Harvesting, Making, Preserving

It’s weird every year reaching August, because usually around the beginning of the month, the garden hits a point of no return. The plants themselves slowly begin to fade while the fruit and vegetables speedily ripen in the hot sun. We’re now watering every other day and harvesting at the same rate, and the bowlfuls of produce simply don’t stop! This is also the time of year when we turn our sights towards canning. We can only eat so much stuff in one sitting, after all! So with way too many tomatoes and cucumbers coming in last week…

And this is just ONE tray!
And this is just ONE tray!
Three beauties out of more than a dozen.
Three beauties out of more than a dozen.

…we set about doing this…

Tomatoes ready for the winter.
Fresh tomatoes ready for the winter.

…and this…

Mmmm...pickles! Going to be hard waiting a month to try them!
Mmmm…loads of bread and butter pickles! Going to be hard waiting a month to try them.

…and this.

We put our dehydrator into overtime.
We put our dehydrator into overtime for these dried tomatoes.

Plus, we made and froze a bunch of tomato sauce, ate everything zucchini that we possibly could (there are still more to harvest!), and have started saving pepper recipes. We may try freezing peppers this year if we get enough. So far, though, we’ve been using our many peppers regularly (those are green Jimmy Nardello peppers off to the left in the first picture above) so there many not be any leftover! We also had a fair number of tomatillos on hand.

024tomatillos
For some reason, we thought we got a purple variety. but these are definitely green.

We aren’t at all versed in tomatillos, so to us, these tasted very unusual – almost like apples — sweet, bright, and a little savory. So we turned them into salsa with some peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It was really delicious, though it had a very “green” flavor that was a little off-putting. We figured that was just the tomatillos. Those left on the stem too long turned yellow and were a bit more bitter. Still, it’s great that we got any this year to try!

In addition to harvesting, making fresh food, and preserving stuff, we’ve also started the annual ritual of seed saving. This has been easiest with the beans and peas, but we’ve also got some tomato and cucumber seeds stashed away, as well as plenty of pepper seeds.

024beans
Here we have a sampling of what we’re aiming to save. Ignoring the peach pits (maybe we’ll start a fruit tree?), at top left and going counterclockwise: garden peas, Jacob’s Cattle beans, a few ground cherries, Purple Teepee beans to be shelled, soybeans, Christmas Lima beans, and a few wax beans.

The more seeds we save, the better off the garden will be in the years to come. Plus, it’s way cheaper than buying new seeds every year! (Though, of course, there will always be new varieties to try.) Well that’s all for now. Once again, it’s really hard to believe we’re headlong into August already. This year has certainly blown by.

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4 thoughts on “Harvesting, Making, Preserving

  1. A Really Small Farm 08/12/2015 / 12:05 am

    Those tomatillos are green. Odd that the yellow ones (ripe) would taste bitter. Maybe the seed source? I bought some squash seeds once that the catalog claimed produced sweet tender winter squash. They were dry, mealy, and bland. I attribute that to poor selection on the part of the seed producer.

    I have a mix of yellow, purple, and bi-color tomatillos most years coming up spontaneously (they’re weeds in my garden) though looks like just yellow this year. And I found a volunteer tomato. More on that later.

    • Garden State-ments 08/12/2015 / 8:24 am

      Yeah, we didn’t expect the yellow tomatillo to taste bitter either. We’ve gotten a couple more yellow ones — haven’t tasted them yet. Your tomatillos sound great! What a great thing tasty “weeds” are! We plan on trying them again next year, but we’ll likely put them in another spot in the garden where they won’t become overshadowed.

      • A Really Small Farm 08/12/2015 / 9:27 am

        One tomatillo I have is called di milpa. It seems to grow best but the fruits are smaller. Don’t know if this one came up as a weed this year. Time will tell.

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