This Week In Preserving – October 20, 2012

This has been a busy week, preserving wise, compared to others recently.  It wasn’t as productive, but I’m just happy to have made some progress at this point.

Total = 6 cups frozen zucchini, dehydrated zucchini (awaiting being made into flour), 10 pints jalapeno peppers, 8 pints salsa, unknow cups of jalapeno peppers frozen

I started the week with some zucchini that really needed to be used up.  This meant they were first on the list to deal with.  I found a muffin recipe and proceeded to shred up 6 cups of zucchini.  These were placed in the freezer in 2 cup quantities.  At a later time, this coming week maybe, I’ll take out one of those bags and double the muffin recipe.  These make fast and tasty breakfasts.

Next I pulled out the dehydrators to dry the rest of the zucchini.  What I quickly found out was that only one of my dehydrators actually works currently.  Hmmm.  Oh, and buy quickly I meant after it was already loaded with zucchini rather than a few hours later.  Well, having one that works was better than none so I put that one to work.

The rest of the zucchini got sliced with the thought that if it started to go bad in the refrigerator that I would just puree it.   Day 3 saw a second batch put into the dehydrator.  The (rather large) bowl of sliced zucchini is still in the refrigerator awaiting their turn to be dried out.  Once they are all dehydrated I will place them in the food processor and make zucchini flour.  A third batch is going in there shortly.


Next came peppers.  Jalapeno peppers to be precise.  12 quarts of them.  “No problem,” I thought.  “I’ll have these ready to can by early afternoon.”  Well, 5 p.m. rolled around before I was done with the chopping.  What happened to the time?  I’m not exactly sure.  After all my regular morning stuff, it was 9 am before I was ready to start.  Oh, I did put lunch into a crock pot, too.  Also, I did have to run to the store for some gloves before cutting, but the store was only 4 blocks away.  I did walk there, and run into a neighbor while there, chatted for a bit, then took up the offer of a ride back.  Actually I ran there as I had a little helper who wanted to literally run.  So we did.  That meant it was about 10 a.m. before we got back.  Then at 11:30 I had to stop to set out lunch and finish preparing it.  I wasn’t able to get back to the peppers again til 1 o’clock.  Well, that seems to clarify for me where the time went.  The time between 3 and 5 p.m. was the most productive.  Why?  Because I finally had gotten a system into place.

Eventually it got done.  After the house was quiet, I began the process of getting the peppers into jars and into the pressure canner. So much for doing it right after lunch. This is the first time this year I have used that canner.  So of course I perused the instruction manual to freshen up on how to use it.  In the end I had 10 jars of sliced jalapenos.  I think that will last me 2 years.  We’ll see.

While cutting the peppers I began to think about the fact that I still had tomatoes I wanted to put up.  Then I began to think about how my neighbor makes great salsa.  I hadn’t been able to do hot salsa this year due to lack of hot peppers … then I realized that I was cutting exactly that … “Salsa takes tomatoes.  And peppers. … I have red bell peppers frozen in the freezer.  Hmm. I think I’ll make some salsa too.”  So salsa got added to the list.  I made ___ pints of it.

I had peppers that were too soft to can, but which I wanted to keep from throwing away.  These went into the freezer.  Some were sliced, some diced.  They will be used in omlets and perhaps soups and other baked items.  Cornbread, perhaps?  Do this allowed me to save at least 5 or 6 cups of jalapeno peppers.

While the jalapeno peppers were in the pressure canner I started to do the salsa.  This will be my second batch, though the first contained only sweet peppers.

As for spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce or tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, well, those will have to wait for this upcoming week.  My plan is to do 50 lbs a day.  I currently have about 175 lbs sitting in my garage.  (I was able to get tomatoes from someone who went through their garden and picked all of their half ripe tomatoes.  This was a good thing as it meant I was not in a super hurry to have to do something with them.)

Just typing this out makes me tired all over again.  Howerver, the day is young.  Who know, I might get in the mood to start the tomatoes tonight.  =)

What have you put up this week?  Is your garden finished or still hanging on?