One area of life right now that can try my best to pour some effective nesting energy into is food preservation. It fits together perfectly I think. So over this last week I have been creating and canning and fermenting myself away one thing at a time. I know I most likely won’t be able to get to too much after the baby arrives…so for right now, we take a look in the garden, see what we have, and go from there.
First on our to do list was wild blueberry picking. Wild blueberries are sooooo teeny! We spent a few hours and picked about a gallon. It’s hard to be a serious berry picked with four kids in tow. Our gallon of berries provided a batch of wild blueberry apple jam and one blueberry dream pie for Jason’s birthday. I kept one jar of jam out for tasting. My verdict on the blueberry apple jam…with just a touch of lemon mixed with apple and blueberry all mixed together…delicious!
Next up, I set a three gallon crock full of kosher dill pickles to ferment. I have never made fermented pickles, but am always interested in trying out something new. Every time I lift the towel…they smell delicious. One thing from this recipe that I learned, is that if you put grape leaves or currant leaves in the crock with the pickles, it helps keep the pickles crunchy, which is something that I have always struggled with in my past pickle making experiences, so I added a few handfuls of grape leaves to this batch. I’m interested to see how it works.
Last week we harvested the last of our carrots. Big beautiful orange organic carrots. I don’t think I’ve ever canned carrots before, but using my new (which is quickly becoming my absolute) favorite canning book, Canning for a New Generation, it was easy to pick out something to do with carrots. We weighed out four pounds of carrots and made some Spicy Carrot Pickles. We used some hot peppers from last years harvest that we had dried. They may be too hot for me, but Jason likes spicy hot things. I’m hoping they are not too hot.
Last but not least…sauerkraut. Lots of sauerkraut. Five large heads, a five gallon crock, and lots of squeezing, massaging, and pressing later…we have it sitting next to the dill pickles where they will sit for three weeks working their magic. I was lucky enough to have two boys to help with all that cabbage squeezing one afternoon…although, truth be told, they really only stuck around for about twenty minutes or so, sporadically coming and going to squeeze some more.
In my opinion, preserving one’s food goes right along with having a big highly productive garden. Every week, Jason and I go out and kind of make a mental list of what we could make and what needs to be preserved stat. My ideas for this week: Classic Cucumber Relish, Whole Jalapenos with Honey and Allspice, Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles with Ginger, and maybe some Pickled Garlic too. Not saying I’ll get to it all, but it’s always nice to set a goal.