Putting Up the Harvest

It is the time of year when we start to think seriously about preserving the bounty from the fields. There will be cayenne peppers to dry, sweet corn to freeze, green beans to dilly, pickling cukes to pickle, and tomatoes to sauce. Not to mention blueberries to jam.

Growing up, canning was a yearly ritual. Sometimes it was all hands-on deck. I remember making pickles and snacking on the salty, raw cucumber slices and pressing tomatoes and steaming apples through the food mill as my brother and I took turns cranking the handle. Mostly though, the work fell to my mother as she spent countless late nights in the midst of the heat and steam to make our winter meals nourishing.

In our pantry there was always green beans, stewed tomatoes, pickled beets, Bread and Butter pickles, canned peaches, pears, and applesauce. In the freezer you could find strawberry freezer jam, sweet corn, blueberries and blackberries, and halved roasted red peppers. Later, when a dehydrator was added to the mix, dried cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper slices and sweet corn filled mason jars in the cupboard.

As a tradition, the act of preserving food was passed down to me. I make sure to freeze plenty of berries and fruit, dehydrate peppers and can stewed tomatoes with a sense of duty and joy.

What are you are planning on preserving this year? Are you sticking with old standbys or experimenting with new recipes and techniques? (Last year I was introduced to Makdous as a way to preserve eggplants!)

This week, the kitchen made sweet pickles, dill pickles, and tomato sauce. Yesterday, the crew harvested our garlic and started the curing process in our barn. When the skin turns to a crêpe paper consistency we will offer it up to you for your pantry.

As you start dreaming and planning your preservation preparations this year, we are here for your questions and your produce needs. At the moment we are swimming in pickling cucumbers so let us know if you’d like 10 or more pounds and we can set them aside.

May your jars seal tight and the Ball Blue Book guide you!

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