Tag Archives: freezing

Fresh raspberries

They’re wild and ripening!

Black raspberry bushes behind our garage.

We’re thinking ice cream and jelly, nothing to beat fresh made ice cream with raspberries mixed in. I have to pick them daily because the chickens have found the stash and are eating what they can reach. We’ve picked about a gallon so far and should get at least that many more from this small patch.

First pickings cleaned and ready for the freezer.

There’s three clumps of wild raspberries behind our garage. They’ll be gone before we know it.

There’s an old freezer filled with scrap metal sitting in the middle of the clumps. Next year I hope the freezer and old metal will be gone and the bushes spread with more delicious fruit.

When I clean them, I drain all of the water off and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen I put all of them in large Ziploc freezer bags. They stay loose and I can take out a cup or whatever my recipe needs and reseal the rest. The bags don’t take up a lot of freezer space. In the winter if I want to make jam it’s very convenient to take out just what’s needed. We like to put them on a bowl of ice cream and it only takes a couple of minutes to thaw them just for the ice cream.  How about a fruit cobbler hot out of the oven in the wintertime!

 

 

Canning Season Coming to an End

It seems all I’ve accomplished this summer is canning. That’s not a bad thing but when you work so hard all summer and it all fits in one room it’s kind of underwhelming!!

Stocked and ready for winter.

Stocked and ready for winter.

We still need to harvest and freeze some more corn, dig the potatoes and sweet potatoes, harvest the pumpkins and late cabbage.

I started our own sweet potatoes plants this year.  I started our own sweet potatoes plants this year

The plants started really easy and I got 14 plants from two plants.  One end of the garden is full of sweet potato vine.  I've got my fingers crossed that there's lots of sweet potatoes.

The plants started really easy and I got 14 plants from two plants. One end of the garden is full of sweet potato vine. I’ve got my fingers crossed that there are lots of sweet potatoes.

We filled up the food shelves and had to make room on the canning jar shelves for the sauerkraut and barbecue sauce.  The pumpkin and some cabbage will also go on those shelves.  I may even can the sweet potatoes because I don't know how long they will last in the cellar.

We filled up the food shelves and had to make room on the canning jar shelves for the sauerkraut and barbecue sauce. The pumpkin and some cabbage will also go on those shelves. I may even can the sweet potatoes because I don’t know how long they will last in the cellar.

We canned 14 quarts of whole tomatoes yesterday.

We canned 14 quarts of whole tomatoes yesterday.

We froze 16 pints of corn this morning and it’s so sweet.  During the summer I’ve kept busy filling these jars:

28 pints of sweet pickles

28 pints of sweet pickles

18 pints of pickled squash

18 pints of pickled squash

Pickle relish, I think 23 pints.

Pickle relish, I think 23 pints.

21 quarts of squash to use in casseroles and soup

21 quarts of squash to use in casseroles and soup

24 pints of spaghetti sauce and it's so good!

24 pints of spaghetti sauce and it’s so good!

24 pints of barbecue sauce

24 pints of barbecue sauce

Two quarts and 24 pints of sauerkraut

Two quarts and 24 pints of sauerkraut

100 plus quarts of green beans this year

100 plus quarts of green beans this year

18 pints of squash pickles

18 pints of squash pickles

Pickles, pickles and more pickles!  I canned 36 pints of pickle relish.

Pickles, pickles and more pickles! I canned 36 pints of pickle relish.

We froze 24 bags of broccoli and we we’re STILL waiting on the Brussel sprouts.    We’ve never raised them before but the plants are about two feet tall, still healthy and a beautiful green.  We see lots of little heads at the bottom of the stalk but not enough to harvest yet.  They seem to be waiting on something.

I froze 25 half-pints of rhubarb and a few pints of applesauce and don’t need a lot because we have some left in the freezer from last year.  I diced six gallon bags of green peppers.

We’ve fought potato beetles all summer and they seem immune to everything we’ve sprayed on them.  The potato bin is empty now but looks like we’ll have a good harvest again.  We were afraid with all the rain we’ve had this summer that they might rot.

Empty potato bin waiting to be filled.  Last year we almost had it complete full and it'll hold 20 bushel.

Empty potato bin waiting to be filled. Last year we almost had it complete full and it’ll hold 20 bushel.

I hope everyone’s harvest has been as wonderful as ours.  The garden is still full of tomatoes and corn but I think we’ve put away all we need this year.

The hens have sure enjoyed all the scraps!

Chickens waiting for more garden scraps!

Chickens waiting for more garden scraps!

HAPPY GARDENING!!

 

 

Have you ever eat a turtle

We have a pretty large pond in front of our house that is stocked with large mouth bass and bluegill fish.  We both love to fish and don’t fish from the pond a lot because we’re trying to let the pond stock itself and get the fish to a good frying size.

We’re constantly fighting off predators of the fish such as fish hawks, cranes and something my husband calls a “shikepoke” (6-8 inch tall black bird with webbed feet and long beak).  We also have to deal with huge mud turtles that come of the small stream that goes around the pond and down through the property.  Turtles can eat  up the fish pretty quick so we catch them and eat them.  Small ones are caught and released in larger creeks around the county.

Caught him in the pond in front of our home.

Caught him in the pond in front of our home.

They're mean and eat our fish every year.

They’re mean and eat our fish every year.

DSCN7206

He was eating our bass so now we're going to eat him.

He was eating our bass so now we’re going to eat him.

The meat is beautiful and really good.  We’re told there are seven different types of meat in a turtle including chicken, beef, pork, fish, and I’m not sure what the other meats are but we like it all.

Fresh turtle meat!  We fry it like chicken.  White meat, dark meat, really good.

Fresh turtle meat! We fry it like chicken. White meat, dark meat, really good.

When I cook it I first soak it in salt water overnight and then pressure cook it for about 30 -45 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.  I then check to make sure it’s tender and if it is, I roll it in seasoned flour and fry it in butter.  It tastes just like fried chicken.

I also freeze it and when I do I place about five or six pieces in a Ziploc freezer bag, fill bag half full of water, press out the excess air and freeze.  I know it’ll keep at least 12 months frozen like this but we never have any last that long.  We also put the same amount in our food saver bags and vacuum seal and it keeps well like this too.

We try to always process and can or freeze everything we kill EXCEPT for coons and possums!!  NO THANK YOU!

Canning season 2015

I retired July 8th and the garden came in like a fast moving thunderstorm!  For that entire month I was either in the kitchen canning, on the porch preparing to can or in the hayfield with hubby moving hay to the haylots.  I want to share with you our season bounty in a photo roll.

14 quarts all sealed and ready for the cellar

14 quarts all sealed and ready for the cellar

A full bushel of yellow onions. All of the red (Spanish) onions rotted in the ground. Apparently they don't like all the rain.

A full bushel of yellow onions. All of the red (Spanish) onions rotted in the ground. Apparently they don’t like all the rain.

The last run of honey for the season.

The last run of honey for the season.

Green beans. They didn't produce like we would have liked. Hubby thinks he minimized the space in the gardens and everything was too close together and the sun couldn't do it's thing.

Green beans. They didn’t produce like we would have liked. Hubby thinks he minimized the space in the gardens and everything was too close together and the sun couldn’t do it’s thing.

Pickles, pickle relish, and more pickles.

Pickles, pickle relish, and more pickles.

Blackberry crop was excellent and I froze a lot of them.

Blackberry crop was excellent and I froze a lot of them.

Apple butter 072015

Apple butter on toast for breakfast. Peanut butter and apple butter sandwich for lunch!

Apple butter on toast for breakfast. Peanut butter and apple butter sandwich for lunch!

Fresh raspberries

Fresh raspberries

Cherries

Cherries

Striper fish, fileted and frozen. I think we froze about 10 packages.

Striper fish, fileted and frozen. I think we froze about 10 packages.

I froze about 15 bags of white corn.

I froze about 15 bags of white corn.

Yellow corn was froze.

Yellow corn was froze.

Delicata squash was harvested and I stored about 20 in the cellar.

Delicata squash was harvested and I stored about 20 in the cellar.

Yellow squash was sliced and vacumn packed with about 20 bags.

Yellow squash was sliced and vacumn packed with about 20 bags.

I froze 18 pints of applesauce made from transparent apples.

I froze 18 pints of applesauce made from transparent apples.

We dug our potatoes on Thursday and picked up 21  five gallon buckets full and they’re beautiful again this year.  The potato bin is more than half full and it’s a 6’x6’x6′ bin.  We picked up about two gallon that were cut when plowed up and Friday I made a crockpot full of potato soup and a half gallon of potato salad.

The cellar is pretty well stocked but for two shelves which I saved for venison.  The Cellar 2015 (3)

This shelf section is full of green beans, canned potatoes and canned sausage.  The second photo is tomatoes, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce and more potatoes.  The third is full of jams, jellies, pickles, relish and maple syrup, and more.The Cellar 2015 (2) The Cellar 2015 (1)

We have three freezers of various sizes and one is full of fruit, one with vegetables and meat and the big freezer will be filled with meat as well. My family will be well fed this winter.

Raspberry season

First fruit of the year for us this year is raspberries and Eddie and I are picking about a pint of wild raspberries every other day. He picks them for me because I love them fresh, in preserves/jams, berry pies and in muffins. He just likes the fresh off the vine but can’t eat too many of them since his gall bladder was removed about five years ago.

Fresh raspberries

Fresh raspberries

A cup here and a cup there!

A cup here and a cup there!

Todays cup will add a total of two gallon to the freezer.

First gallon

First gallon

As soon as we pick them I they get washed, dried, and spread on a cookie sheet and I put them in the freezer.  The next day I shake them loose and put them in a gallon freezer bag.  When I freeze them loose like this, I don’t have to thaw the entire bag when I want to make muffins or pancakes,  I pour out what I need and zip the bag  and put them back in the freezer.  If I want to make a batch of jam or a cobbler, I can use the whole bag or  whatever my recipe calls for.

A layer of fresh berries on a cookie sheet and pop in the freezer overnight.

A layer of fresh berries on a cookie sheet and pop in the freezer overnight.

DSCN7160

The season is just about over and the birds are eating them faster than we can pick them but what we have will not go to waste.

Old taters in a jar

We have about two bushel of our 2014 potatoes left over and they’re so good!  BUT, the cellar is warming up a little bit and the potatoes are sprouting and the smaller ones are getting a little soft.  We don’t want to lose any of them so decided we would can them.

Hubby brought them up to the front porch yesterday afternoon and I started peeling them.  I’ll sit on the front porch and do just about anything in the summer time. It’s just so peaceful!

This batch was a milk crate full.

Sprouting potatoes

Sprouting potatoes

The chickens won't eat potato peelings but sometimes the cows will.

The chickens won’t eat potato peelings but sometimes the cows will.

They're not real soft yet and peeled real quick.  I got enough for two canners.

They’re not real soft yet and peeled real quick. I got enough for two canners.

After peeling all of them and scrubbing them, I diced them into about 1 inch chunks and packed them in quart jars.

I smell potato soup this winter!

I smell potato soup this winter!

This is the first canner full and they came off the stove at 10:30 and I went to bed along with Eddie and Sassy! :)

This is the first canner full and they came off the stove at 10:30 and I went to bed along with Eddie and Sassy!  🙂

This morning we took them out of the canner before I left for work and Eddie was going to put the second canner on to process after I left.  We got 14 quarts out of a 1/2 bushel milk crate.  The coming winter will be bountiful with potato soup, shepherd’s pie, fried potatoes, buttered potatoes, and much more.  There’s not much that goes to waste on our farm.  If we can’t give it away, we can or freeze it while we wait for the next garden to come in!!

14 quarts all sealed and ready for the cellar

14 quarts all sealed and ready for the cellar

Aren't they beautiful??

Aren’t they beautiful??

No more blocks :(

It’s two weeks into the new year and I haven’t made anymore blocks for my sampler quilt.  The weekends have been slam packed with other stuff and I haven’t sit foot in my quilt room.  Shame on me!!  This week I’ll try to do better.

Last weekend we hauled in firewood and put away the last of the venison and pork.  This weekend we worked around the house, cleaned the hen house nests, and today spent most of the day working cattle.  We had twelve 3-4 month old calves to vaccinate, worm, band and eartag and 15 cows to worm and eartag.  Our daughter helped with was a blessing and we finished in about two hours.

There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done!!  No pictures today!  Cattle don’t fare well in a head chute and having their pictures made.  Anyway, on with the new week and hopefully the sampler blocks will be made.  I’m only about 30 blocks behind!!  🙂

 

Stores for the winter still in progress

It seems we never finish storing and preparing for winter.  This weekend hubby bought 75# of pork which consisted of three hams and 20# of  jowls.  One of the hams is currently in the smokehouse taking salt, seasoning and brown sugar.  We should be able to enjoy it sometime in March or April.  The rest was made into sausage.

You may ask why we didn’t raise our own hogs and the main reason is the price of corn.  When we figured out the time it takes to raise a couple hogs, feed them sacks and sacks of corn and grains, and then the waste that goes with the processing, we determined it’s much cheaper and efficient to buy from pork sellers.  The cost of the hams was $1.35 per pound and the jowls were $1.00 per pound.  It took us about 12 hours of processing which including some freezing and some canning.

Here’s the process we used to can the sausage:

Fresh ham for sausage

Fresh ham for sausage

First he removes the skin from the ham.

First he removes the skin from the ham.

The skinned hide will be hung outside for the birds.  This is the true version of suet.

The skinned hide will be hung outside for the birds. This is the true version of suet.  The birds love it and it puts some meat on their bones to withstand the winter.

 

Hubby slices the meat off of the ham in slender strips to send through the grinder.

Hubby slices the meat off of the ham in slender strips to send through the grinder.

 

Grinding equipment is sterilized prior to grinding.

Grinding equipment is sterilized prior to grinding.

 

Wide mouth quart jars are also sterilized and dried prior to making the sausage into patties.

Wide mouth quart jars are also sterilized and dried prior to making the sausage into patties.

 

The strips of pork are now ready for the seasoning.

The strips of pork are now ready for the seasoning.

 

Old Plantation seasoning is what we use and one pack will season 25 pounds of ground meat.  It is thoroughly mixed through all the meat.

Old Plantation seasoning is what we use and one pack will season 25 pounds of ground meat. It is thoroughly mixed through all the meat.

 

The grinding begins.  We run it through using a course blade the first time and then using a finer blade the second time.

The grinding begins. We run it through using a course blade the first time and then using a finer blade the second time.

 

Isn't it beautiful!!  It's now ready to be made into patties and packed into the wide mouth jars.

Isn’t it beautiful!! It’s now ready to be made into patties and packed into the wide mouth jars.

 

Seven wide mouth quart jars ready for lids and placing in the pressure canner.

Seven wide mouth quart jars ready for lids and placing in the pressure canner.

 

Pressure canner filled with water, jars of meat and sealed ready for heating. I cook it for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

Pressure canner filled with water, jars of meat and sealed ready for heating. I cook it for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

 

After the canner cools down the jars are placed on the table out of way of ALL drafts and covered with a heavy towel until they cool completely before taking them to the cellar.

After the canner cools down the jars are placed on the table out of way of ALL drafts and covered with a heavy towel until they cool completely before taking them to the cellar.

 

While they cooked we tried some for supper and it was wonderful.  Pancakes and sausage are on the menu for breakfast.

Fresh cooked sausage patties ready for a big fat biscuit.

Fresh cooked sausage patties ready for a big fat biscuit.

We canned 28 quarts of sausage and froze the remainder in bags much like you see in the grocers.  We’ll use this first instead of the canned because we found that frozen sausage keeps really well in vacumned sealed bags but they are expensive.  Since we only had about 15 pounds left over we decided to use the bags pictured in the following photo.  These bags just don’t keep the meat from freezer burn as well.  We have a tape machine that seals the bags but they’re not airtight.

Grinding the sausage straight into the bags, twist them up and slide through the tape machine to seal.

Grinding the sausage straight into the bags, twist them up and slide through the tape machine to seal.

All done!!

1st Apples of the season

Fall is definitely here.  We have picked our first apples of the season and not because they were necessarily ready but because the sand hornets (huge ugly yellow bee) had started eating them.  We don’t have a lot of apples this year and may not even have enough to do our annual cider press but there were about 30 good apples left on the tree so we decided to get them.

Huge apples in August

We peeled and sliced them pretty quickly and they’re a very dry apple which I thought would make good apple pies and fried pies.

Peeling the apples

Sliced apples

I cooked them up and they’re beautiful.  I didn’t have to press them through a sieve.  I put them in airtight freezer containers and froze them for winter goodies.  I kept out three cups for breakfast and my applesauce cake which I plan to make now.    I’ll share the recipe soon!

Busy weekend!

I don’t waste any time on my weekends off and this past weekend was no exception. The garden is very bountiful and I snapped a five gallon bucket and half of another on Saturday afternoon. We canned 21 quarts of beans from that batch, froze 13 packs of yellow squash and froze six packs of shredded zucchini. I made a loaf of zucchini bread on Saturday and hubby loves it. We’ve only got about two slices left so I’ll make some more this week. I’ll probably bake 6 – 8 more loaves and put them in the freezer for the winter.

Zucchini and zucchini bread fresh from the oven

Fresh vegies ready to store

We froze five packs of freezer slaw last night and we’re going to open a pack on Saturday and see how it is. If we like it we’re going to make more. The head of cabbage he got out of the garden yesterday weighed 15 lbs and 2 ozs.

He dug a few potatoes last Thursday and they’re really nice and he pulled the onions to dry. We had such beauties this year but the rains we’ve been getting are causing them to rot which is why we’ve pulled them so early. We probably were able to salvage about a bushel.

Onions drying for winter storage

Hubby is picking more beans this morning and we’ll snap them this evening after supper while sitting on the front porch listening to the quiet and watching for the wildlife.

Green beans from the garden