As I mentioned in my last post, animal activity can be a good indicator that a crop needs to be harvested – and fast. After harvesting our favorite apple tree last weekend, I went to check on the grapes. Sure enough, the birds have been swinging by there too so I started that harvest. I could tell I had already lost part of the crop to birds, but we still had a lot left.
Slow and steady, I continue to harvest tomatoes. In the picture above, you can see a batch of paste tomatoes I brought inside to fully ripen. These have since become sauce. I’ve got another batch ripening right now and think I’ll be able to pick one more before the tomatoes totally give it up. Above, you also see a batch of Beefsteak tomatoes from the market. My tomatoes alone have not been enough for sufficient sauce making this year.
And here is the finished sauce! Sometimes I make a chunky sauce. This batch is smooth, made so by using the food processor on the onion, carrots, and celery. You’ll notice that the sauce is in pint jars instead of quarts. I find that a pint of sauce is just about perfect for a family dinner and I’d much rather use the whole jar at once instead of having to put leftovers in the fridge and possibly forget about (and waste) it.
Right now, the sun is shining brightly, which means I’ve got excellent weather to complete some outdoor early fall tasks. First up, we need to do a general tidying of the garden. We need to mow, weed whack, and clean out some of our spent beds. Later in the fall, after our Big Leaf Maple has dropped its leaves, I’ll create a leaf mulch from the leaves to use as a nice thick mulch for the empty beds. Also in my plans for today: garlic planting. I’m planting three varieties this time: Inchelium Red, German Extra Hardy, and Broadleaf Czech. I grew the Inchelium Red last year and saved some bulbs for planting. The other two are new to me so I had to order the bulbs. Garlic bulbs are pretty expensive so I am hoping that I’ll be able to grow enough of each variety to avoid having to purchase new bulbs next year.
Oh, I almost forgot that I’ve got another box of pears to can this weekend, even though they are a pain in the ass.
Hope you are enjoying fall so far.
You can’t avoid peeling pears. And an apple peeler (we used one yesterday) takes a lot of the fruit, though it really speeds things up. Be prepared to come away sticky–it sends out a spray of apple juice! But it peeled as it sliced and cored, and that put us way ahead. Working together, Linda, Connie and I canned 45 quarts of applesauce yesterday, 15 apiece, with the cost coming out to around a dollar a quart. Next will be finding some u-pick tomatoes that are actually ripe. The sun is supposed to come out this week, so that may help. Enjoy reading your blog!
Connie posted on Facebook about making the applesauce. I think canning as a group is a great way to do it. You can work through high volumes much faster that way. 45 quarts is a great outcome for sure! Good luck when you get to the tomatoes. I use a Roma food strainer and it is just awesome. You can find them on Amazon. We bought one for Muriel last year and she likes it as well.
Derek took care of the pear peeling, so he was the one to come away sticky!
I picked up two boxes of Yakima tomatoes and a box of pears and gala apples (Wenatchee) on my road trip this past weekend. I have sauced some of my home grown tomatoes but honestly we are mostly just getting fresh eating tomatoes and not enough to do anything else with – so I bought 50 lbs of Yakama tomatoes and am using them for canning. Did 10 quarts of diced tomatoes when I got home Sunday night and am planning to use the other 25 pounds tonight after work to do sauce and salsa. Pears will be the Wednesday evening task. Apples will be sauced but can wait until this weekend.
Your grapes and tomatoes look great and the jars of sauce on the counter are a thing of beauty. I use pint jars for sauce as well for the same reasons. Quarts of diced tomatoes work best for me, but sauce is sized best in pints.