Jaydee, I'm SO SORRY!!! That's what happened with MY two cherry trees last year--birds got 'em all!
My neighbor suggested an oldy but goody non-toxic solution: hang those messed up throwaway CD's from the branches to scare the birds. You can use string bc you'll want to store them for the next year after the fruiting time is over.
So excited about this thread M! Gals I have questions, like LOTS AND LOTS of them!! J I'm booing all them too, my strawberries got away from me and the slugs ate most of them, my blueberry bushes are dead from the drought...
I do have high hopes for the dew berries (wild AR blackberries, I have acres of them... ). So I'm going to need help learning how to process them? HELP! We need some good jelly!
So far I have an ENTIRE FREEZER of cabbage and cauliflower! Took forever to clean, blanch, and foodsaver but I'm so proud of myself! Mom borrowed my dehydrator so once I get THAT back I'm making tons of dehydrated onions, cabbage chips, and fruit rollups.
My soybeans are getting eaten by baby rabbits that can go through my fence , GAH!!!! Chicken wire is coming out to save them, what I get will be seed for next year and edamame in the freezer.
After the jellies I PLAN on making with the dews I have 34 tomato plants that are looking good! 1/2 regular, 1/2 romas. So I need tips and tricks and please let me pick your brains! I want to make pasta sauce so need GOOD recipes... (Know one that tastes EXACTLY like Ragu, the only one DH will eat?) Then I have to figure out how to process/can diced/crushed tomatoes for stew and salsa, oh, and paste too!
So far I have already bought hundreds of jars/lids, the petcin and other spices for everything. Do you guys primarily do hot water baths or use pressure cookers? Hmmm...
Wish I could come hang out and help you guys do yours!
You have cauliflower and cabbage - what more do you want!!! My plants are about 3 inches high!!!
Is there such a thing as dwarfism in plants? I mean what is going wrong with my stuff this year?
I make lots of pasta sauces with tomatos but I usually cook, skin, chop and freeze them as they are then make the sauce 'on the day' then I can change it as I want. Unfortunately I'm one of those people that just throws stuff into a pan and tastes it as I go along - never get the same thing twice here!!!
The watermelon pickle sounds amazing - thanks both of you.
So what about freezing stuff - I've had some disasters. Is it best to blanch first or just wash, dry & freeze? Does it depend on the veg/fruit?
A few years back I had yellow squash running out my ears and I made some squash pickles that were amazing. I'll see if I can find the recipe if anyone wants it. Hoping to make some more this year if my plants will hurry up and grow.
Well I always blanch stuff before freezing - take broccoli for instance - I pick it fresh and soak it in salt water for 30 minutes to kill any little hidden bugs. Then I bring a big stainless steel pot to boil and drop the broccoli in it (in pieces of course) for 30 seconds, then get it out and quickly put it into another stainless steel pot of ice cubes and water. THen I drain it and run it thru my food saver. You can do just about any veggie that way, even quartered onions! THere is a way you can freeze whole tomatoes too, but I haven't tried it.
So far this year I've canned 21 quarts of tomatoes, several pints of carrots and have frozen enough bell pepper and broccoli to last me for the next two years. I've also began drying peppers and putting those in jars (they look pretty just sitting in the window sill in the kitchen) and I would like to learn to make flavored olive oils with some of my basil, rosemary and oregano and peppers. I have a collection of dried cayenne (purple, red, orange, yellow and green) and then a variety of jalapenos that have begun to turn from green to purple to red that look great dried for decoration. I also just pulled up about 20 huge sweet onions. I have no idea what to do with those except maybe just chop them up and freeze them too? I'm not a big onion eater but I like to grow them (one of the few things that add the color 'green' to a winter garden).
No fruit canning going on here - altho I do make wild dewberry jelly almost every year, but this year I just couldn't bear to walk around for hours and hours upside down picking fruit. So no jelly for me.
What a great thread! I'm so jealous though , my garden is way behind all of yours'. Beans are just starting to bloom I have a few tinny winey tomatoes on the plants. I planted watermelon for first time this year as a fun crop so we'll see about that. Last year I had so many tomatoes I couldn't give them away ( 3 laundry baskets plus I was eating some every day!) So I did tomato jelly -very tasty, and tomato jam- crazy good! So getting excited to do that again soon. I still have 2 batches of tomatoes frozen ready to be made into jam. What are watermelon pickles like flavor wise?
Wanted to congrats all of you on your hard work and tenacity!
I've had a few "interesting" conversations with friends lately and I have to say you all are a bunch of AWESOME LADIES!
One friend in particular is getting ready to build on a 6 acre mini farm. Being one of my besties I was excited to help her and have a local partner in crime... We were discussing GMO's in depth and a bunch of other stuff, I told her I was sooo excited to get to come up there and help her with her garden and that we could swap weekends helping each other process/can etc...
Then our conversation went like this:
"WHAT????" she said, "Do you HONESTLY think I'll be workin in a garden?!!!"
"Ummm, didn't you say you were going to farm and have one?"
"HECK NO!" she said, "THERE ARE SPIDERS AND SNAKES IN THERE, if we have a garden DH is doing it, all I want is a window box for herbs!!!"
OH MY WORD. I know not everyone is cut out for this stuff, but for those of us that care about what our family eats, and takes the time to do it ourselves...
Well I give you all HUGE PROPS! Ain't no sceery spiders going to keep me from feeding my family!
So DD and I braved the "wilderness", spiders, and snakes and brought in these beauties!
A half gallon in an hour ain't too shabby!
I'm so mad I didn't have my phone on me, DD's horse decided it was the thing to do and started "picking" them with us, it was a hoot!
Waiting a few days to hit the patches again. I washed and froze them to make jelly when it gets cooler, if I can wait that long!
So I'm going to try a mint tea recipe that uses pectin, tea, and juiced berries processed in the juicer so I get some pulp. Have a better recipe?
Do you think earl grey would taste good in it? LOL! I do!
Clippity what do you do for yours?
Prairie I want to hear more about your tomato jelly/jam? Sounds like a winner to me!
For freezing I do cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli. Wash, cut, wash, blanch the florets for 3 mins (my stovetop is stupid so it takes longer to get it back to a boil), cool in an ice bath, let sit for thirty, pat dry, and then vacuum seal. I cored the cabbage and cut it into 3 inch wedges, blanched for 5 mins, then did the same as above. I had too much to shred.
Everything is going in the stew pot this winter so I don't care if the cabbage is mushy, I only want it for flavor in the stock.