Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gardening - A Family affair

I have a few moments of downtime to catch up on the morning harvest so far.
Today:  cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, cabbage, peppers!  A full load!!!
And we all knew today was going to be a full garden harvest day with EVERYONE helping out.

Candace and I are starting to get hit fairly bad with allergies;  ragweed is reaching full bloom! Ugh!
And thankfully Paul is understanding the sheer MISERY we face when needing to be outside in or even NEAR the weeds!  So, Paul, Cassie and Caitlyn started the day by picking ripe cucumbers and tomatoes before heading to the corn field.

This way, Candace and I could start the preservation tasks INSIDE the house!

6 1/2 years old, and truly getting to be a helper.  I showed her once how to prep the cuks for relish and off she went....

...while I stuffed jars for Dill pickles.  BUT, these cuks...they were taken back out.  I couldn't see using a jar for only FOUR pickles!  Besides, I have a large gallon full of Giant Dills from a few weeks ago anyway.  

With the dill pickles in the water for the hot water bath, Candace and I moved onto peeling tomatoes.
LOL!  Doesn't the face say it all???  And I quote..."Mom, this is kinda gross!"  BUT, she kept plugging away so that I could core and cut them up for a batch of pizza sauce.

In the meantime, Paul, Caitlyn and Cass had already picked rows and rows! of corn and were in the process of shucking - blanching - cooling.    Slightly cooler, drizzly morning.  Cassie grabbed the hooded sweatshirt.  Sorry for those of you in the South who are yet AGAIN fighting hot temps!!!

Back inside, Candace was putting the tomatoes in the little processor to puree up for pizza sauce.  I swear....she INSISTED on smiling in every picture this morning.  Whew----still having fun!

By the time I had the pizza sauce cooking and in jars for the next hot water bath time, Paul was instructing Cassie on using the electric knife to cut the corn from the cobs.

With a small window of time available, I used up some of the sauce that didn't fit into a full jar to make up some bagel pizzas.  If you haven't tried them before----they are SIMPLE and quite delicious.  
Simple directions:
1 - toast the bagel (I like doing this so they don't get so 'soft' from the sauce)
2 - "plug the hole"  (LOL)  NOT required, but certainly easier for clean up.  I usually just use a piece of meat (pepperoni today -- we've also done sausage)
3 - top with sauce, cheese and meat
4 - Broil on low for a few minutes until the cheese melts to your liking

Once lunch ended, Paul, Cassie and I got busy finishing the corn by cutting the rest of the cobs, filling bags (we use vacuum seal 'bags') and placing the bags in the freezer for a few hours.  We do this step before sealing them as to freeze up the milk juice.  The first year we froze corn, we (Paul) sealed the corn right away, and the milk would get sucked up from the vacuuming and would hinder the sealing process :\  So now, we freeze them up a bit before sealing so that the juice doesn't 'get in the way.' (newbies always learn better methods after the first year!)

ALRIGHT!! Break time is over!  Here come Cassie and Paul with a load of cabbage.  My next "inside" task is to shred up the cabbage for Kraut! (YUM!)  

So far today -- 
5 halfpints relish
10 halfpints pizza sauce
3 quarts kill pickles
and LOTS of bags of corn


scraphappy said...

I'm tired just watching.

Deb A said...

Sounds like you have some good helpers. That's a lot of work.

Andee said...

This post leaves me hungry! Nice to have smiling helpers, they grow up so dang fast!

Judy D in WA said...

WOW, what a bountiful day! Super smart bagel pizza tip there! Never would have thought of that one. LOL
It's wonderful to see your family doing this together. Love the tractor right there to take the husks away!

Tracy said...

You have good girls to help like that! Of course they get to enjoy the benefits of that hard work all year long!

Nancy said...

So using the cake pans for supporting/cutting the corn is cool... wish we had thought of that oh so many years ago.

Leah said...

your gardening, quilting and canning inspire me! We just started canning this year and I find it a bit overwhelming! We did 28 quarts of peaches and it took us 7 hrs! I am so impressed with your speed and efficiency!