Sense of Home Kitchen
I did a fair amount of canning, freezing, dehydrating, fermenting, and storing in either the root cellar or on pantry shelves last summer/fall. However, after eating mainly from our pantry we have dwindled our supplies down and it is that time of year again when I stock up for another, possibly, long winter. I have my hopes set on a mild winter, but I've be hearing talk, they say that according to the Farmer's Almanac...well, I'll just wait and see, and be prepared for whatever comes our way. I also want to take advantage of the garden produce and sales so that we can keep our grocery bill low.
My brother has a cherry tree, same as ours, but his is older, larger, and bears much more fruit. As you can see from the first photo, the cherries are small and they are a bit tart, but they make wonderful juice. According to Science Daily tart cherries are good for your heart and they are high in antioxidants. They are found in extract and pill form at health food stores. Since they are available locally, and the price was right (free) I made sure I took the time to turn them into juice we will enjoy in the months to come.
When I find a bargain on bananas I buy several pounds and dehydrate them and store them as banana chips. They are high in Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese, these nutrients are not destroyed in the dehydrating process as long as you keep the temperature below 115 degrees Fahrenheit. They are a healthy snack that I love to add to the trail mix I make.
Although our garden is too small to grow corn, my parents have more space and are able to grow corn. This year they planted the "honey and cream" corn seed, it is like candy, but we love it. In the middle of winter when the snow is flying it is so nice to be able to pull out a container of this corn that I took off the cob; tastes like summer. It really is amazing how fresh this corn tastes, even after it has been frozen for months. I always "creme" the corn as I take it off the cob, which just means I scrap the knife along the cob to get the juices and small bits of corn left behind from the first cutting. I may write a separate post on cutting corn off the cob and freezing it so that the "how to" will be available in the Homemade Living section of this website. I have a lot of articles I would like to write when I have time; this is such a busy time of year with the garden and preserving produce, plus I am still working full-time. My last day as a children's librarian is August 31st and I begin managing the health food store on September 1st (with much more training from my mother).
We had an abundance of cherry tomatoes this year again and I have preserved them in the past by dehydrating them or freezing them, both work very well. This year I decided to try roasting the tomatoes to caramelize the sugars they hold. I cut them in half, put them in a bowl and added enough olive oil to coat them and placed them on a baking sheet. Then I sprinkled the tomatoes with sea salt and placed them in a 300 degree oven until the sugars began to caramelize, darkening the edges. Do not leave them in until they are dry, this is not a dehydrating process, just leave them in until they shrink, become a little chewy and a touch of brown around the edges. After cooling I placed them in a container and then into the freezer for use in pastas or on pizzas later.
I had yesterday morning off since I had to work last night, so I canned some peaches and peach jam. We have a few jars of peaches left from last year, which we will use up first, so along with the jars from last year I think 8 quarts will be enough to take us to next summer. We also have cherries and apricots canned, several berries in the freezer and some dried fruit, so our fruit supply for the fall/winter/spring is in good order. Next I work on some more vegetables and I am hoping for a good crop of apples to make several quarts of juice. Last night we got a call from some friends who are raising chickens for us, they will be ready to butcher soon and we will be helping them. Then there will be chickens in the freezer and chicken stock to make and can. This is a busy time of year, but I enjoy seeing the shelves filling up and providing nutritious food for seasons to come.