Since it's been so miserably hot in the garden this year and I seem to have thrown the towel in months ago, I've had more time to branch out beyond my usual harvest by taking advantage of the local farm stands. Not the Farmer's "Market", those are usually disappointing to me, but the actual stands on the road in front of a farm. Usually I go load up on strawberries and blueberries, and then by the time the farms have other offerings I am knee deep in my own garden and don't manage to get by the farm stands to pick up anything more than a few ears of corn for dinner. This year was sooooooo different! My tomatoes were all done and canned by mid-July, so I've started becoming a little more creative beyond my usual jars of salsa, tomatoes and jam on the shelves.
One day I took the kids and headed out to pick up some early corn, the last of the blueberry pickings, figs and peaches.
The "early" corn ended up being fantastic, so I went back the next morning and bought a bunch more and put the kids to work. I ended up with some great jars of canned corn this year, another first (usually I freeze it).
THIS is why I don't bother with corn in my home garden...look at that pollination!
My first time for canning peaches... I know, I know... who doesn't can peaches? I remember my grandma getting lots of peaches every year, but I never did care much for them and never tried myself. I have found that I like the taste, but don't like the smell, anyone else have this problem? Ok, maybe it's just me :)
I decided to get creative with some color by canning blueberries with peaches also -
Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I am now addicted to stopping by the farm stands and canning just about anything they have going in abundance this year. It's pretty time consuming, but it's fun and I'm learning so much about the market price of all the things I take for granted since I grow them myself. Like WOW, the other day I saw tomatoes for 2.99/lb at the stand... considering how many hundreds of lbs I grow of those every year I have a lot of money on my shelves. Too bad I can't pay the mortgage in tomatoes! Apocalypse Currency, I say!
All this canning led me to want to clean my kitchen finally. I'm not talking about the standard cleaning, I mean the stuff that is taller than I am, anyone else have this grime blindness? Oh yes, the tops of the cabinets, yuck! Even the top of the range hood :) I will occasionally wipe down the underside and sides, but I can't see the top so who else will? Apparently anyone over 5'2, that's who :) I armed myself with my spray bottle and got to work, tops of fridge, cabinets, and oh, look! - tomato sauce all over the wall tile, wonder what canning year that was?
Of course I'm about to
splatter can apple pie filling this week, but the clean lasted at least a day or two.
The best part of cleaning and reorganizing is being able to look at what you have accomplished!
Other things I have been up to:
a beach in a bowl, just because I felt like it :)
I'm lucky that I have one farm stand 2 miles from the house, and many more only 10 minutes away, more goodies at the farm stand this week: potatoes, honey, eggs, fresh butter:
all these trips to the farm stand made me want to knit one of those market bags, so I started knitting a little early this year -
I'll be honest, these bags are more form than function LOL, I prefer the empty box I keep in the car, but they are pretty cute :)
I was able to get an evening in kayaking with my "church ladies" :), so much fun -
I wish we all had the time to do this more often!
Tomorrow is the first day of school, I can't wait! If the weather breaks soon (we still have heat indexes at 100º) I can be out there doing the big fall cleanup during the day without worrying about the boys burning down the house, and hopefully by October be doing some quilting!
For now, there is school sandwich bread to be made and frozen. I wonder how long I can keep this up before I give in and buy bread again...(I only lasted about 2 months last year of dedicated sandwich bread making!)
I thought this was pretty cute the other day, the last I had heard that morning was that they hated each other -
I'm all for this "new kind of hatred" :)
I know I'm the last person to be issuing demands and challenges since I've been such a bad blogger lately, but since I put up the kitchen photo and it is that time of year, how 'bout you share a photo of where you do your canning and a photo of what you have stashed away so far? I'll call this the "Medicine Cabinet" challenge, because you have to admit that for us like minded folks looking at photos of other's canning spaces and
Wow-impressive Erin. Love the addition of blueberries in with the peaches.ReplyDelete
All you'd get out of me is crates of taters/onions/garlic and a freezer full of frozen stuff. No canning here. Still. Next year??
Sue, are you kidding me? Potatoes/onion/garlic is what I love looking at! We can't store that kind of stuff here so I'm so jealous of those that can!Delete
Your kitchen is disgusting! You should see mine! I actually had a dream last week about how dirty my kitchen floor was. The dream turned out to be a premonition!! "The Italian" did clean out the kitchen refrigerator and corner pantry the other day. Now I have room for more veggies and caning stuff!!ReplyDelete
Robin, what's disgusting is the floor LOL! That is being conveniently forgotten about until I am done doing apple pie filling - the floor is awful!Delete
Well, pooh. I just made a long comment and it disappeared! If it shows up, just delete this one :-)ReplyDelete
I'm waiting for Mr. Granny to cover my wire shelves with some paneling, because the jars tip on the wires. I've moved the (former) grow shelves into a large spare closet, and someday, when Mr. G gets his act together, I'll be moving all of my canned goods in there and out of the laundry room. I promise there will be a picture if it ever happens!
Granny, we want to see what everything looks like now!! I'll show my mess if you show yours :)Delete
Hah! You're too late, Robin. Right after I commented, I shamed Mr. G into putting in those shelves. I have two of the three all covered in fresh shelf paper, and have moved every.single.jar of food in there already! So there!Delete
Gran, I have that problem too. That "blue curtain" monstrosity in my kitchen is actually one of those 2 ft deep Gorilla shelving things and that's where my canned goods should be, protected from sunlight, but I'm waiting for hubs to line them with lumber like you did. Until then though, I am enjoying seeing my jars out in the open when I walk into the kitchen :) At least this challenge wasn't as bad as when I did the "show me your fridge" post a couple of years back LOL!!!Delete
Well, I took the challenge and my stuff is now on my blog for all to see. Oh, I remember the refrigerator challenge! You killed Momma S with that one, it was the last post she ever made.Delete
I sure miss her :-(
Oh Gran I remember! LOL poor thing :) I sure wish she'd check back in! I'm so behind in my blog reading, I plan to catch up right after I'm done paying this big stack of bills on my desk, I'll have to start with your post today :)Delete
Lol, like Granny my canned good storage is in the laundry room... as well as my curing onions, drying herbs, grow room lights, and anything else I can jam in there. Oh, and the washer and dryer of course.ReplyDelete
I took major advantage of the local produce this year too, buying up tomatoes, apples, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mushrooms. Anything that I had a plan for and was a decent price. It was great to load up on fresh produce that averaged about $1/lb. The only downside is that I ran out of jars!
AnywhereEden, I think mine would be in the laundry area too if I had one, sadly I don't :( I haven't seen mushrooms here, but that sounds awesome, I bet they would be delicious canned and sauteed during the winter. I will be low on jars soon also so that will put a damper on things :)Delete
We don't have farm stands here. Not many farms on mountains. I'd have to drive for at least an hour to a different town to find some fresh produce.ReplyDelete
You sure have been keeping yourself busy even if you aren't out in the garden. I haven't canned anything but those pickles this year. But I did freeze bags of raspberries and blueberries. I could take a picture of my freezer.
Sparkless, I can imagine it's difficult to get fresh things there, and when you do you are paying more for trucking it in. Those berries will be fantastic in the wintertime, they freeze beautifully, I still do all my berries that way, only threw some into my peaches to get a little crazy with the color :)Delete
I love the market bag you knitted! Did you have a pattern or did you "wing" it? I've seen some knitted/crocheted produce bags before, but never attempted to make one. Now I'd love to try ...ReplyDelete
Anke, I used a pattern off of Ravelry, most of the patterns look very similar. They are super fast to knit up, took me 2 nights but you could definitely do it in one day if you can devote the time. This one was cotton, but I may do like my hubby suggested and try one in some hemp twine stuff to prevent the sagging & stretching. It would make a great beach bag in a bigger size for all the sand to shake out on the way to the car LOLDelete
Also, the bag I did only takes one of those small skeins of Sugar n'Cream type yarn, so it's great for using up any remainder of larger skeins, I tend to buy that cotton in large skeins for lots of dishcloths etcDelete
Your rows of filled jars look wonderful! When we finally get back into our house, I'll take a picture of our "canned" veggies, but they will mostly be canning jars packed with dehydrated veggies. No canning while we are (still) living in a hotel.ReplyDelete
Amy, thanks! I hope your house is up to speed soon with the holidays and nice fall weather coming I know you are anxious to get back home!Delete
Well gosh, Girl, you may not have been spending time out in your garden but you sure have been getting a whole heckuva lot of stuff done! A LOT of stuff. You make me feel very unproductive.ReplyDelete
I don't have lovely canned goods lined up on my pantry shelves to show you. We've found out this summer that my pantry is not cool enough. Granted, it's cooler than the rest of the house but our basement is much cooler so for optimum storage, that's were my jars of goodies are . . . in the boxes the jars came in. We've got to figure out a way of ventilating or circulating air in the pantry to keep it cooler. For now I'm just bringing up 2-3 jars of everything from the basement to the pantry so at least it will be handier to grab something when I run out. And, of course, I froze nearly all of my veggies so like others have commented above I could take a picture of my freezer. Not so interesting. And besides all that, my pantry STILL has building supplies stored in part of it. Grrrr!
Mama Pea, so strange this year, I guess it was just time for me to explore other things to keep me motivated, but at least it was canning and not bar hopping right? LOL! I know it takes a lot of planning and trial and error for storage places when you don't have a/c. I was wondering how the new pantry was working out, but I guess it is still the mini Home-Depot in there LOL!Delete
Hmmm, not sure if I'm up to showing you what I've canned and cleaned as it would be A) little and B) dusty and greasy and splatterd with various foodstuffs. But this is a good way to get myself to do some cleaning so I can show off a proper workspace and some of my modest canning.ReplyDelete
CR, I have a high tolerance for dusty and greasy as long as it's higher than 5'2 LOL!!!! Any canning any of us manage to do in this weird weather/garden year is amazing I think, and you have most of us beat anyways since you get fresh eggs and farm animals! :)Delete
I wish I felt like posting a picture of my pantry! It's just not that orderly. At least the kitchen is pretty clean -- some areas more than usual. Maybe at the end of the season. Your kitchen looks fabulous; your canning more so. Enjoy your newfound sense of accomplishment!ReplyDelete
Stefaneener, I wish I had a better attitude about my own garden this year, I probably would have had more of "my own" stuff on the shelves, but at least this way we'll have more variety this winter. The boys will take to canned peaches and apples better than they do my endless supply of "dilly beans" LOLDelete
So what are your favorite farm stands? I get frustrated that so many of them truck in produce from elsewhere. I bought a ton of tomatoes from Henleys ($15/25lbs, so my attitude was just the opposite of yours... why bother growing them?)ReplyDelete
If you can get away on a Wednesday night, I do recommend you try the VB Farmer's Market Auction. Even if you don't need/buy anything, it's a lot of fun.
Lanette, I go to Cindy's Produce right near my house on Harper's Rd, most of their stuff is from their farm, I always ask if I don't know for sure. My apples/figs/grapes/berries I pick myself at the U-pick farms, I will stop by Pungo Blueberries sometimes and see if the farmer guy is out there with his wagon of stuff but that one is hit or miss if the berry bushes aren't open for picking. There is a guy who has an unmanned stand out near Horn Point Rd that has good corn and an honor pay system/box. I must admit I steer clear of Henley's mostly, lots of their stuff isn't local and they are getting to the point where they have the majority of the market out there so I go to the smaller guys :) I volunteer for Farmer's Market activities sometimes but I don't really shop there, I find that a lot of their stuff has been there for awhile sometimes or is from Georgia when it's in season here or in NC so that kind of bugs me. I have been known to occupy lawn space at the Friday Night Hoedown though LOLReplyDelete
and most anything you find on Knotts Island will be local, that's a pain getting to sometimes, but we kayak out there so if we are out there anyway then it's no extra hassle :) Even at those Henley's prices for tomatoes I'd be broke if I bought 250 lbs to can, that's why I grow mine, we use a LOT of them hahaDelete
My mothers friend had a garden and guess where i spent my summers? Not at camp,not at a friends place spending the night,nooo I spent my summer under this friends carport shelling beans!By the bushels too and when mom would put the beans on the table you bet I didn't want to eat them.LOL But I learned a valuable lesson,you want to eat,you got to work for it YAH!ReplyDelete