Sunday, May 3, 2009

Peggy Roger's Enrichment Class : Preparing for the Harvest

In preparing for the upcoming harvest we should first, plan what we are going to need. I like to have a thirty day planning menu. I list all the foods I need to prepare the meals and then together Gary and I plan what we need to plant in the garden.

It is possible to plant many fruits and vegetables in Rexburg, more than you would think. In our backyard we have apple trees, a pie cherry and an eating cherry tree. We have pear trees, (you need two for the pollination) and we have a peach tree. We also have an apricot tree and we are growing grapes. Strawberries and raspberries do very well.

Be sure to understand the needs of your plants and fertilize them and spray for insects on schedule. Cherry trees especially need to be sprayed regularly. If you don’t take proper care of your trees, shrubs and lawn, you can infect your neighbor’s yard.

I have had great success with the Ball Canning book. You can usually pick it up at Walmart this time of year. Directions for preparing and preserving foods are exact and easy to follow. Knowing in advance how you plan to store your food will help in knowing how much to plant as well as planning your storage in the freezer or on shelves.

Gary and I just finished harvesting our carrots and parsnips. We blanched and froze around twelve quarts of carrots. They stayed nicely in the ground over the winter. Gary covers them with layers of old blankets and a tarp.

I am including some of my favorite canning recipes. Three of them are soup bases and one is Shannon Packer’s frozen fruit cocktail recipe. Call if you have any question. 356-7229.

Homemade Tomato Soup
Prep time: 5 minutes
(Canned in advance)
16 quarts tomato juice (set aside)
Cook until tender:
1 c. chopped green peppers
2 c. ground onions
3 c. celery
Add above ingredients to tomato juice
Then mix together:
1 ½ c. sugar
½ c. salt
½ tsp. pepper
2 C. flour
Add dry ingredients to 1 quart of the cold juice, and then stir into remaining tomato mixture. Bring almost to a boil, stirring so it won’t burn. Process 12 ½ lbs. pressure for 15 minutes.

Frozen Fruit Cocktail 
(Shannon Packer)

2 cups sugar
1 lb grapes
1 2/3 c. crushed pineapple
Juice of 2 lemons (or ½ c. juice)
Juice of 3 oranges or (4 ½ cups juice)
1 cantaloupe
1 grapefruit (optional)
pears (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and freeze.

Basic Zucchini Vegetable Mix 
(Charlene Christensen)
1 c. onion minced
1 c. celery diced
2 T. margarine, melted
2 c. chicken stock or bouillon
2 c. carrots, sliced or diced
2 c. zucchini, sliced or diced
1 c. corn cut from the cob
1 c. green pepper, chopped
salt and pepper

Saute onion and celery in margarine. Add broth and carrots. Simmer for 20 min. Add zucchini, corn and green pepper and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Season. Pour into freezer container for future use in stews, soups, casseroles or squash fillings.

Bottled Stew

Fill quart jar one third to half full of sliced carrots
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. accent
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 beef or chicken bullion cube
1 Tbsp. pearl barley
¼ c. chopped onions
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/3 c. chopped celery
Finish filling the jar with potatoes. Fill with hot water leaving ¾ inch headspace from top of jar. Pressure cook at 12 ½ pounds pressure for 40 minutes.

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