Tomato Season

Tomatoes – the pride, and bane, of any gardner. While not all the varieties of tomatoes start being ripe at the same time, there is a point in which they are all ripe at the same time.  Megan cannot eat tomatoes in any form, I like them in a few choice ways, but do not ask me to eat a tomato as a tomato, sliced with pepper and salt, YUCK!  But Jon loves to eat tomatoes, in almost any form, and any kind of tomato.

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tomatoes-1

These are the Roma tomatoes that I cook into tomato paste.

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I wash, slice, cook for a long time on simmer to get rid of most of the liquid, then blend to eliminate the skins, cook some more, then put the sauce in jars.

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The jars are stacked three deep.  We have a freezer full of a years supply of tomato sauce.  One less thing to buy at the grocery store.

Next year’s plan – less variety of tomatoes and canning equipment.

 

Pumpkins

The squash likes the hot dry weather.  The pumpkins are New England Pie and have been the first to ripen.

pumpkins

Not only have the pigs enjoyed the pumpkins, but the dogs get a serving of pumpkin puree in their dinner, and of course, we had to have pie!

pumpkin pie

YUM!

First Head of Lettuce, Roxy Lettuce

Yay, we have picked our first head of lettuce! This variety is Roxy Lettuce and tastes delicious.  It is the prettiest head of lettuce I have seen in a long time.

lettuce

We had our dinner salad containing everything we produced here on the farm. YUM! ( Lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, and egg)

salad

Congratulations to us, we are slowly achieving our goal of being self sufficient.

Squash

Remember our Squash Beds?  We have several because people in Uruguay like squash.  There is not a lot of variety of squash available in the market, and yet squash is something that stores well, so we knew if we did not eat it all fresh, we could store it for later.  Needless to say, we have yet to have any extra.  We feel special when we get to have squash on our table.

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squash 4

squash 5

squash 6

squash 8

Pickles

None of us eat cucumbers.  But, we all like pickles.  Pickles of the taste and crunch we are accustomed to are not available.  So, we decided to make our own, or rather Megan did.  She found a recipe for Bread and Butter pickles that are ready to eat in 24 hours along with a dill recipe that takes a minimum of four weeks to ferment.

pickles

The Bread and Butter pickles we have been eating as fast as she makes them.  They are delicious. We did share with friends, but did not get any comments, so we think they did not fall in love with them as we did.  That’s ok, all the more for us.

Soup

Besides carrots, last fall Megan planted turnips and rutabagas.  We like a root soup that Megan concocted a few years ago but have not been able to find the vegetables at the vegetable stand – they have some variety of turnip here but rutabagas were elusive.  So this year we decided to try our luck at growing our own, especially since we were able to grow beets so well.  It was successful.

carrots and turnips

turnip and rutabaga soup

We had a delicious soup for dinner from our own garden. We only got enough of each kind of root vegetable (excluding the carrots) for a few batches of soup. The caterpillars did a number on the greens before the cold weather arrived. Next year there will be more.

More Carrots

Our pickled carrots with onion and garlic came out O.K. but the onion and garlic flavor almost overpowers the carrots.  So, while edible, it is not yummy like the sauerkraut. So Megan is trying again – just carrots this time in the fermentation crock, no ‘additives’.

carrots 1

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We have also made carrot cake, carrot bread, and carrot salad, besides having carrots with dinner.  The chickens and rabbits have also had their share of carrots and carrot greens. We should all have excellent eye sight.

Bruising the carrots

I’m trying to get in the routine of making more of what we eat here on the farm. I’d say growing and preserving but right now the garden’s small and not producing much. So it’s more on the ‘make’ scale than ‘produce’ scale. With that said, we discovered the gastronomic delight of home fermented sauerkraut. My father, who loves pickled vegetables, promptly decided that since I got the cabbage right, why not carrots next?

It’s taken me awhile to get around to buying sufficient carrots at the green grocers but I finally did. I got them all nicely washed, chopped, and ready to go. And then remembered the second step of fermenting. After the item to be fermented has been prepared to ferment, it then needs to be bruised. Cabbage is easy – just pound it with a stick (or, in my case, wooden spoon). Cucumbers, when I get a chance to make pickles, just need to be squeezed slightly, if at all. But a carrot?

So, trusting in Katz (see book here), I salted the bowl of carrot chunks and proceeded to squeeze.

carrots 1

Lo and behold, you can indeed bruise a carrot. After a few minutes of squeezing the carrots started to weep. And stain my hands orange but that’s neither here nor there. Into the fermentation crock they went. And, because the vegetable stand had some, I peeled and gently bruised quite a few pearl onions. Into the crock with the carrots they went.

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I added some dill and crushed garlic cloves, poured enough water over it to just cover the contents, and added the sandstone weights to keep it all underwater.

The pot, with it’s water seal and lid, is now sitting under the kitchen shelves burping away.

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I won’t know if this latest adventure into fermentation is a success or just a time-consuming way to make fancy chicken food for six weeks. Needless to say, expect to hear more on this topic in September!