I am in the full-thrust of harvest - fermenting, drying, canning, freezing - and have been going hard for a month or more. It has been an amazing change this year now that my youngest child is four years old,and I have 3-4 helpers who are actually helpful - picking, shucking, hauling, loading, slicing, snapping, cleaning.
Another huge difference from years' past is that I am working steadily through the entire week, rather than saving the bulk of my work for the weekends. This is huge. Instead of blow-out weekends that leave me completely stripped, there have been Saturdays or Sundays where I finish my work in the early evening hours. It has been amazing.
I am getting more done too . . . with steady progress, instead of fits and starts. I am a machine. I know what needs to be done and how to do it. My output is massive.
As I have said in recent years, I am a "serious home food preservationist".
Bread & Butter pickles ready for storage.
Sliced cabbage + salt + caraway seeds = sauerkraut
Also, with the amount of rain we got this year, the green cabbages (but not the purple thankfully) started cracking at the beginning of August. It was not a good situation . . . they were in tough shape by the time I was able to get to them. (About half-way into the crisis, I got two 5 liter Pickl-Its that made all the difference.) (Pictured above with the sauerkraut.)
Likewise, with the amount of rain and cool weather we had in August, our tomatoes are in a precarious situation. They are cracking and extremely vulnerable to bug damage. We are picking them before they are fully ripe; if left on the vine, they are left to the wiles of slugs and bugs. Completely destroyed.
Now for for a slight detour: a small tour of ketchup-making --
Pre-ketchup: spices, onion, sugar, vinegar, tomatoes
Culling spices in the food mill.
The final product sealed in the canner.
I am displeased with the ugly rendering of these pictures with my iphone. YUCK. My beauty-loving eye sockets are seared with the sheer displeasure of seeing such refuse.
Alas, it cannot be helped.
I use the A Canadian Foodie recipe: Homemade Ketchup with Fresh Tomatoes.
I've been also been making tomato sauce, salsa, and the most delicious oven-roasted tomato concoction: a panful of halved cherry or plum tomatoes, add salt, several crushed garlic cloves, and a few chunks of beef fat, baked at 350 for most of the day and stirred every-so-often.
It roasts down into an umami-filled, rich, reduced . . . I don't know what. I've used it as pizza sauce or simply as a visually appealing and palate-pleasing addition to a plate.
I am listening to The Brothers Karamasov in the kitchen while I work, now on speaker via my iphone rather than earbuds through my little hand-me-down ipod. It is an incredibly long book, but well worth the time invested. I've been absolutely gripped by the story and the many ideas that Dostoyevsky explores.
Finally . . . my Food Preservation Notes. Or, how I taught myself how to do this all.
Though let's give credit where credit is due: the groundwork was laid in my childhood by watching my mom and aunties in the kitchen. Thanks Muver. (Emoji heart!)
Over and out.