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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Let the harvest commence!

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.

19 comments:

  1. For an easier solution than hand-peeling 150 apples...maybe consider applesauce pie? There are a few things you can do with applesauce other than eating it as-is.

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  2. Curious what you do with the peach puree? I have always sliced them and canned them, your way looks much easier.

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    1. I added a notation in the post about what I do with the purée.

      - Patrice

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  3. Perhaps enlist the teens from church for an apple peeling "frolic"! What a wonderful harvest you've gotten already. I'm curious, what do you do with peach puree?

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    Replies
    1. I added a notation in the post about what I do with the purée.

      - Patrice

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  4. I am curious as to what you do with the peach puree?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I added a notation in the post about what I do with the purée.

      - Patrice

      Delete
  5. Do you have to peel the apples? Leave the peel on and make apple pie, unless the peel is tough.

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  6. Will you give us more information about the bundle?

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    1. I will in a few days. I believe it goes on sale September 10. Looks like some neat stuff in the bundle.

      - Patrice

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  7. Core and slice (thin) those apples skins-on. Dust them with powdered sugar and apple pie spices. Lay them single layer on racks or parchment lined flat pans. Put them in the freezer. At two weeks put one slice on the counter and let it come up to room temp. If it's dry and somewhat crispy it's done. If not, leave them longer. Home freeze dried apple snacks. Best stored in bags because you can't get a lot of them in a jar.

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  8. Wow! Now that is Fruits of One's Labor. Oops, make that Two.
    Montana Guy

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  9. You don't have to peel apples to make apple jelly. Makes great gifts if you don't eat a lot of jelly. Or can you make apple juice?

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  10. There's an old song that goes:

    "Applesauce cake, applesauce cake, applesauce cake is fine,
    Applesauce cake, applesauce cake, I like it all the time."

    I used to play it on dulcimer.

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  11. Borrow a Squeezo strainer. Steam the quartered apples till soft and run them through. It will puree the apples and spit out the skin

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  12. this is a little late, but, just wash and rinse the apples and put them in a pressure canner with about 2" of water. Processes them for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on your altitude). When you open up the canner the skins slide right off. If you leave them in too long then you have instant pie filling.

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