Our abundantly sunny summer has Â been good for the garden. It overflows with more food than I can eat. So, in an effort to not let any of it go to waste, I spent an entire day last week preserving food. Thank goodness for the book that has provided me with all the shortcuts and tips. I’d be lost without it.Â The best way to describe that day would be organized chaos. Ever corner of my kitchen was in use, my blue tile covered with shredded zucchini, tomato seeds, apple juice and more. I transformed seven pounds of zucchini intoÂ a quart size bag of zucchini medallions for freezing andÂ 17 cups of shredded zucchini, which later became ten mini loaves of zucchini bread, three dozen zucchini chocolate chip cookies, a zucchini quiche, and a nine cup bag for the freezer. And all of this zucchini (and the zucchini mentioned in all my prior posts) have come from one plant!
I put my apples to use in a rustic apple tart. I also used them to make a pie filling. I put it in a pie dish (sans crust) and put that in the freezer. When the entire mass was frozen, I slipped it out of the dish, wrapped it up in freezer paper, and stashed it back in the freezer. Now, when we’re in the dead of winter and I want to make a delicious fruit pie, all I need to do is make a crust, put the frozen filling in the pie plate, cover with a top crust, and bake. I love the possibility of this “bake it later” pie, but I’ll have to tell you later how it actually turns out.Â
I dehydrated five trays of heirloom tomato slices. I am going to pack them in olive oil with a little garlic and basil. Then, when all the tomatoes have been devoured, I can use the flavorful oil for something else. While I was prepping my tomatoes for the dehydrator, I put all the seeds that oozed out into two plastic containers, one for each heirloom variety. I tried to start the process of saving my tomato seeds before we left for Pittsburgh, but when we returned, I found my tomato seeds all dried up and covered in mold. So, this time, I was determined to make it work. And it did. Once the tomato seeds (and juice/water mixture) fermented for a few days, I was able to strain and clean the seeds. Then, I spread them out on a pad of newspaper to dry. Tomorrow, I’ll pack them up and save them for spring. We’ll see if they sprout. The whole process was so simple, it almost seems too good to be true.Â
Finally, no urban gardener would be complete without a fabulous fall clutch! The clutch I made last spring served me well, but I was feeling like I needed something Â to help me ease into the winter. So with Amy Butler’s fall-toned floral fabric and some coordinating blue tweed found in the remnants section of the fabric store, my clutch is complete and I’m content as could be. It’s like toting my garden around with me.Â