Wednesday, August 13

Freezing & Canning from the Garden

We love summer. Love it. We've been spending as much time as we can outside enjoying the heat and sunshine. Taking walks, going to the park, working in the garden. It's summer at its finest around here.

These stubby carrots are Big Brother's favorite thing in the garden. He was so surprised the first time we pulled some!

This is the first summer we've actually had a big garden that's actually been giving us some food (yay!), which also means it's our first summer trying to figure out how to preserve all this stuff for winter. It's extra time in the kitchen now that hopefully will pay-off big time later.

And yes. We've been totally neglecting the blog. But we'll get it all perked up again when we're stuck inside this winter. For now we spend our days like this:

And this:

But I did want to hop in today and share some of the things we've been preserving this week. Just in case you guys are in the same boat and looking for new ideas! And, seriously, if you have any new non-pickle things to do with cucumber please tell me. So many cucumbers. Here's the lowdown from the kitchen:

We're freezing the extra zucchini. I ran them through the grater attachment on our kitchenaid and scooped 3 cups into each quart size bag. Then flattened them out and stuck them in the freezer. Boom. Done. Easiest thing so far.

My dad gave me some rhubarb that I used to make this rhubarb vanilla bean jelly. I'll tell you right now, I don't know what I'm doing. This is not bright pink like the recipe picture and it also didn't set up right so it's kind of runny. I should also tell you I haven't tasted it yet. I should probably do that....

We used some of our many cucumber to make sweet pickle relish. It's a nice way to mix up the pickle monotony (plus I'm the only one who eats pickles so we don't need that many).

And last but not least, we're freezing corn from my grandpa's farm. My mom taught me how to do it and it's been working great, so I'll share the steps for you guys.

Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Throw some corn in. Let it boil about 3 - 5 minutes (I just did 3).

Move the corn to a bowl of ice water.

Once it's cooled down let it drain a little while in a colander.

Then use a knife to cut the kernels off each ear. I like to hold the ear over a large baking dish while I cut. The deep edges help catch all the corn.

Before you toss the ear, flip your knife over and run the dull side down each ear. This will get out any left over juice or bits of corn.

Not a great picture, but you can see the ear on the left has had the kernels cut off, and the ear on the right has also been done with the back of the knife. There's quite a bit more that comes out in that step.

Keep going until you have a nice pile of empty ears.

And a nice full pan like this:

Then divide 3 cups of corn into each quart size bag (we ended up with 5 bags), lay them flat, and freeze them. Pull them out in January when you're dreaming of summer. If you can wait that long.

We still have lots of cucumbers to put up and I'm hoping to have enough tomatoes for salsa and pizza sauce. We'll see! While we wait, let's admire the garden boys one more time.

What are you guys preserving this summer? Feel free to share your favorite recipes or tips!

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