Jonesing for some delicious fresh food after consuming so much rich food in Germany, K and I have been working hard harvesting all that is coming out of our garden. We were worried that we had missed a good portion of the harvest this year by being away for most of August, but our lovely garden has kept us VERY busy for the last month.
Our yard has once again served up fresh and delicious delectibles for our dining pleasure. We have been getting batches of big beauiful beef tomatoes that are the size of small melons, starfire tomatoes with their rippling skins and crunchy little cherry tomatoes that more often don’t make it to the kitchen but rather serve as a snack while we work.
The cucumbers have been playing their wiley game of being too small to pick for the perfect pickle, to the next day being a little on the large size. Next year we may have to do midnight harvests to ensure the right size.Our straight eights have been crunchy, crisp and cravingly tasty. Both K and I have taken them to work as snacks with a little salt.
The long vines have started to produce stunning squash that will make tasty winter soups. I even managed a spaghetti squash, although small, but still with us. The neighbours mystery vines produced some buttercup squash which will not only make tasty soup, but also appealing dishes in which to serve said soup. The vines that have breached the barrier of the fence between yards have produced some large Kabocha squash, which I have heard are better and more buttery than the butternut squash.
The corn finally started growing actual cobs, although I believe it is too late to be able to taste a single morsel. We will leave them in as long as possible in the hopes of getting at least one cob large enough to BBQ and sample.
The second harvest of beets produced deep rich red vegetables with a bounty large enough to keep us in beets for the winter months. It is only too bad that the leaves were munched and crunched and not suitable for any salad. They instead have found a place in our compost pile.
The second harvest of carrots is only weeks away from being plucked from there comfortable beds. We have some spicy plans for those succulent roots.
The strawberries have been blushing away despite the cold temperatures and we have been getting larger and larger fruit. Next year is looking to be a fantastic harvest with our other two tiers rooting well and starting to send off crawlers.
We managed a handful of potatoes, which I consider a good harvest considering K and I knew nothing of growing potatoes. Next year we hope for a large harvest as we now know where we went wrong and will tweak our methods to yield a much better harvest.
If I am lucky we will get a few tomatillos, which started off as a tiny twig with two leaves. Too late into the ground, but if the cold will hold off just a few more weeks, then I will perhaps have enough for a few jars of salsa for the winter months.
Considering our experimentation I am always amazed at how much we yield despite willy-nilly planting in the hopes of growing some food while we work on the landscaping. I am beginning to wonder how much food we will end up with when the yard is complete and a finely tuned machine. We plan on keeping a journal next year with all details; when we plant, when we re-plant, when each plant starts producing, when we take everything out, etc. We also plan to start weighing how much of each item we are able to grow so that we can compare from year to year.
So, you can see from above that we have been busy harvesting, but now you ask, “What have you done with it all?”. Well let me share with you.
We have made been slicing, dicing, cubing, mashing and peeling so that we can can, freeze, juice and pickle. From there we have been experimenting with some new canning and pickling recipes. I have experimented with some baking and concocting some delicacies based on some visiting families dietary needs. Here let me show you what we have been up to:
60 jars of Applesauce. 12 regular, 12 strawberry/cranberry, 12 peach and 24 blueberry.
28 jars of pickles
15 jars of crabapple hot pepper jelly
13 jars of beets
18 jars of canned tomatoes
4 jars of apple pie filling
6 freezer bags of chopped apples
3 freezer bags of apple juice
8 apple crumbles
5 freezer bags of carrots (sliced, slivered & chunked)
2 freezer bags of strawberries
6 frozen containers of spaghetti sauce (peppers, tomato, onion & basil all from the garden)
2 pans of strawberry cinnamon buns (1 regular and 1 vegan)
In the next blog I will post some of the recipes we used, where we found them, and any modifications we made. All of this will make a difference this winter in our checkbook!