Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Making cider

My husband knows me well.

For an early anniversary present he purchased a small (4 gallon) cider press.  With the bathtub of apples we needed it.

The crusher to go with it was currently out of stock, so in a great blend of old and new technology we used a food processor to chop the fruit up.

It did not, however, work very well.

The apples are dry, picked a little early at the behest of two of our neighbors.  A five gallon bucket of whole apples yielded less than a gallon of juice.

Well, at least the hens were happy when I brought out the leftovers.  They were barely crushed.

So the Cuisinart was washed and put away and the juicer brought out in its place.  After juicing, the mash was placed in the press.  This came close to doubling the cider extracted.  4 five gallon buckets yielded 5 gallons of cider.

One carboy is full, bubbling away in the downstairs shower (in case of minor eruptions)  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Apples Apples Apples

Chris and I spent the day picking apples from 2 different neighbors.  3/4 is a Delicious of some sort and the remainder are Jongold.  There is applesauce in our future.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday harvest

Beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale & squash

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

But wait - there's more

So Chris bought more cucumbers and a bulb of garlic (that's practically a bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates 'round here)  I put all the cucumbers in ice water and biked down to the Ppatch to get a few heads of dill seed.  
R - dill & onion, M - dill & garlic, L - dill, garlic & Thai dragon chili
And found more cucumbers.

So we have 8 more pints of pickles in the cupboard.  I followed this recipe on the Woodridge Homestead blog.  I will let you know in a week or so if it is as good as advertised.

A year of garden firsts

This year has had its oops moments (forgot to plant carrots)  But there has been so many successes.

Yesterday while trying to find the tomatillos that are buried under bindweed, morning glories and other weeds I found these lovely white eggplant.  The plant itself was so small I had forgotten it was there.

Then we have the corn

Here in our backyard we have Ruby Queen, a red hybrid sweet corn.  It is in the raised bed and grew between 4-5 ft high.  The bees have been all over it.

We have grown corn in the past, of course, but it was always starchy, chewy and generally unappetizing.

Ruby Queen, even not quite ripe (it is supposed to be full red) was very good.  I picked some larger ones on a whim (something ate the silks, but did not eat the corn itself) and boiled them with the water leftover from blanching pole beans (another first) to freeze.  Only a couple of them were reddish and Rhiannon and I ate them slathered in butter.

Not pictured is the cantaloupe we ate while still in the garden.  The potatoes that are putting out beautiful purple blooms and the fall garden beans, carrots, and cabbage I think I got in early enough.

Now back to the kitchen.  Chris just brought in today's picking of cucumbers along with a request for garlic chili dills.

Friday, August 8, 2014

I think we will have to eat this one in the garden

We grew our watermelon on old bed springs this year to keep them off the ground

Update 8/17:  We picked this and one other watermelon.  The vine off both stems had turned brown and they had the hollow sound when slapped.

Both were not yet ripe.  Only the chickens enjoyed them.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making pickles

This year we are getting enough cucumbers to actually can pickles.  Will last year's dill spear debacle (soggy soft and overly salty) I decided to try a bread and butter recipe that I made while at he history museum last year.

I have never liked sweet pickles.

Except these.

It was an all day project including soaking the cucumber and onion slices in salt for 3 hours.

In the end I had 6 pints canned, plus a quart of refrigerator style using the extra brine.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Seed organization

Up until today our seeds lived mostly piled in a small under the bookshelf in our living room.  I say mostly because I regularly found them in random drawers, on top of the refrigerator and once in the crate that holds unmatched socks.

I tried using a small photo album, an idea I saw on Pintrest, but I could not close the album after sliding less than 1/2 of our packets in it.  It would have worked great, had the packets been empty.

Then I saw this vintage plastic seeing box at Goodwill.  With cardboard dividers out is perfect.  The seeds are separated into herbs/flowers, short season (lettuce, peas, bush beans) and long season (tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, squash).  Then in alphabetical order by year.(ie 2013 peas followed by 2015 peas then 2014 radish).
Best of all it will fit in the extra fridge we use as a cold cellar.