I’m awash in produce this week- tomatoes and apples and peppers of every size and color and heat. SO far I’ve canned 92 quarts of tomatoes and 11 pints of salsa and enough pickles that there will probably leftovers a year from now. There’s a heap of tomatoes on the counter that will be ripe enough to make more salsa on Thursday– hopefully that will use most of the hot peppers too.
We got about five bushels of apples this year, I think. A far cry from the dozen or so bushels last year, and yet more than enough to overload my fridge and leave me wondering where I’ll put them all. Today I managed to squeeze in half an hour between homeschooling and taking the kids swimming to sort the apples.
Probably 2/3 of the apples were perfect or nearly so. I used those to stuff two drawers in the fridge, layered more with newspaper in two boxes in the pantry, and left the rest in a laundry basket in the corner of the kitchen. I told the kids they could get an apple whenever they wanted one, as long as they eat what they take and don’t leave cores on the floor. I am curious how long it will take them to eat a whole basketfull. I suspect maybe 10 days….they’re really nice Jonagold apples, and our kids all like fruit.
I’ll be making applesauce or canning spiced apple-rings with the apples that are a dinged up or bird-nibbled. I was tearingly busy all day– too busy to do sauce. But after supper I sat in the living room for awhile and peeled and trimmed some of the apples that needed to be used soonest. Now as I write I am listening to the applesauce simmer….and am hoping I can find space in the fridge for the sauce once it is done. Our fridge is so full!
Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the grapes. Weve been eating lots of Red Flames in the past couple weeks, but now the Concords are getting ripe. I plan to make grape jelly with those, lots of it this year, since last year we ran out way too early and it was a big hit. I just don’t know when. We already took one day off this week to process vegetables. Home Ec, our piano teacher said I should call it. But still, I don’t want to miss too much school….
It is a little overwhelming to be looking at all the work involved in caring for this food, but I am very grateful to have it. A few weeks ago we spent two mornings filling one shelf in the freezer with sweet corn. We’d also been eating corn 4 days a week for a couple weeks. At that point I kind of got tired of dealing with corn, and so we left the remaining corn on the stalks in the garden.
Thankfully this year we have a cow, so nothing is going to waste. We’ve been bringing him a dozen or so corn stalks every day, and he eats them down to almost nothing. I have been loving having a cow….every day the children bring him scraps from canning and processing– tomatoe tops and carrot tops and apple cores and tough cabbage leaves. I love the feeling that nothing is wasted.
However I am deliberately NOT looking that cow in the eyes very often. Attachment is not a good thing when it comes to beef cows.