The year of harvest

This year, or the latter half, at least, has been a big harvest year for us. And one of the things that goes along with harvesting your own produce (or whatever) is the packaging and storage: you don’t want the stuff you picked to go bad. So there’s been a lot of freezing and canning this year as well.

This is the first time I’ve ever canned, believe it or not. Me personally, I mean; my mother canned all sorts of things when I was growing up. But having never done it myself, it was always a bit mysterious as to the process; turns out, it’s very, very easy. Most of the work comes in processing the fruit before it even hits the jars.

Check it out:

  • Our July trip to Hood River yielded a bunch of cherries and blueberries: about 12 pounds of the former and about three pounds of the latter. We vacuum-sealed and then froze them.
  • Between my small hop vine and the hops at my parents’ place, I picked several pounds of hops, which yielded something like 11 or 12 ounces of dried hops. Which I’ll be brewing the next several batches of beer with.
  • The four pounds of wild plums from my parents’ place that I blogged about yesterday is yielding one gallon of wine.
  • Another fruit-picking trip to Hood River a couple of weeks ago netted us about 130 pounds of apples and pears. Literally. Plus we brought home 12 or so pounds of peaches. The peaches went into freezer jam, and I’ve made (and canned) applesauce, canned four quarts of sliced apples, and eight quarts of halved pears. So far; there is still a lot of fruit to go.
  • Three nice tomato plants were very productive.
  • Our small garden this year (which was flooded out by torrential rains in the spring) yielded a number of carrots, onions, and a bit of lettuce; one medium-sized pumpkin (which is still on the vine as of this writing), and even one very small watermelon!
  • I have a giant bulb of fennel from my mom’s garden. And come to think of it, several pounds of frozen rhubarb from her garden earlier in the year, too.

There’s more canning to be done this weekend, and I’m also thinking up other things to possibly do with the pears and apples—but since my creativity in this area tends to run towards alcohol, what I’ve come up with is apple/pear beer and pear wine. Perhaps a pear vodka sounds interesting too.

Oh, I was thinking about making some apple butter also.

And I’ve been making more beer this year, I suppose that counts. In fact, I have two five-gallon batches in carboys ready to bottle (likely this weekend), and if I want to brew with the fruit I should probably have another batch going soon.

Our house has become so domestic…

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