Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Art of Self Preservation

When I went on my blogcation a few weeks back, Burbs told me to can, can, can. I smiled at her response but didn't take it to heart. You see, the timing wasn't exactly right. Burbs' season is a month or so ahead of mine.

But I've taken that advice to heart this week. Three days ago, I got the call. Or the email to be precise. "The apples are ready to be picked." Another mom - someone who answered my wanted "fruit from your fruit tree" post on the local mothers' club board last year - remembered me. She asked me to "pick the tree clean." I did my best and carted four bulging bags home.

At Wednesday's farmers' market, I debated passing up the blueberries. "Last week," the farmer grins. Suddenly, tomatoes - which lingered green on the vine all summer - were hit by a major heat wave and are beautifully, blindingly red . . . and ready. It is now or never.

In the last week, I've had my dehydrator going 24-7, drying berries, apples and tomatoes. The canner happily bubbles on the range, sealing jars of hot pepper jam from front yard peppers, all day apple butter (a great recipe made in the slow cooker), and apple tomato chutney. Overly ripe berries mixed with maple syrup simmer on the stove - our pancake toppings this winter. Sapphira, my farmers' market friend, saved me a box of San Marzano tomatoes and I chopped them up with some of her onions and carrots for pasta sauce that likely won't last us through the winter. The freezer in the garage hums to life - stocked with frozen blueberries, chopped peppers and blanched corn.

As I type this, the saucepan calls out for more chutney, the dehydrator sits silent for the first time in a week. I've been emerged in the fine art of self preservation this week and need to go back. How about you?


kale for sale said...

I'm just home from the farmers' market with a 30 lb. box of tomatoes to slow roast and freeze. We're on the same track. My favorite tomato farmer said they likely won't get any better than this give the weather we've had. I'm also going to make more free apple juice. The free apples are too little to do much of anything else with and really I'm not complaining. The juice is delish. Glad to hear you made pepper jam! Jenn got to you. My mouth is still watering for it but I haven't made the leap to make it yet.

Abbie said...

I have a bunch of tomatoes to can this week. I picked them all yesterday before the big storm came through.

I also plan to can a bunch of applesauce in the coming week. We'll see how much I get done because I'm much less productive at home now that I'm back at work :)

CindyW said...

You are awesome!

There is no way I can can anything without eating half of it.

I image explaining my sudden weight gain to friends - Ummmm, I was just canning berries with maple syrup :)

Domestic Accident said...

I just blogged about slow roasting tomatoes because I don't can. It's on my to do list to learn how.

I'll be freezing applesauce this month. Lots and lots.

sunflowerchilde said...

I've been up to my elbows in food preservation for the last several weeks, and I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I'm almost done. I've canned or frozen more jam, tomato sauce, pesto, vegetables, and soup than I care to think about. We bought a freezer this year because I went so crazy last year after all that canning.

I still have piles of zucchini and peppers to freeze, but the end is in sight (finally!).

The sad thing is that I live in such a temperate climate that I grow a winter vegetable garden anyway. But I love preserving food too much to give it up!


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