Just about 4 weeks shy of our average first frost date we woke up this morning to cooler temperatures and a slight nip in the air. It had been some time since our thermometer had dipped to the 50's. We know now that it is just a matter of time until that first little frost gets us. The first year we moved here it snowed the 1st of October. I continue to can every day. Since we don't have kids here that much to eat pickled okra I put up 2 gallon jugs of lacto fermented pickled mixed vegetables to sit in the back of the refrigerator for O Wise One and I to snack on in the upcoming months. Just a mixture of end of the year cucumbers, carrots, red peppers, garlic and onions in a salt and dill brine. My tender stomach damaged from too many radiation sessions will really benefit from all the good bacteria from these snacks.
We got a very small shower a couple days ago. Just enough to make a few of the tomatoes crack so I have been processing tomatoes daily. I put a roaster full of tomatoes on in the afternoon and allow them to cook on low all night. The next morning they are reduced down by about half. I run my immersion blender through them to make a thick sauce and can a batch every morning. Then start over in the afternoon.
One roaster full reduces down to exactly a full batch of 8 jars for my water canner.
The dehydrator has also been working around the clock and has turned out batches of cantaloupe, green onions, watermelon, peppers, and carrots. As they finish I am just putting them in plastic bags until I am finished and then they will all go into permanent jars.
Seed saving has also gone into high gear. We have seeds drying on every table and window sill. The shed is also full of fermenting seeds. Above are watermelon seeds drying on a paper plate covered with wax paper.
The tomato seeds that I fermented last week have been rinsed and are now drying in a window sill.
I will allow them to naturally dry turning them often to try to keep them from sticking together.
Now that I have Lina Sisco Bird Egg horticulture type beans both canned in the pantry and blanched and frozen in the freezer I have a good supply dried now. These were simply allowed to dry on the bush then picked, shelled and laid out on trays to finish air drying for a week or so. Now that they are dry I will put them in the vacuum bags and put them in the freezer. They can be planted for years to come or eaten as dried beans.
If I had to buy these seeds next year they run about $2.50 an ounce.
We have allowed an entire half a row of Jade bush beans to dry on the bush for seeds. They do not turn brown really but are dry and brittle. I shell the beans at night while I sit in my rocker and watch television. It has become a nightly ritual.
Once shelled they are laid out on trays to dry naturally. These are a white seeded green bean and produce wonderfully in our area. We put up all that we wanted and sold another $400.00 worth out of our own gardens.
Jade bean seeds average about $2.35 an ounce.
Also new this year I bought a small 2 oz. packet of these French Horticulture bean seeds to get a start. They are a semi running bean and I hope to get a good start to run up field corn stalks. This is the first tray to dry and there are still some on the bushes.This is how I get a start of many of the vegetables that I grow. I purchase a small amount of seeds to give it a try and then save seeds for that first year or so until I can grow a larger amount.
Right now we work furiously to beat that first frost and get everything gathered and processed out of the gardens that is not cool weather tolerant. We continue to enjoy watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers and lettuce fresh. The apples are still not ripe but are loaded still. Also not ripe yet are the Indian Blood red Peaches. This is the first year ever that they have been this late. We sure hope they ripen before frost.
Still to process: lots of tomatoes, onions, peppers, potatoes, and carrots.
We have not even began butchering but will wait for the cooler temperatures of next month for that.
What are you canning this week?
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter