Preserving the Harvest

annie1992July 31, 2014

Yes, here it is, my favorite time of year, canning season. My garden is loving the cool and wet summer we're having so far, so things are growing like crazy.

I cut 16 pounds of rhubarb, more than I've ever gotten from those plants, I think I'll get one more cutting in about a week before I'm done for the year. It grew tall and strong, though, as you can see. One stalk without the leaf was nearly two feet tall!

The stalks filled my entire big kitchen sink:

I ended up with 9 quart bags, sliced and ready for pie or crisp or whatever suits me.

Then I started on zucchini. I brought home a five gallon bucket full, and pondered. I puzzled and puzzled, like the Grinch, til my puzzler was sore. Then I cut the zucchini into spears and made Cinnamon Red Hot Pickles. I've never made them before, but I like them a lot, in spite of the odd artificial color given the spears by the red hot candy.

We got the first small picking of beans, some green ones, some yellow ones, some purple ones. So I canned marinated 3 bean salad, 10 pints of it. I should be done with that for the year, and then I canned more zucchini pickles!

I have a crock of Linda Lou's 7 day sweet pickles soaking and by next week I'll be canning beans. I still haven't gotten a ripe tomato, though.....

I picked just a handful of gooseberries, the birds love them, so I never get enough to actually do anything with except just eat them. It's something hardly anyone grows any more around here, the bushes used to be everywhere.

Happy Canning!


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What a wonderful bounty !!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 5:34AM
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It looks wonderful! I haven't seen gooseberries in years, and I am not sure I ever even ate one. Are they sweet or tart?

I would share my ripening toms if you were closer. I am getting a poor harvest. First was the rot in June and now I have BER on many. And the squirrels are getting the good ones. I have taken to picking then in the blush stage and letting them ripen in the kitchen. Good thing I had tons last year!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:39AM
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Good Grief Annie! You make me tired just looking at all that canning! I admire your work ethic & the beautiful canned goods.

I'm still waiting for tomatoes to ripen here too. I did go to the Farmer's Market just a little while ago and although stands had tomatoes, I didn't see any bushels or 1/2 bushels for canning yet. The tomatoes seem a little late to me this year.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:59AM
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Beautiful pictures. Beautiful industry.

I'm having trouble imagining zucchini picked with red hots, but the jars are pretty (if artificially colored). Could you please describe the flavor? Cinnamon, yes, but are they sweet, tart, crisp, sour?

And here I was all happy dance just because they had champagne grapes in the store...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Oh how I would love to have that rhubarb! I planted some starts this year, but I guess I will have to wait until next year to see if they were successful. It's good to know I can chop it and freeze it!

I have been canning tomatoes about every 2-4 days here. So far, I have picked 132 lbs! Two cases of Annie's Salsa so far, with lots of Chunky Basil Tomato Sauce...whoo hoo!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:00PM
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Oh, and I've also been growing Ground Cherries and freezing them for making jam when the weather cools off.

They are interesting...sort of a cross between a pineapple and a mango in flavor.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Annie, those zucchini cinnamon red hot pickles
Look absolutely amazing!
That sounds so-o-o-o-oo GOOD!

And that rhubarb!
Almost makes me want to consider moving north
I love the stuff!

And I didn't know gooseberies even existed anymore,
Can't rememer the last ime I've seen or tasted one.

Thanks for 'sharing' your bounty!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:39PM
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Annie, you never fail to amaze. I don't know anyone that works harder than you at something that you obviously love.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Annie, it's time to come clean. There are really 2 of you aren't there??! It's hard to believe that you used to do everything that you do now, AND work full-time.

Your bounty is amazing, and like others have said, I haven't seen gooseberries in decades.

Gardengrl, would you share your chunky basil sauce? We have 4 tomato plants in our portion of the garden but they aren't ripening. We buy bushels of romas from the stores, but they didn't sell any last year. I'm really hoping that they have some this year.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:05PM
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gardengrl, I'm happy to see you again, welcome back! I'd share the rhubarb happily if you were closer, I tried mailing some to Nancedar, but I don't think the postal service was very nice to it. As for your starts, pick only a few stalks next year, give the plants a chance to get nice and strong, then pick away. I cut off the leaves (which are toxic) and use them under the plants for mulch, it works great for keeping the weeds down. It freezes very well, just wash it and chop it, then freeze. I don't even put it on a tray first, just pack it into bags, it's easy to break up into individual pieces if you don't want to use the entire bag. I use two for a deep dish pie. So, how do you like the ground cherries, other than in jam?

Peppi, I'd have a lot of gooseberries if I put a net or something over them, I just haven't. Yet. They get all the sour cherries too, or about 95% of them. A gooseberry when ripe reminds me a bit of a Concord grape. The center is sweet but the skins are a little astringent, so you get a sweet hit, then the sour bite of the skins. I planted them for Dad, he only wanted them because Grandpa (his Dad) had some on the old farm and my Mother used to make pies for Grandpa from them. And thanks for the offer for tomatoes, I can't believe yours are ripening that far ahead of mine. It'll be at least two weeks, I think....

Boo, I agree, I think tomatoes are late this year. I think once they start ripening I'm going to have a silo full, they're just getting a late start because it's been so wet and cool here this year. At least I HOPE I'm going to have a silo full, I do have lots and lots of green ones, but I need to make salsa and KatieC's chipotle catsup and can tomatoes for chili and make tomato marmalade. Oh, and Chase's chile sauce...

Plllog, the pickles are crisp and sweet, not at all sour, with just a hint of cinnamon, the taste kind of reminds me of a cinnamon Jelly Belly, sweet and then the cinnamon hit.

Ann T, I think you put as much time and effort into your bread as I do into my canning, so you know that it's not work for me, I like it, it's more enjoyment than required task, like you experimenting with your sourdough. I just don't have the patience required to get really good at sourdough, but a batch of pickles only takes an hour or two, even I can focus that long, LOL.

Jasdip, I don't think this world is ready for two of me, LOL. I'm not sure it's really ready for ONE of me!

Rusty, gooseberries are a very old fashioned thing, and so is rhubarb any more. I'm not sure how that happened...

I do like to can, and spend the summer putting fruit in the freezer so that I can make jam, jelly, syrup, whatever in the winter. Standing over a boiling jam pot is so much nicer in January than it is in August.

Which reminds me, I need to get out and pick blueberries for pancake syrup. And some of Ann T's scones, of course.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:49PM
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Oh Annie, this post did my heart good! So glad things are going so well with the garden this year! That rhubarb...yum. I've only had a couple of tomatoes so far but I put them in late and in these giant tubs. I've been hankering for some fried green tomatoes.

A friends son planted their garden this year and he planted 12 patty pan plants. LOL. She brought by a whole herd of stuff for us last weekend. Bunch of the squash, but a nice head of Chinese cabbage, which I made a stuffed cabbage casserole with. Also some purple Russian kale that I made a chicken kale wedding type soup with. Delish. Lots of cukes, a few zucchini, etc. Nice to have friends with overflowing gardens when you don't get much of one in yourself.

Blueberries. My fave. Last week I made a blueberry crisp. Christy doesn't care for blueberries much so she only had it once. Good thing because the fork I left in it kept finding it's way to my mouth when I'd stop near the dish.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 1:30AM
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Here you go Jasdip...

This is an old stand-by on the Harvest Forum and I make A LOT of this every year. I use it from soups, to pasta, to pizza, to pot roasts! The original recipe is from a canning book and I can't remember the title ("Preserving the Harvest"?).

Anyway, enjoy!

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
8 cups (2 L) coarsely chopped peeled tomatoes -- (about 9-12 tomatoes or 4 lb/2 kg)
1 cup chopped onion -- (250 mL)
3 cloves garlic -- minced
2/3 cup red wine -- (150 mL)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (5 % strength) -- (75 mL)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil -- (125 mL)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley -- (15 mL)
1 teaspoon pickling salt -- (5 mL)
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar -- (2 mL)
1 6-oz/156 mL) can tomato paste

Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, wine, vinegar, basil, parsley, salt, sugar and tomato paste in a very large non-reactive pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency, stirring frequently.

Remove hot jars from canner and ladle sauce into jars to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of rim (head space). Process 35 minutes for pint (500 mL) jars and 40 minutes for quart (1 L) jars in a BWB.

"8 cups" (Note: Tripling this recipe will give you 6-7 quarts)

Note: This sauce also makes an excellent base for a quick pizza.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:09AM
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Annie, the ground cherries are an experiment. I've never grown them or even knew what they were until last year, so I thought, "What the heck?"

At first, I didn't like them. I thought they tasted like a cross between a tomato and a mango....bleh! But then I realized they have to really ripen to get that pineapple flavor.

I will see how it goes when I make jam. The plants were super pests at all and even the critters left them alone. As far as harvesting...well, I think they are nature's own Easter egg hunt. They are ripe when they fall off the plant to the ground, which is a GREAT job to give to little kids for something to do. Go find the ground cherries! :-)

They're even fun to peel out of the nature's own candy wrappers!

I wrote a post about it on my blog...

Here is a link that might be useful: Ground Cherries

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:18AM
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Also Annie, I never go around to telling you, but I wrote a blog post about you and your salsa last year. :-)

Check it out...

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Salsa Story

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:28AM
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Good to see a fine rhubarb harvest...does take a few years to settle in. I should have one last big load this weekend for freezing.
Love gooseberries but the birds got most of mine. Raspberries are ripe and
Soon blueberries...(i net them).
This year, with cool evenings, mild days, i still have salad greens going...
Getting blush on tomatoes!
Beauty harvests from all and like to see pics
(On my dumb-thumb phone...working all night)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Awww, thanks Kathy. And while we are mutually admiring, I still use your maple granola recipe, it's my all time favorite!

I have ONE Sungold tomato just changing color and some Indigo Blue Berries just starting to turn. They are a new one for me, and they are not berry sized at all, they're a small tomato, but definitely not cherry sized.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:34PM
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