Tag Archives: canning

Putting the Garden to Bed


Cooler temperatures tell us it’s time to put the garden to bed and store the fall harvest to be enjoyed throughout the winter.

Fall Harvest

At my home, potatoes have been dug up (one of my favorite garden chores) and stored away in a dry, cool place.  I have now harvested half the carrots and left the other half in the ground.  The carrot tops have been removed from the carrots  in the ground and covered with 16 inches of straw.  In mid-to-late winter, I’ll be able to harvest out of the ground the sweetest, tastiest carrots ever because they over-winter well when covered deeply with straw or bags of leaves.

Store up squash and pumpkins

Store up squash and pumpkins

Also, my garden cart is heaped up full, with butternut, delicata and sweet meat squash and pumpkins.  I bake and process the pumpkins for pies and soups.

I also like to roast the pumpkin seeds for munching while they last.  One secret to tasty, nutritious pumpkin seeds is to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.

Lastly, we’re enjoying kale and swiss chard in soups and stir-fries.  More kale and chard have been frozen – hopefully enough to enjoy in soups and stews this winter and last until spring!

FermentedbeetsFermenting Vegetables

I have also just harvested the last of the beets and turnips and made fermented beets and turnips for the first time.  I learned the art of fermenting  from local fermentation guru, Maria Hodkins.  It’s not to late to ferment just about any leftover/surplus veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, onions, etc without using vinegar, pressure canners or freezers.

Fermentation, makes it’s own vinegar, so-to-speak, which is actually  lactic acid produced by bacteria naturally present in our environment.  Not only are the naturally occurring bacteria beneficial for health and eliminate the canning process, but the fermented veggies can be stored for months in cold storage or refrigerators.

Linda’s Old Fashioned Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup garnished with basil

Tomato Soup garnished with basil

1. Linda’s Old Fashioned Tomato Soup

1/3 cup butter
2 garlic cloves
4 cups sliced celery
2 onions, sliced
1 peck very ripe tomatoes (1/4 bushel or about 8 cups,cut up)
1 quart water or stock, optional
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons salt  ( or to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup honey
Melt butter in large,heavy enamel or stainless steel pot.  Saute garlic, celery and onions lightly.  Add cut up tomatoes, water or stock (I don’t always add water if tomatoes are good and juicy) and parsley.  Simmer for 30 minutes.
Put the soup through a food mill or Victorio strainer to remove vegetables, tomato skins and seeds.  This process makes a smooth, beautiful tomato soup.   Return the soup into the pot and reheat. Add salt and pepper to taste.  At this point make a thin paste of 1- 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water and slowly add into the simmering soup to thicken. ( Ed note: Linda, usually skips  that step but I prefer the soup to have a little more “body”). Add the honey.
The soup recipe can be frozen or pressure canned for 35 minutes for quarts,  20 minutes for pints to enjoy in the cold winter months ahead.
When ready to serve, you can add 1 pint milk or cream per pint of soup and 1 tsp butter and reheat but Linda’s family likes the fresh tomato taste so she eliminates  this step.  (Ed note:  My soup base was strong and flavorful that I LOVED it mixed with cream and reheated without the butter.)
Garnish the soup with fresh basil sprinkled on top with homemade croutons, if desired.  This soup is great on a cold day served with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Linda’s grand daughter is already asking for Grandma Linda’s tomato soup and she is only three.