Monday, July 30, 2012

Start Of Week, End of Month

Two more days and the whole month of July is gone, gone, gone. Is this summer going by fast or what? Even though a lot of us have been bemoaning the crummy gardening season, the over-abundance of heat and humidity and are ready for this summer to be history, there are still many things around here that need to get accomplished before nasty weather arrives making it too difficult to work outside . . . or inside (painting, polying) without windows wide open for good ventilation. Guess this all means I need to shift into a higher gear and sprint (shuffle faster) toward the finish line.

Hubby and I painted inside the garage yesterday. He stayed with it nearly the whole day but I only worked there 'bout half the day. I had peas to process and freeze, raspberries to pick and raspberry juice to make.

There are now ten servings of garden peas in the freezer. Many thanks to my daughter for helping me shell the peas Saturday night. Not a bad job at all when you have good help and conversation to speed things along.

I had nearly a gallon of raspberries and I hope I didn't waste them. Since Papa Pea loves canned raspberries for the juice left in the jar(!), I decided to try to make raspberry juice so he can guzzle as much as his little heart desires.

Combining a few recipes I found on the good ol' Internet, I made what is supposed to be raspberry concentrate. For a delicious (hopefully) raspberry fruit juice drink, it's to be diluted with three or four parts of water. I got just short of 6 pints of the concentrate. The pint that was a smidge short is in the refrigerator and we'll sample it this morning with breakfast. Fingers crossed it's good stuff.

We had a couple of storms roll through yesterday afternoon. Our rain gauge collected right around 3/4" of rainfall. Then overnight we got another 7/10ths of an inch. We were getting mighty dry again so all of this moisture is good to have.

Saturday I planted two beds of fall crops. One bed of broccoli and another of kohlrabi, lettuce and chard. I still want to put in some radishes, which I love, but will wait a while longer before planting those. If I could find enough room somewhere I'd plant some more shell peas, too.

Even though a lot has been disappointing in the garden, I can't complain about my kohlrabi. Kohlrabi likes to grow in cool weather and the faster it matures (usually around 45 days), the more tender, crisp and good-flavored it is. Mine that is just coming mature now was planted April 29th right before it turned really warm up here. So it has been growing in not just warm but very hot weather. It should have been ready to eat around the middle of June. Here it is the end of July and it is just big enough to harvest. BUT darned if the stuff isn't sweet and tender and we're enjoying some almost every day. Go figure.

The recent rain has brought our temperatures down a little which is a welcomed relief. Cooler temps are in our forecast for the next week and I don't think anyone will complain if that actually comes to pass.

POSTSCRIPT: We did try the raspberry concentrate with our breakfast this morning. It didn't look thick to me so I made two sample glasses: One mixed with two parts water and one mixed with three parts water. We both agreed we think we can go with even more water so I'll try four to one next.

And the flavor? Lip-smackin' good! Score one for our side. I think I've got some good raspberry juice here. Maybe I should try making some blueberry juice next? (Heck, maybe I should finally buckle down and learn how to make WINE with this luscious fresh fruit!)

29 comments:

Sue said...

Busy busy-and it's just going to get more so.
Raspberry juice sounds great. I so love homemade stuff--I always think about all those vitamins in there.....real, genuine vitamins. They say that commercially grown crops are so lacking in vitamins now-they keep taking and taking from the soil. It's nice to know our stuff is LOADED with good vitamins.

Erin said...

I freeze tons of jars of straight blackberry juice and we all love it! I mix it with lemonade!

Carolyn Renee said...

The raspberry juice sound divine! Although I think Paul would be thinking what you eventually mentioned; making it into wine!! One day. Put it on the list, right? :)

Sparkless said...

Still lots of time before winter hits. My husbands grandparents used to make their own juices. Raspberry juice sounds wonderful!

Susan said...

That sounds wonderful! I know what you mean - I am not enjoying this weather at.all. But, I am panicky about the cold weather coming before I'm ready. Eek! Boy, would I love to sample some of that raspberry juice - won't it be just what the doctor ordered on a cold February day?

judy said...

OK ,all you "juicers"I'm very thirty right now and reading about raspberry juice at your house and blackberry /with lemonade at Erin's,I'm salivating water ,WATER SOMEONE BRING ME "WATER"

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Food that really has nourishment in it! That's one of the main reasons we try to grow our own! Well, that and because we all love to work our dirt stained fingers to the bone, right?

Mama Pea said...

Erin - Mmmmm, blackberry juice! Now that has just got to have loads of vitamins and minerals in it! I'm putting some of the raspberry concentrate in my iced tea . . . super good!

Mama Pea said...

CR - Send Paul to make the wine. Or I'll send the berries to you. We must get on with this wine making!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - Still lots of time before winter hits? Promise??

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Do you sometimes think we just live in a panicky state? We're panicky about getting seeds started for the garden. We're panicky about getting the garden in. We're panicky about getting the harvest preserved. We're panicky about getting reading for winter. I'm not saying this applies to you, but I know I need to learn how to enjoy the here and now to a much larger degree. I think I could do a better job of that if I only did half of what I try to do. (Huh?)

Mama Pea said...

judy - Will somebody please bring this woman a stiff drink? Like straight raspberry juice or blackberry lemonade on the rocks??

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Well what did you do with the raspberry pulp? Inquiring minds want to know.

Mama Pea said...

Dear Inquiring Mind - I fed it to the chickens and geese. I later heard some mumblings to the tune of, "We do love raspberries but this stuff was a smidge on the dry side!"

Simply Scaife Family said...

Raspberry juice..awesome!

Stephanie said...

Oh the juice idea sounds fabulous! Will definitely have to give it a try:) What is kohlrabi? Gonna go google it :)

Anonymous said...

Oh to have fresh juice again! Did you steam the berries to extract the juice? I just received a used Meju steam juicer (for free!!)and I want to use it. Thanks for the idea of raspberries! I tasted a friend's grape juice made with the Meju--using homegrown organic Concord grapes. It was to die for!-"M"

Freedom Acres Farm said...

Mama Pea, I have two questions. The brocolli you just replanted - did you direct sow it or had you started new plants in pots and transplant? And second I'm wondering which variety of brocolli you planted this year. Thanks for these helps and all you do for us homesteaders!!!

Mama Pea said...

Simply Scaife Family - Not meaning to brag, but it is! We've been slurping it like crazy!

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family (or at least I think it is!). It grows much like a turnip except the "bulb" is above the ground and the texture is not as dense as a turnip. It's very crispy and has a cabbage flavor. I'm sure you can cook it and serve as you would turnips or rutabagas but I've always served it sliced and raw. It's excellent on a fresh veggie tray with dip.

Mama Pea said...

"M" - I added a little water to the raspberries and brought them to a quick boil, mashed them and then strained them through cheesecloth.

We've never grown grapes up here but had two arbors in Illinois and I made juice from the Concords so I know how good that is.

Mama Pea said...

Freedom Acres Farm - Of course, I wanted to start the "fall" broccoli indoors but never found the time to do it so on the 28th I put the seeds directly into a garden bed. Today I checked and they have sprouted! I tried a new variety this year instead of the De Cicco I've used for years, but which always gave me very small heads. This year I've planted a hybrid, Diplomat F1, that I ordered from Johnny's Selected Seeds. It supposedly makes side shoots after you harvest the main head but so far, no side shoots. ??? But the main heads were, indeed, nice sized so I'm happy with that.

I feel I learn so much from all the rest of you! Aren't we a great group? ;o]

Freedom Acres Farm said...

Thanks for the info. I'm not happy with the variety that I grew this year. I got a lot of brocolli but no tight heads like it should be. I might just buy whatever I find tomorrow at the store and throw it in the ground just to see what happens LOL

Mama Pea said...

freedom Acres Farm - Ah, yes, chasing the elusive tight-headed broccoli! That was one thing I really liked about the Diplomat variety . . . very tight heads. I'll be surprised if my "fall" broccoli actually matures (negativity get thee away!)but, as you say, all we can do is try. Good luck!

Mama Pea said...

And you're very welcome!

Anonymous said...

You complain when it is hot - you complain when it is too dry - you complain when it is too cold - you complain when it is too rainy - do you ever stop and just enjoy the weather for all the different forms it takes? There is no such thing as "bad" weather - it is all just weather and if you are forever complaining about what the weather is like and wishing for it to warm up, dry off, cool down or get rain - you are wasting the right-now of your life and living in the future. It is getting tiring of hearing you constantly complain - first you didn't like the cool spring - then you get warm weather that grows your beautiful crops and you beg for fall - which leads to winter and you will begin a new season of complaints.

Mama Pea said...

Anonymous - To avoid getting tired of hearing me complain, you could stop reading my blog. Just an idea. :o]

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chicken Mama said...

Anonymous, it's good to hear that you must be one of those rare individuals who never "complains" about anything. Three cheers for you. And, yeah, you'd really better stop reading or, watch out, you'll be complaining about what you read!

Peace out.