The Weekly Digs #176

by Becky

It’s been another week of whirlwind harvesting and preserving. It’s easy for me to get burned out this time of year, and I’m definitely feeling close to that point. 

But the days are cooling off slightly, 85ºF rather than 95ºF haha, and it has been in the back of my mind that gardening time is coming to a close soon. Kind of like a marathon and I’m in the last 5 miles before the finish line. It’s all about keeping the right mindset from here on out. 

Preserving

This week’s big preservation project was chili! I made a gigantic pot of chili. I believe it’s a 30 quart pot and it was filled to the brim. 

My intention was to freeze dry it. And so far one batch is just finishing up in the freeze dryer as I write this and we have another batch ready in the freezer for when that one is finished. 

I’m pretty excited about it because I got to use my own recipe rather than sticking to a pre developed and tested canning recipe. 

Completely unrelated to the chili but I forgot to take a picture of the preserving. So instead, here’s my three boys using the lawn mower to go to the barn and get a bucket of chicken feed. They sure have become creative in using it to save time 🙂

I set aside 7 quarts of chili for the next couple days and nights of dinner.

An interesting phenomenon happens when you are preserving food. I find that often (and I assume this happens to others as well) I will get so caught up in preserving the food for winter that I forget about preparing food for today. 

But over the years I’ve become better at doing both preserving and whipping up a quick lunch and dinner for the day. Luckily the chili is more of a make ahead meal so I knew I could preserve some and set aside some for dinner too.

I also have been testing cucumber kimchi recipes and finally landed on a pretty good one that I shared HERE.

 I can’t believe we are still harvesting cucumbers. This has to be the longest we’ve ever had a harvest! We are going on three months now and even though there are a lot fewer we are still getting plenty for fresh eating and enough for me to make some more cucumber kimchi.

I take no credit for the excellent cucumber year, it all goes to Cruz and Dax for growing it in their gardens!

In the Garden

It’s time to pull out some of our summer crops and switch to fall crops. Today I had the boys cut down the corn stalks. I will plant a pea/oat cover crop along with a succession planting of green beans in that area.

My tomatoes are at the high point now of production. I picked for several hours in the midday heat and I didn’t even finish before I started feeling sick from the heat (and probably not drinking enough water) and came inside to rejuvenate and write this blog post. I will head back out again in a few hours when it cools down a bit.

The jalapenos are finally big enough that I can get some salsa made. Home canned salsa is one of our essential preserving foods and we need 50 pints for a year. Once I get that done we can move on to less essential things like BBQ sauce, more spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes. 

I’ll be glad when they wrap up, tomatoes are definitely one of the most time consuming parts of preserving.

I’ve moved most of the soil blocks out to my caterpillar tunnel and covered them with netting. It’s actually tulle from the fabric store. But it works well, especially for this time of late summer when the bugs are at their peak.

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6 comments

Erin August 23, 2022 - 1:53 pm

I can relate to the challenge of making food for today while preserving food for the future. Once I spent all day canning free pears, only to be too tired to make dinner, so we went to a restaurant for dinner and spent $50. So silly 😄.

Earlier this year, a friend told me that she makes freezer meals ahead of time for the busy crush of canning season. I gave it a try and so far it has worked great! Yesterday I harvested in the morning and spent the afternoon freezing beans and making dill pickles. I was so thankful I could just pull out a casserole from the freezer for dinner, and make a quick cucumber salad to go along with it

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theseasonalhomestead August 23, 2022 - 7:38 pm

Love that idea!

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Elisabeth August 24, 2022 - 6:09 pm

Wow. I am amazed at how you do all of it. Planting, harvesting and preserving.
We do not have so much.. potatis,options, garlic broccoli and almost always wintersquash . some herbs tomater and cucumbers. This year even some peas, paprika and chili.

Gardening and having these animals has to be more than fulltime job.
I would love to be able to do it all to. Maybe I should cogardening with someone 😊. I am a stay at home mom but have back problems so I have to think before I act . I love working on our little “farm”. But have to be careful.

About prepering food for each day when harvesting and preserving, it is time consuming. It is a great idea to do some and freeze. Thanks for the tip. I have not thought about it even though we did that before we had our children. Food for over a month in the freezer to be able to enjoy and rest the first couple of month.

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Bobbie August 26, 2022 - 4:13 pm

SO INSPIRING! Thank you for sharing the Cucumber Kimchi recipe! Going back to your post “Canning Recipes that Actually Taste Good”
– I wanted to try all the recipes so ordered the books from my library. There are a couple of keepers for sure. The Roasted Tomato Pizza Sauce and the Lemony Strawberry Jam are very good! Next up, the Ketchup!!!
-Question from that post: I was wondering if you thought I could triple the recipe for the Roasted Tomato-Lime Salsa. THIS WAS A HIT!
I know this is such a busy time for you and your family. Thanks for all your help!

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theseasonalhomestead August 26, 2022 - 6:54 pm

Yes! I usually do the salsa eight times larger than the original batch. You can definitely triple. We go through it fast enough we can it in pint jars instead of half pints. I add an extra 10 minutes of processing time for pint jars.

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Bobbie August 27, 2022 - 8:15 pm

THANKS!!!

I sprouted lentils and froze them. I would like to pressure can lentil soup with those sprouted lentils. Do you think they will process different from un-sprouted lentils? Using the Ball Blue Book Recipe! THX

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