Beans in a jar and other things to look forward to


Dilled beans
After the cukes came dilly beans. Every time I preserve green beans, I underestimated just how many, many beans will fit into a quart jar and how long it takes to pack those green beans tightly into that jar.  Two hours of tightly packing and I had four quarts.  Argh.  Of course, crunchy, tangy, dilled beans will taste great with one of our fall cheese plates or on the Thanksgiving table.  If you're looking for a recipe, I like this one a lot and have made it in past years with great success.  This year, just for variety, I tried a recipe from Chefs on the Farm from the Quillisascut School of the Domestic Arts, which looked delicious.  I'll let you know how they turn out, but I can't imagine they will be anything but delicious given the dill, garlic, and red pepper tucked in the jars.

Brandied sweet cherries
All I'm saying is that the leftover partial jar of those little jewels that sits in the fridge is getting better by the day . . . and slowly disappearing.  The ones tucked away in the pantry to age a bit will make nice holiday gifts for those who have been very, very good.  In the meantime, I think Byron is perfecting his side car.


Summer squash
The question for me is always what to do with it.  A person can only eat so much of it sliced thinly in a sandwhich or added to a quiche or casserole.  Then what to do with the remaining 10 pounds?  God forbid you grow several plants.  This year I didn't grow even one. Apparently, however, the farm that sends us our csa share grew a lot of it.  We received several pounds, more than once.  Relying on the good ideas I continuously find in the aforementioned book on preserving, Canning for a New Generation, I made some Hot Cumin Summer Squash Pickles.  The ones I've tasted so far are sharp and hot and crunchy.  Almost better than fresh!


Peach Preserves
The universe heard my plea for peaches, and I ended up eating my way through three boxes in the course of a couple weeks.  I enjoyed every bite of every peach . . .  and the many cobblers, smoothies, and bowls of ice cream smothered in peaches that I consumed.  I even managed to turn about eight pounds of them into chunky peach preserves.  Because I ran out of jam jars, we will be enjoying and sharing pints of the stuff this winter.  Woot!

Peaches and a bouquet of African black basil.

Blackberry Plum Jam
During the peach marathon I had a flat of blackberries and about six pounds of Santa Rosa plums that needed using up.  Needless to say I had other things to eat, so into jam they went.  I added Gravenstein apple (in cheese cloth) to both jams (peach and this one), which thickened them perfectly.  A trick I hadn't tried before.  This jam is a beautiful color and has a brightness in flavor that plain blackberry jam doesn't quite have.  I like the combination a lot.  Perhaps I'll have to try it as filling in some holiday cookies this year -- the jewel-like quality of the jam would be awfully pretty.

More Tomatoes?
I already posted about how Wyatt and I quickly dispatched 25 pounds of them, but I sense that I will soon have a new crop off my home-grown plants.  I grew three determinate varieties this year -- a Roma, a Russian Black Krim, and a Pruden's Purple.  All have set a lot of fruit, so much that I have blossom drop on one of them.  Hopefully since I'm growing the plants up against a thick concrete wall they will find a way to ripen despite the onset of cool weather.  If I get the crop I'm hoping for, I'll get to make some oven-dried tomatoes and maybe even some salsa. Of course most of these heirloom beauties will just get eaten immediately.

My tomato jungle from above.
Black Krims ripening
Romas
Roasted Poblanos
The poblanos are here. I've started putting charred, peeled poblanos into the freezer as often as I can find them.  This will continue weekly for a while until I build up a supply that can be used this winter in poblanos rajas or corn soup with poblanos or scrambled eggs with poblanos  . . . you get the idea.  Of course due to their availability, we also regularly have rajas for dinner on Byron's homemade tortillas.  Soooooo good.

At this point in the season, my motivation to preserve much of anything is waning.  The summer fruit run is nearly over and with it my desire to capture those wonderful flavors.  Oh, but now that I think of it, I will need to do some pickled peppers with thyme and shallots and maybe come up with something to do with the two heads of cabbage I have staring back at me every time I open the fridge . . . 

What did you preserve this season?

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