Saturday, August 29, 2009

Harvesting and Canning

All the apples are gone. They were made into crispy apple chips, dried apples and eaten out of hand. It was nearly a week of daily morning and night peeling and slicing, before I finally ran out of apples. Good thing, I was starting to get sick of arranging apple slices neatly on the dehydrator trays for maximum effect.

My break from apples won't be for very long, they just advertised Gala apples and I like to use those in my applesauce, along with jonagolds. As soon as the jonagolds are ready, I'll buy several bushels of each and get to saucing!

After I made the Damson plum liquors, I waited a little too long (I got busy with the apple chips) to make plum jam, and found that about half had gone moldy. I was able to salvage enough for two batches of plum jam and the rest went to the chickens and compost. It was my first time making plum jam and it's very good! When I mentioned the jam to my mom, her eyes lit up and she said she has not had plum jam since she left home for college. My grandmother had a plum tree behind the shed and made jam with the plums. I am eager for my mom to taste my plum jam and see if it compares to my grandmother's.

We have gotten 4 eggs so far from our chickens. I think it is a possibility that some of the chickens are laying in the woods, because there should be more than just four. We passed some one's home with a pile of rolled up chain link fencing for sale. I think I'll stop by and see how much they are asking, and if it is reasonable, get some for making an enclosure around the coop. Fall is in the air around here, and fallen leaves will make it hard for me to search for eggs, so as much as I want them to free-range, I also want them to lay eggs in the coop.

Our tomatoes are finally starting to come in. It was just a trickle these past couple of weeks, with a tomato here and there. When I was canning the plum jam, I had enough tomatoes to can a quart. Only a quart, I know, but it's a start. Checking on the plants today, I am hoping that by next week, I'll have at least enough ripe tomatoes for 10 more quarts. Not even enough to last the whole winter, but that's what I get for not being more careful where I put my tomato and pepper starts and then getting a puppy that thinks the plants were for her to chew on. I consider myself lucky to have found tomato starts when I did. So I'll take what I can get and have better hopes for next year's garden.

I am considering getting a bushel of tomatoes from the farm market, they ask $15 for a bushel, but every time I inquire about them, they tell me not today, maybe next week. Meanwhile, there are plenty of tomatoes for sale on the table. I suspect they pick the best looking ones for sale and save the ugly ones for canning tomatoes. This is what makes me hesitate.. Why can't they just sell me a bushel of those tomatoes when I want them now? Maybe I'll just do without and concentrate on apples. I will miss not having rows of pretty canned tomatoes in my basement, but I have plenty of other lovely canned goods to make up for it.

I am also harvesting items from the stores, buying a little extra here and there, when we can afford it, to get ready for the winter months. My step-mom taught me some tricks for shopping with coupons, and I am getting some pretty good deals, now that I know where to find them. Recently at the rite-aid, they had a pretty good sale for certain items-- buy one get one free type sales and combined with manufacturer's coupons, store coupons and rebates, I managed to get about $75 worth of items for about $15. I'm pretty pleased about that. It's a thrill to see the total on the register go down, down, down and walk away with quite a few bags of items.

I am trying a batch of peach wine. It's made the same way I made the strawberry wine and it is smelling mighty fine. I strain the peaches out in a couple days, then add the sugar, stir daily for another week, then divide into gallon jars and let it sit for a couple of months. I won't wait a year this time around, before checking them, to make sure I don't end up with 50/50 vinegar and wine.

I am going to enjoy this little break from canning anything, catching up on things I need to do around the house. I have a project going on right now and I look forward to sharing it with you as soon as I am finished.


Stephanie D said...

Busy gal! We are just starting to get apples--our annual Apple Festival coincides with Labor Day weekend. I'm hoping to score some Honeycrisps this time--they are so scrumptious! They even surpass my standby favorites, the Galas.

Can't wait to see your project!

Anonymous said...

It is nice to find the discount offers which i have been looking for. Also Shopping online with these discount coupons are wonderful and it saved me big bucks.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

HHHOOOOORRAAAAAYYY on that Rite-Aid Score !!! Holy Moly that was great!! Like for REALZ-EEZ great !

jenny said...

Stephanie-- Our apple festival is around the corner, too. I remember one year, as a kid, we went to an apple fest, and I ate everything apple-- apple cider, caramel apples, apple pie, apple apple apple!! I think it was a long time before I ate apples again!! lol I know better now to enjoy apples in moderation! :o)

Gringa-- Yeah, no kidding!! I like saving money like that!! :o)