Sunday, 1 November 2015

2015 Tally of Preserves

It has long been my goal to keep better records of what I grow (always too busy planting to keep track of what gets planted) and what I harvest (weighing what I bring in from the garden sounds simple until I am rushing out to pick greens and supper is late, blah, blah, blah). Maybe next year I will be more organized and keep a better record, but for this year I have concentrated on an overall tally of what I was able to preserve through canning and freezing.

I thought that I would include this spring's maple syrup, our first ever. Because it was a novelty to most of our friends we gave away several tiny taste-test size jars and had a couple of half-pints for the kids to have on pancakes and for me to use in bread. I saved 2 quarts in hopes that the weather will cooperate and we can do maple taffy in the snow at each of our son's birthday parties (January and March). Last year we had tobogganing and horse-drawn sleigh rides for both and the weather was nice. I hope we are as lucky this year :)

I was lucky to be invited to pick fruit with a friend in a lovely yard this summer. There we picked enough plums for good eating plus a bit of plum sauce (seriously, removing the pits was so time-consuming!).

My boys enjoyed pitting cherries, though, and were a great help. The wild saskatoons were wonderful this year and we discovered just how many grow right here in our yard.

My garden was a dismal failure by some standards. We had a drought until July and the scorching heat and my inconsistent watering did not enable much that I planted to germinate. Some things came later and I was surprised how much lettuce I ended up with. Pumpkins continued to bloom until frost without ever producing fruit larger than a golf ball--terribly disappointing because I successfully started the plants from seed! If anyone has pointers on growing pumpkins I would appreciate some advice!

Like most years, though, what my garden lacked was supplemented by the generosity of my mom and neighbours. A friend's mom gave me half a box of apples which I split with my mom and made apple pie filling with. I was given cucumbers and still managed to make enough pickles for our winter eating. My aunt gave us carrots and I saved enough to make a treat jar of pickled carrots for Husband to enjoy over the Christmas holidays. In many ways the scarcity of the pickles makes us savour them more and it is always a shame to throw out uneaten ones when you have gone to so much work.
Every year I plan to grow more tomatoes and more peppers for even more salsa, but like the pickles it is a shame to see it go to waste. So this year I have concentrated more on slow roasting and freezing for sauce and know that the salsa I have made for ourselves and as gifts will be all the more special because there is less of it.

So here it is, a tally of what I have "put up" from my garden, yard, and generous gifts from others:

2015 Preserves

2 qt saskatoon pie filling
2 x ziploc freezer bag of berries
2 qt rhubarb/saskatoon "fruit" for our elderly neighbour
3 qt cherries "fruit"
3 qt cherry pie filling
2 qt apple pie filling

2 pints pickled beets
1 quart dilly beans
5 pints hot chili chutney
3 1/2 pints raspberry jam
3 pints million dollar relish
5 1/2 quarts bread and butter pickles
2 qt + 1 pint sweet heat salsa plus 7 half pints of sweet heat salsa for gifts
4 qt hot salsa
6 qt canned whole tomatoes
1 qt dilled carrots
2 qt dill pickles
5 ziploc freezer bags of roasted tomatoes (so far). Tomatoes still ripening in the basement

1 laundry basket of potatoes minus what we ate fresh from the garden. Red potatoes were scabby but large, white potatoes were excellent.

Perhaps most exciting in this year's food production were the two apples that our 2 year old honeycrisp apple tree produced. The fruit was huge, crisp and juicy, and although there were only two apples we watched them grow and shared them as a family. We are very hopeful that the tree will provide us with plenty of beautiful apples in years to come.

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