Monday, August 23, 2010

Preserving the harvest

I have been especially busy in the kitchen lately! I still want to write a post about some summer recipes we've tried, and I've also been working on a post about the recipes you shared in this post. But for now, garden produce is at the forefront because we've had so much in the last couple of weeks!


We'd never grown basil before, and since we had a bumper crop, I wanted to make pesto. I used the recipe from my classic Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, and one of the ingredients was 1/4 teaspoon salt. I wanted to quadruple the recipe, and somehow in my head, I thought I needed to add a whole teaspoon for a single batch. Thus, I added a heaping tablespoon to the mix. When I tasted it, I wondered why it was so salty. Then I realized my mistake. Sigh! It took me almost an hour to prep the basil leaves and garlic the first time, but I was back at it to try to correct some of the saltiness. I even tried looking for tips on-line, but most suggestions were about adding a potato to soup, and nothing was relevant to my situation. I added the rest of the basil leaves I'd reserved for drying, and threw in some additional olive oil and garlic. It still tasted a little salty, but I think I'll just thin it with pasta water when I prepare it and hope for the best!


If you can believe it since it's only August, I've already made enough applesauce to last my family for the entire year. Eric's friend has three productive apple trees, and he didn't want any of the fruit, so Eric took the kids twice and filled up a large cooler or two each time. I don't know how many pints of applesauce we ended up with, but I feel pretty sure it will last us until next fall. Per these instructions, we also diced 35 cups of apples to fuel our muffin supply for the year. It was a lot of work upfront--about 6 hours worth (for 2 people!)--but it will be so nice to have this done, plus the apples cost us nothing!


Next weekend, I plan to harvest all of our garlic. I'll store some whole cloves with the onions, but I also plan to freeze some minced garlic using these directions. (Stephanie has a whole series of informative posts about food preservation.) Has anyone else frozen minced garlic before?

I've also been eating tons of tomatoes. Eric is allergic, neither of our kids like them, and I don't care to can them, so I eat whatever I can fresh and give the rest away. I've been having bruschetta or pasta salad almost every day for lunch!

We've had plenty of grean beans, bell peppers and onions, too, and soon our potatoes will be ready to dig up. Has anyone else been busy preserving?

7 comments:

Wendi said...

I have been busy doing much of the same. Tomatoes are finished for the year here (due to our hot, dry summer). So far there are 135 quarts of tomatoes, 15 pints of carrots, 52 bags of corn off the cob froze and next on the list is apples. Lots of work, but so worth the efforts.

Mom said...

Our garden is a little behind yours since we have to plant later. So far, the only thing we've had enough of to preserve is green beans. We've also eaten lots of them and given some away. Our zucchini plants are a big disappointment this year -- lots of foliage and blossoms, but so far, only two zucchinis. Usually I am able to freeze enough shredded zucchini to last all winter for muffins and breads -- but that isn't going to happen this year. :( Enjoy the fruits of your labor! Love you, Mom

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I JUST planted some basil (indoors) and am hoping it lasts me all winter. I'll plant more in the spring/summer because we go through SO much more of it then!

You've been INDUSTRIOUS! Great job, Carrie.

Katie said...

Wow ~ great job Carrie! Your efforts will reward you for so long! We had a small garden this year. Our tomatoes are just about to ripen; we already took in the peppers. My aunt and uncle supplied us with lots of cucumbers and corn. I need to find a friend with an apple tree! =) So neat how the Lord provides!

thehomespunheart said...

Great job, Carrie! Would love to try garlic! And, am so impressed at the success of your garden since ours was a complete failure. Yay for free apples!

Kendra said...

WOW! That's awesome, Carrie. I'm super impressed. I always miss our garden when I hear about your fun, fresh cooking!

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

I'm totally envying your apple situation. Apples are the only fruit that I like in all forms: fresh, baked, juiced, and dried.

I can't grow things to save my life. *sigh* But I did buy some peaches on sale, and my plan is to make freezer jam. We'll see how that goes...