Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Can 'em Juice 'em Dry 'em Freeze 'em

Canning efforts - Winter Squash (patty pans and butternuts)
 and some Holy Mole peppers in the back
People often ask me what I do with all the stuff I grow, aside from sharing with friends, neighbors, and fellow congregants. I can 'em, juice 'em, and dry 'em. Best fruits get canned, others get juiced. Leftover grape varieties, and two small plum varieties - Black Plum, and Principe Borghese are dried, along with a yellow paste variety I grew this year - Golden Mama (prolific producer, BTW) which gets both canned and dried.

Other good varieties for canning that I'm growing include Pittman Valley Plum, Amish Paste, and San Marzano. Slicers make poor candidates for drying, shriveling up to almost nothing, OK to good for canning, but are best for juicing, along with extra cherry varieties, like sun gold and black cherry - 2010's winners for Tomato Day.

Canned Tomatoes and Peaches -
Dried tomatoes in front

I cut up all the juicing ones, add whatever extra vegetables I have around (eggplant, squash, carrots, etc.), add peppers (sweet and hot) and onions. Simmer and sieve through a foley mill. Excellent V8 base for a bloody mary. Once there's a bit of a frost, I harvest a couple of horseradish roots and shave a bit into the glass, shot or two of vodka, and Voila, a beverage for Sunday brunch. Yummy.

Tomatoes in Dehydrator
Drying involves just cutting the tomatoes and placing them on a rack in the dehydrator. New this year - putting some of the tomato juice on the plastic sheet for fruit rollups in the dehydrator, and making my own tomato paste. Scrape into a freezer bag and freeze. Also new this year - garlic and onions in the dehydrator. Once dry, grind them up in a coffee grinder, and then package in a freezer bag and freeze. I've done paprika and cayenne peppers this way before.

Onions, Garlic, and Thai Peppers
This is my first year for growing garlic, and some of my onions in years' past rotted (I like to grow the sweet ones, and their storage life is limited), so I figured this was a way to prevent that. The ones in the picture are a variety called 'red zeppelin' - cool name, huh?

Pantry shelves filling up.

I also bought a 1/2 bushel of peaches and canned them, along with the tomatoes.

No comments:

Post a Comment