Today I was responsible for checking on my aunt & uncle's home, cat, & garden. They live about half a mile from me and have one of the most amazing backyards probably to be found in the local area. They'd encouraged use of the ready produce, and I came home with a gallon bag of green beans to add to the ones I'd bought at the farmer's market, numerous zucchini that had gotten out of hand, half a gallon bag of blueberries, a tiny bouquet of roses from Poppa's rose garden, and a few tiny pears that had fallen from the tree. Realizing I still also had all the original green beans that were starting to go bad and the half flat of strawberries in the fridge, I set about this evening trying to make use of the produce as best I could.
The blueberries were rinsed, laid on a cookie sheet to freeze, and bagged.
I shredded about four mid-size zukes and then one big boy, drained some of the excess moisture, and then created 2 cup bags for the freezer. Two other zukes were given to the very happy chickens. And then I decided to make zucchini bread & muffins, using this high yield recipe that I found online. A few were reserved for Tall D, some will be enjoyed, and others will also be frozen for later.
The green beans were readied and then I hem and hawed about attempting to can by myself. Deciding it was too much work for the evening (and being slightly afraid I might blow up the house....), I discovered a recipe in my "preserving book" for Szechan green beans. It uses vinegar and allows for up to a month of refrigeration---sounded perfect so I set to work.
While I was in process, Tall D dropped off the dehydrator and lended a hand by taking on the strawberries for fruit leather processing. (Although the food dehyrdator didn't like the wax paper separation....so I'm going to have to try it via an oven dry tomorrow....)
I actually could have created five quart jars of the Szechuan green beans, but ran out of the vinegar mix ingredients. Instead I came out with four jars, a bag of blanched green beans added to the freezer, a satisfied dog who I discovered loves green beans, and another additive to a veggie stir fry to be added to my backyard egg and feta scrambled egg tonight.
Which was then followed up with amazingness----quartered farmers market peaches, fresh backyard blueberries, and a bit of agave all over greek yogurt. After the road trip, I've been eating very minimally and trying to focus mainly on fruits & veggies...but this yogurt addition was delicious!
So what else will we still be harvesting and preserving this season? My aunt will have quite the harvest of pears this year that she's not sure what to do with, so I'm hopeful I might be able to can/preserve some of those once they're ready for harvest. Our tomato selection is looking pretty slim this year, even with the extra bushes I planted, but hopefully Tall D will be able to hunt out some other tomatoes and hot peppers to make his great salsa. If I can find a decent selection of apples, I'd love to make some apple sauce and apple butter. I picked my second round of artichokes the other evening also, so I need to try to cook those this week. The carrots are ready and the garlic should be ready soon too. We might get a few grapes this year and it's looking like a few kiwis will be edible too! While the garden boxes haven't been producing this year as well, I'm glad for the produce we have gotten and it's been nice to acquire more from other sources.