Friday, September 13, 2013

A Nip In The Air

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


  1. Good Lord! You are busy! How do you use the dehydrated cantaloupe?
    I did 1 1/2 bushels of peaches yesterday & froze carrots today.
    Apple sauce & apple butter starts this weekend. Peach jam the middle of next week - acorn squash too.
    Grape juice and grape jelly is just around the corner.
    Laying hens need to be culled so I'm eyeing them up for stewing hens..but don't know if I can get to them with everything else I need to do.
    Once fall is really here, all things chicken & pork. Vegetable beef soup and chili are also going to happen.
    For sure it's lots of work now. But there are days of quilting, knitting and sewing coming later ... and very little cooking :-)

    1. My grandchildren love that dehydrated cantaloupe straight out of the bag, watermelon too. My grapes are done, second batch of peaches aren't ripe yet. They are really late and I am starting to worry. Got some hens to butcher myself and turkeys and rabbits but got to get this garden up first. Then the next thing you know it will be deer season and I will be doing deer.

      Can't wait till that quilting/sewing/crocheting weather.

      hugs from Hickery Holler

  2. I am unfamiliar with "horticulture" beans. What are they and what does that term mean? I know you might not have a second to yourself, much less time to answer what must seem to be a silly question, but I'm a daily reader and keep stumbling over the term, so I'm asking. When the dust settles, maybe you can educate me?

    1. Horticultural beans are large-seeded beans used in the green-shell stage. A young horticultural bean cannot be used as a snap bean because the pod fiber is too tough. Harvest when the pods start changing from green to yellow. Both bush and pole type plants are available in a wide range of cultivars. Many or the heirloom varieties are horticultural beans. The seeds can be quite decorative with swirls of color.
      -- Purdue University

      * Dual purpose or horticultural beans:
      * The pods are fairly fleshy and generally edible.
      * the dried seeds may be cooked and typically retain shape fairly well.
      -- Victory Seeds

      Horticultural beans (also called shell, wren's egg, bird egg, speckled cranberry, or October beans) come in both pole and dwarf varieties and can produce big harvests in small gardens. The colorful, mottled pods can be eaten like snap beans when young, but most people prefer to use the rich, nutty, red-speckled seeds, which mature in 65 to 70 days, as fresh shell beans and for canning and freezing. Some Southerners claim horticultural beans are best after the pods begin to turn slightly dry or "shucky."
      -- Mother Earth News

      Horticultural beans confuse everyone. There is no official class of beans that falls into that category, nor have I ever been able to find out what characteristics they share in common. As a rule, horticultural beans are used in the shelly or dry stages. In the south we just call 'em "soup beans."
      -- Garden Lad on Garden Web

  3. More tomatoes. And corn. But I know I REALLY need to get to the beets and carrots and potatoes-like pronto.

    My husband has had his brothers and father over for the last few days (and for the next few days) as they saw up trees that were felled when a pipeline went through recently. Matt will use (his share of) the lumber fixing the haymow in our barn and possibly building an overhang to store some equipment over the winter. I have had many big, hungry men to feed each day and I am beginning to feel like a farmers' wife of old, feeding all the help. I've been using lots of garden things to feed them- I made stuffed jalapeno's today for lunch. Wrapped in bacon. MmmmmmmmmmmmmMmmmmmmmmmm.

    The talk around here is that tomorrow night it will get down to 40 degrees. I can't say I am disappointed that canning season is coming to a close, but I will be disappointed when I don't have another fresh tomato or cucumber or squash until next summer. I never get enough. ;-)

  4. No canning for me. Will be dehydrating the last 4 peppers (2 yellow, 1 orange & 1 red) & a few onions will go on another tray. I am hoping to finish a quilt top that I started a few weeks ago.

  5. thats allot of tomatoes, neat about the dried beans

  6. Read your blog it.....I am doing vegetable soup, friend gave me a great recipe and easy. also apple filling and dried apple after reading your blog I am going to go slice some cantaloupe and try drying it. I think it would make good snacks for the grandchildren. I think we will all be glad when canning is done....although I love doing it.

  7. Saving your own seeds assures what you are getting.

    1. Indeed it does Gail. Seeds have gotten so expensive too. This way I know exactly what I get. I know it is non GMO and organic : )

  8. This week I plan on dehydrating a bunch of apples that someone gave me.

  9. I've got plans to make another batch of tomato soup & can it up.. I dont have slews of tomatoes but enought to get about 6 pints.. My garden was a bust this year so all Im getting is what I get from my CSA share every week. Thankfully, they've been sending a good number of tomatoes for the last few weeks.

  10. I haven't accomplished anything this week as I am down in the back and waiting for doctor to get an MRI scheduled. I assume by what you have said that you may have had stomach cancer. Can you explain how that mixture helps a tender stomach. I continue to look for alternative remedies for my husband now almost 8 years out from stage 4 head & neck cancer. He is constantly having a crave for things I know he can't eat. So thankful the cooler weather has me leaning toward many varieties of soup. I'm also looking for anything I could use to combat his thrush which is a result of this type of cancer. If anyone has any suggestions, please pass them on.

  11. How do you prepare/serve the Lina Sisco Beans? I just got some.


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