Harvest Time: Grapes

This is the third bowl of grapes harvested this year. This is the biggest bowl I have, sitting here in one of our patio chairs. I didn’t weigh it but I expect it’s about 25-30 pounds of grapes. At the time I brought this bowl in, I already had 8 pints of home-dried raisins in the fridge. I now have several pounds of frozen grapes in the freezer. And I’ve given away grapes to several neighbors, at least one of whom had jelly ambitions. I have not made grape jelly this year as we are still eating our way through …

Harvest time: Tomatoes

I think I’m going to stop trying to grow any tomatoes that aren’t a cherry variety. For the last few years, I’ve put in a couple cherry tomato plants and a couple of others. I get little tomatoes, Sungolds and Sweet Millions, not loads, but some, but very few of the big tomatoes. My neighbors last year got lots of big tomatoes, so it’s probably more my fault as a tomato grower than the fault of the tomatoes or our summers. But perhaps it’s time to acknowledge and run with what I appear to be good at. Because I can …

Preserving Season

I’ve discovered Preserves this summer. Sure, I’ve been “preserving” for a few years now: freezing, drying, canning, etc. And I’ve certainly preserved fruit before. But a Preserve. It’s not whole or sliced fruit floating in simple syrup. It’s not jam or jelly. It’s somewhere between the two: chunks of fruit in a syrup, often with additional flavors. I know it sounds strange, but I’m finding preserves to be a little bit more flexible, more “ready to eat” than just fruit in jars. See, I canned apricots back in 2010. Almost 20 pints of golden orange yumminess. We’re still eating them. …

Harvest Time: Apples!

The apple tree in the back yard has gone bonkers this year. I’ve made a first run at the apple harvest, filling this box more than half way. The apples are small and slightly underripe (read: pleasingly tart) and bake into lovely things. Like this yeast-based apple bread, which smells amazing when it’s baking and goes wonderfully with cheeses (we’ve tried chevre and cheddar so far; brie would be delightful). Or these apple muffins. I may have made 6 batches of these for a neighborhood End of Summer community event, and my neighbors may have eaten every single one. And …

Pesto Time

I admit I have a tendency to over-stock. I routinely add extra fabric to whatever I think I’ll need for a project. I like to have extra time to get from here to there. My idea of what is “enough” food to have on hand is frankly a bit ridiculous. I keep a pantry like I imagine someone might if they lived on a tiny forested island where the nearest grocery store was 100 miles and a boat ride away. If we ever have a real zombie apocalypse, I know of several people who plan to come camp at our …

Beginnng the Harvest, or Free Onions!

This may be my best year ever for onions. Check out these fine things: I ordered my onion starts from Dixondale upon the recommendation of Erica over at Northwest Edible Life (’cause, as far as this urban homesteading thing is concerned, Erica is everything I only wish I could be). I’ve never grown onions this large (which is weird to say, since I think that was one of the pull quotes on the literature that came with the starts. I guess there’s some truth in advertising after all!). My Long Day Sampler of onions included white Ringmasters, red Redwings and …