Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Garden

It has been a very long time since I've had a garden. We kept it small and compact. I had forgotten how long it takes for some of these plants to begin producing. Radishes were fast - ready within the first month. The tomatoes and peppers are just now beginning to produce and ripen. We've been having squash and green beans for a month or so. I didn't start freezing squash quickly enough - I've got some in the fridge that got picked and not cooked. So, I'm trying to pick and freeze in 2 person size portions - I packaged four this evening - I think I've got about 10 bags of squash in the freezer.

The honey dew melon, canteloupe, and watermelon have started, but are no where near ripe.

The cucumbers are also doing well - I had to contact my sister in law to get her pickle recipes again. I'm sure my copies will show up . . . .someday (only 2 were where they were supposed to be - and they weren't on my computer like I thought) . . . but thankfully Mary had hers handy. I'd never made the refrigerator ones - you put them in a container with the vinegar and pickling salt and seasonings and wait 2 weeks. Then they're good for a year in the refrigerator. They're supposed to be bread and butter like.

The sweet pickle recipe is a lime pickle recipe - you soak them in a pickling lime solution for 24 hours - then soak in cold water for 3 hours and then overnight in a vinegar-sugar brine with seasonings. Cook, jar and can.

While I can't believe I got rid of my old canning pots - they were nowhere to be found - so a trip to Target before the storm came in provided a higher quality stainless steel pair. You need two - one for cooking the pickles and a larger one for sealing the jars in a boiling water bath.

I'm getting tempted to make a run to Fredericksburg for peaches. I have memories of a peach butter recipe . . . We've moved things around over the last several years - so I hope I can find the recipe I used in the past. If not, I'm sure I can find a peach butter recipe on the internet.

Our neighbor has been raising cows over the past years. We had an opportunity to buy half a beef. I remember when the kids were little and I had the garden going, veggies, fruits and beef in the freezer, cabinets full of pickles and jellies. This beef has been specially raised to have good marbled meat. The nice thing about getting half a beef is that you get lots of roasts, steaks, and ground meat.

Long ago we had some chickens too. I'm not ready to add chickens to the mix, although I thought about it at one point when I thought the economy was going to get really, really bad. The nice thing about chickens is fresh eggs. They really do taste better fresh. But chickens take a lot of time and I remember how mean roosters can be. But I sure eyed the chicks that were for sale at Gaddy's feed a week or so ago. Chicks are SOOOO cute!

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