Preserving Food and Garden Update–Aug. 18, 2017

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I’ve been picking produce daily in the garden since I returned home from Mexico.  Besides the peaches, cucumbers, snow peas, yellow, purple and green beans and strawberries you see here, I have also harvested lettuce, tomatoes, raspberries and potatoes.

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All of the potatoes in the buckets pictured above were grown from some volunteer potato plants that grew in the compost heap.  I transplanted them into a small row and was amazed by the amount that we dug today–I’m guessing between 15-20 lbs.

I spent some time today pulling up lettuce that had gone to seed, and hoeing out purslane.  I have a ways to go.

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This will be nicely weeded basil, snow peas and lettuce by tomorrow night, hopefully.

I did preserve quite a bit of food this week, as well.

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I asked for some bean SWISHERS.  That would be people who would swish the beans around in the cold water after I blanched them for 3 minutes so they could cool down before I froze them.  I loved that job when I was little, so wanted to share the joy with Jake.  Soon there were 3 pieces of equipment in the sink, and I asked Jake what in the world he was doing to the beans.  “SQUISHING THEM, AUNTIE” he replied.  I had a good laugh and then explained what I needed and he moved on with the process.  Soon, I found this:

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And a little later…this…’

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But we finally finished and everyone had fun!

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I made a batch of fruit cocktail using the pears my sister gave me, peaches from our tree, pineapple, maraschino cherries and grapes Rob bought (the grapes were only 99c/lb and the others were in bulk from Cash and Carry).

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It comes out so pretty that way!  Of course, before I could can in these jars I always use for fruit cocktail, we had to FIND the jars upstairs in the shop attic.  That took a while, but we prevailed.  These jars hold about 3 cups and it is the right amount for us.  Because fruit cocktail is a lot of work to make, we only have it occasionally and I don’t want to waste a bite.  I have enough ingredients for another batch, and hopefully the pears will ripen up enough for me to do that tomorrow.  I got 13 today and want more.

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I got 5 jars of tomatoes, as well, and none too soon, since I used the last quart of tomato pieces I can find, yesterday.  I still have pints, but why waste lids by opening 2, if I need a quart?  So, I do both quarts and pints.

I have lots more produce to pick and process, as well as boxes of fruit ripening on my porch.  I love this time of year as the canned jars start filling the cupboard.  I’ll be at it again in the morning.

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15 thoughts on “Preserving Food and Garden Update–Aug. 18, 2017

  1. Oh my goodness, I got the biggest giggle out of Jake and his squishing beans. He just makes me smile. 🙂 You have been really busy with your garden and canning. I have a bucket of apples that I need to process and also need to pick more. I can hear them falling off my tree in the backyard and don’t want them to go to waste.

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    1. I was laughing all day over that one! He was so sincere, which made it all the funnier:)

      I’m glad you can get some apples. Applesauce is such a favorite of Patsy, especially, she has been feeling grumpy because we are out! I’m so glad Rob was able to find some.

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  2. Wow, you’ve been busy! With lots of good help, too! Not to mention making memories for the littles. Don’t you just love FREE potatoes. We had volunteer squash this year, a first for us.

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    1. We ate one of the huge potatoes last night for dinner. It was slightly hollow in the center, as huge ones often are, but still, there was enough for the entire family. I just fried it up in cubes with a little onion.

      I also served taco salad, which used garden lettuce, so it was a very good, produce-filled meal. (Strange combo, I know, but it’s what I wanted to use up)

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  3. Your veggies/fruits look fantastic.. I am always so happy to see them sitting in the jars/freezer..
    Jake is adorable.. He took his job to heart .. and had fun. How nice you are teaching them these
    things.
    I live in Ms, and our season was strange this year.. Everything [including planting] was early.. So, I
    have been finished with all the garden for awhile.. Nice…that the heat/humidity has heat big time.ha
    ENjoyed seeing your photos.. Know your proud to be home.

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    1. Thank you. I feel fortunate that our garden never really stops between last frost in the spring (we can even over-winter some things if they are hardy) and first frost in the fall. There again, some frost-hardy things can continue, but I’m mostly referring to the things like beans, zucchini, etc. It slows down if it gets to hot, or doesn’t grow well if the spring is cool and rainy, but it’s a good place to garden. I live in Salem, Oregon, (the capital city), right in the heart of the Willamette Valley where all those pioneers wanted to end up at the end of the Oregon Trail. They told tales of peaches the size of watermelons to get people of emigrate, but I’ve never seen that! 🙂

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  4. Hi Becky, I’ve been following your blog for several months, and enjoy it so much! I just had to laugh at the little construction toys in the beans! I have two boys and two girls; my boys are 23 and 17, and I can imagine them doing something like that 😀. In fact, my oldest, Matthew, has said that his earliest memory is finding a mini Tonka truck buried in the backyard when he was 2. He still has that toy!
    I’m working hard in the garden too, (we live near Denver), and have already processed lots of green beans and some tomatoes. Much more to do, but the gardens are not nearly as prolific as yours in Salem! Coincidentally, my sister and her husband are in your neck of the woods, anticipating the eclipse tomorrow!!!

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    1. Thank you! Little boys and their trucks! It was so cute–at that point, the beans were secondary:)

      I hope your sister enjoys the eclipse. I plan to stay home and can pears! Then, step out into the backyard with my special glasses and enjoy. I am very happy that my backyard is in one of the prime viewing spots in the nation! There are a lot of people camping out in parks in Salem, but the traffic has not been the nightmare that they were predicting…..at least not yet. We will see if it gets worse today and tomorrow. Actually, it’s been fun and exciting to see places filled up with tents and campers where they usually are not!

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  5. I sure do enjoy Jake! That fruit cocktail looks wonderful! I love those pint and a half jars. They work well for so many foods for two.

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