Over the last few weeks, the garden has been ripening fast. Some things are already past their prime (strawberries, raspberries, peas), some have not yet ripened (plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes), some are not ready to pick or harvest (dry beans, carrots, pears, potatoes), but lots of things are ready to harvest and process.
Believe it or not, I'm still harvesting blueberries. I'm down to the dregs, but I'm picking every last precious berry as it ripens.
I've been freezing them as I go. So far I have 17.75 lbs. and estimate I'll top out at 18.5 lbs. When everything is picked, I'll can the berries.
Here's a crate filled with garlic (at the bottom) and parsley (at top).
I spread the garlic to dry on a wire shelf. As usual, I'll can it later in the fall, and plant around 150 cloves for the enjoyment of whomever buys our house.
I had so much parsley this year, I couldn't fit it all in my dehydrator. So what I did was trimmed it...
...and loaded it onto cookie sheets.
Then I put the parsley in the oven and just left it there (I was at a juncture where I didn't need to use the oven for a while). Our range is propane and uses a pilot light, so whenever I need to keep things mildly warm (such as rising bread or pizza dough), I just tuck it in the oven. After four days, the parsley was perfectly dry and crisp.
To grind it up, I used my food chopper.
The chopper is small, so this was something of a messy process.
I was left with a lot of stems, so I used Don's paint roller screen to sieve out the biggest pieces.
I got a bit over a quart of dried parsley. I don't go through a lot of parsley, so this will be plenty to last a year.
One of our peach trees was so heavily overloaded with fruit, I was afraid the branches would break.
After picking, the tree looked much happier.
The peaches aren't big, but it's a thrilling thing to be able to harvest our own (peaches are my all-time, hands-down favorite fruit). I got 23 lbs. from this one tree.
I put the peaches on the surface of the cookstove to ripen.
After about a week, they were ripe enough to process.
I dropped the peaches in hot water to slip the skins.
Then cold water.
Jars lined up, ready to fill.
Skinned and pitted peaches.
Puréeing the peaches in the blender.
My faithful helper was literally underfoot.
Final result: 16 pints of purée, which I water-bath canned.
I haven't yet harvested the other peach trees, so I'll get more purée in the next couple of weeks. (For those curious about what to do with purée, there is no finer addition to homemade ice cream or homemade yogurt than peach purée. It also does beautifully in smoothies.)
The apple trees were also heavily laden, so I picked every last apple before they got too heavy for the branches.
This gave me about 20+ lbs. of very small but very tasty apples.
I haven't yet preserved them because I'm facing something of a dilemma on how to process them. They're too small for my apple peeler. The easiest thing would be to turn them into applesauce, but we don't eat a lot of applesauce. What I want to do is make pie filling, and for that I need to peel them. Before I embark on the laborious process of hand-peeling 150 little bitty apples, does anyone have a faster and more efficient solution?
I'll post more as I continue harvesting the garden. What a blessing to have such bounty from our own labors!
Along those lines, this year I'm participating in a bundle promotional called "Off the Grid Superstack" which includes tons of information on preparedness. I've contributed information on prepper gardening. I hope you'll all consider purchasing the bundle when it's available -- I think it has a lot of extremely useful information.