As summer comes to its close, we know we are going to be very busy for the next six to eight weeks.
Like many of you, Mr. Gordon and I work full-time jobs having nothing to do with our home(work). So, we need to scramble and roll up our sleeves to get the gardening / food preservation work done often in the evenings and on the weekends. And like many of you, sometimes we’re just so dang tired. We do what we can. Certainly makes us appreciate those who had to grow and raise most of – if not all of – their food! So much work.
The tomatoes are starting to redden and we are collecting daily. We made the decision last year to gently wash and freeze them whole, then when we are ready to make pasta sauce, we can defrost and use the Chinois Cone.
By the way, here are Mr. Gordon’s quick steps for freezing whole tomatoes:
- Wash your tomatoes in cool water and then dry them.
- Arrange them on a baking sheet so they are not touching each other. (Tracy’s note, I let them touch. See photo below – I don’t seem to have problems. I lay down a layer of plastic wrap, but that might be unnecessary.)
- Put the sheet of tomatoes in the freezer. Let them free solid.
- The next day, put the cue ball-like tomatoes in gallon zip lock bags and put into your freezer.
Yesterday: Preparing the Tomatoes for Freezing
I use baking pans and cookie sheets and arrange them in one layer.
Today: Frozen Tomatoes
Here we have Firminio’s Plum, Amish Paste (the big ones – they were garden “volunteers”), a couple of Blue Beech Plum, and New Yorker Early Tomatoes (round ones).
Firminio’s Plum Tomatoes
… and into the bag in one layer so I can set the bag flat in the chest freezer in the basement.
This is the first year we’ve grown Firminio’s Plum Tomatoes. They are quite small. Not sure if we will choose this variety again. We’ll see how they do as sauce.
See how easy food preservation can be? Now, these will need to be used as sauce: The tomatoes will be mushy when defrosted.
With the next batch we might choose to not freeze and instead process and can as diced tomatoes. We shall see.
Homegrown Kidney Beans
This year we grew kidney beans for the first time as an experiment. The pods are finally dry enough to pick.
Kidney Beans – So Pretty
I love making chili, so I made a point to try my hand at growing kidney and black beans. Unfortunately the deer ate a lot of the bush beans’ leaves… Grr.
Two and One-Fourth Cups
So my kidney bean harvest was small, and we really must weigh the effort put into raising these beans, but there is going to be one pot of chili made this fall with beans from our garden – and THAT will be worth this summer’s effort.
Fiddle Dee Dee Potatoes
So, this weekend we harvested King Harry White, Yukon Gold, and Dark Red Norland (lovely varieties from Wood Prairie Family Farm) – plus “blue ones” grown from last year’s potatoes which sprouted in the basement.
We wiped the Yukons, reds, and blues down yesterday – gently with paper towels – to remove some of the dirt. Today we’ll wipe down the whites. Then, into paper bags and into the basement. The root cellar isn’t ready yet, but we’ll make do.
However, We Are Not All Work and No Play
Friday night with the Beatles. Or, at least a Beatles tribute band called Mr. Mustard. 😀 It was fun! Love that small town life. Simple and easy.
So much more to share!
But we’ll stop here… how’s it going on your end?
Did you “grow something different” in your gardens this year?
Finding faster ways (that work well) to put up food?
Share your stories and wisdom with us in a comment below! 😀