Sunday, July 27, 2008

Independence Days Week 13

Not much to report this week between the rain, birthday activities (happy birthday Em!), visitors and holding the farm together while Jim was out of town. I was, however, lucky enough to have a couple of visitors willing to work for their supper, such that it was, so we knocked out the tomato trellising that desperately needed to be done down in the market garden. A huge thank you to Cindy and Jim!

Plant:

Nothing this week, but I will be jumping on the fall planting this coming week for sure.

Harvest:

tomatoes, basil, peppers, lettuce, mini onions, green onions, carrots, beans, dill, borage, summer squash, cucumbers, eggs, milk.

Preserve:

I made chevre and butter. Cindy, bless her, tried her best to cajole me into pressure canning with her on Friday, but it was more than I could handle this week. We made a pact that we would both use our new pressure canners for the first time before a month is out, so hopefully she'll hold me to it. My readers, too, are invited to encourage, harass, harangue, whatever, if I don't post by August 25th about my successful foray into the pressure canning world. Black beans, here I come!

Store:

Canning lids.

Prep:

Nothing this week.

Manage:

Trellised tomatoes and beans. Cleaned out and organized my kitchen pantry cabinet, making use of my half gallon canning jars for storing bulk grains and nuts.

Cook:

Nothing new.

Add:

CSA delivery to 10 families: lettuce, beans, carrots, mini onions, green onions, summer squash, pickling cukes, Asian cukes, red new potatoes, dill, basil, borage, eggs.

Reduce:

This week's tip: drying plastic bags. My method of drying my reusable produce bags and ziploc bags takes advantage of the several glass vases I've acquired over the years. I keep these in the deep sill of my kitchen window behind the sink. They're pretty to look at (when not covered by plastic bags, that is) and convenient, but they also make perfect perches for drying bags of all sizes. They keep the air flowing inside the bag and also make use of the sunshine to help dry.

Learn:

All about my pressure canner, whose manual I'm reading cover to cover.

7 comments:

el said...

There really is nothing to fear! I cook the beans while I am doing something else and change the water before I can them (they gel up if you leave them in the same cooking water; not a bad thing but...). I usually make enough for two batches with the pressure canner (7 pints at a time for ours), and they're pressurized for 25 mins. at 10 pounds. That means more or less it takes 1.25 hours to do one batch of beans (build up and slide down from pressure).

I have entirely too much garlic on my hands so I have been roasting it and then canning the paste in jelly jars with some water and salt. In other words, you can pressure can anything (really) and you don't necessarily need to follow a recipe.

Make sure you have a dedicated tub of vaseline for the canner's lid (it helps seal/release lid). I keep it in a tub with the weight, keeping both in the canner itself when I store it.

You will have fun with this tool, D. And you will laugh at yourself later. I do swear it is safer than big canners filled with boiling water!

Gina said...

I'll give you a push!

I was fearful of mine until last year (bought it at least a year prior to actually using it). Once I did I am so happy with the results and won't go back! (unless it blows up in my face, LOL, just kidding!)

Make sure why you are doing it you don't get sidetracked doing things like blogging or reading. Keep an eye on that dial!

I promise it is a painless endeavor, though, and you will love all that you can can with it!

Also, el, thanks for that tip on beans gelling. i wondered about the ones I did last year! Also, the tip about the vasoline is new to me!

Gina said...

oops, why=while

Carolyn said...

I am looking forward to posts about the pressure canning. I want one and want to start learning how to use one.

Maggie said...

I'm guessing every single person on your blog knows this already, but what is the difference between pressure canning and using water? Can some things only be canned with a pressure canner?

Danielle said...

Thanks El. I'm counting on you to keep me on track.

Gina, thanks for the moral support, and it's good to see your blog back!

Carolyn, I'll try to post about the little scary details and how they all work out alright. ;)

Maggie, low acid foods need to be done in a pressure canner because of the botulism danger. But pressure canners are big and scary all by themselves. Well, really they're not, but if you start reading about canning, there's an awful lot of be afraid literature out there: if you screw up, everyone's gonna die! lol It's that hump I need to get over, know what I mean? Then I remember that Grannie and Bebee canned for years and on back in the family, so how hard can it really be?

jill said...

i love reusing bags! ive been doing this for a while and dont know many others who do. most people think its a little extreme :) between washing storebought ziplocs and reusing other food bags like the ones bread comes in, i hardly ever buy bags.

i really enjoy reading your blog!