Sunday, May 29, 2011

Is The Weekend Over Yet?

I did manage to spend a good part of the day outside. The ground was a little spongy because of all the recent rain, but that made weed pulling all the easier.

Heavier mulch is needed between my rows of strawberries. That darn crab grass (or quack grass, I never know which it technically is) we have was popping up all over the strawberry patch. I traveled up and down the rows on my hands and knees and got it thoroughly weeded.

Also got two raised beds planted out to salad greens, radishes, scallions and one four foot row of kohlrabi just because I had the space left at the end of one bed. I pushed to get the beds planted because rain is forecast for the next two days.

Hubby checked our honey bees while I was working in the strawberry patch and although we were separated by a bit of distance, I was attacked by a bee that he had apparently ticked off. If you've ever heard an angry honey bee, you'll not forget the sound. I had my hair covered with a handkerchief scarf and the mad bee got in under my scarf which I whipped off very quickly. He was still tangled in my hair and I could feel him crawling on my scalp. I'm not particularly afraid of getting stung, but wasn't real eager to have him zap me on the head. I ran my hands through my hair to dislodge him, hoping I didn't smoosh him enough in the process so he would sting. Every time I got him out, he would dive bomb my head again like he really wanted to be in my hair for some reason. Or had heard that a good place to inflict maximum pain was on bare scalp and that was what he was going for.

I decided to try to out run him so got him disentangled once again and headed for the house. But he stayed right with me. I ran in the back door, luckily found Papa Pea in the kitchen, yelled that I needed help and sped past him and out the front door onto the deck. I got the demented bee out of my hair again and Papa Pea tried to knock him down with a dish towel. He told me to get back in the house which I gladly did. Then he ducked in a couple of seconds after me leaving the bee outside. That was our big excitement for the day. We both escaped without getting stung, but it was close. Whew. I tell ya, homesteading can be dangerous.

In the comments section of my earlier post, Sparkless suggested that to use my plentiful supply of rhubarb, I make rhubarb pies and freeze them. So here's my question for all of you. Just what is the best way to freeze ready-made pies? Do you bake them before freezing? Or do you freeze the "raw" pie all made up, but unbaked?

Can you tell how MONGONGOUS this stalk of rhubarb is? I can hardly get my hand around it. And it's still tender. Good rhubarb!

It's been my experience that freezing the pies raw results in a soggy bottom crust when they are defrosted and then baked. But I'm wondering if the pie was baked first, then frozen and then set on the counter to defrost being serving, wouldn't that result in a soggy bottom crust, too? Anybody? Sure would appreciate you sharing any experience you might have on this topic. Thanks for any and all thoughts in advance.

20 comments:

Erin said...

I'm no help when it comes to pies, that's for sure - but I can't help but laugh at your demented bee and your valiant efforts on "not gardening" this year, you get a grade of "F", LOL, I knew you wouldn't be able to restrain yourself :)

Peggy said...

your bee story had me laughing too. As for your pie question. I freeze mine without baking. I don't thaw them before baking. I just take from freezer and pop right into a prebaked oven. It takes about 10 minutes longer to bake but crust is just fine.

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Drat. Nabbed by the Garden Police. But I did always plan on putting in salad veggies 'cause in the summer we eat one big salad a day and I would DIE without having my own fresh lettuce and stuff. (Okay, I'll take the F and go stand in a corner.)

Peggy - Welcome and thanks for commenting! Gosh, a frozen pie takes only 10 more minutes to bake? I thought it would take a lot longer. Well, you learn something every day. I'm gonna go with your suggestion and put some in the freezer. Thanks so much!

Sparkless said...

I was thinking the same thing Erin. Mama Pea is doing more gardening than I am doing and I increased my gardening this year.

Maybe the bee liked your scent and thought you were a pretty flower? Glad you didn't get stung.

I usually freeze any pies I make uncooked. Of course my pie crust isn't homemade because I can't make pie crust so I buy them. I don't thaw before cooking either and just cook. The crusts of my rhubarb pies are usually soggy anyway cause it's rhubarb and it's juicy. I'm sure others here can make a great crust that is crusty and delicious but I don't have that skill. I just put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the warmed pie and it all melts together into a soggy juicy delish mess.

Robin said...

I agree with the other comments about freezing unbaked pies. My mom used to put up about 40-50 apple pies a year so we could have an apple pie a week - and always have one hand to pop into the oven if someone came over. I don't know if this would work with rhubarb or not, but I steam my apple slices in a bit of butter and a sprinkling of sugar in a covered frying pan first, before I make up the filling - I found that pulled out a lot of the juice which tends to make even my fresh pies soggy. You also might want to experiment with arrowroot instead of cornstarch as your thickener - cornstarch doesn't always hold up as well when frozen.

Robin

Sue said...

I'm so glad you escaped the demented bee. I bet that was a sight....too bad Papa Pea wasn't running a video of it (though I'm sure you'd have smacked him in the chops if he did!)

And now a bee question for you.....
I let a man move his hives here for the summer. I now have THOUSANDS of bees up by the deck and in my garden. That's fine and all, they don't bother me in the least, but why of WHY are they doing nothing but hanging out in my flats of plants that are waiting to be transplanted and also the birdbaths?? Are they ALWAYS so thirsty, or is the result of having been moved? Don't laugh-they haven't touched my apple trees (in full blossum!) or my lilacs......just the wet soil of the flats or the birdbaths. I'm about ready to call this guy, but don't want to sound like an idiot.

Sue said...

And YES-----------I noticed too that for NOT GARDENING......YOU ARE GARDENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stephanie said...

We did planting yesterday too:) Doing a post today about it. I also just found out from the landlord that I have rhubarb (strawberry variety) growing in the front yard that I am free to use. Never tasted it before so anxious to try it...and I owe a guy at work a pie lol.

Jane said...

Did you hear the tap tap of little fuzzy feet on your window last night? I figure that bee still kept his eyes on you.

judy said...

Here I go again-trying to comment.I just made a 4 sentence comment and bang-electric goes out and the real storms have not even hit yet!I guess I should give up for the week-end,I can't form a sentence correctly.I wish I was a mouse in your pocket,would have liked to seen the bee incident!Glad your ok tho ,that would NOT have been funny.I WON'T ATTEMPT TO WRITE MORE,THE SKY MIGHT FALL.

judy said...

you see- i messed it up-I MEANT ,IF YOU GOT STUNG,IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY---BYEEEEEEEEEEEE

Karen L. said...

Oh yeah, this brings back memories of when my Dad had bees. He had some hives on farmer friends land but we always had one in the backyard of our suburban house. I remember him coming quickly in the backdoor one day and then heading out the front door to get back to the hive. There at the backdoor was one mad bee hanging around. Funny how they do that. I still have his old bee bonnet. Thanks for the "sweet" memories.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - I seriously doubt I smelled like a flower when the bee went after me! Thanks for the info on freezing pies. Much appreciated!

Robin - Thanks so much the comment and pie info. I've always used flour as thickener in my rhubarb pies but maybe I should try arrowroot. I know cornstarch doesn't do well when frozen, but I always use arrowroot in place of cornstarch anyway because the cornstarch we can regularly get is made from GMO corn. Boo!

Sue - I asked Papa Pea (aka the bee expert around here) about your bee question. He said obviously they are very thirsty (especially since going for the birdbaths with such gusto) but he doesn't know why. He said they would get nectar from your apple blossoms but it could be the blossoms aren't at the right stage for the nectar to form. Also if it's been cool that would affect the nectar flow, too. It would be interesting to hear what your local bee man said about the situation.

P.S. Hey, don't be giving me grief, too! I always said I was going to plant salad stuff for us to eat all summer. Did I plant the pumpkin patch? No, it's seeded in a first cover crop. Did I plant all the rest of my raised beds? No, most of them are already seeded in a cover crop. Did I plant the field garden? No, it's busy growing weeds. (Dang.) But soon to be seeded in a cover crop. So there.

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Yay, rhubarb! Go for it!

Jane - I don't know whether to laugh . . . or be creeped out. :o\

judy - I thought FOR SURE I was going to get stung before that little incident was all over!

Karen L. - Yep, when one zeros in on you (heaven only knows his reason), they are tenacious little buggers. Glad I spurred a good memory for you! Thanks for commenting.

Leigh said...

Oh my, that's not the kind of excitement many of us want to have! Glad you weren't stung.

Great question about the pies. I was very interested in your readers' answers. I was glad I canned pie filling, but a pie in the freezer all ready to go except baking sounds like a super idea.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - I've been thinking about putting whole pies in the freezer for some time now. I even went on line to search out some cardboard pie boxes I could put them in so they didn't stand so much of a chance of getting smooshed and would stack nicer in the freezer. Haven't ordered any yet 'cause 250 of 'em at a crack seems like a few too many!

Susan said...

Is that like having a bee in your babushka? There is nothing quite like a demented bee! I am glad you finally out-ran him. That should cover your cardio-vascular exercise for a month. Well, you have to grow SOMETHING, don't you? It is totally inhumane not to garden a little. I'm glad you asked the pie question, as I'd like to freeze a rhubarb pie or two myself. Mine, alas, is not the deep red but more the green type. Pie boxes are a good idea.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - If I end up having to order 250 pie boxes (!), I'll send some to you!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

For certain a whole new meaning to Bee in Your Bonnet :}

That is the most amazing rhubarb! No wonder you are considering pies for the peeps!!!

Mama Pea said...

APG - I'm betting the old time gals did occasionally get bees in their bonnets!

I should be considering making the time to put lots of rhubarb pies in the freezer for us!