Sunday, September 13, 2009
Peach Butter: I have canned peach slices and halves in the past and not only was the skinning part a huge pain but we also didn't eat many of them. I'm not a big fan of the syrup I used and K had trouble eating them when they were so slippery. Maybe now that I am baking more I would have more use for them but I was looking for something else. In an attempt to try to use up as many of those peaches as possible I decided to try butter.
I still had to contend with removing the skins and without a good food mill I resorted to a stick blender, which did the job but took a lot of time and wrist strength. I don't think I got it down to the right consistency for butter, it was still a little runny. Otherwise, it smelled and tasted great and I look forward to the possibilities; jam thumbprint cookies and layered cakes come to mind.
Freezer Cole Slaw: I was searching for a way to use up and preserve cabbage that didn't call for fermentation when I saw a recipe in my Preservation For Busy People book that calls for freezing.
It called for shredding up everything, boiling a brine, pouring it over the vegetables and then freezing. I used cabbage from my share, carrots from the market, peppers from my garden and vinegar and celery seeds from the conventional supermarket.
I'm not sure what to expect when I defrost it but I'm waiting for my folks to come and visit so that I'll have some other opinions of its character and some additional mouths to use it up if it is good.
Condiments: In addition to peach butter, I also experimented with a few other canning recipes from my Ball Complete book of Home Preserving this summer. First was a fruit katsup that was equal parts peach and tomatoes with some apple too. It turned out a little zesty thanks to the addition of cayenne pepper. It was very, very good and felt extremely gourmet with my fancy fries and primo burger. Then there was a peach BBQ sauce. It didn't yield as much as I wanted but I attribute that to having very thick peach skins and no food mill. It was also very good. Then I made both a tomatillo and a fruit based salsa. I haven't tried them yet so I don't know if I will make them again or try something else.
Grape Juice: Finally, I tried making grape juice from the handful of too tart for just eating concord-type grapes that I got from my farm share. I washed and picked each grape and then, using my new mini-masher, crushed the heck out of them. Next I boiled them over med heat and continued to periodically re-mash anything that looked the least bit solid. Once, it was done cooking I strained the resulting mash through a strainer and ended up with about 1 cup of concentrated grape liquid. It was still a little tart, though much better than eating them whole so I stirred in some local honey. I filled the rest of the glass with ice and a dash of water, mixed it up and enjoyed my first glass of real grape juice in almost 20 years.
In week 11 I brought in some chard and harvested more cilantro/coriander seeds.
In week 12, everything continued to produce about the same.
I picked all the remaining tomatoes in week 12 but there the lemon cukes made up for it in week 13.
Week 14 I harvested the bulk of the peppers. The plants are still going strong but it will be a little while before I have any more ripe.
For the u-pick bonus there were even more peaches and some more edamame.
Notice the numerous bowls spilling over with peaches, the tomatoes bursting over their baskets, and the apples lined up in what little space remains. The empty drawer is deceptive for lurking just outside of the picture frame is a unit of green apples waiting to infiltrate the only clean spot left.And here is another angle where you can see the cheese drawer overflowing with creamery yogurts and cheeses; the door stacked with butters, milks, juices, and condiments.
And lest you think that I should just freeze something to make room, here you can clearly see that freezing is no longer an option. Assorted berries, fruits, herbs and shredded zucchini threaten to spill out of the door. Meats, pre-made dishes, and convenience food block your view of a whole host of other frozen vegetables, soups, ice creams and sorbets. If I could get the time to make chicken broth, I might make enough room to keep frozen zucchini breads and muffins.
I think I need help...or a big chest freezer...or a dehydrator.
I mean look at these things. They are definitely destined for some sauce or salsa or something canned.
The u-pick bonus this week included some more peaches and edamame. I don't know what I'm going to do with more peaches but I'll probably take the same path as the tomatoes...canned. I plan to keep the edamame till I get more next week and boil and freeze it for future stir fries.
At the Sunday market I got more salsa ingredients, some potatoes and carrots, mushrooms and apples. It was quite a score.
Here is our pile of u-pick potatoes plus a small bag of very small potatoes that I purchased in addition. I hope to can up a some small ones as it is hard for me to keep potatoes as long as I'd like to given that I have no truly cool place in the apartment once we start using the heat.
This weekend was the potatoes and pancakes festival. We started with a pancake breakfast and then headed out to the potato fields where the tractor had already dug up most of the potatoes. All that we did was walk along the rows and pick up what ever size we wanted. I grabbed a mixture of sizes.