Monthly Archives: August 2022

Blessings Abound

Hello and welcome.

Today I’ll be canning. I expect to produce about 10 quarts of tomato juice but since my canning kettle only holds seven quart-size jars I will cook down the excess into sauce to be used in a meal later this week. Likely stuffed cabbage. Before I head to the kitchen to begin cutting up tomatoes and sterilizing canning jars let me tell you about the results of last week’s efforts.

Cucumbers Are Abundant This Year
Pickled Peppers

Last week I canned:

6 quarts garlic dills

4 quarts hamburger dill slices

6 pints pickled peppers

4 quarts sauerkraut (still fermenting)

7 quarts tomato juice

6 pints bread and butter pickles

Some of our garden meals.

We also continue to include some of the fresh-picked bounty in our meals daily, something that only happens this time of year.

Steak, Potatoes, Steamed Swiss Chard, Glazed Carrots, Beets

Grilled steak with boiled potatoes, steamed Swiss chard, glazed carrots and boiled beets.

Pasta and Clam Sauce, Sauteed Swiss Chard and Eggplant

Pasta and clam sauce with sauteed Swiss chard and eggplant.

Not pictured: Tuna salad sandwich. I love to mix lots of veggies into tuna salad – chopped lettuce, diced tomato, shredded carrot, onion, diced celery, shredded or diced radish – mix it up with some mayo and spread it on your favorite bread.

Also not pictured: Another of my favorite summertime dishes is sliced cucumbers covered in a sour cream, dill and garlic dressing.

Other News

Last week our young hens began laying as evidenced by the tiny egg(s) my husband collected. First time layers usually lay a few tiny eggs before they begin laying regular size eggs. Inside the tiny egg is mostly or all egg white (there might be a small speck of yolk as well.)

The hens beginning to lay was kind of bitter-sweet as we lost one of the young hens to a prolapsed vent. Apparently, the egg she was trying to lay was too big for her. We are now down to just 5 of the 12 hens that started out as baby chicks this spring. Farming can often be heartbreaking.

Thanks for stopping by and I wish you a beautiful day.

Rehydrating Potatoes and Our Garden Meal

Hello and welcome!

We dehydrated a second batch of potatoes over the weekend. This time rather than slicing them we decided to do shredded potatoes – like would cook up into hashbrowns. After peeling them my husband boiled them until they were nearly done. He then used the food processor with the shredding blade to cut them up. It took about 6 hours at 125 degrees in the dehydrator to dry them.

We packaged the shredded dehydrated potatoes in two-ounce packages.

I had found instructions online that said when rehydrating vegetables, a rule of thumb was to use two parts water to one part vegetable so that’s where I started. I’m not sharing the link because I found out it was inaccurate.

I put the dehydrated potatoes in a metal bowl on the scale. It read 1.9 ounces.

I then reset the scale to zero and added twice as much boiling water as I had potatoes – 3.8 ounces. (I know the scale says 3.9 – .1 ounce over is acceptable.) Hot or boiling water speeds up the rehydration process. I stirred the potatoes and water together and found that once all of the water was absorbed some of the potatoes were still too dry. I again zeroed out the scale and added another 1.9 ounces of water.

I again stirred the mixture and once all of the water was absorbed I had perfectly rehydrated potatoes to make into hashbrowns.

I learned that in order to rehydrate these potatoes I need a 1:3 ratio of potatoes to water.

I put some butter in the cast iron skillet and cooked up these wonderful hashbrowns that tasted as fresh as if I had just dug the potatoes.

It was a breakfast for dinner night, so I cooked up a garden omelet to go with the hashbrowns and sausage. It’ not pretty but it was delicious.

I started, of course, with farm fresh eggs. Added some sautéed Swiss chard, a diced banana pepper, a diced jalapeno pepper and a diced tomato. I then topped it with American cheese which did not come from our farm but was the perfect finishing touch.

Yum!!!

Thanks for visiting.

Preserving Pickles, Peppers and Potatoes

Hello and Welcome! Good News – We got rain 🙂 I’m guessing somewhere around 2 1/2 inches between Wednesday and Thursday. The gardens, the lawns, the trees – everything needed that rain. So while we get at least a few days off from watering let me tell you about some of the preserving we’ve been doing.

PICKLES

Dill Pickles

Dill pickles – It’s been many years since I’ve made dill pickles using the water bath (canning) method. In more recent years I have fermented pickles and made refrigerator pickles, but both take up space in the refrigerator, so I decided to try canning dill pickles again. One of the reasons I had not canned pickles recently is because they tended to get mushy. I did some reading about making crisp dill pickles and one of the suggestions was to use distilled water since the chemicals (chlorine) added to water can cause the pickles to become mushy. I canned three quarts of dill pickles so far using distilled water. I also used our home-grown dill and garlic. We will try them in a couple weeks to see how they turned out.

Bread and Butter pickles – Yesterday I made bread and butter pickles – a tried and true recipe from the Ball Blue Book. The yield was 5 pints and my husband, who loves these pickles, is thrilled.

Bread and Butter Pickles and Red Hot Sauce

PEPPERS

Cayenne – Another recipe that I found in the Ball Blue Book was for red hot sauce. Hot sauce is not something we use a lot of, but my husband likes to add a few drops to certain foods. The recipe that called for two quarts of tomatoes and about 24 cayenne peppers made two pints of sauce. That will likely be enough to last us through the year.

Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne plants tend to be heavy producers and somehow we ended up with a bunch of cayenne plants this year. Rather than use the dehydrator to dry then We decided to string them and hang them to dry. I think I have some daughters that will appreciate a string of hot peppers. Once they are dry they can be used by adding a whole pepper to a pot of chili or similar dish or they can be ground in a spice grinder or food processor to make red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper.

Notice they are turning red (continuing to ripen) as they hang.

Jalapeno and Banana peppers – Thus far I used banana and jalapeno peppers to make poppers. I have several packages of these in the freezer. They freeze well and can easily be cooked up in the oven or microwave. If we continue to harvest a lot of these, I might make up a batch of pickled peppers as well.

Bell peppers – Tuesday night I made stuffed bell peppers for dinner. I also made an additional five packages of stuffed peppers to freeze for future meals.

POTATOES

In past years storing potatoes has been a challenge for us as we don’t have a root cellar so we must try to eat them before they go bad. This year we decided to experiment with dehydrating them. My husband peeled and par boiled the potatoes than sliced them in the food processor to get and even thickness. The took about 4 hours on 140 degrees to dry to a crispy texture (much like the potatoes you would find in a box mix of au gratin potatoes). We then vacuum sealed them.

I have found directions for rehydrating them, but we have yet to try it. I will let you know when we do.

Of course not everything we harvest is being preserved. We are enjoying fresh vegetables daily. I do plan on writing about some of our garden meals but soon, but I don’t want to drag this post out too long so I’m just going to share a recipe I came across that we are REALLY ENJOYING.

I still have several jars of applesauce that I canned last year and wanted to use some up, so I decided to look for an applesauce cake recipe. I found this recipe for Land o Lakes Applesauce Spice Cake. I omitted the pecans in the recipe as I didn’t have any on hand. I also cheated and used a can of store bought frosting. Even with these changes this cake turned out sooo good.

Thanks for reading