This morning started with the sweetest sound of rain and prompted me to head into the kitchen for the day. I have been wanting to spend some time putting food by or as Flora says "making our winter food" but the sunny days make me feel like I should have my hands busy outdoors. With the rain of last summer aiding in the development of rot and late blight, I put up a paltry supply of tomatoes and failed to can any pickles whatsoever. My family was aghast at this realization last winter and so this season, time needed to be set aside for just this activity.
In addition to the bountiful harvest of summer, August also brings an annual influx of family and friends to the farm. Today, the house was full of cousins concocting plans and parents scheming ways to entertain in the rain. Everyone pitched in to help preserve food. Flora and I made some mint chocolate chip ice cream to serve for desert.
The list also included yogurt,
dilly beans, dill pickles
and tomato sauce.
We set the canner to boil outdoors to save room on the stove and keep the heat at bay. I love the idea of a summer kitchen outside. The summer kitchen was a concept most often seen in northern climates. The summer kitchen was outside of the house, sometimes in another building. It was the space used for canning, cooking and eating meals and washing laundry. The building would have screened in walls to permit plenty of air flow but decreasing the fly population. Traditional summer kitchens in New England were in the el between the house and the smokehouse and screened in. When I was reading about summer kitchen online, people reflect about the food memories and summer meals they remember having in the summer kitchen. I've been envisioning my summer kitchen. I searched around Google image and mostly came up with photos of beefed up grill stations on the veranda next to the pool, most likely in California or Arizona. These are called luxury summer kitchens. What I'm looking for is a little more down home...wood fired pizza oven, a propane burner for canning and big charcoal grill. I might also like a way to roast a whole pig or lamb and a pit for lobster and clam bakes....is this too much to ask? At any rate, I've been dropping hints to John and plotting the development of my future summer kitchen.
This weeks harvest:
Green bunching onions
Patty pan squash
As we were making tomato sauce, my brother and I were talking about my mother's garden full of tomatoes and the days she would spend canning in the summer. Our mom was an avid gardener in our Suburban New Jersey home. She raised beautiful flowers and ample produce to brighten our summer table. She used a pressure canner to put up the sauce, breaking all the rules for a suburban mom in South Jersey in the 70's and 80's. She was suppose to be buying in to the pre-packaged food craze taking over the nation. Now, when my parent's come over on a canning day, my mom looks on fondly and my dad says "I see you're still chopping, same as last time" and then he tells me what a good deal he got on tomato sauce at the Super Wal-Mart. I always send them home with a bit of goodness from the garden, hoping the bargain of free farm food offsets the lure of retail madness.
Yesterday's haul included 40 cans of dilly beans and cucumber pickles, 2 gallons of tomato sauce, 2 gallons of yogurt, 1 quart of mint chocolate chip ice cream and a half pound of butter.
Still left to do: pesto, salsa, ketchup, jam from berries in the freezer, apple sauce and, if the stars are aligned....pears!
And, a little note to our Flower Share CSA folks... we have reached the end of our 10 distributions. Thank you so much for letting us grace your home with flowers. We look forward to having you join us again next season.
Blessings on the meal,