Hello my Followers and Friends,
Since I've been away from the blog for so long, I thought you deserved an explanation; and that is that I have been busy, busy, busy! And I'm sorry that I haven't recorded it for you, but I promise to do better as there are some exciting things coming. . .
First up, we're moving to my new husband's family homestead, where we have kept a big garden for the past three years. Right now, we're in the process of renovating the old house and it's tomato harvest season, in addition to school starting on the 30th of August.
The big crops from the garden this year have been red raspberries, green beans, snow peas, gourds and tomatoes. The hot pepper crop is ripening on the vine and will turn into pickled peppers in the next few weeks - but not without some work.
The red raspberry bushes produce 2 crops per years and the vines are loaded for the 2nd picking sometime in September. We freeze them on cookie sheets straight out of the garden and then put them in Ziplock freezer bags after they are frozen so they aren't all squished (technical Pennsylvania term) together into a solid block later when you only want to use a few.
We make raspberry jelly, wine and syrup and retain some for mixing with fresh and canned fruit throughout the winter.
Our green beans are Blue Lake Bush Beans and are generally tough unless you cook the daylights (whatever that is) out of them. We use them for winter soup and stew where having daylights really isn't of any consequence, so they work great. To preserve them, we blanch them and vacuum seal them in Food Saver bags, and voila`, we're done.
The Snow Peas are a cool weather crop, planted early in the spring and harvested in June. Again, they are easy to preserve by blanching them and vacuum sealing them for the freezer.
The tomato crop is ripening and this week I tried freezing them for the first time, because I did not have the time or energy to can them. To freeze them, I simply washed & cored them, put them upside down on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and popped (technical term alert) them into the freezer. 24 hours later, I put the frozen red baseballs in Ziplock bags. I understand that the skins will come right off the frozen tomatoes if you run warm water over them when you are ready to use them. We'll see about that.
Anyway, today, I am making stuffed tomatoes for the first time. It's a family favorite and David's 89 year old mother has loosely translated the recipe to me which I will share in the next posting. I will be using all of those extra tomatoes you have left after you have frozen what you need for the year and given away as many as you can to neighbors, friends and cousins.