

Time to return to making sauerkraut.

Stay safe. Wear your mask, it isn’t a political statement, it is a health and safety issue.

2 thoughts on “Canning has commenced”

  1. I have canned bread & butter pickles for years using my grandmothers recipe. I have used cucumbers, zucchinis, and yellow squash. A friend gave us a good batch of cucumbers. I decided to try the recipe you referred to in your post yesterday. The pickles look delicious. I can’t wait to try them! I’ll let you know how they turned out.

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