We had summer in May and June has been on the chilly side a few times and cool weather brings out the country cooking in me! I had a head of cabbage in the fridge that needed to be used so I pulled out my wok and set to work.
I love to work in the garden early in the morning or late in the evening after the sun has gone behind the mountain. Hubby does most of the gardening in the last three years and I’ve help do the harvesting and putting away for winter stores. This year doesn’t seem to be much of a gardening year. I noted in an earlier post that we had gotten unusual amounts of rain for our area and cooler temps and that we hadn’t been able to get our hay harvest complete. Well, we haven’t had much luck gardening either. This is what a garden is NOT supposed to look like.
Hubby decided it will be best to salvage the onions and potatoes. We started pulling onions because some are rotting in the ground. He pulled one row and I laid them out to dry and we’ll pray they dry good and keep over the winter.
Hubby dug a two hills of potatoes to check on their growth and to make sure they weren’t rotting too. They’re much nicer than last years crop and they’re Yukon Gold potatoes.
We’re not terribly concerned about our lack of a garden this year though we love to be fixing fresh vegies straight out of the garden but we have so much canned goods in the cellar from last year that is still so good. We definitely won’t go hungry this winter.
We seem to have an abundance of plum tomatoes this year and I’m trying to find new canning/freezing recipes for them. On Friday I picked about 20# of the little critters and cleaned them up.
I pulled out an old recipe I had used when the kids were little and made 10 pints of spaghetti sauce. The recipe ingredients were tomatoes (of course) which had been cooked and run through a sieve. When I cooked them I didn’t use any extra water because I wanted the tomato juice and pulp only. To the pulp I added sugar, salt, oregano, basil, garlic, onions, green peppers, and red wine vinegar. I can’t tell you the exact amounts because I played with the ingredients until hubby liked the taste and consistency. I started with 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup salt, oregano, and basil (remember this is 20 pounds of tomatoes).
I used four medium onions, four green peppers, four cloves of garlic (minced) and 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar. This smelled heavenly while cooking down but the taste was a little sour and bland so I added more of the first four ingredients until we thought it was perfect. I cooked it down some more until it was pourable but a thicker consistency than tomato juice. I poured it in the jars, put the lids on to seal and processed them in my pressure canner for twenty minutes. They’re beautiful, don’t you think!!
Next batch will be canned as barbecue sauce.
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.
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.
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.
I went to the garden yesterday morning and harvested this pan full of beautiful veggies. I’m afraid we are going to have to start watering the garden this week from our pond. The sun is bearing down and all of the garden is wilted by the end of the day. We got a really late start planting this year because of the rain keeping the garden too wet to plow and then to plant. Then the deer started eating the green beans again this year but we’re trying different things to deter them. I save all of the thin bars of soap from the shower and hubby shaved them and scattered them through the beans. That has stopped them for a few days but I read on another post that black trash bags tie to the fence was a good deterrent so I bout a cheap box and have the garden surrounded with them. When the wind blows the bags blow up and out and I’m assuming that’s what scares them. We will have a wonderful dinner from what I’ve already gathered along with some venison biscuits to top off the meal. The following is the favorite at our house to prepare the squash:
Wash and slice one or two yellow squash or zucchini. I slice them about a 1/4″ inch thick. I dip them in a mixture of one egg, 1/2 c. milk, salt & pepper, to taste. Then I dip them in seasoned flour until coated really well. I then place them in a iron skillet that has one stick of butter that is melted and sizzling but not brown. It takes about two minutes on one side, turn them over and fry the other side until golden brown. Take out of skillet and place on paper towel and eat up. They’re really crispy on the outside and sweet and firm on the inside. Hubby even loves them cold!!