Category: Harvest (page 1 of 3)

11 Things To Do With A Bumper Crop Of Onions

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Growing onions from bulbs is easy for a novice (or expert) gardener to do.  I regularly plant upwards of 600 a year myself.  Rarely, if ever, does a bulb decide not to grow into a large, juicy onion.

So what’s a gardener to do when an excited day in the spring garden leads to a bumper crop of onions in the fall?  I’ve got a few ideas for you…

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How To Freeze Blackberries So They Don’t Stick Together

I generally only get one morning to pick blackberries each year—two if I have a ton of time on my hands.  This means we eat fresh berries every day for about a week.  Since blackberries don’t stay fresh for long, I have to preserve the rest as fast as I can.  For me, this means I freeze blackberries until I can pull them back out either for canning jams and sauces, or baking with them.

One of the most frustrating things I hear others complain about when it comes to freezing blackberries is that they are a solid mass of berry once they get pulled back out of the freezer.

Good news:  Not only do I know how to freeze them so they come out of the freezer as individual berries, but I’m also going to share that with you.  Don’t worry, it’s easy.

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How We Dehydrate Raspberries And Use Them Later

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I was very fortunate this year to get two raspberry foraging trips.  I say fortunate because I really wasn’t planning either one.  With all the raspberries we scored, I knew I’d want to do more than just make up raspberry jam.  I made some raspberry sauce for treats, and I also had enough to dehydrate raspberries for later use.

When fall settles down into winter, I’ll start making granolas for winter breakfasts and one of our favorites is vanilla-raspberry.  There are also enough for snacks to take with us on our winter adventures.  And if any are left in the spring?  Well they make a good snack soaked in milk, or cooked into morning oatmeal.

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Getting Started Pressure Canning & Water Bath Canning

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You’ve been hearing about it all year.  You’ve even seen pictures of the beautifully filled jars in the pantries of others.  If you have homestead-y friends, then perhaps you’ve been the blessed recipient of such lovely glass jars filled with homemade foods at some point.

But when you think of actually canning foods yourself, doubt, fear, or hesitation creep in.  Your intentions are good:

  • You will learn this year.
  • You will make your own healthy foods to feed your family through the winter.
  • Your shelves will be beautifully adorned with various colors of filled mason jars this year.

Then the season comes…and goes.  What happened?  Will you ever learn?

Yes, you will.

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Make And Can Cranberry Juice At Home

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It’s nearing the end of cranberry season here, and I’ve collected all the cranberries I can to make a last batch of cranberry juice.  Cranberry juice should be a staple in every homesteader’s pharmacy stash—and let’s face it, this stuff is just really good.

When made at home, you control what goes into your juice, as well as what doesn’t.  The best part about canning it is that you don’t have to put any sweetener in it at all if you don’t want to.  Then when you’re ready to open it up, you can add it at that point if you want.

I add mine in before bottling, so that the Farmer doesn’t have to do any guessing if he opens one up later when I’m not around.

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How A Tomato Turns Red & Ripening Green Tomatoes

It’s the end of your gardening season, and it’s getting too cold at night to keep your tomatoes alive anymore.  Problem is, many of them are still green.  Do you pull them up?  Toss them out?  Let them freeze and break down and feed next year’s soil?

You could.

Or you can do what I do every year.  I never waste a tomato.  I ripen green tomatoes after the season.  There are actually many ways to get this done.  Some are easy, some are hard.  Some ripen your green tomatoes slow, and some techniques ripen them quite fast.

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How To Harvest And Store Kale

Kale is a cold weather veggie.  It is usually harvested before the heat of the summer, or in the fall.  Kale may become bitter once it starts reaching temperatures of 80 degrees or more.  However, it’s taste improves and is sweeter once it frosts (or even goes through a light snow). For us, this means it is one of the few vegetables that we can grow year round, and harvest well into our fall when most other plants have died.  Most winters, it will survive to keep producing in the spring again for us.  This is quite impressive since our average low looms near -30° F in the winter. I like to harvest it in large batches because our family likes green smoothies, and often we freeze it through the summer to get that sweeter taste.  In green smoothies we don’t notice the taste difference.  If I was going to cook it down or make kale chips, I wouldn’t harvest it during the summer. Continue reading

How To Braid Onions

If you are going to keep onions over the winter (and into the spring and possibly summer), you’re going to want to make sure they are getting plenty of air, as air circulation is key to their preservation.  There’s nothing worse than putting all your onions up for the year in a box or bucket and finding later that there was one that went bad and now you have to toss them all (or most) out.

I’ve seen different ways people put their onions up, including 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in them, wood boxes with plenty of gaps in the sides, etc.  But in my experience, braiding my onions and hanging them up in a cool, dark place (my root cellar) is the best place for them.  I make sure to check each string a couple times a month for any rotting.  I just slowly twirl the strand around, and if I find one has rotted, I just pluck it off and discard it.

By the time spring planting comes around, I usually have some onions left.  I have a trick for any of the ones that happen to start sprouting at this time so they don’t go to waste.  I’ll show you that later.  For now, let’s look at braiding them.

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How To Peel & Can Fresh Peaches Using The Raw Pack Method

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One of our favorite lunches in the winter and spring is peaches and cottage cheese.  Thanks to the peaches that we can in the fall, we’re able to have this any time we want.

It’s my opinion that it’s best to can a couple bushels all at once, rather than here and there (like I do with my tomatoes as they ripen).  I can do this by putting peaches in the freezer as they ripen, and then pulling them all out at once when I’m ready to can.  This also sets me up to peel them rather quickly.

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How To Dehydrate Onions For Long Term Storage

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We have three main ways we store our onions.  Those that will get used fresh throughout the year will get braided and hung in the root cellar.  Those that I want for canning but are ready before other fresh ingredients will often get prepared for canning and then frozen while they wait.

Others that will be used in soups and other cooking will get dehydrated.  This takes up far less space than hanging them in the root cellar.

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