Monday, July 20, 2009

canning & freezing in full swing

it starts with the strawberries in late may or early june. and it's so exciting to see those strawberries on the plants. it's like a wake up to summer.

i make some jam, i freeze some berries & we eat lots of strawberries & favorite strawberry dishes like shortcake & pie. we are part strawberry for the month of june!

there's a short reprieve while we enjoy some radishes, some lettuce & maybe a few onions.

then it all goes crazy. life begins to be planned around what needs to be done in the garden.

and so i have a love hate relationship with gardening & canning.

i love the we can grow our own food, harvest it & keep it for the coming year.

i hate that it takes time. precious time that i give during my summer... summer that goes by so break from being a home schooling mom. i need that break from school probably as much or more than my kids do!

gardening, canning & freezing definitely take time. i enjoy being busy, but the busier i am, the quicker the time seems to fly by.

so enough of my rant. i am thankful. and hopeful. and praying that my beans are going to do better than they seem to be doing right now. beans are important to us. we were fortunate last year to have an incredible turn out and we put up enough to eat them at least a couple times a week for an entire year.

and i am super excited to have picked & frozen 35 lbs of blueberries last week! yes, 35 lbs! this is the most i have ever put up, so i will be happy to let my boys eat blueberries without worrying about running out of them early next year!


now, this here part of the post is for my friend shannan & any of you looking into planting cucumbers for pickling.

we put up a lot of pickles.

  • dill
  • sweet garlic dill
  • bread & butter

i think we have discovered that we eat more of the dill than anything, so we will do more of them than we have in the past.

we plant 2 kinds of cucumbers: "sweet slice" & "national pickling"

you all know what the sweet slice look like. pretty much what you see in the store for cucumbers. they're long and green with smooth shiny skin. they turn yellow when they're too ripe. we just cut these up & eat them. by the plateful. they're yummy.

the national pickling are my favorite little pickle. we use them for pickling. there's something endearing about them, if a cucumber can possibly be endearing. i think of them when i think of a claussen pickle for some reason.

*and the way, there's an ongoing discussion at our house as to whether or not you should call them cucumbers or pickles before they have actually been "pickled". some say one, some say the other, but mostly some are just being smart alecs when they act like they don't know what we're talking about when we say "you need to go out and get some pickles from the garden..."☺

these guys are cute, they're smallish...about this long...

i try not to let them get too long because i like to cut then into spears or half by length to fit into pint jars. and you don't have to worry because if they get much longer than that, they just get fatter around and not so much longer, and they're usually over-ripe by that time. sometimes i pick them pretty small if i want to pickle them whole in quart jars.

and they look like this when you slice them across...

which i do for bread & butter pickles, or chucks of any other kind of pickle. i like how they are 3 sided, but i notice if you let them get a bit bigger, they will puff up and have 4 sides. i like to keep them right about here.

i started growing my own dill last year since it only made sense & since dill is perennial, it's an added plus. and actually if you accidentally till it up (hi honey!) it will probably come right back up...ours did anyway. it's pretty tough stuff.

so i'm off to make some dill pickles. if i find the time, i'll post some recipes with the finished product.

happy canning!


Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

Girl! I am so envious of you and your monster garden and domestic diva-ish ways! I'm still not sure what kind of cukes I have... Maybe next year we'll actually keep track of what we plant??

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