Thursday, July 14, 2011

First Canning of the Season

How pleasant it was to wake up this morning to cooler temperatures! It had been oppressively hot the past several days with temperatures in the upper 90's, and with the high humidity, the heat index was 105-115 each day as well. Even early mornings were hot! The other evening Dad checked the heat index map of the United States, and the hottest part in the country wasn't in Texas, Arizona, or any of those likely states, no, the hottest heat index in the nation was our city!

With it being as hot as it was, we had been trying as much as
we were able to accomplish the outdoor work during the morning and evening hours, and then spend the hottest part of the day indoors. Though, throughout the day we were still needing to go out and give fresh water to all of the animals. They struggle in this high of heat and humidity.

On one of the recent hot days, I harvested one of the varieties of beets that we had planted (in the morning!) . . .


For harvesting the beets, I simply brought the wheelbarrow over and filled it up with all of the beets that were ready to harvest. (They are fun to harvest . . . much more so than the green beans that we have been picking lately!) Then it was wheeled over to the compost bins, the beets were dumped out, and I cut off all of their tops into the compost bin and put the beets back into the wheelbarrow. It went quickly doing it this way . . .

A big pile of beets . . . I should have weighed them all once the tops were cut off as it would have been interesting to know

Next for the beets came a rinse off with the hose, and then they were brought inside for a final washing by hand . . .

Some of the beets

Once they were all washed, batch by batch they were boiled on the stove in order to soften the skins so we could remove them . . .


These steps by far took the longest time! Once they were boiled, they were put into cold water and Mama and I took the skins off of them . . .


Leah and I chopped them . . .


And then I canned them . . .


I am feeling much more comfortable with pressure canning now, and I really enjoyed this batch of canning! We ended up with 7 quarts of canned beets, and four small bags that went into the freezer. I still had some liquid loss from the jars, and I am at a loss as to why. I guess I'll keep trying different things to see if I can correct that. I plan to can more beets tomorrow so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

Other things that are being harvested from the garden right now include lots of zucchini and yellow squash (the latter of which Leah has been putting up some into the freezer)
, green beans (again which are either going into the freezer or are being sold), dill (to be dried and then later used in pickles) . . .


. . . a few cucumbers . . .

. . . rhubarb (which was put up in the freezer - I think this will be our last harvest of the season) . . .


And the tomatoes are getting closer to being ready to harvest! Would you believe that the below plants were each planted 4 feet apart?


You can hardly tell where one plant ends and another begins! The plants have grown incredibly well and are just loaded with green tomatoes. I am very much looking forward to when it is canning time for all of those. After several years of having all of our tomato plants die, it is wonderful to see the plants doing so well thus far, and hopefully that will continue to be the case!


And just a little note,
this post was actually written several days ago, and I am just now getting it posted . . . there just hasn't been much time for spending on the computer lately! Things have been very, very busy the past few days and weeks here, so I haven't had the opportunity to reply to comments yet either or to comment on your all's blogs (though I have been enjoying visiting when I have the chance :) . . . I hope to be catching up soon, though!

13 comments:

  1. How prolific your garden is, Sarah. Isnt it great to sit down to a meal and give thanks for things that one has grown oneself, rather than bought.
    I am picking pounds of greenhouse tomatoes at the moment, making it into sauce and soup.
    Have you ever tried roast Beetroot?

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  2. Same going on here, Sarah! Except for the beets. My husband and I are the only ones that like them, so I don't plant them. Yours look great! I've been canning green beans and making pickles. I know what you mean about busy! :-)
    Blessings,

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  3. It is indeed a great delight to harvest and use that which you have toiled so long for...
    I am glad that your canning went well, and that the heat has reduced somewhat!

    In Christ,
    ~Shannon~

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  4. Beets!

    I've never ever done this Sarah.
    oh my, you have some pretty ones:)

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  5. There is nothing like a fresh garden tomato!! I just love them and could eat them everyday.
    So glad your garden is doing well.You haven't written of any troubles with deer like last year.Have the fences helped? A sweet lady at our church gave me some small cucumbers last week...I was able to make several jars of refrigerator pickles. :) Your dill reminded me of them as this year I didn't plant any dill and I know we will miss the tangyness in the pickles.

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  6. I remember one year you set up an outdoor kitchen to process your beets--I imagine due to heat and the strong cooking smell. But it sounds as though this week it was too hot to even think about cooking outdoors! I'm curious, do you all have air conditioning in your home? If not, it was probably quite sticky this week!:-)

    ~ Betsy

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  7. It has been pretty prolific this year, Elizabeth, for which we are thankful. Yes! We love sitting down to a meal and thanking the Lord for the bounty that He has provided from our garden. It’s so nice to be able to enjoy your own produce!

    Mmm . . . greenhouse tomatoes sound delicious. Our tomatoes are just beginning to turn red, and we’re looking forward to enjoying those.

    No, I have never tried roast Beetroot. In fact, I have never heard of it before! What is it?

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  8. It is an enjoyable time of year, isn’t it, Miss Anne? Although it is a pretty busy one. :) Yesterday the entire day was spent putting up 41 pounds of beets and picking the green bean plot again. I was so tired by the end of the day!

    Canning green beans and making pickles sounds like fun! I hope that has been going well for you. And just think of all of that delicious produce stored away to be enjoyed during the cold winter months!

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  9. I would agree, Shannon! And thank you for your sweet comment! We were grateful for the cooler temperatures while they lasted, and now we’re back into an “excessive heat warning” again. Summer is definitely making its presence known!

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  10. They are fun to do, Amanda! And just a little word of ‘warning’ if you ever should do them . . . they make a big mess. :)

    Thank you for your comment as it was nice to hear from you again here!

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  11. I would agree, Ellen! They are so good . . . and ours are just beginning to turn red now, so we should be able to enjoy some soon.

    Thank you for your kind words regarding our garden! Thankfully, we have had very little problems with deer. If we hadn’t had the fence, though, it would have been a very different story.

    What a blessing to be given some cucumbers! I am sure your refrigerator pickles will be delicious. We’re hoping to be able to can some pickles this year as well, though I am beginning to wonder if we’ll be able to because the cucumber beetles keep destroying my cucumber plants. They seem to be multiplying faster than I can handpick and faster than what the organic spray we are using can kill them. At least most everything else is doing well. :) Enjoy your pickles!

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  12. Good memory, Betsy! Yes, that ‘outdoor kitchen’ worked well. And the reason it was done outdoors that time was due to a broken air conditioner. So heating up the outdoors more was much preferred over heating up indoors!

    I had to chuckle a bit about your asking if we have air conditioning . . . we do now. :) We have had central air for years, but it broke at the very beginning of spring and was beyond being repaired. We lived without it just fine for months, even several weeks in the 90’s. (Though it did get hot indside!) But then once the excessive heat warnings came a few weeks ago, we ended up getting two window air units and those have done an excellent job keeping our entire house comfortably cool. We are so thankful for them! So yes, now we have air conditioning again. :)

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  13. Looks wonderful! I haven't canned beets yet. Do you like the flavor? I find fresh beets sometimes have such a earthy flavor. I might have to try it out. :o) I grew some a few years ago and they did well. :o) Pressure canning is fun ;o) Sometimes a bit easier.

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)