Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Year of Preserving

Sense of Home Kitchen

I have spent a lot of time this year preserving produce from our garden or the gardens, trees and bushes of relatives and friends.  Some of the results of that time spent are shown in the (somewhat blurry)  photo above, some are tucked into our freezer.  I have recorded in the list along the side the items preserved.

I have now moved from preserving to using the product in the foods I prepare.  I have used the red onions in vinegar on a simple snack: cracker, cheese and pickled onion, unbelievably good.  I need to add homemade crackers to my To Do list over there on the right hand side of the website, I have wanted to do that for a long time.  We have already gone through two jars of salsa, we love that stuff.  Applesauce is what I have been eating for breakfast, mixed with plain yogurt or eaten alone, either way there is no comparison to the applesauce or yogurt I could have purchased, making all this time and effort worthwhile, not to mention the amount of money we have saved.  There are hundreds of dollars worth of food in the pantry and freezer that I preserved for a small fraction of the cost.  Some of the food is from foraged sources, such as the asparagus soup and the crab apple juice.  Others are from free sources, our family's apple trees or rhubarb plants.  Much of it came from our garden, not free, but nearly.  The canning jars I have reused for years, next I will invest in reusable lids, should have done that years ago.

These pie pumpkins provided seven quarts of purée and a quart of toasted seeds.  The purée will be used in pumpkin walnut breadpumpkin pancakespumpkin briochepumpkin pie, and these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins that I am making today.  There is so much more that can be done with pumpkin and I look forward to discovering some new recipes this winter, I believe I have seen some savory sauces made with pumpkin and that intrigues me.

I have also harvested rose hips.  In the photo above they are resting in the slightly curved base of my mixer, where they fit perfectly.  The larger hips are from bushes with larger flowers, leave the flowers on the bush after they die and you will be rewarded with rose hips, in the same family as apples and crab apples, they sweeten after the first frost so that is the best time to harvest.  They are packed with vitamin C, though there is more present in the fresh than in the dried rose hips, some is lost in the drying process.  I have made myself tea with the rose hips, just steep 4 to 8 fresh hips in boiling water for 10 - 15 minutes.  After they have steeped, drink the tea and eat the rose hips, they still hold some of the nutrition.

I would like to make rose hip jelly, though I am not sure I have enough of the berries yet, there are a few on the bushes that had not turned red yet so I will gather them and see if I have enough.  If so I will share the information in a post.  If not they will make more delicious tea.