Yesterday was a kitchen day of epic proportions. The berries and vegetables are rushing in and won't stop until the snow flies. Yesterday's work began with a huge bag of garlic scapes from a friend, (the flowering top of garlic plants, removed to encourage formation of a nice head of garlic), beet tops from our CSA share, a trip to two local farms for strawberries and milk, and some time with my girl in the garden harvesting chard. Then we headed the the kitchen and heaped the counters with so much goodness. Oh, yes. It's June.
I let the kids play outside till way past bedtime (so much for our rhythm!) while I cleaned and processed and put by the harvest of the day. Lupine just woke up and the first question she asked was: "Can we make jam?" Yes, there is more food putting by for today.
Yesterday's productive work included:
- three jars of live-fermented garlic scapes (made like these dilly beans)
- one quart of garlic scape and basil pesto (made like this recipe but with scapes and pesto)
- one large batch of beet greens, blanched and frozen
- our first harvest of chard, blanched and frozen
- twelve quarts of strawberries, stemmed and frozen
- two gallons of yogurt
- and four quarts of kombucha in the works
Not bad for a day's work!
I freeze my pesto by by scooping onto an oiled cookie sheet with a small ice cream scoop, then transferring to a large glass jar. This way I can pick out one or two scoops for each meal without thawing a large jar or bag of pesto.
My freezer is filling faster than I expected (already!), so it's time to brush up on my canning skills and put food into the pantry with some serious determination. It is time to channel my grandmothers. The thought of our kitchen and our pantry slowly filling with jars in the coming weeks is so exciting.
I'd love your help: what books do you recommend for modern canning recipes? I'd love your suggestions. Something with basic formulas and processing times for various foods. Soups, fruits, veggies, sauces, etc.
There were several questions yesterday regarding my process on freezing greens. I find that greens are one vegetable that I buy all winter long that I can easily grow and put by. When I planted my garden this spring greens to freeze was one important component.
Here's my (simple) process:
- Rinse and stem veggies if needed.
- Drop into simmering salted water.
- Push under water until they wilt.
- Remove with tongs to a colander.
- Rinse with cold water.
- Squeeze out excess moisture.
- Spread on cookie sheet.
- Once frozen jar or bag and return to freezer.
Oh, and kombucha. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Kombucha is hailed as a healing, detoxifying beverage. And ancient fermented food, kombucha has a fairly widespread history in the east. Each new batch is made by fermenting water, sugar, and organic black tea with a "mother" or "SCOBY" (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Each batch generates a new mother, so it is a beverage that encourages community and giving of what we have. This batch will be fermenting away on my counter for the next couple of weeks. Once the sugar has all been consumed by the SCOBY (but before it becomes vinegar) I will remove the mother, add fresh fruit juice (strawberry perhaps?), and bottle.
What is happening in your kitchen this week?