Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

The past 2 weeks have been a flurry of harvesting and processing the abundant bounty we've been blessed to receive, and there is plenty more still on the vines/tree!

We started the week with 12 pints of mushroom Spaghetti Sauce using our organically grown heirloom "Roma" tomatoes we grew from seed, as well as herbs grown ourselves. This was my first attempt at making completely "homemade" sauce, and canning it. I found it to be quite simple, although I was surprised at how long it took to cook it down to desired consistency (Almost 3 hours!)

I was lucky in that the "Vulgare" Oregano I started from seed did splendidly, and was able to not only use it in my sauce, but dehydrate enough to refill my 2/3 empty spice jar, too! I may even perhaps get one more dehydrator tray from it before end of season.

As far as freezing, I harvested and froze a gallon of "Greasy Beans" which I'd planted from seed given to me from my dad who'd saved his seed from last year. I had forgotten how tiresome stringing and breaking up beans really was, since I hadn't done it since I was a child. Therefore, we've decided to let the rest dry on the vine for soup beans and for next year's seed.

Speaking of seed, I'm giving tomato seed saving a try for the first time this year as well. I have also already begun harvesting seed from the "Boquet" Dill and Cilantro. I had already dehydrated the dill weed and frozen the cilantro leaves over the past month. The cilantro will be going into salsa this coming weekend with the rest of our tomato crop!

I am sure I'd mentioned previously there was an established apple tree on our property. This week, they are ripe and ready to pick. This evening, we processed a total of 13 jars of apple pie filling, however, one didn't seal properly for whatever reason and will be tomorrow's dessert over vanilla ice cream! This weekend, we will be canning apple sauce and making Cinnamon Apple Chips in the dehydrator.

On top of all this, I've got 5 trays of herbs on the dehydrator as we speak- 3 sage, 1 marjoram, and 1 thyme (I grew the thyme from seed this year as well). I am so thankful my brother bought it for us this past Christmas. It's really been a huge time saver. I'd definitely recommend one to every gardener!

Before I sign off,I suppose I should also mention the steadfast efforts of our laying hens. We faithfully receive 4 eggs per day, and our four youngest should begin laying any day now. We are not sure which of the 2 Jersey Giants haven't been laying, but no matter, since they've been free-ranging, there is a decline in the tick population and we have plenty of fertilizer for next spring!

That's all I have for now. Hope everyone else is having a bountiful harvest as well!

Views: 301

Comment by Jennifer on September 5, 2013 at 4:02pm

You guys have been busy! And I love that one jar didn't seal—license to eat it now and enjoy some of the fruits of your labor!

Comment by Carrie Seal-Stahl on September 5, 2013 at 9:48pm

Sure have! Pshew! After all the harvesting and preserving, we've already got other projects lined up before the snow falls, too!

Comment by Mike Burchette on September 13, 2013 at 12:33pm

Just this year I started saving some of the seed from what I grew as well as some of veggies I have bought.  In testing viability the success has been exciting!  I didn't know that one could dry herbs in a dehydrator.  I can't wait to try that.  I think I'm going to ask for a dehydrator for Christmas, too!!!   We have two good apple trees and two more young ones planted this year.  The apple sauce was great!  I recently found my grandmother's receipe for old fashioned stack cake using apple sauce between the layers.  I can't wait to try it.  Thanks for this post!

Comment by Carrie Seal-Stahl on September 13, 2013 at 3:49pm
Mike, we LOVE our dehydrator. There are countless uses for it. Definitely worth purchasing. We have the Nesco FD-75PR model. It's been great! Just be sure to get one with a thermostat so you can turn it way down if you want to dry herbs and up when you want to do meats/jerky! Good luck :)
Comment by Derek Neufeld on September 14, 2013 at 10:13am

Sounds like you have had a great year. 

how did the sauce maker work out.  I have been using a food processor , but it broke and I am looking for alternatives for processing Tomatoes into sauce. Also,  where did you get your canning recipe for mushroom tomatoes sauce.  

Regards, derek

Comment by Carrie Seal-Stahl on March 1, 2014 at 6:44pm

Sorry Derek, I just saw this post! The Sauce Master works very well. we are very happy with it!

I use my own recipe based on one I found on the internet (Allrecipes is a good place to look for a base recipe!)


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