Gardening and Preserving Goals July 25th Update

This summer is the complete opposite of last summer.  Last summer, barely any rain fell, this summer it hasn’t stopped raining for more than two days at a time.

We have lost some things like the cherries, however, most of my plantings have thrived in the rainy hot weather. 

The bold items in the lists below are what I have accomplished so far for my 2017 goals.

HERBS

  1. Garlic 
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

The lemon balm finally sprouted from the seed that I planted back in May. The lemon balm plants I purchased from a nursery however died within a week of planting them. Hey, at least I got something out of all of that, right?

    CROPS

      1. Asparagus
      2. Strawberries
      3. Raspberries
      4. Blackberries
      5. Cherries Sweet
      6. Cherries Sour
      7. Pears
      8. Peaches
      9. Grapes
      10. Rhubarb
      11. Sweet Peppers
      12. Banana Peppers
      13. Eggplant
      14. Onions
      15. Shallots
      16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      17. Snap Bean Pole
      18. Peas
      19. Spinach
      20. Lettuce
      21. Cabbage
      22. Swiss Chard
      23. Beets
      24. Radish
      25. Carrots
      26. Cucumbers
      27. Pumpkins
      28. Gourds
      29. Winter Squash
      30. Zucchini
      31. Yellow Squash
      32. Cantaloupes
      33. Water Melon
      34. Sunflowers
      35. Tomatoes
      36. Celery
      37. Broccoli
      38. Potatoes
      39. Yellow Tomatoes
      40. Paste Tomatoes

      PRESERVING

      1. Strawberry Jam
      2. Grape Jelly
      3. Black Raspberry Jam
      4. Red Raspberry Jam
      5. Peach Jam
      6. Pear Jelly
      7. Apple Jelly
      8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
      9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
      10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
      11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
      12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
      13. Apple Sauce
      14. Grape Juice
      15. Pear Juice
      16. Tart Cherry Juice
      17. Pickled Beets
      18. Canned Beets
      19. Vegetable Stock
      20. Vegetable Soup
      21. Tomato Sauce
      22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
      23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
      24. Bread and Butter Pickles
      25. Frozen Corn
      26. Frozen Peppers
      27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
      28. Red Root Relish
      29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
      30.  Dilly Deans
      31. Pickled Hot Peppers
      32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
      33.  Crushed Tomatoes
      34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
      35.  Canned Green Beans
      36. Frozen Peas
      37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
      38. Chili
      39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
      40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers
      41. Frozen summer/zucchini squash
      42. Shredded zucchini 
      43. Strawberry Syrup

      I have tons to go in the preserving category but it is very early in the canning season. Typically, September and October are the busiest months for canning. 

      I added number 41 and 42 because I have been going nuts with so many squash. I put up 8 lbs of shredded zucchini and 9 quart bags of squash slices that can be used for anything from stir fries to ratatouille to soups in the winter. Yum!

      Number 43 I added because I got 16 quarts of strawberries to do something with and this syrup is wonderful on pancakes so I made a double batch!

      That’s it for now!

      What have you been up to in the planting and preserving dept? – MM

      My Gardening and Preserving Goals 2017


      Each year I try to garden with a goal in mind. My goal is always to produce and preserve as much food as we need to get us through the winter and to help me spend as little as possible at the grocery store.

      Last year I had some pretty lofty goals and fell completely flat on my face. It was a horrible growing season in 2016. Heat and drought took it’s toll on the garden and a late frost killed all of the blossoms on the fruit trees. I have never seen anything like it really.

      I revisited my goals from last year and chopped some of the harder to reach goals out.

      Here is a list of my family’s 2017 Gardening and Preserving Goals.

      Herbs:

      1. Garlic
      2. Chives
      3. Aloe Vera
      4. Dill
      5. Artemisia
      6. Calendula
      7. Chamomile
      8. Cilantro
      9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
      10. Sweet Woodruff
      11. Lavender
      12. Lemon Balm
      13. Mint
      14. Catnip
      15. Basil
      16. Oregano
      17. Parsley
      18. Anise
      19. Rosemary
      20. Sage
      21. Dandelion
      22. Thyme
      23. Nasturtium
      24. Valerian

      Crops:

      1. Asparagus
      2. Strawberries
      3. Raspberries
      4. Blackberries
      5. Cherries Sweet
      6. Cherries Sour
      7. Pears
      8. Peaches
      9. Grapes
      10. Rhubarb
      11. Sweet Peppers
      12. Banana Peppers
      13. Eggplant
      14. Onions
      15. Shallots
      16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      17. Snap Bean Pole
      18. Peas
      19. Spinach
      20. Lettuce
      21. Cabbage
      22. Swiss Chard
      23. Beets
      24. Radish
      25. Carrots
      26. Cucumbers
      27. Pumpkins
      28. Gourds
      29. Winter Squash
      30. Zucchini
      31. Yellow Squash
      32. Cantaloupes
      33. Water Melon
      34. Sunflowers
      35. Tomatoes
      36. Celery
      37. Broccoli
      38. Potatoes
      39. Yellow Tomatoes
      40. Paste Tomatoes

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      Preserving:

      1. Strawberry Jam
      2. Grape Jelly
      3. Black Raspberry Jam
      4. Red Raspberry Jam
      5. Peach Jam
      6. Pear Jelly
      7. Apple Jelly
      8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
      9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
      10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
      11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
      12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
      13. Apple Sauce
      14. Grape Juice
      15. Pear Juice
      16. Tart Cherry Juice
      17. Pickled Beets
      18. Canned Beets
      19. Vegetable Stock
      20. Vegetable Soup
      21. Tomato Sauce
      22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
      23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
      24. Bread and Butter Pickles
      25. Frozen Corn
      26. Frozen Peppers
      27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
      28. Red Root Relish
      29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
      30.  Dilly Deans
      31. Pickled Hot Peppers
      32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
      33.  Crushed Tomatoes
      34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
      35.  Canned Green Beans
      36. Frozen Peas
      37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
      38. Chili
      39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
      40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers

       

      So far, we are already doing mighty fine with our 2017 gardening goals and we have had plenty of rain too. Yippee!

      This last weekend we added 3 more raised veggie beds which brings my planting area to about 200 sq. ft. of space to work with. Yippee! Thank you Mr. Ripley for working so hard. (He said it was my Mother’s Day present).

      To date we have planted carrots, peas, radish, and lettuce but much more will be planted by the end of this week.


      How will I keep track of all of this? My journal. And lists. LOTS of lists. Should be interesting! Wish me luck and I will keep you updated. -MM

       

       

       

      Dandelion Jelly-You Gotta Try It!

      Last season I decided to try making dandelion jelly. I read people’s comments on how good it was and many of them said they would be making a double batch next year. So I figured, what the heck, why not?

      I love trying things made from foraging. We don’t spray our yard (though my husband hates dandelions) and sitting in a grassy field of yellow flowers sounded heavenly.

       

      Making the jelly is pretty simple. Certainly easier than making grape jelly.

      What you need to do is go out and pick lots of dandelion flowers about 10 cups or so. Just the flowers. No stems or leaves and no flowers that have gone to seed. You need the yellow petals only which I used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut off from their green base. Just a straight cut right across. It’s ok if you have some green bits of leaf in there too but not too much. You will need 4 cups of petals.

      Put the cut off petals in a large bowl and cover the petals with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge. You are basically making a dandelion tea and while in the fridge the petals will steep and draw the color and flavor of the dandelion out. This tea is very nutrient rich and you can drink it if you like, but I prefer the strong taste be turned into a sweet, mild jelly.

      The next day strain the petal “soup” through clean cheesecloth over another bowl and save the liquid and discard the dandelion petals. What you will have left is dandelion tea which is what is used to make the jelly. You will need 3 cups of the tea. If the liquid doesn’t measure 3 cups, add enough water to the tea to bring it up to the 3 cups needed.

      Pour the tea into a heavy bottom pot and add one package of powdered pectin and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to it. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently, then add 4-1/2 cups of granulated white sugar to it. Stir to dissolve the sugar and once again bring everything up to a full rolling boil that cannot be knocked down when stirring it. Skim off any foam. In the photo below you can see the pectin is setting up nicely in the jelly and it’s ready to can up.

      Pour the hot jelly, leaving a 1/2 inch of head space, into hot sterilized jars and with hot sterilized lids, screw the bands on. I processed them for about 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

      After the jars have cooled, label and store in a cool pantry. How pretty are these? I love the golden color!

      You might ask what dandelion jelly tastes like? Honey. Seriously, I think it tastes like honey. It’s very mild and a tiny bit earthy but I love this jelly and the main ingredient, the dandelions are FREE! I will be making a double, maybe even a triple batch of this golden goodness this year.

      It will be a couple of months before the weather in western, NY will be warm enough for dandelions to bloom, but when they do you will see me sitting out there in the yard collecting them. Hope you try it! -MM

      Here are the ingredients in recipe form again.

      3 Cups dandelion tea

      4 1/2 Cups sugar

      2 Tbsp. lemon juice

      1 box powdered pectin

      Combine dandelion tea, lemon juice and pectin into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.  Add your sugar and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and fill jars. Process 10 minutes in a boiling hot water bath. Cool, label and enjoy on a slice of homemade bread!

      My Gardening and Preserving Goals for 2016

      In past years when it comes to my gardening and preserving goals I tend to just wing it. Whatever canning recipe sounds good I’ll try. Whatever new plant or seed looks colorful and fun I’ll grow it. Unfortunately this leaves me by the end of the growing season with canned goods I will never use and produce that’s not very practical for our needs.pretty cabbages

      This year I want to have a plan in place to eliminate the guess work. In a journal I have written a carefully researched list of herbs that I want grow for their medicinal and culinary purposes. I have also thoughtfully picked out the veggies/fruits I will need for the preserving recipes I want to try and I have listed the goods I want to get preserved

      This is a VERY high achieving list. I am realistic in saying I probably will not do all of this this year but it is a goal of mine and now I will have a place to look for inspiration when I need motivation.

      Okey Doke! Here we go!

      I spent a while researching these herbs, plants and flowers and what they are used for. Many make good companion plants to certain veggies in the garden so I will most likely add those plants to the garden beds to enrich the soil and to aid its companion buddy.

      1. Yarrow (can be invasive so it will have it’s own bed)
      2. Anise Hyssop
      3. Garlic
      4. Chives (Companion for Carrots) (I grow now)
      5. Aloe Vera
      6. Lemon Verbena
      7. Dill
      8. Chervil
      9. Horseradish Companion for Potatoes)
      10. Artemisia
      11. Tarragon (Companion for Eggplant and Peppers)
      12. Borage
      13. Calendula
      14. Caraway (Companion for Peas)
      15. Bachelor Button
      16. Chamomile  (Companion for Cabbages and Onions)
      17. Cilantro
      18. Lemongrass
      19. Dianthus Clove Pink
      20. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
      21. Fennel
      22. Sweet Woodruff
      23. Lavender (I grow now)
      24. Lemon Balm (I grow now)
      25. Mint (I grow now)
      26. Catnip (grows wild around here)
      27. Basil (annual that I start from seed)
      28. Oregano
      29. Parsley (I grow now)
      30. Anise
      31. Purslane (Grows wild here and considered a weed)
      32. Rosemary
      33. Sage (I grow now)
      34. Dandelion (Also a common weed)
      35. Thyme
      36. Nasturtium
      37. Valerian
      38. Violet (Grows wild here)
      39. Pansy
      40. Eucalyptus

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      For our vegetable garden I selected plants  based on what I needed for my canning recipes and what I would use fresh.

      1. Asparagus (will not produce until year 3)
      2. Strawberries (will produce better the second year)
      3. Rhubarb (will plant this year and harvest will begin next year)
      4. Corn
      5. Popcorn
      6. Sweet Peppers
      7. Banana Peppers
      8. Eggplant
      9. Onions (My #1 priority every year for storage)
      10. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
      11. Snap Bean Pole
      12. Dry Beans
      13. Peas
      14. Spinach
      15. Lettuce
      16. Cabbage
      17. Swiss Chard
      18. Beets
      19. Radish
      20. Carrots
      21. Cucumbers
      22. Pumpkins
      23. Gourds
      24. Winter Squash
      25. Zucchini
      26. Yellow Squash
      27. Cantaloupes
      28. Water Melon
      29. Sunflowers
      30. Tomatoes
      31. Celery
      32. Broccoli
      33. Potatoes
      34. Jalapenos
      35. Yellow Tomatoes
      36. Paste Tomatoeswpid-20151014_132108.jpg

      And finally the preserving list. It’s even longer than the other two. I know, I know. It’s a lofty goal but it’s something I will try my best at accomplishing. And if I get it all done we won’t have to go to the grocery store until Spring. (Just kidding).

      1. Strawberry Jam
      2. Grape Jelly
      3. Black Raspberry Jam
      4. Red Raspberry Jam
      5. Blackberry Jam
      6. Cherry Jam
      7. Peach Jam
      8. Pear Jelly
      9. Apple Jelly
      10. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
      11. Canned Cherries in Syrup
      12. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
      13. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
      14. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
      15. Apples in Syrup
      16. Grape Juice
      17. Pear Juice
      18. Tart Cherry Juice
      19. Pickled Beets
      20. Canned Beets
      21. Vegetable Stock
      22. Vegetable Soup
      23. Tomato Sauce
      24. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
      25. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
      26. Bread and Butter Pickles
      27. Frozen Corn
      28. Frozen Peppers
      29. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
      30. Make my own pectin out of green apples
      31. Sweet Pickle Relish
      32. Dill Pickle Relish
      33. Red Root Relish
      34. Ketchup
      35. Red Hot Sauce
      36. BBQ Sauce
      37. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
      38. Dilly Deans
      39. Pickled Roasted Red Peppers
      40. Pickled Hot Peppers
      41. Spiced Red Cabbage
      42. Sweet Crisp Pickles
      43. Crushed Tomatoes
      44. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
      45. Canned Green Beans
      46. Frozen Peas
      47. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
      48. Chili
      49. Pear Juice
      50. Tart Cherry Juice

      wpid-20151014_080650.jpg

      I will also be drying the herbs and many fruits and veggies in our 2 dehydrators.

      What I haven’t mentioned is that we have 3 apple, 2 sweet cherry, 1 sour cherry, 2 pear, 2 peach and 1 apricot (1 died) and a hazelnut (1 of these died also). Plus blackberry, red raspberry, black raspberry, and blueberry bushes.

      fruit1

      So these are the goals. Am I missing anything? Am I nuts? We will find out! -MM

       

      The Last Four Weeks

      We have been so busy the last month or so that by the time we had some quiet time I was either sleeping or just doing absolutely nothing.

      Here is what we have been up to.

      My husband Scott turned the big 5-0 in November and I threw him a big surprise party. I started planning for it in July and it took lots of planning and telling fibs and lots of behind the scenes chatter with our friends and family to get him to his party without him knowing what was going on. Yes, he was surprised and I was so happy that he was happy!
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      The weekend after the big party I jumped into being the chairperson for our Rotary Club’s Pancake Breakfast. We had a great time, served lots of pancakes, and Doug got to play a minion for the morning, which was the theme for the breakfast.
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      Doug and I had another date night but this time we cooked at home together. We did shop first, to buy all of the ingredients for our meal. Grilled salmon, Swiss chard, cheesy rice and then we got a sampler box of cookies from the store for dessert that we had fun rating from 1-10. I love date night with my son. He is a great cook too!
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      I also spent the last two weeks in October canning and juicing and trying to put the garden to bed for the year. Here are a few pics of my preserving accomplishments this fall.
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      Here is quick video link of my favorite sound while I canned my grape jelly. Wait for it…

      The Professional Domestic Facebook Video

      I also have been working diligently on my project for my sweet Mom-in-Law’s Christmas present.
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      Almost done!

      Of course between work, soccer games, Church, Rotary meetings, errands, bills, cleaning, preserving, date nights, cooking, etc., life has gotten a little overwhelming.

      In the month of October both Scott’s mother and my father were in the hospital. Scott’s mom with a nasty bout of cellulitis and my dad with his second go around with colon cancer. They both are doing well and we appreciate all of the prayers and cards of encouragement we have received.

      God has blessed us with so many small moments of joy these last few weeks. We are truly grateful for the good and even the not so good because in those darker times we have learned to persevere and enjoy the moments we have with our loved ones.

      I will eventually get caught up on my Pie Challenge with you but until then I leave you with this beautiful night shot from our fall garden. Scott, Doug and I wish all of you a very happy, restful and thankful Thanksgiving this week! -MM
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