A Fall Frenzy of Food Preservation–October, 2020

My sister’s apple trees have yielded a bumper crop this year. She has kindly shared a LOT of apples with us over the last couple of weeks.

This week, I have made apple pie filling, dried apples, and we have eaten SO many apples!

As you can see, the garden tomatoes are coming to the end of their days. But, despite a few spots, Rob brought home this box from my sister’s. We also picked some equally spotted ones from our garden.

We dried them. I did this a few years ago. You can use them in any recipe calling for sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil.

In the cabbage mixture I grew, there was one head of red cabbage. We ate a little off the side of it, then it sat in the fridge. I found a recipe for a German cabbage with apples in it and used the rest of the head to make it. It’s a sweet and sour, pickled mixture and I’m getting excited to try it. I’m just waiting to let the flavors meld together before I do.

Rob wanted to make Giadiniera. He found huge heads of cauliflower at a farm stand. They were only $3/each. We froze some and used the rest for this pickled vegetable mixture. There were many, many recipes on the internet, and they all seemed to be different. I did a little research to make sure the brine was safe, and then just picked one.

The zucchini, Tromboncini and summer squash bushes all ripened more fruit. We dried them. I did this a few years back and used them primarily in soup. I added them at the end of the cooking process and they rehydrated nicely and did not turn to mush. I have another idea or two that I plan to try with these.

When I went out to dump one of my many bowls of apple peelings into the compost heap, I felt a “crunch” under my feet. Much to my surprise, there was a cucumber under my feet in the bushes I thought were finished. I started searching and found enough misshapen cucumbers to make 8 little jars of bread-and-butter pickles. That was a very nice surprise since I had not made any this year and a great way to use these ugly cucumbers in a tasty way.

We have spent considerable time this past week preserving food. This task is winding down, though, as we have also spent a great deal of time putting the garden to bed for the winter. We are not done, but are making great progress. The last few fruits are being picked, bushes are being pulled, vines are being tied up, compost is being spread from the one bin that is finished, and Rob is planning to till soon. I have hoed around my fall plants that will not be tilled up, as they are not finished. I hope to finish that job in the next couple of days, before the rain that’s supposed to arrive this weekend. It’s been a wonderful gardening year, and I’m grateful for all that we have been able to harvest.

18 thoughts on “A Fall Frenzy of Food Preservation–October, 2020”

    1. I figure that there are around 1,200-1,400 jars out there in the shop. I figured this by adding up the numbers in my canning record notebook. It’s a little bit of a guess, because I saw I forgot to write some things down, such as the things we just finished this week. Some are to be given as gifts, but we still canned them up, so I count them. I did have some carry-over, but not nearly as much as sometimes, so I figure we canned way over 1,000 jars of assorted sizes full of food this season. We also froze and dried quite a bit. It’s been a team effort, for sure. It’s the most I’ve done for many years. I was out of so many things, and we did extra items this year that we’ve never done before.

      1. WOW! I thought my guess of 500 jars was quite a lot. Maybe this winter (when there is nothing else to do) I can count them again, have Joshua see how many are under his bed, have Reese count the ones that are at his house, and include the half-pints. It feels like there was a million when I had to move them off the shelves to paint the basement walls.
        Good job!

        1. 500 jars is a LOT! But, really, when you get down to it, it’s not surprising that you really canned over a 1,000. When every single day has home-preserved food eaten in some way, we all go through a lot, don’t we?

      2. Ok. I couldn’t stand it so I got up and went to the basement and counted…I was wrong! Math has never been my strength.
        980!!!!!!!! I have 980 pints and quarts that I could easily see. Didn’t count the half-pints (they are under the shelves in a tiny space and hard to dig out). Didn’t count those in the kitchen cabinets (I’m too lazy). I think Joshua has about 25 (full of chicken for the apocalypse) and Reese has at least 150 probably more (the bed of his truck is full every time he leaves home).
        I feel stunned. No wonder I am exhausted. I think Bill needs to give me a pay raise.


        1. I hear you! When I added up my canning for Nancy, who asked the question, and got such a huge answer, I doubted my record-keeping. It just seemed like so many more than I thought I had. So, I went out to the shop and did some estimating, and….yes, indeed, my figures were correct. Like you, there were so many more than I thought!

      3. Nor did I count the ones in the freezer holding the cream and two years of pesto. Or the ones in the entertainment center in the living room with all the jellies, jams, dried fruits, and teas. Or the ones in the refrigerator waiting for their turn in the canner.
        Good grief! I keep seeing canning jars full of food everywhere!

      4. You really need to post pictures of them in the blog–that’s beyond amazing!! I can’t imagine how much space that would take up!

        1. Well, they are mostly on the shelf unit I posted a couple of weeks ago. If it fits in, I’ll re-post another shot soon, since it’s even fuller than it was then. In many places, wide-mouthed pints are stacked 2 high, as are jelly jars. This year, I’ve had to use the tip-top shelf and the lowest shelf, usually reserved for pots and pans. The cupboard is 6 quarts deep, so 4 rows hold 24 quarts and more pints than that, so it’s a little bit deceptive as to how many jars are really on that shelf. I do have another stash in the garage of the house for handy grabbing–probably 30-40 jars and then there are the ones in the camper to use while we are away….. This is why I needed a place to put empties other than in the blanks where I usually put them after emptying–there are no blanks this year.

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