Wednesday, September 07, 2016

September Food Preservation Notes

  • Tomato products: salsa, ketchup, paste, puree
  • Other canned goals: tomatillo salsa, watermelon rind pickles, apple sauce
  • Drying: greens, celery, zucchini, apple slices, apple leather
  • Fermenting: pickles (done for the season), sauerkraut 
  • Food processor (!!!)
  • Food mill 
  • Chef's knife, bread knife (so perfect for tomatoes), paring knife
  • Prepped-ahead meals (beef heart sandwich meat, lentil soup, ratatouille)
  • Epsom salts (for recovery) (me!)


In years past, I have chopped almost everything by hand - but this year I feel like I've Discovered My Food Processor. (The one I've had for a decade.) (Yeah.)  I've used it for big chopping jobs in the past, mostly for salsa, but this year I've been using the slicing attachment with no reserve.

(It is almost like I felt like I was betraying the art of hand-chopping?) (Very strange aversion.) I honestly think it might be because I didn't like cleaning the food processor when I was done.

But this year?  I am LOVING it.  The cabbage is shredded into such pretty cuts.  The dehydrator is loaded in no-time flat. The fellas line up to help shove zucchini into the chute and are actually, truly  helpful in the process.  Apples are going to be a breeze. It is totally saving my life right now.  Everything is easier.

 Paste | Watermelon Rind Pickles | Ketchup

Another difference from years' past: I have a honed game plan.  I am not writhing in the attempt to wrap my mind around the tomato table. I have a well-laid plan and know how to accomplish it.

First off, our family eats a lot of salsa and ketchup.  Check.

Secondly, everyone loves tomato soup in the winter. (The puree.)  Check.

Thirdly, tomato paste deepens the flavor of so many dishes.  Check.

I love tomatillo salsa. I love having scads of dried vegetables at my fingertips all winter long. I L-O-V-E sauerkraut and we eat it at almost every meal. Check. Check. Check.

I am so pleased.

But of course, this involves a serious time commitment.  I spent three 12-hour days in the kitchen over Labor Day weekend; Blaine took Tuesday off too, which was an 8-hour day.

On Monday morning I woke up so sore - my forearms were fatigued, legs and feet sore, just generally exhausted.  In serious need of recovery after the last two days in the kitchen. (With two more to go.)

I took a time-out for an epsom salt bath: forty minutes with Boards of Canada. (One of Blaine's current faves.)  It felt so good to stare and let the music unlock my thoughts.  And I couldn't believe it, but the epsom salts did the job.  My body felt rejuvenated and I felt ready to tackle the day.

Note to self: keep epsom salts in the house from now on.

 The fellas with our two biggest watermelon this year --
Tom Watson: 26 lbs | Orange Glow: 22 lbs

19.5 years this November | 16 years last month | Love him

Blaine.  Old Leroy.  He ran the household and kept kids under wraps all four days.  He gathered ingredients, picked tomatoes, played badminton, administered baths, worked in the garden, and prepped for my ill-timed Friends of the Library Sanding Party. (Tuesday night!) (New children's shelving for the library.)  What a man.

And finally, I do not want to remiss the fact that my youngest is now three years old.  Such a huge change.  My time in the kitchen is so much more focused and lengthy.  I am noticing the difference in a big way. (But just think of all the sweet baby breaks, nursing, nuzzling, in the past.) (Sigh.)

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Oh man. This sounds amazing! And exhausting. Having a 1.5 year old while trying to can (100lbs of peaches before a night shift -- what was I thinking??) is rough! I have a lot of exhausting years of canning ahead of me, I think. But peaches! All year long! Yumm!!!