This morning, just as Attila was about the walk out the door and be off to work, the rain came down in buckets. It filled up two 1000 litre rain tanks. It has been weeks since we have had a soaking rain and Attila had to resort to using municipal water, expensive.
Today I have it all, blue skies, a strong warm breeze, and fresh air.
Yesterday a nearby farm was spreading liquid manure, a most unpleasant smell.
Last Friday Attila had a vacation day, which was used to pick strawberries at pick-your-own farm. They really were past their prime, but we managed to pick four litres of beautiful ripe strawberries. While at the farm we found Jalapeno peppers for sale, freshly picked, so we bought six pounds. A pint of fresh farm raspberries, and one of blueberries went into our basket as well.
Arriving home we set to work. The Strawberries being so ripe, it was necessary to preserve them immediately. A new-to-us recipe used half of the berries, Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate. If we like this beverage concentrate, it might replace some of the juices we purchase at the grocery store. It hasn’t been tasted yet. The remaining Strawberries were made into jam. There weren’t quite enough of them though, so a cup of Blueberries were added to make a Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I also baked a loaf of bread, and a batch of Blueberry Raspberry Squares with our fresh fruit. That was a busy day!
The next day, Saturday, we tackled the Tomato harvest. Attila guesses that, barring a weather disaster, just over half of our Tomato crop has been picked. As they were being picked, they were stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator, the Styrofoam cooler, and the electric cooler. There were over 30 pounds of tomatoes to process. The tomatoes are washed in soapy water, rinsed and soaked in a vinegar/water bath, trimmed, the peel scored, the fruit processed in the food processor, and finally poured into the 16 quart stock pot. That took all morning. After adding onions and spices, the tomatoes were simmered to reduce them to half the original volume. This is our Pizza Sauce. Saturday’s batch of 14 tubs of sauce made for a total of 41 tubs of Pizza Sauce in our freezer. We save and use plastic margarine and sour cream containers and lids to freeze our sauces. That completes the production of Pizza Sauce for this year, as we only make pizza in the late autumn, winter, and early spring of the year, so 41 tubs will see us through until Tomato season rolls around again.
The next day, Sunday, we tackled canning the Jalapeno peppers. Attila loves Cowboy Candy, and even I, who does not care for hot spicy foods, have grown to love Cowboy Candy. The steam canner was loaded with filled jars three times. Since we were on a roll, also canned were Pickled Serrano Peppers, and a few jars of Dill Pickles, all from our garden produce. At the same time a large bunch of garden Parsley was dehydrated, crumbled and stored in jars. And about four quarts of garden Green Peppers were diced and frozen to top our cool weather pizzas. It was another long day!
Finally Monday came along, the last day of the Labour Day weekend. Aptly named at our house! The Tomatoes are ripening fast right now, so there were quite a few ready to can come Monday morning. The Tomatoes to can are processed the same way I do them to make Pizza Sauce, until they are pureed in the food processor. Once they go into the pot no other ingredients are added, and a rolling boil for ten minutes prepares them for the canning jars. To each jar 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid is added, then the hot Tomatoes are ladled into the jar. When all the jars are filled, the rims are wiped clean with a vinegar soaked cloth, the lids go on, and the rings are tightened finger tight. Into the canner they go, to be processed for 40 minutes.
(Disclaimer: I include pureed skins in my canned Tomatoes, which is not considered safe practice (FDA Guidelines). It is a risk I take since this has never been tested in a certified test kitchen.)
My steam canner can hold eight jars, but only if they are the older type of jars, which are taller and narrower than the jars available today. Since newer jars were being used, only six jars would fit into the canner at one time, necessitating two canning sessions of 40 minutes each, to process the eight 1 litre jars of Tomatoes.
As soon as the second batch of Tomatoes came out of the canner, three jars of Pickled Pepperoncini Peppers were ready to go into the canner. Pickled Peppers are so much easier to can than Tomatoes! Just a simple brine, brought to a boil, ladled into a jar of sliced peppers. Processed for ten minutes, they were soon cooling on the counter. And I baked another loaf of bread.
Every jar of food that was canned on the Labour Day Weekend sealed.
Both Attila and I were on our feet working in the garden and kitchen from around 6:00 a.m. until late evening, for four consecutive days.
Yesterday Attila was back at work. I spent my day catching up with the day-to-day things that were ignored over the weekend, and putting the house back together after so many projects spread equipment all over the kitchen and living room. I also processed a garden Pie Pumpkin, then baked a Mincemeat Pumpkin Pie, just because I wanted to see what the combo would taste like. It is layered, first the Mincemeat, then the Pumpkin mixture. It was great! Too much sugar for me though, so I enjoyed only one slice. Attila will get the rest of it all to himself. While the oven was hot I popped in a batch of Yogurt Pistachio Muffins, something for me to snack on.
So here I am today, just winding down a bit. After spending the day puttering about putting things straight after the canning projects, I decided to sit out on the back porch with the computer. So here I am, fingers tapping away on the keyboard, thinking about making supper, Mongolian Chicken in the Instant Pot, enjoying the sunshine, the breeze, the fresh air, and life in general. Ah, there is Attila just come in the door, time to get moving on making supper.
Stay safe dear friends!
Updated on Wed, Sep 8, 3:35 PM
FEELS LIKE 31
Wind 22 SW km/h
Humidity 67 %
Visibility 27 km
Sunrise 6:38 AM
Wind gust 34 km/h
Pressure 100.5 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 7:31 PM
Dreams are postcards from our subconscious, inner self to outer self, right brain trying to cross that moat to the left. Too often they come back unread: “return to sender, addressee unknown.” That’s a shame because it’s a whole other world out there–or in here depending on your point of view.
Dennis Koenig and Jordan Budde