Saturday, September 17, 2011

Canning Canning Canning Canning Canning

Food comes in fast and furious around now, and most idle moments are spent processing this food for storage. I know that I spend a large amount of time doing food prep, and I'm sure that the other people involved in the challenge are doing the same.

Therese traded me grapes for wheat not long ago. She asked me the day before she was going to pick them, 'How much do you want?'

'I don't know, get me like 2 gallons.'

Did she get me 2 gallons? No. She got me probably 6 gallons. I used them to make grape butter (same concept as apple butter but with grapes, it turned out more like syrup than anything,) grape jelly, raisins, and grape juice. I just build the dryer for the raisins yesterday; I finally turned the last of the grapes into juice today. The jelly wasn't 'challenge legal' so I've already started sharing jars with friends and family.

We had family dinner this past Thursday; I came home with a bag of tomatoes. Today I canned tomatoes, yellow squash, and a couple of jars of pickles (I saved the leftover sauce from the bread and butter pickles when Kathy and I canned.) I also froze cantaloupe from my garden, and winnowed several pounds of wheat.

Idle time watching TV is spent picking apart wheat grain heads. I have 15lbs of unprocessed grain yet to go.

I also made a bit of a discovery today. When I collected the elderberries a couple weeks ago I took about a third of them and just cooked them down, no sugar added. I was looking for a savory or herbal flavor instead of something sweet. When I processed them I squeezed the cooked pulp to get all the goodness out of it. Today I was scrounging around for as many jars as I could find, and looked at that jar of elderberry essence. I found a good layer of oil on top of the jar. I decanted it off - probably only a few tablespoons were there but it has a very distinct flavor profile. It is almost like olive oil but it has a more complex flavor. It has a floral front and a dry finish. One of my favorite things about these food challenges is getting the opportunity to experience foods that nobody really eats any more. I know where at least one more of these trees is, and plan to go pick the berries to make more oil.


  1. You can say that again! It seems like I spend most of my time away from the office either weeding in the garden or preparing some freezer food. Yesterday, I made zucchini soup and cubed one of the watermelons from the garden. I flash froze it and then bagged it up. I ate one of the frozen cubes - what a refreshing treat that will be in the middle of winter. Before I went to work today, I thinned more of the beets, turnips and carrots. Hopefully that will help with bigger root crops.

  2. I was about to take a little sunday afternoon snooze but decided to look at the blog first. Tried to lay down but got right back up cuz there's so much to do :)