Monday, January 2, 2012

The Bounty

In the flurry of preparations for Christmas, I found myself perched on my cupboard, scrubbing the wall above my stove, because visitors actually do look behind pictures and in closets to see how clean your house really is! As I wiped cobwebs and dust, brightly colored splatters stubbornly refused to yield to my cloth and I was taken back, back to another busy season, known to gardeners and homemade-food-fanatics as PROCESSING season! An unexpected bounty from a pathetic looking garden has filled my pantry shelves and freezer! Here's a photo journal of my attempts this year:

Beet greens - a first for me this year, I washed, chopped, and fried them with butter, salt and pepper, with a bit of herb & garlic for seasoning.  So good, and using produce that was previously waste in my garden!

Apples - We beat the bears to the trees this year at my parent-in-law's, and hauled home a load of work!  I put some through my food mill and made some awesome applesauce, saving some of the ample juice for making jelly with such clarity and color, I used it for Christmas gifts this year!

I made some of the applesauce into apple butter, sooo good.  I'm amazed at how the flavor of the apples comes through by reducing it over low heat, there is very little sweetener added so it's a great spread for the calorie conscious.

I actually still have some of the apples in the fridge, although their days are numbered!

I bought 40 lbs of peaches on sale at the grocery store, then my sister brought me another 40 lbs directly from the BC Okanagan!  What a treat!  Freestone, sweet, and ripe 4 days later!  Some were canned, some pureed for baby food, some seasoned and sweetened for cobbler and pie and frozen, and others just diced and frozen.  We're really enjoying their sweet flavor all through this winter!

Jalepeno Peppers - there was an abundance of all peppers, also banana peppers, red and orange sweet bell peppers, and green peppers.  I bought the plants pre-started at a local greenhouse, so they had a head start which was a good thing with our cool summer.

The muskmelon (cantaloupe) produced fairly well, but the cold weather resulted in a lot of flowers not pollinating and just falling off the plant.  What we did get was sweet and flavorful.  The acorn squash surprised us with 2 squash, 1 has been roasted and enjoyed already, the other is ready to eat now!

The beets did very well despite the wet soil, and we've been enjoying them in different forms.

The jars to the left are beet borsht, which our son calls red soup, the center jars are canned beets, and the jars to the left are beet pickles.

We sure did have some... interesting carrots this year!

The cucumbers got planted really late, after the rains when I could finally get back into the greenhouse, so I was harvesting until Thanksgiving when the greenhouse froze!

These are my own combined recipe of Bread and Butter Mustard Pickles.  They used cucumbers, peppers, carrots, onions, green beans, and a few other things I can't think of at the moment, sorry!  Thankfully my husband loves them (whew!) and I put them on meat dishes and his sandwiches to make them moist and interesting.

I only allowed 2 pumpkins per plant, so I got a total of 6 pumpkins, 2 I gave to my sister and the other 4 I pureed through my food mill, froze, and I'm using it in baking and cheesecake, pies, etc.

I saved the seeds, washed, seasoned and roasted them for a savory treat.

I attempted a hot pepper pickle, but they're not very hot.  Tasty with a bit of tang, but not hot.  Quite disappointing really.

My tomato crop this year was quite pathetic, but combined with several large bags of whole tomatoes in the freezer that didn't get made into salsa last year because the baby came early, they made some dandy salsa this year!

The downstairs shelves are literally groaning under the weight of this treasure!  Besides what I've got photos of above, this year also produced many jams and jellies, canned potatoes, canned carrots, hot carrot pickles, and a variety of pressure-canned soups.  Some things I canned double of last year, knowing I would have a baby this year, am I ever glad I did that!  Canned tomatoes, tomato soup, pears, apricots, apples, apple pie filling, antipasto, chicken noodle soup broth, and dill pickles are all going to last me until next year. 

I cleaned my deep freeze the other day and was truly amazed by what else had found it's way into there over the course of the summer!  Peas, raspberries, beans, saskatoon berries, zucchini, chocolate zucchini cake batter, carrot cake batter, it's wonderful!

What an amazing blessing to have good food supplied to meet our needs.  Our daily bread.  Thank-You God!!

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1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is amazing! Frozen cake batter? FABULOUS idea! We'll have to chat about how that works!

    Love the pictures, too!


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