Let The Harvest Continue

This morning when Alice headed for work, I was tasked with some garden chores. My first one was to scour the summer squash/zucchini section. There were some whoppers hiding under the leaves. I picked what I could find and brought a full shopping bag into the house. Next I tackled the tomatoes.

Again this year, we put in more tomato plants than we had room for. It is hard to imagine in the spring when those tentative little green slips are placed into the ground, that they’ll turn into 6+foot tall monsters by August. Their branches have reached across to their neighbors, making ninja skills necessary to get to the back of the row to liberate the ripe ones.

Liberate I did this morning. I carried another bag full of ripe tomatoes, including some truly big ones. Then began the ritual dance of cleaning, cutting out the stems and bad spots, blanching to remove the skins, slicing, and stacking onto the trays of the dehydrator. The dehydrator filled up well before the tomatoes were used up, so I walked back out to the garden and picked some ripe peppers, an onion, and got a couple of stalks of celery out of the refrigerator. I chopped up everything but the tomatoes, added some oil to the frying pan, and sauteed the lot. While the lovely smells were filling the house, I blanched the rest of the tomatoes to remove the skins, sliced them up, and dumped them into our biggest pot. When the sauteeing was complete, I mixed it all together in the big pot and let it simmer on the stove for a couple of hours.

It always amazes me how sweet tomato sauce is when it is made with real tomatoes. Alice and I took turns tasting the mixture as it cooked down. When it was ready, I spooned it into 4 pint containers, labelled them, and put the lot in the freezer. The way the tomatoes are growing this year, I predict I’ll have to make a similar batch in the next few days if we’re to keep up.

After supper, Alice processed the beans and peas she’d picked last night. These were also frozen.

Earlier in the day, I started a gallon of blackberry wine from the 3 quarts I bought from our Mennonite friends in Pelkie. This batch is in the phase where the native yeast that came in on the fruit is all killed. The tablet I use to do this job lasts for only 24 hours, so tomorrow I’ll add the wine yeast and watch the bubbling commence. After about 5 days of this, I’ll transfer the batch into a glass bottle where it can bubble away for a couple months or so. Then it is bottled and stored for a couple of years.

What a great time of the year… when the hard work of the summer is starting to bear fruit. All this work will really pay off in some exceptional food and drink later on.

2 Responses to “Let The Harvest Continue”

  1. Debi Cook (Soldan) says:

    When I lived outside of town “in the country”, I too had a huge garden and grew everything you could imagine, including peanuts. I didn’t actually overdo the tomatoes, but I definitely did overdo the strawberries. And these were ever-bearing! We couldn’t keep up them. You said you froze most of this produce – did you do that instead of canning in order to preserve nutrients? Or do you just prefer the taste?

    Producing your own food is certainly a lot of work and very time consuming, but it certainly is worth it to get the wonderful taste, the lack of pesticides, and the increased nutrients. Keep up the good work and ENJOY.

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