Weekend Creations

Eliza and I spent a big bit of Saturday cleaning out any of the last remaining produce from the garden.  This included a huge quantity of peppers (both sweet and piquance) in a wide variety of shapes and colors.  We also dug up a bunch of sweet potatoes, collected our achocha fruit,  grabbed some winter squashes, and picked a bunch hyacinth beans. We also cleared out our entire basil bed.

With all the late fall garden gatherings we decided that we needed to put up some of the produce for later use.  Specifically we took care of the basil and the sweet peppers.

Lots of basil begs for lots of pesto being made.  With a food processor on hand pesto is relatively easy, though it still took time to grind everything up.  Pesto is pretty simple fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, walnuts (instead of pine nuts, cause they are cheaper and taste just as good), and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (you could use a domestic parmesan, but the real deal stuff seemed like fun).  Basically you just blend the ingredients together until you have a thick great paste.  With all the basil we made quite a ton.  What we didn’t eat on Saturday night (which was quite a bit) we froze in muffin tins for use later in the winter.

Yesterday (Sunday) we pickled up almost all of the sweet peppers we picked (just saving some of the biggest for making stuffed peppers with).  Pickled peppers can be kept pretty simple.  The brine is basically two parts water for one part white vinegar, with just a little salt for flavor.  In each jar was added some mustard seed and ground mustard powder and a ring or t wo of yellow onion.  Then it was just a matter of packing in chopped pepper rings.  The jars looked very vibrant and lovely with the array of different colored pepper rings, though after sealing in the hot water bath the green and purple pepper rings lost a lot of their vibrance (red, yellow, and orange ones still looked pretty great).  We got 21 jars canned up (a total of 15 pints).

It is a lot of fun getting to preserve the last harvest from a very successful garden.  We still need to do some stuff with the piquant peppers, probably freezing some and possibly pickling others.  We’d also like to make some additional hot sauces, just because they are a lot of fun (albeit time-consuming).

Anyways, I think Eliza got some pictures of the harvesting and processing, so I will try to put them up when they become available.

~ by Nathaniel on November 8, 2010.

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