Thursday, August 15, 2013

Preservation of the harvest begins

Each year as we start to harvest vegetables, I assess what we have used since last year.  Often in good years we can enough to cover bad years.  For example three years ago we had a bumper apple crop , and we canned quarts and quarts of applesauce and apple juice.  Last year when we had no apples due to a late frost, we have used up all that applesauce and most of the juice.  This year I got enough Nanking cherries to juice and can.

Ken even came up with a creative use for the pulp.  He ran it through a food mill to separate seeds from pulp.  He made a wonderful mousse dessert, and we froze some pulp for winter use.  The seeds I saved to use in rattles.  A friend told us about making cherry pit pillows, heating them and then wrapping them around necks, hands, etc.

Next The applesauce apples have ripened.  I have canned a few batches and have one more batch today or tomorrow.   These yellow transparent apples are not much for eating raw, but cook down quickly and there is very little pulp left to feed the chickens or pigs.  I cut the fuzzy blossom end out, and pull the bitter stems.  Then I quarter or chunk depending on the size of the apples.  It is nice to cook with a cinnamon stick or other spices.  One year Ken used mace and we had given some to my parents.  My Dad who grew up in a family restaurant called to ask what the spice was -

Now the crab apples are starting.  They seem small this year.  Ken attributes it to the dry July.  He often quarters them, scoops out the cores and seeds and poaches in apple juice with spices.  If they are too small, I will run them through the steam juicer and can apple juice for later use.  We see it as a local source of sweetener and add it when we want to sweeten a dessert or fruit or Ken adds gelatin for fingernail strength when he is making pottery.

And as the wave of bean has crested, I will blanch and freeze some for winter.  I like to rinse, snap ends, blanch , chill and freeze on a large cookie sheet then place in a freezer bag so I can grab a handful or two as wanted.

It is work, but it is in the category of work that is deeply satisfying.  We feel grateful for what we have

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