Saturday, July 16, 2011
This summer has been a blur of visitors and food preservation. How blessed we are to have such wonderful friends and family to visit. With the exception of a few days, we've had visitors all summer. Boy does that ever help to chase away our homesickness. Our home feels so full (in a good way). In addition to being able to visit with and cook for, we've also been able to bring lots of our family and friends to our farmers market and introduce them to the idea of local food. So exciting.
We have also been blessed many times by our neighbors who have shared with us the abundance from their gardens. We've been blessed with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash (by the truckload, it seems :), blueberries (literally by the gallon) and this week figs (25 pounds yesterday, plus another 15 pounds last week that we made into preserves to share with our extended family). We have been preserving this blessing as quickly as we can. Most days find the dehydrator going all day. We have veggies for soup, lots of tomatoes, figs, peppers both hot and sweet, potatoes and blueberries all dehydrated and ready to be used in the off season (mmmmm . . . dried blueberries in oatmeal - I can almost taste it now).
We've also frozen lots of fruits (peaches, blueberries, a few strawberries and some figs) and veggies (squash, zucchini, corn and even pesto). The fruit we will use in smoothies, pancakes and pies. The veggies will be used mostly as side dishes.
And it seems that at least a few times a week, we've been firing up the water bath canner to preserve something in canning jars. So far its been mostly the same thing over and over, but I'm grateful because it is stuff we eat a lot of and will need many jars of in the off seasons. We've made peach syrup, salsa - lots and lots of salsa, garden tomato juice (like V-8) and fig preserves. Once we take care of all of these figs we were given, I'm hoping to put up some more salsa and some tomato sauce/ puree. Then we are going to get to work on making some pickles. We've also been offered some pears (they are not yet ready to harvest) and hope to make pear sauce out of what we don't eat fresh. It is comforting to know that we have some locally grown and home preserved foods set aside for the time when there is less fresh produce available at the market or from the garden.
And speaking of gardens, my little garden is growing nicely. We have been able to harvest several cucumbers and yellow pear tomatoes and the peas are growing quite nicely. I think they will begin flowering soon. It has been fun having our garden survive to harvest :)
The chickens are still laying well, even in the heat. We are still getting an average of about 9 eggs each day. It has been such a blessing to have eggs to share with those who share their garden produce with us and to send home with our guests.