To mark the change in seasons yesterday, we participated in several “harvesty” activities.
First, we took a walk around our neighborhood to observe the changing landscape as fall settles in. We gathered acorns, dried grasses, and leaves- pretty much anything that caught our eyes. When we returned home, we put those found natural objects together into a fall collage (with lots and lots of glue!).
The bell peppers are finally turning yellow, orange, and red in full force, so another batch of peppers got chopped and put into the freezer. (Notice that one bell pepper weighed almost 11 ounces!)
During the day, the kids helped me shell our dry beans that were ready. We had almost 4 pounds when we were finished (and there are still more in the garden to harvest!). The three varieties I grew this year are Jacob’s cattle, Black turtle, and Vermont cranberry. I was really surprised that my son stuck with the shelling until they were all done.
While we were shelling, I soaked and cooked some dried beans from last year’s garden (mostly Jacob’s cattle variety). The beans went into our dinner soup pot, along with garden carrots, onions and herbs, and a leftover ham bone. We served it with some beer bread.
Also on the burner yesterday was a big batch of tomato sauce (in the upper left in the photo above) we use for our homemade pizzas every Friday night. We roast tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic. Then we puree it down, add seasonings, and pressure can it. Fourteen pints this year so far, so we need to make 2 more batches to get around the 45 or so we will use for the year. (We make pizza almost every Friday night throughout the year, but not quite.)
At the last minute, and the kids were getting ready for bed, my husband made a trial batch of applesauce from about 2 dozen apples we gathered for free at a local park. It turned out well, and the apples are firm enough to withstand being made into pies and crisps, so I will go back soon and pick as many as I can. We have maybe 2 pints of applesauce left from last year, so canning applesauce, at least 30 quarts, is high on our priority list this fall. I’ll be scouting around the neighborhood, knocking on doors to see if we can pick apples that nobody wants. A lot of people in my neighborhood have beautiful, mature apple trees, but don’t use the fruit and it ends up on the ground for the deer to eat or to sit under the snow until spring.
Last fall when we were taking a walk at dusk, we noticed a fully loaded tree in someone’s front yard, so we stopped and asked if they would have any extra we could use, and they offered us the whole tree, if we would pick one box for them first. There were enough apples to take care of our applesauce needs for the year. All we had to do was ask.
I am enjoyed having a very productive harvesting and preserving day yesterday while it trickled rain outside. It was a great start to my favorite season of the year.
Hope you are finding ways to enjoy the changing of the seasons wherever you are!