Last fall, we harvested quite a lot of squash. We processed some for the freezer, but put most away in our ‘pantry’, which is actually just a closet in the craft room, and ate steadily through the pile all winter long.
But, it was kind of a really big pile.
The blue squash are Sweet Meats, and the others are Banana Squash, and a few Acorn Squash.
So, now that the weather is warming up and our ‘pantry’ is no longer even remotely cold enough to store squash in, it’s time to pull out everything we didn’t eat and deal with it before we have a closet full of rotten mush. When I assessed the remnants, I was surprised to find several Sweet Meats still firm and apparently unblemished! So we cut one open for dinner the other night…
Smelled delicious, tasted great — that’s after 8 months in an indoor closet! We’ll definitely be growing this variety again.
Although most of the fruit trees on the farm are underperforming this year, we still managed to get quite a few Italian Plums off our two trees in the Neutral Zone. We also discovered that we have several more plum trees in the new hill pasture off the NZ… but we didn’t harvest from them this year because POISON OAK.
Although I made several products with these plums last year, the thing we all devoured was the simple deydrated prunes (I think they’re called Dried Plums now, actually – prunes have bad press). They were delicious! So this year I used the less exciting japanese plums (which aren’t freestone and are a pain to pit) to make preserves, and turned most of our italian plums into…
TWO GALLONS of dried plums.
I also played with the FoodSaver a bit, and made several packages of frozen pitted plums to use in baked goods over the winter. Thank heavens we bought a new freezer this month… we were seriously running out of room!
The hot days have finally done in our garlic, and it’s time to harvest! It’s hard to believe that each one of these beautiful globes was once just a single clove.
First, we pulled up each plant, shook the dirt off (easy because we grew them in straight compost this year), and lay them out to finish curing on some old window screens I picked up at the ReStore.
When the plants were thoroughly dry, we braided them together for storage. Pretty garlic… and enough to (maybe) last us through the winter! Next year we’ll try planting more, so we have enough to share…
Today was the day we’ve been working towards since I brought our turkeys home at 10 weeks old, on July 4th. We’ve fed them and cared for them and now, half of them are destined for the holiday oven.
A last meal, last Saturday.
We chose four turkeys to butcher, and kept them separately in cages overnight, to keep them from eating before being butchered (easier to clean). Catching them was easy, we went out at midnight, and picked the sleeping turkeys off their roosts. Sunday, Glenna came up, and Thaddeus having returned two days prior, we had a butchering party in the shop.
Thanksgiving morning: our biggest tom was only 9lbs, which is quite small! Still, all plucked and brined, he was a beautiful looking bird. You can see the difference between these animals and the Broad Breasted variety that is most often sold commercially. Ours had much longer and more muscular legs, but a much smaller chest. Overall, ours is longer and less compact than the commercial turkeys.
All roasted and ready to eat! We are grateful to our turkey for his life, and this meal. Happy Thanksgiving!
We pulled in the potatoes from the garden grow bags this evening. In all, about 30 pounds of potatoes were harvested this season. Seems like not all that much, but Talina doesn’t really eat potatoes, so 30 pounds is PLENTY for us! While we were out there, we also dug up the sunchokes that had grown as volunteers in one of my containers by the house: Not a bad harvest for an accidental crop!
Over the summer, we’ve been freezing crops as they came in, but didn’t have a good method for organizing or tracking what we ended up with.
Which, surprise, resulted in a tangled mess of frozen bags in our chest freezer. So this evening we pulled everything out, hauled it to the living room, and sorted and catalogued it for the winter.
Final Count from our garden:
6 bags of spinach
3 bags of kale
1 bag of turnip greens
5 bags of roasted squash
6 bags of peas
3 bags of sugar snap peas
2 bags of grated beets
6 bags of chopped beets
2 bags of green beans
5 bags of broccoli
1 bag of corn
6 bags of edamame
4 bags of pesto
1 bag of tomatoes
1 bag of tomato paste
The deer have pretty much destroyed everything in the garden, but apparently they don’t like eggplant. So this afternoon, I pulled in the final harvest, and processed 3 pounds of eggplants into eggplant dip for the freezer.
All roasted up and ready to be eaten!
We pulled in all the quinoa before the worst of the rain started, and it’s been drying on a tarp indoors since then. This weekend, we decided to try to begin figuring out the harvest process.
First, we started with a pile of leaves, seeds, twigs, and various detritus.
We took several handfuls of the collection, and set it on top of a window screen, attached to a plastic storage bin.
Then, we brushed the quinoa across the screen, which forced the seeds (and some of the smaller bits of detritus) to fall through into the bin. We plucked out the larger bits of twigs and leaves, until nothing was left on the screen.
The result? This is definitely step one, only: lots of dust and inedible bits remain in the quinoa that landed in the bin.
Still, you can see we’re getting closer! The next step is probably winnowing… now if only the sun would come back!
This year’s big experiment was growing Quinoa. We eat quinoa quite a lot – it’s much healthier than rice or couscous, so it’s generally our replacement for both in recipes. When we found out we could grow it ourselves, of COURSE we had to give it a try!
Here’s the quinoa seed heads, cut from the plants (which grew up to 7′ tall!) and laid out on a tarp to catch the seeds. We may have waited a bit too long; some of the seed heads were quite dry and we lost a lot of seeds to the ground.
Dry seed heads. It’s tough to tell how much quinoa is there, because of all the undeveloped blossoms mixed in.
Actually, quite a bit of quinoa from that one little handful!! Of course, it’ll take some work to get ALL the seeds seperated from the chaff, but, we’re excited to have enough to at least make a meal with.. probably several! Next step is figuring out how to wash all the soapy, bitter saponin off of the seeds so they taste good enough to eat.
October has come, and it’s time to pull in the squash before the rains come and introduce mold to the situation!
First squash we harvested were the accidental decorative squashes. These were supposed to be a carving pumpkin, bu tthey turned out to be two types of fancy, useless squashes. They’re quite pretty, but… who on earth needs 35 fancy useless squashes?? Guess our fall party this year will be extra fancy.
Kabocha squash is our favorite, a go-to all winter long. We got 18 kabochas, and 16 acorn squash pulled out of the garden. We just kept finding more as we pulled up all the squash plants… sneaky little buggers.
Moving on to the banana squash.. oh, man, the banana squash!! Look at this monster Talina found.
All told we harvested 18 banana squash, too. We haven’t weighed them all yet, but a few were upwards of 35lbs, and those weren’t the REALLY big ones.
Squash storage solution! Since the shop will be heated sporadically over the winter, and the barn is NOT pest-proof, we’re using the extra room to store everything right now.
And the final reward: our first kabocha squash, roasted for dinner with home-grown broccoli and carrots. The steak… not so home grown, but it was good!