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rainbowgardener
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Harvest time & putting food by

So it is harvest season! Today here is a beautiful fall day - 70 degrees, sun, brilliant blue sky - and I am busy putting food by.

This topic has been mentioned various ways lately, but I thought I'd make a specific thread for it. Not just what you are harvesting, but what you are doing with it.

People with land like jal_ut are always showing pictures of wheelbarrows full of food. I love to see it, but my harvest is micro - jars and bottles and vials and baggies, not wheelbarrows and buckets.

So far I have canned:

tomato sauce
salsa
strawberry-anise hyssop jam
sage-apple jelly
pineapple sage-pineapple jelly (fortunately I got this made before the pineapple sage plant up and died!)
purple basil jelly

I have frozen:

garlic
onions
green peppers
lots of bags of pesto
lasagna


I have dried:

basils
sage
lavender
chamomile
thyme
oregano
rosemary
mint
lemon grass
(and I'm sure there's more I'm not remembering right now)

I have 10 half-cup tea canisters filled with various herbal tea blends and lots more to come

I have a quart of white wine vinegar sitting in a jar full of purple basil infusing and turning a beautiful color.

Today I'm going to start some olive oil infusing with sage.


So what all are other folks doing with their harvest to put food by?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

I knew there was more stuff dried -- parsley, bee balm, yarrow, and probably still more.

And lots of little vials of distilled oils: oil of rosemary, mint, sage, juniper, thyme, lavender, and others.

And lots of envelopes of collected seeds sitting around.

And of course all of this is still being added to.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

Yesterday I cleaned out and reorganized the freezer in the frig and the chest freezer in the basement, which were both overcrowded and difficult to tell what was in there. I discovered I have 14 baggies of pesto frozen already. I think it is time to stop freezing pesto. One of those bags is left over from last year. From now on, only making pesto if we are going to eat it fresh.

Time to do some green basil jelly - so far I have only done purple.

After that, any more basil will just get dried for spice jars. I don't distill much of it. Oil of basil has some medicinal uses, but it somehow isn't a fragrance you want for soaps, lotions, candles... too edible smelling.

I recently did juniper oil for the first time. I'm thinking juniper-sage or juniper-mint will be nice clean manly scents for soap for the men on my list.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

I'm going to try to emulate you, rainbowgardener. You are so industrious and you always post about seasonal organizational and gardening tasks when I probably should be doing the same.

For example, I can barely close the chest freezer right now because I haven't cleaned it out. :oops: Partly, I need to process the tomatoes into jar-able stuff. :roll: (but who knows what else are in there? :| )

Sounds like you have your holiday gift item plans and what you need to make some of them well started. Have fun and keep posting. Love hearing about all the things you make, though I must say I'm sometimes daunted. :D
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

don't be... I'm semi-retired, with no kids at home. I never did all this stuff when those things weren't true! When you are a little old lady with grown kids, you will have more time to putter like this.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

It's easy to chew on posts, but harder to get people to bite. :lol: :wink:

Have you made Kale powder. I strip the leaf from the stem and dry in my pilot light propane oven. Whirl the dry leaves in a spice mill.

Eric

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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

No... what do you do with kale powder, once you have it?

I made up herb infused oil and vinegar. Put a bunch of purple basil in a big jar and filled it with white wine vinegar and sealed. Put part extra-virgin olive oil and part regular olive oil (the EVOO is pretty intense) in a jar with sage. Left them for a couple weeks or so.

I got some of the tall narrow square jars from Specialty Bottle, where I get all my vials, tea cannisters, etc. They have the best prices, good service etc. Put one new sprig of basil in some and decanted the infused vinegar into them and likewise with the sage oil. They look beautiful! In fact the scent of the oil and vinegar is so strong, you don't really get much fragrance of the herbs. I'm going to do some more, but pack the jar with herbs this time. But the purple basil vinegar comes out such a beautiful color, really intense deep pink. The oil is kind of orange from the EVOO.

So this will be the new thing in the christmas baskets. I try to always have new things so people don't get the same stuff from me year after year. The bottles come with tight fitting corks. Do you think I need to wax seal them, since they will be sitting around for a few months?
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

I don't know if you NEED to, but wax sealing would provide opportunity for great packaging.

Are you still unable to post photos? I'm dying to see them. 8)
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

I have canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, zucchini with tomatoes and onions, green beans, baby potatoes, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, sweet relish,and apple butter. I have frozen swiss chard, carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and small packages of steamed onions, bell peppers, and celery to use as seasoning in various dishes. Enough of everything to last until next years garden starts producing again. :D
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

I made a huge pot of veggie chili with tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley, onions, garlic, herbs from the garden and carrots from the CSA. We had dinner out of it and then I froze the left overs -- enough for two more chili dinners. I'm still planning to try the green pepper jelly.

And it will soon be time to pull all the basil plants. Since I've already made all the pesto and green and purple basil jelly I can handle, I don't know what I will do with it. Some more basil vinegar, but enough to use up all the bottles I bought won't begin to use up all the basil I will have. Looking up what to do with basil mostly gives suggestions like put a few leaves in salads, sandwiches, etc. Doesn't help with what to do with a pound or more of it.

I might try this recipe:

Basil Simple Syrup:
1 bunch fresh basil, washed and stemmed
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
In a saucepan combine basil, sugar, and water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 5 minutes. Cool, strain the simple syrup, and store in the refrigerator.

Read more at: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giad ... c=linkback

use the syrup in lemonade, cakes, other desserts, on pancakes, etc. The purple basil would make it a pretty pink color. It's basically basil jelly, just not jelled.

This sounds nice and uses up a fair amount of basil:
PASTA WITH TOMATOES & GOAT CHEESE

3 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, chopped
½ lb. pasta (fresh or dried)
½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
2 T. cream
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

• In a small frying pan, heat olive oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry until soft.
• Add the tomatoes and cook until just starting to break down. Remove from heat and let cool.
• Cook the pasta until al dente; rinse, drain, and place in a serving bowl.
• Add the tomatoes, basil, goat cheese, cream, and Parmesan. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 main-course servings.

https://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705450 It says you can use more than 1/2 C basil if you want.

This recipe for basil ice cream sounds worth buying an ice cream maker for: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/ ... eam-230779

Won't help for this year, but maybe I will hint to santa to be able to do it next year!

I can still dry some and making essential oil uses up a lot of leaves, maybe I will make some oil of basil for medicinal use.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

The word that popped in my head is LARDER. Image is from the new Hobbit movie when the dwarves were raiding Bilbo's to prepare for the unexpected "tea" party. :D

Sound's great! You've both been very busy and will eat well for it all winter. 8) (OK now I'm picturing Aesop,s ants.... :wink:)

Rainbowgardener, you must have planted a lot of basil! Were these all started from seeds back in winter? Where did you plant them all?
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

Yes, it is all from seed. Whatever I can't sell at the plant sale or give away, gets planted somewhere, because I hate to throw plants away after I grew them from seed.

Lets see, I think it is four basil plants in pots on the deck (three of them purple), two green basils in the shady backyard beds, one more in the sunny front yard bed, and a green and a purple in the community garden plot. 9 basil plants. Is that a lot? :)
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

So along with the green pepper jelly I posted the recipe for, I'm infusing more purple basil vinegar and more olive oil. I have two jars of olive oil working. One is sage and thyme and the other is parsley, oregano, and rosemary. If I add some lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper, it will be salmoriglio.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

PS. So I did go ahead and add the ingredients to make it salmoriglio. The lemon juice and olive oil are pretty immiscible, so I shake it up from time to time. I must say it smells wonderful. The other herbed oils still mostly smell like oil, in this one the herb garlic smell is recognizable just opening the jar.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

You are much better than I am. Actually, I'm not good at preserving. I have some overgrown carrots headed for chopping and tilling back into the soil along with the over the hill lettuce. Since my space is limited, I try not to plant a lot of any one thing. What I do have still produces more than what I can eat at one time sometimes, but I give it away to family and friends and I get other kinds of produce in exchange. It works out. I should maybe try some to preserve more things. I do have some lemons I can juice, and it requires very little skill except for making space in the freezer. I started picking the tangerines, but I will giving some of them away. I might make some garlic basil butter. The cucumber and zucchini are just starting to produce and right now I can keep up with them. I should do more with the beans and I really should learn more about canning.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

As long as you are canning things with enough acid in them for water bath canning, it is easy. I have never done pressure canning. The things like carrots, etc that would need pressure canning I just freeze. I like frozen veggies better than canned anyway. To freeze the carrots, just wash and peel them, chop them into how you like to use them, coins or sticks, blanch them in boiling water for just a couple minutes. Then immediately pull them out (if you have a metal sieve, you can leave the carrots in the sieve and just immerse that -- makes it very easy to pull them right back out) and dump them into ice water. Leave them in the ice water until they are well cooled. Then drain them thoroughly and put them in a zip lock bag. Press as much air as you can out of the bag and seal and freeze. Other veggies are processed similarly for freezing.

I'm very generous with my friends about giving away plants I start from seed, because I have so many. I'm afraid I'm not very generous with them giving away any of the fruits of my garden. I have so little garden space, I can't come close to producing enough to get us through the winter. I do give away herbs and almost all of the jellies, jams, herbal teas, infused oil and vinegar, and stuff like that, that I make goes in the Christmas baskets.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

OK, so I forced myself to decide it is enough herbal tea already! 26 half cup canisters in 13 different recipes (which sounds like 2 of each, but is anywhere between one and four, depending on how much of what ingredients I had). Used up all the chamomile and yarrow and lemon balm (dried lemon balm that is, there's a bunch more still growing in my garden that I may or may not get around to harvesting). Cleaned up the bottom shelf of my seed growing area - the top shelf has all the finished product. The bottom shelf will soon become my work bench for making soaps, lotions and/ or whatever else like that I decide to do.

There's plenty of lavender left (some in the jar, some drying and some still in the garden) for lavender biscotti, lavender chocolate brownies, etc.
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

I can just picture your well organized "workshop" :D
...I have question -- where do you get large qty of white wine vinegar?
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

Unfortunately, just at the grocery store. I didn't take the time to look around for cheaper, though probably there is some. I didn't make THAT much. Six 500 ml (17 oz) bottles = 102 oz or about 3 quarts. I didn't buy it or make it all at once, so I never broke the bank in any one grocery trip.

In the "used up" list should have been anise hyssop also. Still have a little jar of bee balm and one of spearmint, plus lots of spice jars of herbs like basil and sage. Some of those will just go in Christmas baskets that way, for people without their own gardens. My honey makes cool labels for all of this stuff with my avatar and "rainbowgardener product" on them. :)
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Re: Harvest time & putting food by

So, I had company over and used up the last of last year's herbal tea that I had in my cupboard. Made me realize that I have all those herbal teas destined for Christmas baskets and none for me. I could of course just filch some, but instead I'm going to make up a blend based on what I have left over. So here is what I am calling "Mint and Flowers Tea": equal parts lavender, bee balm, spearmint, and rosehips (purchased, but I have some left over from what I already purchased for making the Christmas teas).

Haven't tasted it yet, but I think it will be nice.

Other possibilities: Lemony sage tea with lemon balm, sage, lemon zest (I have a bunch of lemon peels still in the frig from making lemon juice). Balmy tea with bee balm, lemon balm and mint. Etc.
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