After our long journey out west, we came home to a garden that was exploding with produce. We could not pick it fast enough. It was all hands on deck over here! We had to plan out the canning, the meals, the freezing, and whether or not we had enough to sell! There was such an abundance! God is good! He always supplies!
The golden crook neck squash was mostly overdue. We grated it up for quick breads and soups since it was not as tender as we like for pan frying. I mean, we do have some little guys out there yet to pick and pan fry, but when we got home, it looks like we had a garden full of golden baseball bats!
The cucumbers were in plenty and Mark said this year he wanted to try his hand at pickling them. I was quite proud of my Peter Piper who picked a peck of pickled peppers! How many did he pick? Probably several bushels! He already canned up about 40 quarts!
Mark likes the tiny cucumbers, because they are more crisp after being pickled. He stuffed them one by one into the quart jars with a 1/2 clove of garlic and a sprig of our fresh grown dill.
He boiled a brine of water, vinegar, pickling spice, salt, and a dash of sugar. He looked up a good old fashioned recipe off of the internet. So I can't share it with you because it would not be our own this time. I did have a really good recipe that I got passed down from my grandma, but I already put that one up on the Homesteading for Beginners DVD vol 4. He just dumped the brine over the pickles and sealed them up!
Here is our very first heirloom tomato from the garden. It did not last long, I took a bite out of it, and then another, sliced the rest for a salad. It was delectable!
Oh and the cherry tomatoes! I have been enjoying them in my salads and I tell you, it is fun to just snack on them when you walk outdoors. They burst with juice and flavor!
We plucked up our carrots and found this very unusual one that we lovingly named, "Octocarrot"! We think he tried his best to grow around the rocks in the soil. We did our best to remove most of them, but this little guy had to do what he had to do to survive and learn how to grow where he was planted! Some of us could use that as encouragement—grow where we are planted even when life gives us rocks or road blocks. We have to learn to work around them and not stop growing. I think that carrot looks pretty cool. After God is finished with us, we may look unique instead! I love it!
Here are our cabbages, wow, they have sure grown! I am planning on making some kraut and shaved cabbage that I will freeze. It is very handy to throw that frozen shaved cabbage into soups and stir fry dishes. What a blessing!
The green peppers look perfect! Mark and I were chopping them and freezing them. It is nice to pop open a bag of frozen peppers to add into fajitas and fry them up, put on pizza, spaghetti, beans, or add to stir fry. Very handy because they actually freeze really well. You do not have to blanch them, just simply cut them up, put them into freezer bags, and stick them into the freezer. I love simple!
We have been enjoying delicious sweet corn. This heirloom variety was amazing. Every bite was exploding with juicy flavor. I have never had corn that tasted quite as good. Someone recently made sweet corn at a barbecue and I was not impressed at all, it was starchy and not near as flavorful. I have to owe it to the quality of our soil here. Mark did companion gardening. He grew butternut squash and peas with the corn so that the soil would not get completely robbed of nutrients. It is the way to go!
Mikey is showing us a cob. Do not be deceived. They look small, but they have BIG flavor...
Oh, and my absolute favorite....BRUSSELS SPROUTS!!!! Mark pulled up all the massive stalks.
Brussels sprouts are like candy to us. We fry them in butter with salt until they are crisp. Wow, I tell you what, they are delectable! We had so many of them, too!
Mark took a knife and cut the little sprouts off one by one...
We ended up freezing the majority of them. Never froze them before so I am hoping that they still crisp up.
It has been a messy lately in our homestead kitchen. Seems like we are always cutting, preserving, dragging in mud, and canning. I just blanched a big batch of fresh picked beans again! Lots of good green food for the winter months! That is the joy of gardening in a nut shell. We get to experience so many things, make them stretch out for the year, and save the seeds for the following spring. Just like life has seasons, the homestead does, too.
It just so happens to be a busy season. I don't always have a lot of extra time to write, but know that I am praying for my readers and hoping you are all having a wonderful summer with plenty of produce to enjoy as well. God bless!