July 25, 2014

Friday Follow-Up

This week:

-- I don't like summer's heat, but I sure do enjoy harvesting summer produce from my garden. This week I picked plenty of slicing tomatoes, the first yellow pear and mortgage lifter tomatoes, the first sweet pepper and bell pepper. It's time to harvest all the onions and let them dry. The herbs are growing well and I need to prune those as well.

Yellow pear tomato. Notice those "gardener's fingernails".

-- I canned dill pickles and two batches of blackberry jam. For the first batch of jam, I de-seeded the berries by forcing them through a wire strainer. It worked, but it was quite a workout for my arm, and I got mostly juice. Cleaning the strainer wasn't fun. For the second batch, I used a food mill with a berry screen. It was much easier, and I got pulp as well as juice. Cleaning the berry screen wasn't fun, but the whole process was easier and had better results.

Why hadn't I used the food mill before? We bought it two years ago, but the clamp isn't wide enough for my formica counters. My dining table is even thicker than the countertop. This time I resorted to using a very wide board of the correct thickness (it was a shelf to a computer desk at one time), and setting it on the edge of the table. It wiggles and moves though, of course, and it would have been easier to use with another person to help. I felt rather like an octopus, trying to hold the contraption in place on the table, push down the berries into the hopper, and turn the handle, but I made it work.

-- The chickens love summer and canning season - they get all the trimmings and seeds and cantalope rinds and waste.

-- We are in the throes of the summer heat and humidity, but it didn't hit until the end of July, so I'm not complaining too much. I'm slowly working at refencing the back goat pen that goes out into the woods. I can only work for an hour or so in the morning before it gets too hot, so it's slow-going.

-- Next Wednesday I'll be guest-posting at Cultivate Nourishing's series called Homestead Kitchen Tours. Yes, I cleaned the kitchen for the occasion.


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  1. Anonymous8:01 PM

    LOL, I bought a Vittorio Strainer 2 yrs ago and just a few weeks ago got to use it. All my table & counter edges are beveled so I'll have to get another table but I will never make tomato sauce or jam without it again! That berry screen is fantastic. Kathi, an old clean toothbrush works great to clean it out.
    Jan in NWGA

  2. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:08 PM

    A toothbrush! Yes, that would be perfect, thank you so much, Jan. I agree, I will be using this strainer a lot in the future. I'll keep experimenting to find the best spot in my house to use it.

  3. Another lovely and very inspiring post, Kathi! Thank you so much for sharing:). Blessings, Kelly


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