Monday, July 05, 2010

Storing up the Surplus

We have started the job of storing up all the produce the garden will yield. Although I've done my fair share of eating it straight from the garden too.

I did my first canning of the season this morning. I was rather resistant to starting all that again. Once I got to it, I did feel very out of practice and probably only remembered 2 of the 10 tips and tricks I learned last year. (That means it's only going to get easier as I relearn them, right?)

About three hours of work produced six jars of pickles and two jars of pickled beets:
That seems like a lot of time to me, but like I said, it should get better...

Later I dealt with what was still left of last year's produce: popcorn. I gave you video of us processing it last Christmas, and it has sat in that rubbermaid tub ever since! (Well, we've eaten a lot of it.)

One bad thing was that it still had a lot of chaff and bits of corn silk so I took it all outside and winnowed it in the wind. That got rid of most of the chaff and we shouldn't have such messy counters when we make popcorn now. (The air popper can really blow that stuff around!) Eating corn silk is not so nice either.

After the winnowing, I gathered up a bunch of the containers Troy collects and filled them with popping corn.
And look at that, I even found a "What's Poppin'" tin.

We put the popcorn on a new shelf in the shop, the beginning of our food storage out there. With the basement being so damp, it does not work well for food storage. So out to the dry cool shop it goes! It feels a little strange to keep food in the shop, but then I realized it's no stranger than keeping a table saw in the dining room.

In addition to canning and pickling, Troy is hot to trot to dry food this year. He has been working on a homebuilt dehydrator, not being willing to spend the $300 they're asking for a lesser model:
He put the finishing touches on it this weekend having built the screen shelves some time ago.

It uses light bulbs to build up the requisite heat and a fan mounted in the base to push air through.

Here are the carrots he put in yesterday afternoon or evening:
Those were "regular" sized carrot slices and now, the next afternoon, they are tiny little pieces, and still drying. (I think we're going to be eating a lot of soup this winter!)

That's all I have for you today. Eat well!

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