Food storage is picking up around here. I'm finding tricks to help us be more flexible in terms of time. For instance, I am through with blanching and peeling tomatoes. It was only this year that I found out it was entirely optional. Plus, those skins and seeds that people discard are good for you! No more sweaty slippery finger-pruning prep! I do have a tomato saucer, which takes out the skins and seeds anyway, but for just our home canned tomatoes/paste/salsa/sauce? It's just chop 'em up and throw 'em in a pot. So easy. Now, I also don't have hours to process tomatoes, so lately we've been letting them simmer down into paste. I'm just learning as I go here, and figuring out what works for us. Here are a few jars of finished paste from our tomatoes.
A couple of days ago I had some friends over and we had a day of canning corn. It was good work! We worked most of the day, and at one point had 7 kids in our care! Needless to say, we ordered pizza that evening. Small price to pay for over 200 pints of corn!
My many laundry baskets (normally full of toys or just miscellaneous whatever…) came in very handy for holding cobs in their various forms throughout the day.
At first I was a little daunted by having to compost all these cobs and husks (they take a long time to decompose), but now I have an idea for them all! I'll revisit this in a later post…
Home canned corn is like nothing else! So delicious. Plus it's one more thing I don't have to worry about buying in a can and risking (further) exposure to BPAs. And we get to support local farmers! It's simple work, a good excuse to hang out with friends, and the look of all that home canned goodness on your shelves in the winter is just not something you can buy.
I had to harvest my potatoes early- they got some kind of blight and the foliage was all turning spotty yellow and brown (and not in the normal way at the end of the season). I'm pretty sure it's the same early blight that the tomatoes get every year around here. I feel like it's unavoidable in the city here, but my growing/rotation methods seem to ensure we get a good harvest. I may end up having to chop/partially cook/freeze the potatoes in the future… we'll see. Anyway, the return was not nearly what it was last year per square foot. We also harvested about a month early because of this blight, but still. I think next year we will return to doing the really vertical method like last year. I wonder if it would reduce the risk of blight, too.
Regardless, they are very tasty, and local potatoes aren't hard to come by.
Here's a recent breakfast that was just so local all I could do was smile. Eggs from our backyard, homegrown potatoes, tomatoes, squash and herbs. Toast from our local sourdough bakery, with pepper jelly (compliments of my friend's backyard). Homemade ketchup using paste made from our own tomatoes. The only non-local things were the salt and pepper, the cream cheese, and the fish sauce in the ketchup. Yeah! I'm getting better at this…