Harvest & Preserve

Three years ago, at this time, when summer was ending and fall was in the close distance and my husband and I were soon to be married, we had picked a shit load of blackberries and had big preserving plans. So much so I actually created a blog called ‘Happily married making smoothies & jam’. And indeed, it was a fall full of learning & fun in the kitchen. We made the blacberries into jam and had bags full of them in the freezer. We made chutney with the cases of mangos we got, peaches were canned. It was so satisfying.

That was our first year of doing that. Preserving our foods in that way, and prepping for winter. And it was our one year doing it, due to life changes, until now.

We are coming up on our one year anniversary of being home owners. And so even though we caught last years harvest, we weren’t really set up to do anything properly. But this year, we are back to it.

Our neighbourhood is an awesome blackberry area. We made an effort to go (almost) every day, to collect & freeze them for future jam or smoothie makings. We have a full garden, our first large scale garden we’ve had as a couple (of almost 12 years), and so having foods that can grow into the fall & winter is so exciting. We have two different kinds pear trees and 3 different kind of Apple trees. Oh the excitement (and the work) with having our own fruit trees!

We’ve collected plums from family & friends, bought large amount of local blueberries, cases of mango, peaches & bananas, all organic. We dried & freezed these. So our snacks will be tasty and our smoothies will be delish. Not to mention all the money we will save over the winter not buying frozen fruit.

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This week it’s been all about pears, as our one tree is ready, way ealier then I remember from last year. The kids love climbing the ladder and picking the (low hanging) pears. Getting them involved and starting so young with the knowledge of growing their own food & how to preserve is just great.

However, and sadly, our kitchen is so small, it’s not too inspiring to do big scale food preserving, and so I loaded up the kids, the pears and our canning equipment and headed over to my parents, for an afternoon of canning & drying.

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It’s pretty simple really, just a little of equipment & time involved. But working as a team (especially when kids are present) really is great. And getting the littles involved is so special.

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It’s quite amazing really, what you can do in a few hours and how much you can have stored & ready for yummy winter food. And it’s essentially free! (If you have the fruit trees and equipment already. Thank you wedding for all the jars, since that’s what we used as our glasses)

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Our apples, we never (so far in the 2 harvests) aren’t as abundant as our pears. Except for the crab apples, which, we aren’t as keen on, but I did make some crab apple sauce, in early August. And so our apples are mainly eaten fresh, which is a-okay with us, because those are our main fruit staple, just wish we could grow apples year round! But even though they are mainly staying fresh and cold in the fridge, we’ve dried some of them too, because who doesn’t love dried apples?!

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we have the handy dandy peeler, that’s super fun for the kids to do too.

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Our downstairs storage room, which is becoming our canning pantry, is slowly filling more and more with jars of heavenly food. Earlier in the summer I pickled for the first time, so we are set with pickles for the winter. Our deep freeze down there is full of fruit. Our cupboards have a variety of dried fruits. Our fall garden is growing & bountiful with beets, greens, Brussel sprouts, carrots and more.

The hard work pays off. I highly recommend it.

 

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