Monday, July 28, 2008

Gardening Limbo

I feel like I am in limbo right now. My garden is in the 'in-between' stage; that time where everything is on the verge of ripening but nothing is ripe right now. The pears are growing nicely, but it'll be a few more weeks before they're ready. The blackberries are ripe and I'm picking them, but only about 2 cups worth at a time, so it takes a few days to get enough to do anything with them. The tomatoes-- oh the tomatoes! Hundreds of green ones, and finally, a single pink one on the verge of turning red. I'm hovering and watching and as soon as it is a nice, deep, red, I'm gonna pluck it and eat it! The green peppers are growing slowly, the corn is only 2 feet high, the potatoes are growing...

My hands are itchy to can and preserve stuff, but there's nothing to be done right now. Peach season is in full swing, but after checking my stores in the basement, I see that I still have plenty of canned peach halves and peach jam. I don't want to add more peach items if I still have a lot left from before. I just found a recipe that I tried last week that uses about 1/2 a cup of peach jam and it was SO good! It made 13 muffins and it barely lasted 24 hours. I'll be posting more about that the next time I make a batch. They got eaten up before I remembered to take a picture of them.

The tomatoes are looking like they will all ripen around the same time, so I'm gearing up for making salsa, tomato relish and sauces along with whole canned tomatoes.

I made the dumb decision not to plant any cucumbers because I wasn't going to make any pickles or relishes this year. I have several cases of both in the basement and I don't eat pickles and relish-- I made them for my husband and family. But now I am wishing I went ahead and planted at least 2 or 3 cukes, because I keep sending Hubby to the farm stand for cukes to put in the salads. I won't be making that mistake again!

I am looking forward to when the pears are ready. Last year, we had a late frost that killed all but 2 pears on the 2 trees we have. I was so disappointed! I have been eating the pear butter I made sparingly and have only 2 precious jars left of it. I am happy that the pear trees have plenty of pears this year and I hope to make at least 2 or 3 batches of pear butter. If I can keep the girls away from the pears and they don't eat them all up before I get to them!

For now, all I can do is get the jars washed and ready. Make sure I have everything needed to make this or that. Stock up on vinegar for the relishes, sugar and pectin for the jams, etc.. This is canning country and I have since learned to stock up on canning items. It isn't unusual to see the sugar shelves at the store empty and the spices needed to make pickles and relishes sold out. Sometimes I have to ask my mom to pick up certain canning spices I need, because where she is, in the city, almost no one cans, or at least not enough to sell out.

In the meantime, I am enjoying this 'in-between' time and using it to play with the kids, weed the gardens, nurse the baby and looking for new recipes. Speaking of recipes-- Do any of you have a good brownie recipe? We try to avoid buying the mixes at the store and prefer to make things from scratch, but none of the brownie recipes I've made have that nice flaky top that the mixes have. They are either cake-like or all come with frosting or toppings. I would like to find a plain and simple recipe that gives a flaky top. I'd really appreciate any recipes you can pass on to me!


Karen Mayes said...

How about making peach wine? ;o)

Since my family lives in an apartment, I do a balcony garden (potted herbs, lettuces, etc.) Last week I noticed a lot of yellowjacket wasps buzzing around and this past weekend I found the hive (a walnut-sized one) hanging under one of the lettuce leaves... agggghhhh!

I have a lot of parlsey, which I use a lot of salads and main casseroles.

I can't wait to buy a house with a nice yard, but I don't want to live in a HOA-dominated neighbors...

moxiemocha said...

I have this brownie recipe from Moosewood Restaurant that I always make. It doesn't have a flaky top like the mixes do, but it's delicious.

1/2 cup butter
2 or 3 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup white flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan. Melt butter and chocolate together in a heavy saucepan. After melting, remove the pot. Add brown sugar, vanilla. Beat by hand. Add beaten eggs. Beat. Stir in flour and mix until thoroughly mixed. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. It's fudgy in the center. If you want more cakey, then bake for another 5 minutes.

You can add dried fruits or nuts to add some variety to the brownies.

Beth (new personal blog)

jenny said...

Karen-- I thought about peach wine.. I'm in the middle of making blackberry wine now.

I know what you mean about HOA.. we made sure that our home had no HOA telling us what to do or wha we can't do. I don't miss living in my apartment, though it was a nice one. One day you'll find the perfect home for you and you can have a bigger garden!

Moxie-- Hey! Haven't seen you in awhile! Thanks for sharing your brownie recipe.. I'll make it and let you know how I like it. :o)

i am very mary said...

I picked 6 quarts of blackberries over the past two days, and I can't wait for more to ripen!

jenny said...

Very Mary-- Welcome!! I'm tickled to see you here! :o)

Wow! 6 quarts huh? my blackberry bushes are a little light this year, but I'm also not hitting all of the old spots either. I'm just going to the one main area since I can only part from the baby for a little while. I gotta get me one of those baby slings! You going to can them or freeze them?