Food, Glorious Food

The weekends are hectic and intense with garden harvest, and food preservation. The first few days after the weekend, while Attila is at work, I slowly put our living space back together, reigning in the chaos. When we are busy, every available horizontal space is used, the bed has canning jars in boxes, the table has full canning jars, plates of vegetables, all manner of small parts and pieces of appliances that are in use. The floors all over the house are stacked with boxes of produce, and equipment. The kitchen counter (there isn’t much space there) is a canning station, baking station, meal preparation station.

So here it is Friday, and the chaos is not quite under control. Bills need to be paid, places to store preserved food have to be figured out, floors washed, lots of little things. Living in a very small house runs smoothly for us most of the time, but when big projects are underway, it gets tight, and takes a lot of effort to keep things organized. The jars are cleared off the beds at bedtime, only to be placed there once again early in the morning.

The weather has been lovely. The days are sunny, or partly sunny, the high temperature reaching around 22C, the night temperature falling as low as 6C. So far the house has maintained a temperature of at least 21C, most of the time the thermometer reads 23C.

This year, at the start of harvest season, at the first sighting of a fruit fly, the fly traps were setup. I use mason jars with about an inch of apple cider vinegar, and a drop of dish soap. There were still fruit flies flying around, particularly when we were canning pickles, or making peach jam. But there weren’t hundreds of them, only a dozen or so. After a preservation project, the kitchen would be carefully cleaned so that nothing of interest to the fruit flies was available. In the morning it was rare to see a fruit fly in the kitchen. The mason jar traps slowly collected hundreds and hundreds of fruit flies. I have the theory that at night, when there was nothing else to feast upon, the flies would find the traps interesting, and enter for their last supper. Because the population was unable to procreate efficiently, the numbers stayed under control, so that the traps were effective. I doubt they would be as effective if we kept open boxes of produce in the kitchen overnight.

The trap cap lids are from masontops.

The garden yield is drastically lower this year. The climate has not been kind to most of our plants. Tomatoes are just beginning to ripen, the cucumbers died off weeks ago and gave us only a few cucumbers, there were only a few zucchinis, the potatoes and ground cherries were consumed by Frederick the garden shrew et al. The insects reduced our bean harvest. There are few peppers to harvest. If the first frost holds off this fall, we may get more from the garden, so we have our fingers crossed.

What did do well this year was the dill, horseradish, garlic, onions, rhubarb, basil, and the lettuce until the heat arrived.

The cabbage and the kohlrabi did not flourish, but we harvested enough to make our coleslaw, and freeze enough kohlrabi to cook with our potatoes over the winter. The only tomatoes that did well were cherry tomatoes, which self seeded everywhere. Volunteer plants are more vigorous than those we grow from seeds.

The local grocery store this year has lots of bulk, Ontario grown produce for canners. We have taken advantage of that, purchasing a bushel and half of Roma tomatoes, a half bushel of pickling cucumbers, and a bushel of red shepherd peppers.

It was a relief that our canning jar lids have worked well, after a rough start. The first few canning projects, using lids purchased last year, had a few jars that did not seal. When it is just a few jars, the problem is easily solved, put the jars in the refrigerator and use them up. The concern was that a lot of failed seals would become hard to manage. However, once those lids were used up, and a supply of lids purchased from a different retailer were opened, there were no more failed seals. All of the subsequent jars sealed.

Tomato Powder, (1.5 litre jars) dehydrated skins and seeds of the tomatoes we processed with the tomato mill. A good yield, great to add to soups, stews, casseroles, herb mixtures.
Note: I have taken to using painter’s tape and a sharpie for labelling my jars and bags of food, easy to apply, easy to read, easy to remove.

Worldly

Weather

Updated on Fri, Sep 15 at 10:16 AM
15°C
FEELS LIKE 15
unknown
Wind 3 N km/h
Humidity 69 %
Visibility – km
Sunrise Wind gust km/h
Pressure 101.2 kPa

Quote

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
Leonardo da Vinci
1452 – 1519

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Sandy

I like the fruit fly traps. I’ve seen DIY versions but not with the plastic tops. Very neat!

Would it be feasible to build a small greenhouse in the backyard for starting seeds and plants earlier? Or would that take up too much space?

We have beautiful Fall weather now. I hope it sticks around.:)

Sandy

That’s true. The DIY traps aren’t very efficient. Yes, the weather is wonderful. I’ve seen 2 hummingbirds as they returned south.The sunflowers and Cardinal flowers attract them. No butterflies that I saw this summer but quite a few bees. I think they were honey bees but I’m not positive.A person on FB appeared to have grown or nurtured a Monarch butterfly. I’m going to look into that for next year.

Last edited 8 months ago by Sandy
Teri

The jar lids for fruit flies are fascinating and actually rather pretty. I’m sure whoever invented them got a big bonus from Mason Jars for finding a different use for their jars.

It’s interesting to hear how each year you see different plants doing better and worse. I think gardeners often think a plant isn’t doing well in a spot because of the soil or amount of sun light but what you’re going through points to it might also just be variations in the weather.

I wanted to tell you about another program DH and I are watching about the Middle Ages around Barcelona. It’s on Netflix and is called Heirs of the Land. It was interesting, seeing what people had to go through to survive during that time.