Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Full Day in the Kitchen

With the garden starting to come in steady now, I have begun preserving a lot of our harvest to store in the pantry. Today, I put a full day of work in the kitchen, canning, juicing, pickling and cooking. Today's harvest has, from left to right, zucchini (Golden and Striata d ' Italia), patty pan squash, cucumbers, beets, corn, potatoes, swiss chard, fall apples, and transparent apples.

The zucchini was grated and bagged for zucchini bread this weekend when I have guests at the Lodge. The patty pan squash was sliced, rolled in egg and flour, and fried in bacon grease. Everybody in our family loves it this way, but then what's not to like about something fried in bacon grease.

With half of the cucumbers, I made 6 quarts of pickle spears. I still have 8 left to eat with salads and raw. Of course, I'll probably have another half dozen ready to pick tomorrow. Looks like more pickling is in the future.

The beets were washed, blanched and the skins removed. I'll fix these for Liam's dinner tomorrow night. I'm not fond of beets, so Liam gets them all to himself. The eight ears of corn were blanched and cut from the cob for freezing. I love to add corn to soups in the winter. The potatoes were put in the crockpot with a pound of green beans Jorene picked yesterday, along with a ham bone. We had these for dinner tonight and they were delicious.

Next is my favorite vegetable, Swiss chard. It is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, with high concentrations of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. I use it in omelets, pizza, soups, and salads. My favorite way to prepare it is sauteed with garlic and onions with a handful of nuts. This is one of my Rainbow Swiss Chard beds, which it shares with beets and onions. I'll offer one tip about harvesting Swiss Chard. Don't weedeat around the raised bed the night before you plan to harvest Swiss Chard. I had to rinse the leaves three times to get all the little bits of grass out of the wrinkles.
I have two varieties of apples in the tubs. The first has thinnings from a fall variety. A friend asked me to help him thin his tree and in return I could keep what I picked. They are tart and firm, but make a great baking apple. I made two apple pies for some guests last weekend and they loved them. I'll freeze the rest of the apples for pies later in the year.

The second tub of apples are transparents. I juiced these in my juicer and made over 7 gallons of juice.


  1. Man oh man! That is fantastic!
    I canned 14 quarts of tomatoes today and salsa is tomorrow! :)
    I haven't tried Swiss Chard, I guess I need to give it a go with all those vitamins I need to love it! :)
    Have a great day!

  2. Everything looks great!
    A question though. Did you cook the bacon before you cooked the squash? Or do you refrigerate the bacon grease as you cook bacon, for later use?
    And what are transparent apples?

  3. Linda,

    I cooked the bacon before the squash. I always keep bacon grease to fry things, but was out. So this was a good reason to cook up some more bacon.

    Transparent apples are an early, soft apple, usually ripe by the second week of July. It is commonly used to make applesauce. I made about 60 quarts of applesauce the past two years when Liam was little. But eats just about anything now, so I don't make as much applesauce.

  4. Thanks, Ken. Appreciate the info. My boys liked applesauce when they were little, too. :)