Canning is in full swing lately, and I can't help but be totally pleased with the ease and proficiency with which Jeff and I pull it all off these days. I remember canning days where I was sticky and completely exhausted at the end. Not so, now. A couple of hours of good work, the house filling with the smell of warm corn or tomatoes and the strange hot metal smell that comes with my ancient canner and all the lids and jars… it's becoming a thing I recognize and do with relative ease.
Plus, there's the totally satisfying realization that I understand this enough to emprovise a little. Like for instance, I used the follow the exact instructions for canning tomatoes- water boiling away ready to blanch and then an ice bath ready to shock the fruit and remove the skin and seeds, etc. But then I realized, I don't actually mind the skin and seeds, and there's no reason to go through all that trouble to remove them. It was a total "Aha!" moment that left me amazingly liberated. Now? We chop, remove the cores and stems, throw in a pot to bring up to a simmer, then pack it into jars with a little lemon juice to boost the acidity and process. Easy. Way less fuss and water and energy. Plus, all those skins add a good amount of flavor and fiber, in my opinion. So corn this year was the same way. We decided to ask the question "why do we blanch the corn?" and found that it merely eases the cutting of the kernels from the cob. We tested it to see if it was appreciably harder, and we concluded that it was not worth the trouble of blanching. So our corn canning operation has been simplified to: cut, pack in jars, add salt, fill with boiling water, lids, process. These simple realizations have shaved hours off of our workload. Huzzah.
And it's all so pretty, really. And I get to hear that amazing little pop! pop! pop! at the end of the day while each jar cools and seals. I've also been fermenting again. Tried some fermented kohlrabi, which has worked for me in the past, but this time turned out mushy. It's still edible, but just not that exciting. I'll have to add it to soup or something. But this fermented corn relish… oh my. This may be my favorite. It's so stinkin delicious. I am going to make this all the time.
Fermented Corn Relish
-A few ears of fresh sweet corn, cut from cob
-Good fresh tomato (at least one big one), diced
-Cilantro, chopped finely
-Bell pepper, finely diced
-1 tablespoon salt (good quality sea salt)
-4 tablespoons whey (if unavailable use a bit more salt)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl (except salt and whey). As you pack into a wide mouth mason jar, sprinkle salt and/or whey as you go, to evenly distribute throughout the jar with the vegetables. You may have extra relish left over. Eat it with a large spoon and feel good about your life. Back at the mason jar, push down on the vegetables gently with a wooden spoon to release juices so that they are submerged. Be sure the juices come up above the relish. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Cover tightly and keep at room temp for 3 days and then move to the fridge. This ferment is delicious after a week, but gets better with age. Check every day or so to be sure the vegetables remain submerged beneath the liquid. After a few days it should smell zesty. You'll know if it goes bad, nothing could persuade you to eat it.
Yeah. Cute kid. He's working on using the potty lately. He's also speaking in complete sentences, and sometimes the way he pronounces something or the way that his lips move to say a word just makes me squeal and pull him in to me so tight that he squawks at me to let him go. I could eat this baby, I tell you.
Garden stuff, here goes.
I'm just about ready to harvest my dry beans. I grew some that would mature into black beans, and so I have a load of them that are ready to be pulled to make way for something else.
Meanwhile my pole beans are just starting to produce these perfect little delicious pods.
Micros. We gave a large sample to a local restaurant to try, and we're hoping to hear from them soon. Regardless, we're feeling ready to expand a bit.
Planted some more potatoes on top of my older ones in the wire barrels.
I have lots of bizarre volunteer squash coming up all over the yard. I love them.
The greenhouse is largely unused right now, especially with the crazy heat we had. But we are using it to dry out corn husks which we plan to use for crafting. I'm hoping to also experiment with the leftover cobs and innoculate them with mycellium. But that's a whole other entry.
Planted more bush beans for a fall harvest. They're already up now.
I found this bizarre and beautiful mushroom the other day.
Here's the start to a new one. I've always read that if you have interesting fungi in your garden that it's a good sign of soil health and diversity. One can only hope, right? I just have to be sure my little munchkins don't go eating any more of them…
Tomato harvest for market. I'm very happy with the heirloom varieties I grew this year. All different and exciting in their own ways.
I made fun little signs for our greens at market from old frozen juice can lids and stickers. It actually really helps to not have to tell people what everything is constantly! Who knew?
I love market. We've all been talking about doing more of them, now that we have a feel for what it's like.
I realized recently that I hadn't done a free veggie basket all year long. I assessed the health of the old basket, and it was a goner. So the other day I grabbed an old wooden crate that was breaking and a scrap piece of wood and made this new improved spot. Right on the corner in front of our house, I'm going to put veggies in every couple of days if I can manage it.
Phew. That's all for now. Tomorrow I want to update about the vacation we just took. 5 days of lovely rest. I hope you all have been well!