Sunday, October 30, 2016

Our Week in Words

'Twas a good and profitable week gone by.  Lots accomplished around here, but the most effort by yours truly was put into getting the last produce out of the garden and processed.


All the cabbages were harvested, stripped of their outer leaves and stored snug in the root cellar.


I kept this red cabbage head to start using right away.  (The other red heads are underneath the green ones shown above.)  We both like boiled cabbage (with butter, salt and pepper . . . mmmm, good) as a vegetable, I use cabbage in a few soups, stews and casseroles, coleslaw is a favorite, I'll make some of the cabbage into kimchi and we'll probably make a batch or two of sauerkraut sometime early this winter.

The Brussels sprout "trees" were logged taken down with a saw (no fooling), the roots dug out with a spading fork and a little muscle, the sprouts cut from the monster stems (the denuded stems Papa Pea suggested we use as firewood . . . I think he was half serious), then the gazillion sprouts cleaned (only took me close to three hours . . . ugh) and then processed for the freezer.  I ended up with twenty-two servings (meals) of Brussels sprouts waiting to be consumed over the coming winter months.  (I regret not taking any pictures of this whole operation, but simply failed to do so.)


Oven roasting the pie pumpkins, prepping the pulp into puree, and getting it into the freezer took most of one day.  (Isn't it just amazing how long a "simple" task can take?  When it's jotted down on the To Do List, time allotted for it is guesstimated to be . . . oh, a couple of hours, at the very most.)  I ended up with seven 2-cup packages of pumpkin puree.  Papa Pea said, "Oh, good.  We can have a pumpkin pie each month from now on for seven months!"  I saved all the pumpkin seeds and now need to look up how to roast them for our snacking pleasure (and nutrition).  It's something I've never done before so this will be a new experiment adventure.

This past Wednesday, daughter and her guy (a first-time experience for him) jumped in to help us butcher some old hens and the over-run of roosters from chicks started this past spring.  It's great to have some chicken meat in the freezer once again.  And a good job to have over and done with.  Many thanks to our willing helpers!


As you can see by the smaller eggs in the above basket, our new pullets have been spurred into action.  (Rest assured we did keep the chicken butchering well out of their sight, but I think word may have gotten out, "No eggs produced, no happy home in the hen house.")

Unbelievably, the long-range weather forecast calls for our unseasonably warm weather to continue for the next 10-day period.  Down to only the 40s at night (no frost) and pleasant temps during the day.  Simply . . . wow.  We can't remember a year when our late fall/beginning winter was this mild.  All the better for a myriad of things to do work-wise and recreation-wise.  Hope to experience some of both!

32 comments:

Fiona said...

Whew! Do you can any of your older chickens?

I am going to can the two "BAD' roosters when we butcher, small cubes and then I am going to try my carnita's spice with the meat when I can it. I am in awe of your cabbages!
The amount of food you don't have to buy and you know is healthy to eat is so worth the work....I tell myself this as I wash the gazillionth stack of canning and prep dishes! :)

Mama Pea said...

Fiona - I must admit to being woefully ignorant and inexperienced at pressure canning. I've always had the luxury of adequate freezer space and we so much prefer the flavor (and nutritional value) of frozen vegetables versus canned. But I must say that having the "convenience" of canned, ready-to-go meat (chicken or otherwise) would be a good thing. Our older chickens which are butchered and then frozen are always stewed for a long, slow time and the meat comes out tender and, we think, very flavorful. After stewing, I bone the carcass and then package the meat in convenient sizes for the freezer.

I love gardening and (despite my occasional grumping) love the idea of putting by a year's supply of food so, you are entirely right, it's all very much worth the work. My dear husband did all the dishes last night from my day of preserving for which I was so grateful because it certainly does always make so many dishes!

Vera said...

What a fabulous harvest you have had, .... so much effort, but so worth it, this coming from someone who absolutely understands how the conveyor belt of food processing at harvest time seems to go on and on and on......and on!!!

Linda said...

Would you share the variety of sprouts that you grew? I've planted Catskill for two summers now, have beautiful plants but not one sprout. So discouraging. I vowed I'd never try again, but maybe another variety is just what I need. Linda

Mama Pea said...

Vera - Last night after I finally finished the Brussels sprouts, I said to my husband, "Whew! Finally, that is the last of the harvesting and processing for the year!" To which he replied in a small voice, "Ummm, we still have all the apples out there." Ooops.

Mama Pea said...

Linda - Gladly! I planted an old heirloom,Long Island Brussels Sprout. Year before I used a hybrid, Churchill F1, and didn't get nearly the quantity from more plants! I think it all depends on the year and growing conditions. One never knows! Here's hoping you have better luck next summer. That really is strange in not get any sprouts on healthy looking plants. :o(

Optimistic Existentialist said...

That harvested cabbage reminds me of my late grandparents, God rest their souls :)

Mama Pea said...

Op Ex - I know what you mean. Cabbage is an "old-timey" vegetable to my mind also.

Kev Alviti said...

Good to have some help butchering chickens, it's another job that always takes longer than you think!
Next year I plan to grow more cabbages and brassicas in general. I'm going to increase the number of beds I have in production for veg so I should have more space for it! i love red cabbage with a bit of red wine vinegar when they're cooked!

Mama Pea said...

Kev - Sometimes I wonder if one can ever have enough space for all the wonderful, old and new, vegetables there are to grow. And, yes, a little red wine vinegar on cooked cabbage is lovely.

Michelle said...

MmmMmm; homemade sauerkraut!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - Yep, both hubby and I have lots of German blood in our veins so good sauerkraut is a must!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

A very productive week - everything looks and/or sounds wonderful. A great winter of delicious eating ahead.

Laurie said...

I made my first ever batch of sauerkraut this weekend. Hope it turns out. You sure have had a busy summer and fall. But oh boy, the rewards you have there is wonderful! Did you ever get any duck eggs? My husband ordered some to take camping a couple of weekends ago. I tried them....sorry to say I'm not that crazy about them. I prefer chicken eggs. We've also been very warm here. But it's normal for us. Hope you get all your chores done while it's still warm.

Kristina said...

I love to boil cabbage with potatoes and add sausage. Yum!

Mama Pea said...

JoAnn - Less activity, more good eating. Uh-oh. Must make it a point to get out for more exercise to avoid putting on my usual hibernating pounds! ;o}

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - No, we didn't get any duck eggs to eat this year and I'll admit we feel the same about them as you do. Maybe they're an acquired taste?

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - That sounds yummy! Will have to try. Thanks!

odiie said...

Don't you love the satisfaction of putting up the harvest? I turned the cabbage into coleslaw and canned it. Still have sauerkraut from last year.
We've had some killing frosts, but still getting warm temps during the day. Might have to even mow the lawn again! How weird is that?

odiie said...

P.S. Don't forget frying that cabbage with bacon. :-) And try cinnamon/sugar pumpkin seeds. I haven't yet, but they're supposed to be very good.

Katie C. said...

Have you ever roasted cabbage? I use a great recipe from the Eating Well site: Roasted cabbage with chives mustard vinaigrette. Don't skip the vinaigrette!

How do you process your Brussels sprouts for the freezer? We attempted to grow them for the first time but failed. Next year we will have to figure out a better watering plan for our community garden plot.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - Yes, indeed I do enjoy the satisfaction of having lots of food put by. Especially all that right here from our garden!

Our lawn is longer than it's ever been all summer, but hubby won't consider mowing it. He says it's better for the lawn (if you can actually call ours a "lawn") to go into winter long. Sure would look better if it was mowed though. Hrumpf.

Mama Pea said...

odiie - Oh my, frying cabbage with bacon . . . be still, my heart!

Gotta say I've seen recipes for cinnamon/sugar pumpkin seeds, but that doesn't appeal to me. Guess I'm too much of a salt freak!

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - No, have never roasted cabbage but at your suggestion I'm going to go look up that recipe. I would LOVE a mustard vinaigrette!

I chop the sprouts off the stem as close to the stem as I can. (They do not come off easily!) Inside, when I sit down to clean the sprouts, I cut the core end kinda close to the sprout (like you would to a cabbage head) and peel away any undesirable looking "leaves." Then I soak the sprouts in warm salt water for at least an hour. Drain and rinse a couple of times. Blanch small sprouts 3 minutes, medium sized ones 4 minutes, and large ones 5 minutes. After blanching, plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Then I roll them in a towel to remove as much moisture as I can before packaging them in a freezer bag.

Hope you have good luck next season growing some. They taste so much better than purchased Brussels sprouts that always have a bitter flavor to me.

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

Now that's a beautiful cabbage harvest!!! Like you we love just steamed or boiled cabbage with a little butter, salt and pepper.
If Papa Pea was serious about your brussel sprout roots using them as fire wood wouldn't they smell up the place??

OMG fresh pumpkin puree YUM!!!!
I'm coming to your house to raid your freezer :-)
Hugs,
Sandy

Leigh said...

Your cabbages are gorgeous, what a blessing! It's such a relief to read about someone's successful garden. There have been so many sad garden stories this summer that seeing a good harvest is heart warming.

Fiona said...

Canning with a pressure canner used to terrify me....but with Ralph getting me the small All American to start with I have learned. I am still cautious and careful but the jars of chicken are awesome. Tender and so quick to use in things like wraps, soups, stews, pasta dishes and the like. We did freeze some of the bigger young roosters for roasting too. I made fermented pickles for the first time this year. Oh I am babbling on....take care!

Susan said...

I can't believe those cabbages! They are beautiful! I love brassicas of any kind, but don't have much garden space. Hmm. I might just try a row next year. OR drive up to Minniesoda and sit at the foot of your driveway looking plaintive and pathetic. Sort of like a wet cat. Maybe you'd take me in and feed me... heehee.

Mama Pea said...

Fiona - Keep it up and you are going to give me enough courage to start using my pressure canner. (I have the All American, too.) We've been experimenting with fermented pickles the last couple of years and think ours from this past season are pretty good!

I always love your "babbling on" so don't stop!!

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Haha, I hadn't even thought about the Brussels sprout stems being odoriferous if they were burned! Would they??

Come by and I'll GIVE you some pumpkin puree!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Thank you for the kind words. Yes, we feel blessed for our wonderful harvest this year.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - There is plenty to share with you, m'dear!

I prefer to grow my cabbage in the field garden but I have successfully grown it in a raised bed. Don't be afraid to crowd them, you'll just end up with maybe smaller heads but they'll still be good!