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Saturday, 12 September 2020

Fruits of my Labour

 Today was a busy day - it was time to do some preserving and freezing. I didn't want my garden produce to go to waste, even though I would rather not be attached to my kitchen all day, but that is what the day involved.

I was up by about 6:30 because that's what my body is used to now, and husband was also snoring up a storm after having cut the lawn yesterday. After a big mug of coffee and opening up the chickens, I went out and picked the remaining beans, both green and purple. I already had some in the crisper that I had picked a couple of days ago, so I did the whole washing, trimming, blanching routine and ended up with two medium sized freezer bags of beans. You'd think it would have resulted in a greater amount, but it will still be good to be able to reach into the freezer in January and pull out one of those bags.




I think the green and purple look nice together. After they are blanched, they are all green. 



I spread my beans out on towel after blanching to dry before they get bagged and frozen.


Next on the list was pickled beets. This is the first time in a VERY long time that I've been able to successfully grow beets. I think it was a combination of adding lots of my own compost to the soil and laying out soaker hoses and using them frequently throughout the summer.


I grew cylindrical beets. They ended up growing up, out of the soil. I didn't make a lot of pickled beets because I think only husband really likes them. Maybe daughter's boyfriend as well. I prefer beets boiled with some butter, salt and pepper. 


Three pints and two half pints of pickled beets. Those stickers from previous years (when the jars had strawberry jam in them) do NOT come off easily. I washed those jars in the dishwasher and processed them in boiling water, and the stickers still held. I ended up just writing on the jar lids instead.


You may recall that one of the successes in my garden was a little hot pepper plant that son brought home. You may also recall that they were deadly hot. Well, son was feeling a little bad that they would potentially go to waste and was hoping I could do something with them. He and his sister enjoy Frank's red hot sauce and sriracha sauce in different kinds of food, so I thought, why not try to make a hot sauce? I looked up some recipes and realized it's not difficult and I had the necessary ingredients. 


Those are the little devils I used today. There are still just as many out on the plant! I grabbed some plastic gloves from husband's shop and got to work trimming them and scraping out the seeds. I've heard that a lot of the heat is in the seeds. I'm pretty sure there's still heat in the rest of the pepper, as I managed to clean out my sinuses by breathing too deeply while they were boiling in their vinegar bath. I might have been able to strip the finish off the kitchen cupboards if I let it boil long enough. Anyway, after whizzing it up in the blender, I poured it into two small jars and sealed them. I don't want to be the one to try it. 


Next on the list was making my mother's chili sauce. This is not a hot chili sauce. It is tomato based and perfect with sausages. I got the recipe from my mom many, many years ago. It just makes a small batch, but it's important to slowly boil quite a bit of the liquid away so you end up with a thicker sauce that has a nice dark reddish brown colour. I think it turned out perfectly and it used tomatoes from my garden. 


I re-use my old jar rings. They really show their age! 


I couldn't even find labels for my canning jars this year, so I just wrote on the lids with a Sharpie marker. 


After supper, there was still one more thing I wanted to make: orchard fruit chili sauce. I've made this a few times, but haven't made it in about three years. Again, my tomatoes were part of it, but it includes so many great flavours that just marry together into a very pretty sauce: tomatoes, onions, peaches, plums, pears, red bell pepper, green pepper, celery. 


I love all the colours it starts out with. 



There are some of the orchard fruit chili sauce jars cooling off on the kitchen window sill. (Note to self: don't take pictures in front of windows in the evening!Can you see my reflection?)


I love the look of jars lining a shelf. It makes you feel like you are ready for any disaster - snow storm, power outage, pandemic (oh hey... ) I still have more tomatoes coming. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have a frost any time soon. Even if I can just can some tomatoes, that would be great, but I do want to try to make Maggie's tomato relish. (The Farmer's Wife Day by Day)

What kind of preserving did you do this year? 

42 comments:

  1. I preserved my sanity. That's it for 2020.

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  2. I love the comment from Debra She Who Seeks. It reminded me of my friend Louise whose favorite housekeeping is "sweeping the room with a glance". But I am very impressed with all you accomplished today! Especially the beets and the orchard fruit chili sauce. Well done! I have not canned/preserved anything. But I have made lecso several times with tomatoes and peppers from my dear sil.

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  3. Paul grew some chillies this year that are absolutely lethal! He put one small, tiny chilli in with some home made tomato soup and it nearly blew my socks off.

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    1. I don't get the appeal. You can't even taste anything else, and it is not a pleasant experience. I don't know how much of this hot sauce he will use, but at least we can say we did something with those peppers.

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  4. I have'nt made any jams/chutneys/pickles for some
    years now..Raising my daughter for 14yrs years alone,
    l naturally taught her, among other things, she now
    makes all sorts of jams and pickles and chutneys, and
    wins prizes at it..in local craft fairs, not a lot,
    just vouchers and things!

    And..lets be honest here..been said hundreds of times..
    "You can't beat home~made"...
    (Oh! I second Debra's comment)..! :o).

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    1. I love fall fairs, seeing all the entries into the vegetable or pie baking or flower arranging categories. No fairs here this year (of course). I guess your daughter will have to wait as well?

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  5. Am envious of all those sauces and the pickled beetroot. And all from your garden . I have bags of frozen beans but not from our garden. In the garden we do have hot chilli plants with loads of very hot little peppers. I shall make a one of your sauces.

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  6. Pickled beetroot is awesome, especially in sandwiches, although it does make me think I'm Bert Baxter in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

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  7. What a lot you accomplished in one day! I am planning to grow purple climbing beans next summer, just so they are easier to find! Yes, it makes one feel secure, having those jars on the shelves, and they are so pretty! Doesn't the chili make the house smell like 'home' when it is cooking. You may have invented a new paint-stripper! Sounds lethal.

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    1. Well, you would think the purple beans are easier to find, but the plant has purple stems, so you're still searching!

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  8. Golly-gosh, what a profitable day you put in! I may have earned the Canning Sluggard of the Year Award this year because I didn't do nearly as much as I usually do . . . no relishes, pickled beets, Dilly Beans, sauerkraut, etc. Lots of good garden produce in the freezer and some canned but just not as much as I could/should have done. Too many other things going on, I guess. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.) I know what you mean about seeing all those preserved products lined up. What a great feeling of satisfaction. You go, girl!

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    1. I don't know that sluggard would ever be a word to describe you. You've made your own sauerkraut?? That's a commitment!

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  9. After your last post about chillies I tried a bit of one of ours and they too are mega hot. Two plants loaded with them but too hot for me too. I asked our allotment sharers for ideas and someone suggested drying them. I may give this a go. I am impressed that you have found so many ways to use them. Mine are still on the plants scaring me every time I look at them.

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    1. I only used them for the hot sauce. The chili sauces that I made are deceptive in name. They contain no chili peppers whatsoever. They are more of a sweet / savory combination with cloves/ cinnamon / pickling spice...

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  10. None here, as I only have a few small containers for growing vegetables. I still enjoy the bit of produce I get but unless I grew those hot peppers I'll never have enough.

    Your efforts look amazing, especially the fruit chili sauce!

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    1. I'm horrible at container gardening, so if you get anything at all, you're ahead of me! I likely don't fertilize them enough.

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  11. My eldest daughter loves to can all sorts of veggies and fruits, relishes and jams, and you name it. Her hubby loves those little red hot peppers. He makes a dry powder with them. You really accomplished a lot. Your jars look awesome. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. Thanks Edna. I think this will be our last time growing those little peppers. Too lethal.

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  12. Very impressive produce and all from your beautiful garden. Purple beans are new to me. Fresh produce through the winter will be wonderful. I, too, would pass on the super hot chilies. My son loves them.

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    1. Maybe some people have a different tolerance for hot foods? The purple beans just become green when you boil them and they taste just like a green bean.

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  13. I make the sweet chilli sauce for my grandson. He loves coating chicken with it and then bake.

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  14. Ohhh, that sounds like a good thing to do!

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  15. I am getting back into the swing of preserving again, having checked the cupboard for a jar of chutney and found that there were only three left!
    So, pickled shallots, beet, gherkins all from the garden . Beetroot chutney followed by carrot and garlic and today two sorts of lemon..one hot and spicy, the other with fresh herbs.
    I think I have got the heat and timing right not to boil all the syrup out of the jars using our pressure cooker to can fruit..three jars at a time! Having found a cheap supply of Mason jars!! Then there are the fruit cordials....
    I reckon that prices are going to rise..sugar, fuel, you name it..well they already have been..so a good storecupboard like grandma had is important, even without a hard winter.

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  16. What a busy day! The green and purple ones do look good together but how interesting that they both go green. I experimented making a couple of different french bean salads this year. They were both delicious.

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  17. Jenn, You have done a fine job of growing and canning. My daughter Karen is a good gardener and she loves to freeze things for winter. She has made some awesome green beans for us and bakes all kinds of breads. Blessings to you and yours, xoxo, Susie

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  18. That orchard fruit chili sauce sounds fabulous. I've done no preserving, but I was on my feet today, probably half as long as you, and am d.e.a.d. tired.

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  19. Excellent!

    I have done a batch of peach jam. In my defense this was my first garden in my new home therefore a learning process.

    I do have a raised bed of radishes, another divided between peas and beans and a third with salad greens , spinach and kale.

    Looking forward to next years Spring/summer garden bigger and better a true canners dream.

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  20. Wow! A full day of domestic goddessing! I didn't do anything really this year as I'm still working through jams and marmalades from previous years. I'm going to regret my indolence at some point, I do feel it already. And why is it, when we have all manner of technological know-how, labels are made to be so sticky? Stripping them from jars has to be the most tedious part of preserving.

    Seeds are hot in chillies but so too, apparently, is the white membrane, so hopefully that got scraped out with the seeds?

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  21. That's not fair... those purple beans turning green. What's the use of planting purple if they aren't gonna stay that way. Just kidding. I do love pickled beets. Have some today in fact. Store bought but hey, I will take what I can get.

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  22. how marvelous, especially the chili sauce!
    I pickled some turnips - first time - these were OK

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  23. Wow! I am super impressed. That chili sauce looks great (I'm with you on the hot sauce issue!) Beets aren't my favorite but I think I need to look up blanching and freezing beans and if they have any at market this week get some to freeze. I have a feeling we'll be IN a lot and the less we have to have delivered, the better. I've done nine bags of pasta tomato sauce (we can jazz it up with sausage, etc. when we unfreeze to prep) but I'd like to get another batch of tomatoes and do as much more as I can. You've been a busy woman (especially considering you are just back in school!) Well done, my friend!

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  24. Ah the sounds of a hard working man - snoring (lol). You were very productive putting up all those preserves. I like the sounds of Orchard Fruit - I wonder if rather than a chili sauce it could be made into a chutney? ... Mary-Lou =^[..]^=

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  25. Good morning! First of all I want to say that I am so happy that your first day of school went well even the the process was exhausting. There is no end to your energy!! Green beans and pickled beets are my favorite! And that chili sauce looks positively delish! Have a great week!

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  26. All in one day? That's awesome. Pickled beetroot and cheese sandwiches mmmmm. That's motivated me to pickle some beetroot next weekend. I saw a recipe the other day for fermenting chilies to make sauce - might give that a go with the vicious ones that OH wanted me to grow for himself this year.

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  27. I'm impressed, that's a lot to get done in one day and yes, so satisfying to grow it yourself and then put it up.

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  28. Wow! I'm impressed with your harvest and your preserves! I haven't had pickled beets in ages. Everything looks so good, and you're going to be happy in the middle of winter when you get to enjoy all those beautiful vegetables!

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  29. Well done! I swear we are sisters by another mother! All of it looks great. That orchard relish--what an interesting idea.

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