I should add that a teeny-tiny part of me is loving that I get to pretend we're doomsday prepping even though I don't necessarily want to believe there are solar storms and meteors coming sometime in the near future, the idea of being ready for it and hunkering down at home, and not having to work, and getting to be thrifty and creative and make corncob dolls for my girls Christmas presents much like they did on Little House On The Prairie SOUNDS SOOOOOO GOOD TO ME TODAY.
Also, I like long, run-on sentences.
So... back to the garden. I think it's off to a really good start for the most part. The corn has a lot of catching up to do if it's gonna follow the "Knee-high By The 4th of July" saying - but I'm not rushing it. I'm secretly hoping the parsnips continue to not grow (And B... yes, it IS possible to know I don't like them even if I haven't tried them before. Thankyouverymuch). Those and the beets can just save the dirt for the stuff I like. Like peas, carrots, and potatoes. Besides, I hear beets taste like dirt anyways. Sorry if I've offended any beet-lovers.
The whole purpose of growing a garden this summer is to feed our family for the upcoming fall & winter seasons (and again, for the 3-6 months we may or may not be without electricity at some point sometime). There are 5 kids and 3 adults living under our roof these days, and after realizing I was spending $5-6 per week on pickles alone, something HAD to be done! So we made a plan, and found a relative who was generous enough to offer us all his canning jars that he used to use when he canned foods for their whole family until their kids grew up, totally ditched their family, moved into their own apartments, started their own families, and didn't come home for dinner every night anymore. *Sigh* I'm just thankful my own kids won't ever pull anything so cruel...
Moving along... we are getting lots of jars and Dad was lucky enough to get a FoodSaver for Christmas a couple of years back (boy were we thinking ahead!!) - so we're going to all learn how to can foods. One big happy canning family. Until someone screws something up and everyone picks on them for years to come. Anyone else have fun families like this?
My absolute favorite part of gardening are the strawberry plants! This is the 2nd year for some (and MAN are those plants producing berries!!!) and the 1st year for the other half. I think we have close to 50 plants, and I'd like to add another 25 plants next summer just so we can have enough to make jams/jellies and to freeze for smoothies! The ripe berries keep getting eaten as they are picked so we haven't had any to freeze so far!
Then there are the tomatoes. And the peppers. And the long sleepless nights spent finding that perfect spagetti sauce recipe. And learning how to preserve it. Do we can it? Should we freeze it? I attempted to freeze a couple batches of chili just recently, and when re-heated, it was more like chili-puree... ISH. I think having spaghetti twice a month would be perfect, and I think 30 quarts of sauce will do quite nicely. As well as 15-20 jars of salsa, 10 or so jars of diced tomatos, and several quarts of tomato juice. And maybe I'm completely off on my numbers and there are some much more experienced canners out there laughing their balls off. HA! Get it? Ball is a canning jar brand! Just some canning humor for ya'll...
Then there are the peas. Glorious, right from the pod, I'm gonna eat some every single day for my lunch, peas. And I might even share some with this girl at the office because once she shared hers with me. Us Libra's are nice and even-steven like that! Are peas hard to preserve? Seems like an awful lot of work to shell them all, and I can't imagine getting more than a half dozen cans full out of our 2 rows.... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
There. This is the extent of my gardening / canning knowledge. We also have asparagus, eleventy-seven other rows of vegetables including 4 rows of my favorite carb: potatoes. YUM. Those little fellas are so darn versatile... it just makes me happy to think about how we can get french fries, hash browns, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato soup, potato pancakes, roasted potatoes, and so many other things from one vegetable. Besides, potato's grow in the ground right alongside the carrots, onions, and beets. They're practically a health-food.
Stay tuned for the upcoming blog posts likely to be titled: "Canning and how to pick shards of glass from broken jars out of your toes" and "Oops, I think we did something wrong. Again".