The past few days have been busy. Granddaughter started back to preschool, the dogs have had check ups and shots, we have been busy around the farm.
Between us, most of the fields have been mowed for fall. I haven’t harvested the pears or apples yet, as I have been trying to catch up on tomatoes and peaches. One day, I canned 30 pints of tomatoes and pasta sauce. Of that, only a few didn’t seal, so we had a big spaghetti dinner last night and the leftover sauce was put in wide mouth jars and frozen. We will use it first before we start opening the sealed jars.
Each Tuesday, daughter and son-in-law pick up a one person food share of meat and one of fruit as a test to see if it is worth their money. A lot of the fruit has been peaches, though the late frost killed off almost all of the peaches around here, so they must be bringing them from south of us. Jim and I are the only ones in the house that will eat a fresh peach. The first batch was made into peach/mango chutney, a very authentic tasting chutney. The second batch were peeled, sliced, and frozen. The third batch went to the spinning retreat with me and were enjoyed by the group. The fourth batch was sitting there about to attract fruit flies, so I made 9 half pints of sweet chili sauce today. I tasted a bit of it and it is sweet and spicy with hot chili sauce added. It should make a great chicken or pork basting sauce or topping. I think it would be good over cream cheese with crackers. It is cooling on the counter and will be added to the increasing jars of goodies on the shelves.
Tonight late, our eldest son and eldest grandson will arrive for the weekend. I have a dry rub pork shoulder that I will cook in the crockpot tomorrow and I think one of the jars of sweet chili sauce, a jar of the apple/pear chutney from last year, the last jar of Pear Ginger Conserve will all be put out to eat with the pulled pork and slaw with a batch of roasted veggies for out dinner.
Tomorrow, we will get to return to the Farmers’ Market for the first time in a month. We will precede that with breakfast out, and I will turn in my applications for the two winter Holiday Markets.
I am loving being able to return to a routine and see things getting done.
Today I tackled the basket of apples and Asian pears picked from our fledgling orchard yesterday. Last year I discovered this book.
And another by her, preserving by the pint. Sometimes I follow the recipe, sometimes it is a springboard to create my own. Last fall I used one of her recipes to create my own Apple Cranberry Chutney. As the orchard harvest was mostly pears, it was modified to be 1/3 apples and 2/3 pears. Five pints of Chutney prepped and canned and it didn’t put a dent in the basket of pears. One of her recipes is for Ginger Pear Conserve, so I chopped double the called for quantity of pears, two oranges instead of one and doubled the rest of the ingredients to make 5 1/2 pints of the Conserve. It smelled so heavenly cooking with all of the ginger.
I’ve used only about half of the basket of pears
After dinner, a few more were processed using the peeler corer and chopping them small. With a splash of lemon juice, some vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, it cooked down.
Five pints of pear sauce canned. One quart of chunks partially cooked and refrigerated as the base ring on my blender cracked and came off in my hand with half a blender full of hot cooked pear. Tomorrow, I will try to buy a cheap hand mill and make a second batch of the pear sauce using the remaining partially cooked pears and peel and core the rest that won’t be stored for eating with sharp cheese. While they canned, I ordered the replacement ring for my blender. I love it as it has a glass jar and a strong motor.
All in all, it was a productive afternoon.
What we are lacking in eggs, we are making up for in tomatoes. There are several bags in the freezer awaiting sauce and I just brought in this bucket full.
There are many more buckets full that will ripen over the next few weeks. Tomorrow will be dedicated to a large pot of pasta sauce making and canning. Salsa will utilize the next bucketful. The tomatillos are beginning to fill out as well and I will begin making tomatillo sauce and green salsa soon too.
My peppers are not all the varieties that I intended to grow. There may not be jalapenos to can, but mammoth jalapenos will go into the salsas.
Last weekend was the 75th annual Newport Agricultural Fair and one of the vendors was selling heirloom seed, so I picked up a handful of varieties that I haven’t grown of peppers and tomatoes, plus a few other seed. And I entered a raffle to win 20 packets of seed.
The last big harvest of cucumbers were made into 5 more pints of dill pickles.
Most of the squash are dying back and a few got so large while we had a houseful of guests last weekend that the chickens got a bonus. We are still getting a few for sauteed squash and squash casseroles.
The nesting boxes are closed off for the second night, after chasing broody hen off of one of them and taking the eggs inside. She is again sitting in front of the barrier on the floor of the coop. I may have to take more diligent methods to break her so she will begin laying again.
It is about time to get some fall seed in the ground if we are to hope for any harvest. I hope to build a deeper box to put some of the fall greens in with hopes of extending the harvest season by covering it with clear plastic once the first frost is threatened.
Every few days, the tomatillos, jalapeños, and habaneros overwhelm me and processing takes over the morning. Four more pints of hot green salsa, 1 more pint of pickled jalapeños, and 4 more 1 cup jars of XXX hot sauce (http://wp.me/p3JVVn-GH) were made for winter storage. The spicy globe basil was finally dry and it was crumbled and stored in jars 2 1/2 pints worth.
The tomatoes are beginning to ripen quickly so I will stop freezing them and start canning chili tomatoes, pasta sauce and more Casa Del Platero (http://wp.me/p3JVVn-GK) salsa for winter.
Peeks under the row covers show green bush beans developing, brocolli, chard, kale and cabbages getting some size on them. The winter squash and pumpkins are so verdant that it is difficult to see the fruits hidden in the jungle of leaves.
This has been a good garden season so far. Hopefully there will be lots to eat this winter.
Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.