Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yes We Can

Ah, August.

Today: Five quarts of vegetable beef soup, pressure canned ( a first!); four quarts of ratatouille, frozen; a full tray of 'Juliet' tomatoes dried down to about a quart. Yesterday: Seven quarts of salsa canned (plus a quart or two in the fridge), comprising two varieties of sweet bell peppers, three or four varieties of hot peppers—about half torch-blistered for that fabulous smoky flavor—tomatillos, tomatoes and onions, all from our garden. Even the coriander, toasted in a dry skillet and crushed in the mortar and pestle, came from a previous year's garden.

And man, is it good salsa! Flavorful and pungent, with enough heat to earn respect without being intimidating; I can't wait to see how this tastes in the dead of winter. And in a reversion to our old style, we cut up the tomatoes, onions and sweet peppers by hand (a process that in itself took several hours) so the salsa is chunky with recognizable bits in it, unlike the faster but somehow less satisfactory food-processor version.

By now, the freezer is filling up, and we are beginning to run out of canning jars. We're trying new things this year (drying, pressure canning) in order to balance our time with the bounty we have worked so hard to obtain. It's been quite a summer so far, and by the looks of things, it promises to be a plentiful fall as well. (That's a bit ironic; we just figured out yesterday that according to the extension service, our growing season out here is a full two months shorter than it was where we used to live. That's mind-boggling to realize in our fourth growing season.)

Keeping fingers crossed...

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