Archive for the ‘Putting Food By’ Category

Wake Robin Farm grows ginger each year and I make sure to pay close attention to which market they are bringing it to.  Today was the day, so I left Declan with Nellie last night so I could skip milking…Life is going to be very different when he goes to the freezer…and I headed down to Portsmouth.  I hit moments after another local ginger loving foodee, and we commented on her beating me, but there was plenty for both of us, so all was well.

Most of this will find it’s way into the freezer, for use all year.  Among my plans, Pear and Ginger Chutney, Lacto-fermented Ginger Carrots, Ginger ale, Ginger Infused Vodka, Ginger tea, and for a little something in soups or skillet dishes, or to flavor my kombucha.

The tops are simmering on the stove, to create a nice base for soup.  The ginger root is so tender I used it in my garlic press!  Tonight I enjoyed a dinner of scrambled pork, with ginger, garlic, red cabbage and onions.  A side of mashed potatoes, and some Nellie Milk.  Mmmm.  I love Fall!


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It’s October.  Last year I realized of all the months of the year October is the busiest.  I’m ready for you October.  All the food is coming in, canning season is in full swing and there are lots of birds that are ready for harvesting.  I’m working through my share of the crate of pears.  Looking for Autumn Olives when I can.  Scheduling butchering days with my friend.  Trying to get the farm cleaned up and organized for Winter.  Yes, there is a lot to tend to this month.

Today the focus was corn!  A local farm, Tuckaway in Lee, was offering pick your own corn for $3.00 a dozen!  25 cents an ear for fresh ORGANIC corn.  Brilliant!  I scooted over there with mom and Jessica and we all picked to our hearts content.  I came home with 6 dozen.  Most veggies are best right after picking.  They contain the most nutrition and flavor they are going to, so last night, mere hours after picking, I shucked with the help of Christopher and the girls, blanched and removed the kernals on all but 6.  Those will be for dinner tonight!  The rest have been put into food saver bags and are in the freezer!  I used a corn zipper to remove the kernals, and what a brilliant little tool that is.  It takes off the kernals, then you can turn it around and use it to remove the little hearts and milk left on the cob.  If you do that into a separate bowl you have harvested “cream corn”!  So I have 9 pints of that frozen, too.

On my way home from the corn fields I found a great Autumn Olive tree, that had a good amount of very tasty fruit!  Awesome because this year is a bad year for Autumn Olives.  My usual spot had some, but not many at all. It was disappointing.  It’s unclear if they dropped fruit due to the very dry summer, if the birds are stocking up for the predicted hard winter, or what is going on, but my reports from friends and acquaintances all over the seacoast is the same.  There are not many Autumn Olives to be had this year.  So finding that tree was a great treat.

The tree was clearly on someone’s property, so I drove to the house to ask if I could pick.  I believe Stacy was quite sure she was encountering crazy, but at least not the dangerous kind.  She gave permission immediately to this cheerful beggar on her doorstep sporting a long linen dress, hand knit sweater, bog boots, and a vintage hat.  She did ask what an Autumn Olive was, at which point at a rate of speech brought on by the coffee I just drank which was not decaf…did I forget to ask for decaf?  At any rate, I rapidly and enthusiastically started to explain what they were, the health benefits, what I did with them.  She wanted to join me to see what I was talking about.  And how I know she didn’t think I was dangerous, she hung out with me while I picked for about 15-20 minutes.  But the amused facial expression makes me think she did tell her husband about me when he got home.  She said I can pick from any of her bushes, which I will go back to see if any more have berries, since I picked from that one until dark.

We did have a great conversation, really.  She and her husband garden, so we talked about that, and where to find local food, and all sorts of fun things. Stacy will be receiving goodies, sometime in November.  October and I still have many rounds to go, but all in all it was a first good day of the month.

Oh, and how do I get all this done?  My husband is awesome, supportive, helpful, and encouraging.  This is what I found on my Facebook page today…



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It’s fruit canning season for me.  I missed peaches this year, due to a busy schedule, but I still have plenty canned from last year, and if I want to can some jam I have a couple bags of frozen peaches, too.  Tomatoes were also canned last year to the point I had enough for 2 years, so no tomato canning happened this year either, except a batch of ketchup.

What I didn’t have enough of this year was applesauce and canned pears.  So this year they are the focus.  I do like the idea of canning enough for 2 years at a time.  This makes for a lighter load each year, because while you may be canning twice as much of one thing, it can all be done at once, so it doesn’t disrupt the rest of the schedule as much as tomatoes, then peaches, then pears, then apples…  I will can pears and apples this year, then tomatoes and peaches next year.  I hope to keep this sort of schedule going.  We’ll see what happens.  Last year I got such a great deal on peaches and tomatoes that it made sense to can 2 years at once, and this year I’ve found a great deal on pears.  I guess next year the peaches or tomatoes could have a hard year, making it hard to get them, so I’ll have to can just one year…no way to know.

This year I was able to get a crate of pears, 800 pounds, that were seconds from a local orchard.  Seconds was simply a size/appearance issue.  They are just as yummy, and fresh, and very few of them were deformed, most were because they were too large or too small to be firsts for the farm stand.  Fine with me.  I’m going to peel and cut them for canning.

I’m not processing all of them, I will be sharing with a couple of my preserving family and friends, but I will be processing 6 bushels, 300 pounds, if all goes as planned.

I’ve made up 40 quarts of applesauce so far, and will likely can another 40 or so.  I’m also collecting for cold room storage, and drying.  Apples are a very important part of our family diet.  Our girls love them.  Yesterday, while I was peeling and cutting apples, Ewoyn was eating a bowl of apple sauce and raisins for breakfast, while asking if she could have an apple for desert.

We have 3 bushels for cold room storage, and I’m glad that the apple season is so long, so I have time to collect a few more before the trees are bare…because we love our apples…

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I thought I had posted these before, but can’t find them, so here is a post with my favorite things to do with Autumn Olives:

Autumn Olive Fruit Leather:
4 cups of Autumn Olive pulp
1 Tbsp Lemon juice (optional)
2 Tablespoons local honey, or to taste.  It helps make the leather more pliable, as well as adding sweetener.

Combine one half cup of water to every 4 cups of berries and boil on the stove until the seeds have separated from the berry. You can add fresh mint if you want.  Run through a food mill or a sieve and return pulp to a saucepan on the stove. Add the honey.  Pour onto mad for your Dehydrator, or parchment paper, will work fine too.  You want it to be about 1/4″ thick, and even as possible.  Place in Dehydrator on 140 degrees for 10-12 hours. Or you can use your oven on the lowest setting, checking for doneness. You can tell if it is ready by peeling it from the parchment and by touching it in the center of the tray. When it is done it will be tacky but not sticky. Also when it has cooled it is more likely to be less sticky than when you test it when it is warm.

To store, I cut mine into strips and roll in parchment paper.  I’ve been successful storing it in the cupboard just wrapped in the paper, in the fridge, and in the cold room.  We love to eat the leather as is, or cut with a pizza cutter, into little squares and add to cookies, or muffins.  I love Autumn Olive Oatmeal cookies!
Autumn Olive Shrub

Makes on very generous quart


  • 4 cups fresh autumn olives
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (I prefer Braggs, or another brand with the mother, that has not been pasteurized.  You can use anything but the health benefits are greater when you use raw ACV.
  • 3 cups water


  1. In a large non-reactive pan (stainless steel, or enamel coated), combine all ingredients, except ACV.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook until autumn olives are soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Strain mixture through a food mill over a large bowl.  Allow to cool.
  3. Add ACV.
  4. Transfer to clean glass bottles.  Keeps for one month in the fridge.  Shake before using.

Autumn Olive Sauce

Add 10 cups of autumn olives to 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil on medium heat.  Once the berries open, all the juice comes out.  Lower heat.  Simmer 15-20 mins.  Run the juice through a food mill to remove pits.  You can add this to apple sauce, or leave as is.  I like to combine in recipes.  You could use it in a muffin recipe, too!

Autumn Olive Wine Jelly

This uses Pomona’s Pectin so you can avoid sugar, and use the honey instead.  You will need 1 box of the pectin for this recipe and it’s prepped as outlined.

Predissolve Pectin:

Bring 1/2C autumn olive pulp to a boil and put in blender/food processor.   Add 1t Pectin and process on high for 1 min. until Pectin is totally dissolved.

Make Calcium Water:

Mix ½ t calcium powder to ½ cup water.

 Make jelly with:

  • 1 1/2C chardonnay or white zinfandel
  • (or any blush or white wine)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t calcium water
  • 1/2C Pectin-autumn olive
  • 1/4C honey (or to taste)

Combine wine, lemon juice, calcium water and honey to the pan, dissolve honey and bring to a boil.  Add Autumn Olive/Pectin to the pan.  Stir 1 minute, return to boil and remove from heat.  Fill ½ pint jars leaving ¼” headroom.  Water bath 10 minutes.


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Wow.  I can’t believe how long it’s been since I blogged.  This summer was a whirlwind and I just didn’t have it in me to blog. This isn’t good because I use this blog as a personal journal, especially for my farm milestones, so I’m a little unsure of how old some of the animals are.  I didn’t log in the major events of the summer.  So I’ll try to catch up a bit.

Pigs!  We don’t have them anymore.  We had the butchered on August 4.  They were butchered, here on the farm, as peacefully as possible.  No stressful ride to the butcher.  No stress of smelling death in the air while awaiting their turn.  Simply eating grain, in their usual spot, shoulder to shoulder.  Nate Huse, a local 4th generation custom butcher came to the house with his well stocked truck.  Each pig was shot, bled and hung.  Skinned.  Placed in the truck, and brought back to Nate’s shop to be hung, and pieced.  Nate is fast, efficient, a master with a knife, and clearly cares for the animals with a great deal of peace in his manner and respect in his actions.  It was amazing to watch him work.  He processed them to our specifications, and sent them back all vacuum packed for the freezer several days later.  We have been enjoying the meat with such dishes as curried ground pork, pasta sauce, stuffed pork chops, and country style ribs simmered in cherries I put up last year.  My friend built a smoke house, and we will be smoking the hams and bacon over there in the coming weeks.  Check out her bacon!  MMMM.

Cows!  Declan is growing well.  He is still running with mama all day, spending time in his own space at night, and joining her again after morning milking.  We are going to have Nate come to butcher him this fall, before Winter hits.  We decided to try this as an experiment.  We don’t want to over winter 2 cows, that need to be separated, so that the nursing will stop.  We don’t want to have a steer while we are caring for Nellie and her new calf that will come next summer, if all goes well.  The meat should still be fabulous, even if it’s less.  Sort of like veal, but without the mistreatment associated with veal.  It’s an experiment.  We might like it, we might not, but we won’t know until we try.

Nellie is ready to be re-bred.  Truth be told, she’s past ready, so we have an Artificial Insemination technician lined up for the next heat cycle in another week or so.  We hope this takes the first time, so she will calve in early June and not need to be rebred for calving in July.  We’ll see.

The pasture area is starting to fill in with natural grasses and weeds.  I have been weeding it, to try to keep the weeds she doesn’t like to eat, out.  This month we are going to finish raking it, and start throwing down seeds and mulch, in the hopes that next Spring, Nellie will have a beautiful pasture to graze on.


Not a lot to say about them.  We’ve had a lot of loss.  Seems we had a bout with coccidiosis, that took most of one age group.  We were able to control the outbreak without employing any chemicals/medications.  So we felt good about that.  Next year we will keep chicks inside a little longer so they can get past their vulnerable age before going out into the environment.

We also had a coon that was far more successful than coons in years past.  We lost about 20-25 to that before we caught him and disposed of the little menace.

We will be selecting a breeding flock from those that remain, and hope for a better year next year.


Also a summer of losses.  We lost Mimi and Isabelle to heat.  We lost Clementine to old age, but that is a happier ending.  She was retired, so she’s been lost in the since of one less breeding does, but she’s happily playing with her friend Clarice that she grew up with.  We are enjoying the rabbit ground pens we made.  They are eating grass, laying on the ground, safe, easy to care for.  It’s really the best of all worlds.  The rabbits will be moving around the pasture after Nellie in the Spring.  I’m excited with where our rabbit herd is and the direction we are moving.


We had a couple successful hatches of Muscovy.  We crossed our chocolates with blacks, and will be selecting a male from one pairing and 3-4 females from the other, so we can start a solid breeding program with that breed.  I’m excited about how that went.

We had a rough hatching year for the Runner ducks.  They hatched very poorly in the incubator, so I tried using a broody hen.  She did much better, so next year I’ll be using a couple hens to hatch out our replacement runners.  I have not divided males and females yet, but it looks like we will have a good little new flock to join last years layers this winter.


Fail!  Seriously.  I am done with a large garden.  I scaled back this year and still found myself too busy during the critical times to maintain the thing.  My summer squash/zucchini all died.  My tomatoes (all 6 plants) were destroyed by hornworms.  I had a good crop of onions, string beans, and peppers.  My plan for next year is to sign up for a CSA and simply gardening with the girls.  I hope to create good little gardeners who can take over that part of the farm.  We’ll see.

Why was I too busy to garden, blog and get the cow bred?  I had a lot going on with my full time job.  I went to a large trade show of sorts in July, so all of June and July was spent making inventory and getting things ready to freight to Seattle WA area.  Upon return I had a lot of orders to fill, followed by my friends wedding!  It’s been a good and fun summer, but now it’s time to settle into a new rhythm.  The rhythm of fall.  Foraging, picking, canning, preserving, organizing, knitting, and all around hunkering down for Winter.

I did my canned good inventory, and am quite proud of my last year canning self.  I canned enough for last year, and for many things, this year!  I have 65 quarts of diced tomatoes and 33 quarts of peaches.  We are looking good on jams.  I will be canning apple sauce on a large scale and a moderate number or of Pears since we are down to 17 quarts.  I am hoping to can up some tomato paste, various chutney’s, a little salsa, mostly fun small batch canning.  I’m very excited to be in such good shape already.


Eowyn is now a “first grader”, so we are officially homeschooling.  We have, of course, been educating our kids since they were born.  Hours of reading, and many other hands on activities to help them make connections in their brains.  But with the official homeschooling we are working out what our rhythm is for that, as well.  The girls are excited to do their “lessons” each day, so we are off to a good start.

Bead Making!

I’m back on the torch.  The show this summer, along with some other fun things, motivated me to making spending time melting glass a priority again. It’s been fun, and I’m glad to be back.  I will share some things here, from time to time.  Here is the necklace I made to wear for the show, this summer.

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I found out about another great book!  Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing.  I’m so excited to work on some of these recipes!  Duck sausage and duck prosciutto…Oh, my!  I have big plans for the last 6 ducks that need to be butchered!  While leafing through the recipes I found one for steam roasting garlic.  Perfect!  I have a fair amount of garlic that was holding well, but time is ticking, so I took several heads and gave it a try.  Placed then in an oven safe dish, and added 1/4″ of water. Covered.

After 1 hour in the oven at 350 degrees.

A beautiful Pint of Roasted Garlic all ready to go!

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I have now finished canning 250 pounds of tomatoes.  Over 80 quarts!  I don’t do anything fancy.  I just canned them diced.  I find this to be the most versatile way, and while some have pointed out that canning them into sauce saves jars, I don’t mind walls of beautiful red jars glowing from their shelves.  I also like how fast they can when done this way.  Instead of simmering and blending and all the other stuff that can go along with canning sauce.  I also prefer a chunky pasta sauce, over the smooth version.  So for various reasons I do it my way, and that is the number one reason to can food. You get it how you want it.

In canning diced tomatoes, I remove all the skins. I just don’t like the little curled up blobs that are created by hot skins in sauce, and other cooked dished.  Well, since I have no intention of wasting the skins, I had to figure out a good use.  I don’t remember if it was myself or my mother who had the idea originally, but one said it and now we both do it.  We like to throw those skins into the vitamix and blend them smooth.  What you get is a very thick paste type result.  Perfect!  With a little time in the crockpot to let some salt and lemon juice permeate and the last of the liquid dissipate, it’s the perfect tomato paste.  I can it in 1/2 pints as recommended.

This year, however, I learned of another use.  It combines two of my favorite kitchen tools, the vitamix and the excalibur dehydrator.  Take the skin, dry them until crips, then blend until powder.  So easy, for the last of the skins on that day you don’t want to deal with blending and simmering.  I am going to try using this in homemade pasta this winter…maybe topped with some pesto…mmm.

I still have some tomatoes from my own crop, hanging on out in the yard.  Possible uses:

  • Thrown into the Vitamix whole, and turned into sauce.
  • The small plum type might be quartered and dried.
  • The Larger heirlooms might become tomato butter.

I really love tomatoes!

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