Monday morning started out like most Mondays. After our Sunday day of rest O Wise One and I make the rounds finding what crops need to be dealt with. For this Monday it was bell peppers, apples (still), peas and potatoes. For many feeding your family requires that weekly/bi-weekly/monthly foray tot he grocery store and their food supply comes to them neatly washed in plastic/paper grocery sacks. But O Wise One and I made a decision long ago that as much of our food as possible will come in the back door in buckets and baskets. I like a saying that Katzcradul, a friend and follower of this blog makes, " If you don't grow your food, you don't know your food". Needless to say from seed to our bodies we know our food intimately. What kind, how it is grown, what's on it and in it, or more importantly what is not in it and on it !
One of the trade offs of this lifestyle is that we spend hours weeks and months growing, maintaining and harvesting gardens and fruit trees. And even after the food is harvested we spend hours and days each week washing, sorting, peeling and preserving what we do grow.
For many this seems like huge amounts of food but think about the amount your purchase over a whole year or more at your house. This year we have a bumper crop of apples, next year we may not. So while we have them we expand that preserving job to encompass a 2 year supply of apple products. In the picture above you will see a tart pie apple in the bucket on the left and a sweet red eating apple in the bucket on the right. What amazes me is that I do no spraying on these trees other than soapy water around the bottoms and on the trunks. Rarely do I lose a crop to bugs. That is not to say that yo will not find the occasional insect damage but the percentage is small and we have enough to share : )
A perfect example of crop loss this year is our walnuts. We like to include walnuts in our diet because they are good for your heart and besides that O Wise One loves them in baked goods and even as snacks. With a late spring snow this year there are no walnuts on our trees. Thankfully we froze last years bumper crop and still have plenty in the freezer. If not we would do without or be forced to buy walnuts. And they are not cheap.
On the flip side the pecan trees are loaded!
On the list this week is to can all those little tiny potatoes we are digging. The size of golfballs no matter how good you are at growing potatoes there are always a few of those little golfball sized potatoes and there is a limit to how many you can eat fresh. So the little ones go into jars and the ones that may have bug holes or are marred by the potato fork or such will not keep for long and will have to be dehydrated.
Many things such as these peas will become parts of dinners for the week.
The apples this year are some of the largest we have ever grown. Thinning makes a huge difference not only in reducing the weight on your trees but also in the size of your apples.
Saucer size apples that are sweet and crunchy make it into our meals often these days. O Wise One loves his apples sliced with a little peanut butter on the side.
And even though we have put up enough pie filling and sauce I continue to dehydrate apple pieces for my morning oatmeal during the winter. A little honey and cinnamon and these added to my oatmeal give it a wonderful taste. They can be used for many other things too and will keep forever this way.
And my refrigerator stays stocked right now with cold sweet watermelon pieces.
So for now my food preservation continues although not at the frantic pace of a few weeks ago but with some urgency to get it done before first frost.
So for another week I will be in my kitchen, washing and chopping vegetables, filling jars and dehydrator trays in preparation for another year of meals for my family. Freezing, canning and dehydrating all at one time.
And for now every morning the food stream just keeps flowing in that back door.
For this Monday morning the first thing I did was to make supper and slip it in the refrigerator ready to pop in the oven. Baby O's favorite Pizza Casserole.
What's flowing in your back door these days?
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter