Pickles, Peppers and Beans, Oh My

Hi everyone!  Hope you took some well-deserved time off this weekend and enjoyed something nice and relaxing like a BBQ with tons of fresh and delicious foods, a great summer movie, or learned something by taking class like I did. 

If you’re thinking… “How’s that fun and relaxing?”  Actually, it was a lot of fun.  Hubby and I have been working hard these past several weeks (honestly, this entire past year) and it was nice to take a small break.  Do something different.

In a past post, I mentioned that I belong to an organic gardening group here in town.  The group is run by a local Master Gardener who has done a phenomenal job at building – from the ground up – a non-profit teaching / working farm on about a 1-1/2 acre property called Cowboy Trails Farm. Currently, the group is hosting a series of food preservation classes that I’m totally on-board with. It’s such a natural progression from starting a fruit and veggie garden to preserving the harvest.  Food preservation also helps the ole’ budget out by alleviating some of the “pain” of price increases at the grocery store. Just have to say, “are these stores out of their minds!”. Every time I go into a grocery store, something’s gone up in price or it’s the same price but a reduced quantity.  Went off on a tangent there (sorry had to get it out of my system). The best thing about food preservation is, if you grow the fruits and veggies yourself, you know exactly where your food came from and what went into it.

Saturday’s class was about how to can pickles, peppers and green beans using a simple vinegar/brine solution and a water bath method. I was one of three folks who chose to be a part of the “cucumber/pickle work station” and I made sure I brought home a jar of pickles for hubby and I to enjoy. Because of the pickling process, it will be about four weeks before we can pop-open that bad boy and taste the final product.  So for now, I’ll have to be content in admiring our group’s handiwork every time I pass by the stately little jar.

I canned these pickles myself… how fun is that!

I also attended last month’s class where we learned how to can stewed tomatoes using the pressure canner method.  Sorry, forgot to take photos.  Next class, we’ll learn about different methods to preserve jams and jellies!  Yummy!

 
Weed Issue
Taking a break was just what the doctor ordered.  Hubby stayed home Saturday, while I had all the fun.  He decided to hack away at some awful noxious weeds we’ve been trying to eradicate for some time now.  This weed has been a thorn in our side.  Just when you think the ugly beast is gone for good, it rears its ugly head again.  We think  we’ve identified the persistent bugger as a type of horse nettle. These things grow from tiny pieces of stem, roots and even from seed – and they send out runners too so it spreads like a virus. We may be taking this one to the Cooperative Extension to see if they have any solutions (hopefully organic).  If not, we may have to blast… just kidding.  Those things would be everywhere.
 
Well, to say the least, when I came home from class on Saturday, hubby was totally spent.  All day in the sun, hacking and raking.  So Sunday was a rare “stay in your jammies” kinda day. I highly recommend everyone do this at least once a year. It helps the old weary “bod”!
 
Photos
Instead of pulling together my list of advantages and disadvantages to bare root fruit trees versus containerized fruit trees, I found myself instead going through some photos I had taken over the past week or so.  My post today has been a bit, well scattered, but I thought I’d share some of the photos with you, so thank you for indulging me.
 
 

This is my two trees in one hole (high density planting). My King and Queen Pluot.

 

Stunning!Yes, I have a thing for clouds, sunrises and sunsets.

 

Very beautiful

I thought this was a cute photo. The arrow on the ground suggests Pinny "stand here" - she's so smart.

Here's Ginger and her favorite toy "carrot". She has the most precious delicate meow.

Max found the perfect spot in a rolling cabinet in my art studio. He was sound asleep when I snapped this photo.

Thank you for letting me “wander” through my post today and share some photos with you.  I’ll be back tomorrow to give you the advantages and disadvantages list.

Until we chat again 🙂

God Bless,

The Artistic Desert Gardener

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3 Comments

Filed under Preserving the Harvest

3 responses to “Pickles, Peppers and Beans, Oh My

  1. Lois Zablockis

    Would you can sweet pickles the same way?

    • Hi Lois,
      I asked that very same question in class and the answer was, “Yes it can be processed the same way”. The liquid recipe you pour over your cucumbers would be different.
      For the dill pickles we included distilled white vinegar, water, garlic, pickling salt, dill and a few red chili peppers. I found a recipe that I want to try for Bread and Butter Pickles which includes cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, ground cloves and a few other items. You can see the differences.

  2. Lois Zablockis

    your trees are really growing. Love the pictures of Pinney, Ginger and Max.

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