Sunday, August 26, 2007

Putting Up

As I've said, there have been times with the CSA when I've felt like I'm barely treading water—keeping up with the plantings, the harvesting, the weeding; dealing with drought, disease, and crop failure. Much of this has meant that our own harvests have been smaller and sometimes sacrificed altogether, resulting in less food preservation than I would have liked. Of course, the season's not yet over by a long shot, yet I'm already writing it off because our September looks to be very busy.

I have managed to make jam—though not nearly as much raspberry jam as I would have liked. And I made some pickles, and I've finally begun drying some grape tomatoes. I've probably dehydrated about 15 lbs or so, and I'd like to get even more because we use these all throughout the winter. I've only made one batch of paste, as my first round of paste tomatoes all suffered from blossom end rot, which is totally annoying, although all the animals—even the dogs—have been enjoying those as well as many of the split tomatoes caused by the recent big rains.

The beans are still in a holding pattern, so whether I'll get to pressure can this year remains to be seen, but our neighbors who bequeathed me all their canning jars have also kindly lent me their pressure canner for as long as I'd like to use it, as they now spend most of their weekends at a mountain home in West Virginia.


Christy said...

If you get around to pressure canning I'll be interested to hear how it goes. I did boiling water canning the first time recently and I have to say it made me nervous. I don't think I'm ready to try pressure canning!

How are you drying the tomatoes?

Danielle said...

This year I've been drying in my new Excalibur dehydrator, recommended by Leanne. It does a nice job, and I've been using it for yogurt making as well. I had been hoping to be able to sell some of the dried tomatoes, but I'm not sure this year's harvest is shaping up to have extras.

Last year, I dried them in my oven. Not the most efficient method, but it worked, and they were delicious.