Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Non-Stop Summer Week

The garden has been going crazy!  Buckets of tomatoes, loads and loads of zucchini and squash, and melons ripening on the vine.  We had several pumpkin plants at the edge of the garden and we pulled 3 pie pumpkins off of them last week.  At this point, we have preserved almost everything we wanted, and therefore, we are letting the zucchini and squash plants fend for themselves from here on out.  

A pan of produce- we are getting this much every couple of days
We will continue to maintain the tomatoes and melons, but other than that we will buy corn and lima beans to freeze, and we'll call it quits until we plant fall crops.  I have been so pleased with the garden this first year.  I have spent very little money on produce to can and freeze, and that makes it all worth it.  

These were cut in half, and roasted, and then the puree was frozen.
I spent last week canning roasted garlic and herb pasta sauce (our favorite), roasted salsa verde, pickled corn and pintos, sweet pickle relish (more on this to come), tomato salsa using this recipe, and freezing lots of stuff as well. 

I froze 10 quarts of shredded zucchini to use for zucchini bread, and I made 3 batches of zucchini bread and froze those as well. I also froze zucchini in chunks to use in Chicken and Veggie Tostadas and casseroles. Is there any plant more resilient (or annoying) than zucchini?  I swear every time I walk through the garden I come in with an armful of summer squash.   

I did not plant cherry tomatoes, so when I came across a gallon of them at the farmers market for $7, I snapped them up.   I definitely need to add this to my list of things to plant next year.  

I enjoyed some of them on a BLT salad to which I also added fresh corn kernels.  Yum!

The rest I cut in half, tossed with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and dried basil.  I then spread them on sheet pans and roasted them in the oven on 200 degrees for a couple of hours until they were chewy and most of the moisture had evaporated.  They are so sweet like little tomato candies.  I packaged them in pint containers and froze them.  I will use them in pasta and sauces throughout winter.   

I had a half row of basil plants in the garden which gave me enough to use in my pasta sauce and plenty to make pesto.  I ended up making about 4 batches using this recipe with each batch being quadrupled in volume (I used slivered almonds instead of pecans this year).  I froze some in 4 oz containers because one container is perfect for a pizza or pasta meal.  The rest I froze in ice cube trays. 

My projects for the next few days involve canning crushed tomatoes.  I already have them peeled and in the fridge waiting on me.  I also have a peck of peaches in the fridge waiting to be made into jam and maybe a few jars of peaches in syrup.  

We also (finally) took a trip somewhere. We have not been on vacation since moving to the country, and I was dying to go somewhere if only for a day.  We went to Valle Crucis and spent the day browsing antique shops, general stores, and eating at a fabulous restaurant.  I snapped a picture of the flower beds in front of the restaurant.  They have winter squash and melons planted among the flowers.  I just love that! 

Next week, I will pressure can some of our potato harvest.  Some of them are not storage quality, and I will peel them and can them to use in mashed potatoes and soups.  I will also put up 2 bushels of corn, and pressure can a batch of chicken stock.  After that, I hope to be done for a while. 

We had the potatoes on the counter to let the dirt dry a little while we found a large enough washtub to store them in temporarily.

Preserving foods is a lot of work but so worth it.  It makes meal planning and prep so much easier later in the year, and most importantly we know where our foods come from and how they were grown.  




  1. Holy potatoes and tomatoes batman! Looks great!

  2. I heard dried tomatoes taste sweeter and tasty,