Thursday, June 6, 2013

In the Garden & Because of the Garden

The garden gets planted after much planning and hard work.  The weeds are pulled and the little plants are coaxed to grow and all of a sudden there are fruits and vegetables to harvest!  It gets me every time.  The garden sneaks up on me.  I mean, I'm certainly anticipating fresh food and my mouth waters when I think about it, but the spring always passes quickly and before we know it picking, capping, blanching, freezing and canning begins.

Hold tight, sisters, summer is here.



Once I knew produce was on it's way, I had little time to react.  I still needed to take care of a few things before being truly ready.

~ I needed to make a list of what was left in the pantry and freezers (how much I over or under shot with how much we'd eat).  This will also tell me how much to aim for putting up this year.


~ Our upright freezer desperately needed to be defrosted- I need all the room I can get.  Using pans to collect the dripping water and a bucket to dump them into when they became full gave be more than 5 gallons of water that watered plants and chickens once it came to outside temperature.


~ The pantry needed reorganizing.  Empty quart jars needed to be boxed up and stored in the smoke house (our version of an attic) to await applesauce in the fall, jars full of food needed to be moved to the front of the shelves for ease of use and the whole thing needed tidying up.  Check.  I love it when I walk in my pantry again.

We've been enjoying lettuce and asparagus for several weeks now, but just this past week the strawberries and snow peas ripened and needed picking.

This time of year, the early morning is a very enjoyable time to be out.  The sun's warmth is welcomed, the kids are recently fed and well-rested.  They're excited to help (it's also early in the year).  The little conversations heard across the rows are precious.  This is a type of quality time that is often over-looked- this working side by side.  There's room for the mind to wander and the questions and comments that come forth can lead to quality time and discussion.


This is our second year of growing snow peas instead of traditional English or garden peas.  We just get so much more bang for our buck (or vegetable for our effort) with these and we all enjoy them.  I've started freezing them this week.


Strawberries!  Our first fresh fruit of the season.  We've been eating them straight from the garden, with plain yogurt, with baked french toast, and in baked oatmeal.  We've even taken them across state lines to a lake to have with our picnic lunch.  The only method of preserving I'll do with these is to freeze them crushed.  I have plenty of jam and jelly left over and keeping them in their purest, unaltered state is my goal.  We adore crushed strawberries over oatmeal in the winter.
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7 comments:

  1. can't wait to see more photos!!! I'm living through your garden vicariously!! lol

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  2. I just defrosted my freezer, too, to get ready to make strawberry jam this weekend! And I did a canning inventory, too.
    Why'd you throw out your salsa?

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    Replies
    1. Three years is kind of my cut off. And we haven't been eating much salsa lately (obviously) :-).

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  3. You have pretty much left. Do you plan on using or holding over? I like to use all up in the year.

    I find excess salsa works good just for cooking. We don't eat much chips n salsa to begin with, but I like to add the flavored sauce to Mexican Rice or use it for enchilada sauce base etc. Use it in refried beans, taco dip, bean dip....

    I don't throw away the canned items, will use them up first in the new year if needed. But I definitely like to use up the frozen within the year. We have most of the summer and into the fall though to use up things as not much to harvest hear in the way of fruits and vegetable for a couple more months other than radishes, asparagus, peas and rhubarb now.

    Though last year my husband came up from the basement with a "look what I found" and it was a quart of frozen rhubarb slices from 2006 and I thought, well, can try. Thawed up just fine and made a great pie.

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    Replies
    1. In both the pantry and the freezer, I move last year's stores to the front, so we'll be sure to use those up first. This way, if they're not used up within a year, it's likely they'll be used up shortly after. While I try and try to gauge what we'll eat each year, our tastes, preferences for certain recipes and the tastes of (sometimes very) finicky children change. So, every year I hit close in some areas and am off in others. It's like a game:-).

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  4. We grow our own strawberries for jam, freezing and just plain eating fresh but why have I never thought to use them in oatmeal?! Thanks for the tip : )

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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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