Sunday, August 2, 2009

Putting up the beans

I thought I would share with you some of the beans I harvested today. After eating my fill for the day, I have been putting some of the beans into the freezer to enjoy during the winter. It takes just a little work but the reward of eating fresh, organic, homegrown beans is so worth it!

Here are the beans I had left to put into the freezer. I eat a LOT of beans while working out in the garden. I really like them raw and prefer to eat them this way while I can. The next best thing is the fresh, I mean REALLY fresh, frozen beans in the winter. I like to pick them and freeze them within a few hours.

The first thing I do is get a large pot lightlysalted water boiling. While the water is heating up, I also get a nice large pan of ice water ready. You need the ice water bath to stop the boiling process so the beans do not overcook. They will stay much firmer when frozen. This is a very important step!

Clean the beans and place in a colander and then plunge into the rapidly boiling water.

I cook them for only about 30-45 seconds and then IMMEDIATELY plunge into the ice water bath.

The beans will stay this beautifully green and fresh while frozen if you blanch them this way. I have kept beans frozen for over a year and had them look and taste this great.

The Foodsaver has been one of the bestinvestments I have ever made! I have had this one for 6-7 years and use it often. I have kept meat and vegetables for over a year in the freezer and have had no loss in color or flavor. I highlyrecommend them for putting up fruit, vegetables and meat for the freezer.

Today's harvest all ready to pop into the freezer.

Just in case you are curious, I use the Square Foot Method of growing my vegetables. The area I have for beans is 2'x8'. In the last 2 weeks, I have had plenty of beans to eat and share and still managed to put 13 bags into the freezer.

Happy Harvest! Kim

General garden pictures

I took a bunch of random garden pictures today and thought I would share them with you. I have been a little lax in taking care of the garden but will post a series of pictures to show you that I haven't totally given up on it. It may have a few weeds but, I have been getting lots of fresh vegetables out of it. I have so many zucchini I think my neighbors are going to lock the doors and close the curtains next time they see me coming.

What an incredible lunch I had today! I was able to harvest some romaine lettuce, green pepper, 3 kinds of tomatoes, beets, cucumber and some herbs. I added some feta cheese, olives and dressing and had a fantastic salad.

The tomatoes have turned into a jungle! I had a lot of problems with blossom end rot which put my harvest almost a full month behind. I did a lot of pruning of excess foliage today and hope it helps give the plants some better air circulation. I was able to find quite a few tomatoes that were unaffected and hope the BER tapers off so I can enjoy many more and have enough to put up for the winter.

A few of the tomatoes and some peppers I picked (forgot to take pictures before I ate quite a few). As I was pruning, I knocked off some large green tomatoes which should ripen just fine on the kitchen counter.

Some of those zucchini I mentioned. I am getting some this big and at least 3-4 every couple days. Just kidding earlier about the neighbors running. The extras I take to a local greenhouse where there is a drop off for produce to be given to Forgotten Harvest. I have been able to share quite a bit so far this spring starting with lettuce late in May.

One of my favorite vegetables, kohlrabi. Many people have no idea what this vegetable is. I think they are wonderful and am so happy to have been eating these since early spring. I winter sowed a lot of these and am so glad I did. I plan on doing them again for next year as well.

I'm not sure if you remember my experiment with planting potatoes in pots. These are just some of the ones I was able to harvest...I didn't think to take pictures before I ate a few. I am going to try growing them indoors this winter for sure! All in all, quite successful.

The last of the broccoli and the most successful. I started several plants indoors under lights early this spring and planted them outside in March. This one plant was winter sown and by far put out the largest head. My daughter was very lucky to receive the other plants I started this way and was just as successful. Another plant I will definitely start this way again next year.

Alright, not a garden picture but I thought you might like to see what I actually look like. My granddaughter has become quite good at taking pictures and this is one she snapped of me.

I also have been harvesting LOTS of beans and in the next post will show you what I have been doing with those I am not sharing and eating. Hope you enjoyed my update! Kim

Life goes on...

I thought I should take some time to let everyone know that I am still around. Things have been pretty busy since John died. With the small amount of life insurance he had, I have been fixing up the house so I won't have to worry about major things such as a roof for many years to come. I have to start thinking like a single woman now and looking at what my future holds.

I have been trying to enjoy many of the things I used to, although, the nights can get pretty lonely. Many nights I have a hard time sleeping with thoughts of "what if". You know, what if the surgery had gone different, what if he waited a few more weeks...well, I'm sure you can understand.

I'll try to do better in getting updates done. Kim