On food madness

Leek blossom

I’m knee deep (only) in food preservation here at the farm. What this means, much to my very meticulous husband’s dismay, is that the kitchen is, and shall remain, a mess for the foreseeable future. I tell him it makes no sense to return the canning pots or the pressure canner down to their basement storage spots if I have to get it out again the next day. So far I am winning the battle. But it is a mess: jars coming in, jars sealing, jars going downstairs again; FoodSaver bags ready, food processor ready, colanders handy. And then there’s the usual dinner mess, which on occasion I am too tired to fix. I guess I can forgive him for being a little dismayed.

What’s crazy is this isn’t even the high season.

Because it’s not full-on craziness around here, I have been experimenting. My latest two “discoveries” have been cherry/blueberry preserves (with a shot of white balsamic vinegar) and roasted garlic jelly.

Here are a couple of other things we’ve been doing: Grilling peaches. It’s only white peach season around here (juicy, but not my favorite) but have you ever tried grilled fruit? It can be divine, especially with a pinch of sea salt. Cherries in everything. Cherry salad! Beet carpaccio. Raw potatoes (really!). Raw everything, mainly because we are too impatient to cook things. Green tomato salsa. Garlic in anything that gets cooked. Lots more custards, like coffee custard.

What having this fresh bounty at our feet (knees, waists, necks) does is allow us latitude for experimentation. I am seriously thinking about leaving a salt shaker and vinegar bottle in the garden, or maybe in just the greenhouse. It’d save time.

8 responses to “On food madness

  1. Wow – I’m impressed by the magnitude of your canning and preserving! Your hubby may grumble now, but I’m sure he’ll appreciate all your effort this winter when he’s eating the yummy food! Good luck!

  2. You take such loving care of those gardens it is no wonder the plants strive to give you their best too. And please sign me up for some of that coffee custard. 🙂

  3. It sounds like you’ve been busy, El! I really like the sound of that roasted garlic jelly, mmm…

  4. Salt and vinegar in the garden! Ha ha ha! Very happy picture.

  5. You must be spoilt for choice – white peaches not your favourite! Cooks and chefs down here treat white peaches as if they are only a notch or two below truffles in the fancy stakes.

    But grilled peaches are a definite favourite of mine. Oh…bring on the sun and spring!

  6. My head is swirling trying to keep it together in the garden. But I can’t seem to grow leeks to save my life….any tips?

    and I have a salt shaker in the garden once the tomatoes and cukes show their lovely little heads!

  7. Oh! Grilled peaches! I’d almost forgotten! Must. Go. Grill. NOW.

  8. Thanks, Mrs. GH! Yeah, he has no right to be crabby, I think, but then I can live with a sink full of dishes and not think the world is going to end. Ah well.

    Gigi: Will do. It is really quite yummy. Rather shocked how much coffee it took but then the results are great. Looking forward to having you guys for dinner! Get well, Kaiser.

    Oh, Cheryl, that jelly is RIGHT up your alley you jam queen you. Frankly I have never been one for jelly: the whole thing makes me a nervous wreck, what with the heating and the straining etc. I guess I am much more of a lumps-and-all jam girl. But! I didn’t make enough! It should be great on meats and bread this winter.

    CC: I suppose I could just TAKE them out with me when I harvest but that requires forethought. As it is the Mother of All Colanders lives in the garden, just waiting. (It’s the season when she can get filled up, you see.)

    Nada, hah, we are spoiled. Our town has a peach festival every year; peaches are their thing. The Red Haven peach was developed here. It is the only thing the town is known for frankly. Spring is coming, just hold on!

    Hey Kathy. It took me a few seasons before I really got the hang of leeks. If in doubt, though, order plants! You’ll get a lot of leeks that way: two years ago I burned my seedlings (forgot to water) and ended up buying King Richard plants from Johnny’s (johnnyseeds.com) and they worked great. All the alliums have really shallow root systems so they do need to be watered regularly when seeds and seedlings. Trimming the little shoots to never be over 3″ helps too. Or you can direct seed in the garden, which I also do; I don’t trim them and I do remember to water them in the garden surprisingly. I would say that having fresh seed (which is why I save my own) really does help the process along. I don’t hill mine up, though I’ve been told I should; I mulch them intensively instead with grass clippings and straw. Hope that helps…

    TPL: See? Blogging is good for something! Enjoy.

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