08 September 2015

the harvest

The results of the garden are a lot of really cool heirloom tomatoes! The little red/green stripe is Jasper. The green one on the bottom left is Aunt Ruby's German Green. The long one across the bottom is Jersey Devil. I'm not sure what the other more generic looking ones are but they're just as good to put into salsa! We've canned 24 pints of salsa and 10 pints of Italian pasta sauce from a mix of the tomatoes, along with onion, peppers, and a bunch of other vegetables and herbs from our garden.

To clarify (because I was asked this question on Facebook), "heirloom" vegetables is in reference to the seeds - that they've been saved and preserved by farms and small companies that specialized in seed trading. They've not been modified by the large GMO companies. Most tomatoes you find in stores are genetically modified to hold their color and shape longer so they can last in the stores. The ethical merits of genetically modified foods aside, the store tomatoes may hold their color longer but they've lost a lot of their taste and texture. The heirloom tomatoes we grow don't last long sitting around - they go bad fast. But the difference in taste and texture is amazing. Even I like these tomatoes! And I've never liked tomatoes.

We've spent the month of August making pickles, pickles, and more pickles. We hit about 24 gallons this year. We were shooting for 30 gallons, like last year but we came in under the target because our CSA farm co-op didn't give us as many cucumbers this year. We've also canned peaches, pears, and jam. Adam nailed it with what we're calling our WILD jam - a combination of strawberry, blueberry, cranberry, mulberry, and raspberry.

We grew sunflowers this year, but they were smaller ones. Adam came home recently with two GIANT sunflower heads so we could dry the seeds and plant them for next year. The girls took turns using them as parasols. The smallest kids could barely even lift one.

And this is what I like about food in the summer: this was my dinner over the weekend. Mashed potatoes/squash, sauteed bell peppers and onions, and grilled tilapia. Totally healthy and really tasty!

And yesterday was one of my first attempts at canning, without the close supervision of Chef Adam. It didn't turn out so well. If you look closely at the jars of apples, you'll notice that the syrup doesn't come up to the top of the jar as it should for proper preservation. REALLY frustrating. And that was after boiling them a second time, so we have to do them AGAIN. I don't want to do them again. They were a pain in the neck the first time, and now we have to fix them a THIRD time?!?! S.I.G.H.

This is why I haven't been sewing since June. Gardening and particularly canning are a team effort.

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