I’m canning. I’m freezing. I’m dehydrating. It’s that time of year. Harvest time. Being serious about storing up as much of your own food as possible means a total concentration when the food comes in. And the food is coming in. Now.
Much of my day yesterday was spent blanching and peeling 50 pounds of tomatoes.
I’ll be working on another 20 pounds today. More tomorrow. And the day after that. I won’t be satisfied till I have at least 40 quarts of tomatoes in the pantry. Preferable would be 50. I use about a quart of tomatoes a week. Tomatoes are a huge part of my everyday cooking. Lasagna. Stew. Chili. Pizza. Many of our favorite recipes require tomatoes. I’m only about halfway to my goal of 40-50 quarts.
When I do large quantities of tomatoes, I blanch and peel one day then reheat and pressure can the next to break up the work. (You can process tomatoes in a hot water bath, but a quart takes an hour and 40 minutes in a hot water bath as opposed to 10 minutes in a pressure canner. If you don’t have a pressure canner, go get you one. A pressure canner is a wonderful thing. Be not afraid. Pressure canners are, obviously, also very environmentally-friendly as it takes much less energy to process food in them.)
I was also freezing peaches. To freeze peaches, per quart of peeled, pitted, sliced peaches, add 2/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons produce protector. Let sit 10 minutes then place in a quart freezer baggie. Seal and date.
My go-to method for preserving all food is canning because a power outage can’t ruin home-canned food. However, when so much is going on at once in my kitchen and food must be preserved now or it will spoil, freezing and dehydrating has its place. Some foods are even better frozen and dehydrated, or in other cases, just more convenient. (Assuming you don’t have a longterm power outage!) I’ve been freezing peaches for the past month, in the sugar/produce protector mixture rather than in any particular recipe (or pie filling, etc) so that I can choose by whim to make pie, cobbler, whatever, as I take the quart bags out. I love peaches and I’m excited to have so many quart baggies already in my freezer. I’ll be putting more in over the next few weeks, unless I have time to can some peaches. Depends on my tomato stock……
I was also using my dehydrator yesterday. I dehydrated peach peels and pits, of course. (No wasting!) And I had some apples that were mostly bad, so I also dehydrated them, cores, seeds, and all, for potpourri along with the peach peels and pits. (Okay, I also gave a couple of the apples to Pocahontas and the chickens. The chickens also love to eat all my tomato peels.) I dehydrated a bunch of zucchini chips, too. The dried zucchini chips will end up in soups and stews and casseroles.
While I was working hard, the chickens were grooming themselves.
Pocahontas was grazing.
Bread was baking in my oven so we could have ham (cooked the night before) sandwiches on homemade bread for dinner. (Crucial to big food preservation days is the planning of easy meals.)
Nutmeg was begging for cookies.
Flowers were nodding by the garden gate.
Ducks were managing to stay together, avoiding any panic situations.
Kitten and Little…..
….were finally going outside….
….to have Big Adventures.
And Coco was finding the entire day’s events terribly exhausting.
Me, too. But in an oh-so-satisfying way.