"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Preserving Log 9/18

Arrived home from Oaxaca ten days ago. In that time we had a lot to do to get the kids ready for school- go shopping for supplies and clothes, adjust their schedules, etc. Paloma made a schedule and posted it on the fridge:

We did all that. Also I started a serious job - ten days of full time, 8 hour days interpreting for a student enrolled in he Washington state Caregiver’s training program. I have done this same course several times before. It’s very demanding; after eight hours of simultaneous interpretation my brain feels like a bowl of cold oatmeal. But it pays well and after our expensive summer abroad I couldn’t turn it down. 

Meanwhile, the pears and the plums and the early apples just kept on coming. Here’s what I’ve done in the way of preserving in the last ten days, more or less in order:

1) dehydrated two gallons of pears and two gallons of plums

2) canned six quarts salsa ranchera

3) canned four quarts pear/apple sauce

4) three gallons lacto-fermented pickles

5) made three gallons of plum wine - currently undergoing secondary fermentation in a carboy on the mantle. 

6) made three pounds chevre

7) canned eight pints blackberry jam

8) froze a gallon blueberries

Planning on picking up several pounds of peppers for canning later this week. That’s about it for now. I want to hit the farmers market and look for wild mushrooms - chanterelle season is in full swing, and I’d like to dry a few pounds. 

Happy Mabon to you all. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Making Up for Lost Time (Mabon Again)

We arrived home late the night before last. Or perhaps more accurate to say, early yesterday morning. We finally opened the door to our home at about 1:30 am Friday morning, to a couple of very happy dogs. 

After sleeping in quite late, we set about cleaning the house (my daughter Rowan did a wonderful job taking care of the farm and keeping the place operational, but she apparently didn’t sweep the floor or scrub the toilet once in seven weeks). I had cleaned out the fridge before we left, so there wasn’t much food in the house. 

A quick reconnaissance of the orchard revealed that there is still a heck of a lot of fruit to cope with. The greengage plums are done for this year - though a neighbor friend picked a bunch and dehydrated some for us - but the Italian plums are still a week or so away from ripe, and the tree is loaded. 

Pears are falling all over the property. I think I may have mentioned that I have FOUR pear trees, which is a ridiculous number. The Bartletts are ripe, and the Comice pears are not far behind. The Seckels and whatever the fourth one is (I forget) have a ways to go. Today I picked up a few dozen fallen Bartlett pears that were still firm and  fragnrant and tomorrow I will haul the dehydrator out of storage and scrub it. The girls love dehydrated pears in their school lunches. School starts Tuesday. 

The cider apple tree is covered with apples. Cider season will be soon.  The other Apple trees, still quite young, have a few dozen apples apiece. And the Asian pears trees, planted two years ago, and a half have a few pears on them. 

Today I went to Gleaners’s Pantry. Came home with the crate you see above - about twenty five pounds of tomatoes and peppers. Tomorrow I will can. I’m guessing there’s a good dozen quarts of salsa in that box. 

Tonight I spent a few hours making good use of other produce fromGleaner’s. Roasted hatch chiles, red onions, corn on the cob, and fresh tomatoes became this beautiful salsa: 

I also brought home a half dozen loaves of ciabatta bread. I like to cube it up and toss the cubes with a mix of olive oil, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper, and bake until they are crunchy croutons. Store in a ziplock bag in the fridge. 

 Not pictured here is a new experiment - plum shrub. A shrub is a fruit based concentrate, made of any fresh fruit macerated with sugar for a few days and then mixed with apple cider vinegar. That makes a storable concentrate that can be mixed with fresh water - still or sparkling - for a delightful refreshing non-alcoholic beverage. If you like, of course, you can also add a jigger of vodka or gin. My first attempt at a shrub is a half gallon of chopped Italian plums and a few springs of rosemary. I expect it will be delicious. 

I missed a lot of preserving season this year - for the very worthwhile reason that we were in Mexico with my husband’s family - but I am making up for list time. Mabon is upon us, almost, and I intend to embrace the motto of the season and be prepared. 

Besides, I love it. Putting up food is just about my favorite thing ever.