We have a pretty big vegetable garden – along with strawberry beds, blueberry and raspberry bushes and some apple trees. The quality (and the price) of vegetables up here where I live are awful – even the farmers markets are pretty expensive, which means if you want fresh fruits and veggies you grow your own!
So Tuesday night the weathermen were predicting a FROST! Yup, I said it – a frost…..
What does this mean when you still have a garden full of tomatoes like this?
Well, you have no choice but to pick what you can – because there is just way too much to cover and not enough to cover it with. And pick we did!
Squash, peppers, cukes, and tomatoes….
and more tomatoes……..
and their are tomatoes EVERYWHERE!
Well there was no frost – but I certainly got a lot of veggies picked and in a hurry…….. now to just get them all taken care of. 14 1/2 quarts of sauce – with the last of them in the canner right now….I’ll get to work before too much longer.
Our garden has produced some pretty incredible produce this year!
This tomato weighs just a little under 2 pounds and is roughly 5-5 1/2″ across! It made some wonderful toasted tomato and cheddar cheese sandwiches!
The pepper weighed just a little over a pound and measures a little more than 3 1/2″ across.
One day last week (I think it was Wednesday or Thursday) I made a batch of spaghetti sauce and just about overflowed my biggest (Costco sized) stock pot! I think I’ll have to start using my extra canning kettle to cook down the puree from here on out – what do you think?
Friday night we left work at about 4:30 (shame on us we left early) because we knew that we had a lot of vegetables to pick in the garden. We were finally done picking everything just a little before 7 p.m. – and look at the haul we got! Hobo was checking out the green beans….
Saturday was a busy day – errands in the morning and Salsa in the afternoon. 25 jars of 2 different kinds of salsa – a Raspberry Tomato Salsa and a Black Bean & Corn Salsa (recipes coming).
Sunday involved dealing with the peppers – which we sliced into strips and froze in small packages – enough for a pizza or a stir fry – or about 18 total packages —– love my Seal A Meal!
And then of course there were the tomatoes, which resulted in 11 quarts of tomato juice!
I’m already at nearly 100 jars of canned goods (actually it may be a little more) – I’m not yet ready to make the final count, truthfully I’m afraid!
We’ve had so many veggies this year that I can’t keep up! I’ve taken stuff to my Uncle, given a couple of 5 gallon buckets of cucumbers to my neighbor across the street. Given a plastic grocery bag, chock full of cucumbers to the local nursing home, and have eaten cucumbers at least twice a day (every day) since early July!
Our tomatoes have been producing enough to eat on a very regular basis for the last few weeks, but on Sunday I had quite a few that were ready all at once so I decided to pick them and make my first batch of homemade sauce of the season! yum!
Last fall, I bought a Sauce Master, on sale at our local hardware store for just about half-price; and I was quite excited to break it out, put it together and see what it would do. Now the beauty of the Sauce Master was that you were supposed to be able to just pick your tomatoes, wash them, remove any stems, cut them (if necessary) and then proceed to just grind them up – this would be a huge timesaver from my previous method of placing the whole tomatoes in boiling water until the skins started to split then immediately transfer them to cold water and peel them – I thought that I lost a lot of tomato in that process.
I absolutely love my Sauce Master, very little waste and it does all the peeling and seeding for me – yippee! And the tomatoe puree that comes out of it is so thick – which means less cooking time!
I ended up with 3 and a 1/2 quarts of lovely, dark red sauce from just those few tomatoes! And I can’t wait to do more.
I still have a ton of tomatoes left to ripen/pick – so I’ll be very busy for sure; provided the plants don’t get any more stressed out.
We have two springs – one for the house and the other for the garden and office – on Friday the spring for the garden and office gave out – we haven’t had any rain in over 3 weeks – it hasn’t technically gone dry, it’s just so low that we can’t pump any more water out of it. Thankfully the main spring for the house is still ok – just low. So on Saturday, armed with a bunch of empty 5 gallon buckets we went down to the local boat launch and filled them up so we could water the tomatoes. Yup, just one more thing to do!
If you are what you eat – then I think I’m a cucumber/zucchini/pepper (soon to be combined with a tomato)!
The weekend here was a busy one. In addition to picking a half gallon of blueberries and a pint or raspberries, we also picked cucumbers, the last of the sugar snap peas, some zucchini, and peppers.
All in all it was a busy day! And I spent the rest of the weekend canning and freezing.
I canned 2 pints of fresh blueberries (not sure if I’ll ever do that again or not) and some rhubarb sauce. The rest of the blueberries, along with the raspberries went directly onto cookie sheets in the freezer – to be flash frozen and then into empty quart yogurt containers.
I think I’m going to have enough pickles for the entire county!
Our vegetable garden is just out of control this year! I was canning pickled beets (16 quarts of them) on the 15th of July! That’s about 3-4 weeks earlier than normal!!
We’re spending at least 2-3 hours every night after work in the garden gathering the day’s harvest of:
Pretty soon the tomatoes and the peppers will be ready. I think I did something wrong this year and ended up buying tomato tree seeds! There are on the right in the picture below – the stakes are 6′ tall and they have all outgrown their cages.