Monday, July 23, 2012

Independence Days Challenge Update, Here Comes the Harvest

All of a sudden it is here. Each day brings a bounty of piles being hauled into the house. Broccoli, peas, soon to be beans. Smells of garlic and herbs are infused into my skin. Often I find myself commenting about how much more this growing season is providing us than last year. Truly grateful and not a little boastful that my efforts are paying off. We really are saving a lot of money from our garden this year.

Planted:  Summer Cabbage, beets, cabbage, lettuce. I am filling in those empty spaces with succession crops this year; first, so I don't have to weed those spots  and second, so I can hold off eating what we put up by extending the season.

Harvest:  peas,broccoli, lettuce, garlic, shallots,dill,basil,cilantro, carrots,beets, oregano, 2 grape tomatoes...yum;)

Preserve: pickled beets, dill pickles, mustard, fermented pickles,peas and broccoli

Local food: local milk, local sausage, cukes for pickling ( mine had a catastrophic invasion)

Eat the food: fermented pickles are going fast. I only made three quarts. We don't have a good cool spot for them this time of year so that we can slow down the fermentation when we want to.  So after living on the counter for 4 days we ate one quart, put 2 in the fridge. A local farmer told me that in July the cukes go fast because folks wait all year for them. August the farmer is inundated with cukes but folks don't buy too many of them. Then folks remember the season is at an end and rush to buy the last ones. I think I will buy some in late August to ferment pickles for longer keeping. But for now we are enjoying our first successful fermented pickles. YUM!

Waste not: I am using cultures from some purchased lebnah ( kefir cheese) to make some kefir. We are expanding our seed saving efforts the lazy person's way. I have let some lettuce, chard and a few garlic scapes go to seed. I will havest the garlic bubils to plant as garlic grass next year. I hope to let the chard and lettuce  self sow next spring.

Want not: I found a nice glass carboy at an estate sale. We want to make some cider from our apples this year.  I found a winter jacket at the Goodwill for Evan.  Bottled the dandelion wine, racked off the mead and the strawberry wine.

Learn something new:  I made some mustard. The results were great. I will share a recipe soon. It is definitely worth making and canning your own mustard. The quality is excellent and the savings considerable.

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