Friday, September 7, 2012

Fall Harvest Frenzy!

I'm sure I can't be the only one who has a love-hate relationship with early fall. On the one hand, the weather is often some of the best we'll get, with the more hot and humid midsummer temperatures giving way to cooler nights suitable for snuggling under covers and afternoons that are sunny and pleasantly warm without being stifling. On the other hand, it can be one of the busiest times of year in our household. All the wonderful fall harvest is coming in, which means I need to get a lot of food frozen and canned in a few short weeks!

So far, I've gotten about 10 litres of salsa (with local tomatoes, sweet peppers and jalapenos), one batch of zucchini relish, and one batch of sweet pickles canned. I have some concord grapes in the freezer that I want to make into jam (it's the thought of skinning all those grapes that's been holding me up!) and I have a wonderful-sounding Carrot Cake Conserve recipe passed along from a friend that I want to try. Depending on how the local apple crop has fared (a late spring frost killed off many of the blossoms), I may or may not be canning some applesauce. I also got three batches worth of strawberry jam and one of saskatoon jam put up earlier this season.

My freezer has already started filling with grated zucchini and sliced sweet peppers, and I've got more of both in the fridge waiting to be processed and packed into bags for the freezer. It's really wonderful to be able to pull out those local peppers in the middle of winter to toss into a soup or stir fry (not to mention the fact that the imported ones on offer in the winter are often $3.99 a pound or more - yikes!) I'll also tuck a few Roma tomatoes into the freezer. They can be frozen as-is in freezer bags, then when you want to use them, simply thaw, slip off the skins, and chop. They are great for my West African Baked Beans and would also make a great addition to winter soups and stews. Depending on how much space I have left in the freezer, I may also blanch and freeze a few heads of cauliflower, which is great in cauliflower-cheese soup and Cheesy Vegetable Bake.

What's on your fall preserving list?

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