Preserving Sumer

July 23: The kitchen is still pretty much out of commission so I didn’t get much accomplished today, even though the weather was beautiful (2 days in a row!).  I did put in some pie pumpkin seeds that I found with the canning jars and some corn seeds that I found in the garage.  I also put in some spinach seeds in the raised bed behind the kitchen.

We drove out to Boring, Oregon in the afternoon to the farmer’s market.  There wasn’t much there, but the people were very nice.  A lovely lady that sells stained glass and teaches classes right there at the market site, a couple women selling handmade jewlery, and a man selling birdhouses that he makes.  There was also a couple of very sweet ladies that were selling quilts.  I found the beautiful quilt pictured below for Joe’s new first cousin-once-removed (his cousin’s daughter).  One of the gals made the quilt and kept apologizing because it was machine quilted – it’s still beautiful and she was only asking $15.

There was only one farmer (from Circle of Friends Farm) at the market, but he was very nice, answered all of my gardening questions and had some lovely pea pods and beets.  Joe cut the beet roots off before I could get a photo, but I’m keeping the greens for pasta tomorrow.

July 22: Nothing new today.  The men came to patch and skim coat the ceiling of the kitchen so Noah and I went into school today and did some deep cleaning on the library.  The weather was lovely…..

July 21:  Tomorrow the men come to work on finishing the kitchen ceiling so I have several projects to finish today.

  • The cherry preserves with brandy are finally finished.  They smell fantastic.  I got the recipe from a great book called, “Fancy Pantry”.  It has several recipes that I love and is one of my most used cookbooks.

  • I started a batch of parmesan cheese this afternoon. Oops – apparently you’re not supposed to hang it up and then break up the curds like I did with the cheddar.  This could be a problem, but we’ll see……..

  • The raspberries are ready to pick.  I got a whole bowl today. yummy

  • The first of the broccoli is almost ready to harvest.  I need to think of a dish that only needs a little broccoli.

July 20: We finally had a little sun today and got outside. I harvested the rest of the lettuce from the raised bed and got it ready to reseed tomorrow. I also went down to the orchard and thinned the pears and apples from a couple of trees (as far up as I could reach).  I also snipped of the ends of some of the branches.  I’m not sure the time of year was right, but they were really gangly. In the main garden, the raspberries and blueberries are finally ripening (no pictures as they didn’t make it all the way inside) and out front, the first green tomatoes are on the vines.

In the kitchen I reheated the cherry preserves which, according to the recipe, I will finish tomorrow with a little Kirshwasser and canning it.  I also made a bottle of balsamic vinegar glaze thanks to a recipe from Going My Own Way, Living the Dream.  It’s fantastic; sweet and tangy.  I also picked up a humidity meter for my “cheese cave” and found that it was low.  I added a piece of cheese cloth in front of the fan that wicks water from a bowl at the bottom.  I’ll check it again in the morning; it should be around 80 -85%.

July 19:  Hooray, I was able to fix the camera and have some new photos today.  The weather here in the Pacific Northwest still feels like October.  We didn’t have as much rain today, but the clouds were thick and it was chilly and humid.  I guess the good news is that we are saving on irrigation and our air conditioner has yet to be used.

  • The cheese is drying nicely today.  I’m just flipping it over every couple of hours.

cheddar 2 7/17/11

  • The wine jugs are still fermenting away.

  • I put up five .2 liter jars of salsa with some Roma tomatoes I found on sale.

  • I started a batch of sour cherry preserves – they need to set over night and then get finished and put up.
  • The black currant cordial is starting to get some color.  I think a the bottle on the left needs a few more currents as they ripen.

July 18:

  •  I took the cheese out the press this morning and have it sitting out to dry.  This batch of cheddar had the correct temperature for each step and seems ‘spongier’ than the last.  I also pressed it at 48 pounds rather than 20.
  • I added the vodka to the two quart jars of black currants, they will sit until December to be finished using the steps in the recipe.
  • Joe also helped me pick the sour cherries.  We worked very hard and finally picked 2 pounds, just enough for a half batch of cherry preserves for tomorrow.  I also picked another pint of currents for the cordial.
  • I picked up some Snackwell’s bars and General Foods Cereal from Albertson’s. The bars are $2.50 and if you buy two you get $4.00 in catalina coupons to use on groceries later.  This makes them $.50 per box.  The cereal is also $2.50 and if you buy four you get $4.00 in catalina coupons and a coupon for a free gallon of milk. With manufactures coupons and “twice the value” store coupons the cereal also comes out $.50 a box.
  • I also went to Sur la Table to pick up some lovely bail-top canning jars.  I’m a little nervous because they didn’t come with instructions, but I think they’ll be fine for my salsa and some jellies.

July 17: Another busy Day in the Kitchen – it was pouring rain all day and chilly.  I think it feels like November, not July……

  • I fed my ginger beer again by adding another tablespoon of ginger and a tablespoon of sugar.  When did I start this???
  • I started making a citrus cleaning solution by adding my orange peel to a quart jar of white vinegar.
  • I strained the fruit from the rhubarb wine, added the oranges, lemons, and raisins and pitched the yeast.  I froze the rhubarb to use later.
  • I waxed the cheddar wheel, heating the wax to 205 degrees and dipping it for three coats.  I settled it into the ‘cave’ at 55 degrees once it hardened.
  • I made another batch of cheddar cheese using 2 gallons of whole milk.  This time I’m pressing at a final weight of 50 pounds rather than 20 as I did last time.
  • I chopped tomatoes to make salsa, but got really tired and they are in the fridge waiting for later.
  • Re re-pitched more yeast in Joe’s beer.  I hadn’t ever started to ferment.

One thought on “Preserving Sumer

  1. Nice to meet you, saw your a new member at D2E. Wow I tired just reading all you get up to, making cordial, preserves etc like the citrus cleaner idea, going to make some to use thanks. Envy all this cheesemaking that is something I would really like to do esp feta cheese. Got the goat but no babies, so no milk yet.

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