Tomato Juice 18 September 2010 Tomato Juice

The tomato season is coming to a close, so the scarred and damaged tomatoes were collected, trimmed and juice was made. There was also some Okra available, so it was added. For liquid processing a liter of carrot juice previously made was added.

The tomatoes were trimmed, made into a cooked mash, strained, placed in liter jars, and pressure canned to sterilize for long term storage at room temperature. Just another convenient juice drink, which is easy to make.

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Making Carrot Juice. 16 September 2010 Making Carrot Juice.

The carrots are finished for this year, and to utilize the pristine remainder, it was decided to make carrot juice. Storage has been tried in the past and the quality deteriorates so much after a month is so that for all intents and purposes the carrots are useless for food, except in dire circumstances.

The carrots and some green tops were gently boiled until soft and were mashed using an hand blender. The mash was put through a strainer, then placed in liter jars, and pressure canned for sterilizing and long term storage at room temperature.

This is just another juice, and it utilized the carrots efficiently. Nutritional value? I have little real knowledge.

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Viking Potatoes Harvested 15 September 2010 Viking Potatoes Harvested

The Viking is a beautiful white tuber. The yield per plant is low in number, but the tubers are quite large. This is a welcome addition to any garden. The yield is 33 pounds from nine plants.

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Chieftain Potatoes Harvested. 15 September 2010 Chieftain Potatoes Harvested.

Chieftain is the king of the six types that I grow. The largest tuber was two pounds, and it was not hollow in the center. The tubers are prolific and very large.

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Alaska Sweetheart Potatoes Harvested 15 September 2010 Alaska Sweetheart Potatoes Harvested

The tubers are small and the yield of 17 pounds from seven plants is low, but may be typical, but the potatoes are excellent quality, and are utilized whole as small potatoes. The tubers have a red ring tinge, which is rather attractive. They are amongst my favorites baked or boiled.

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Agria Potatoes Harvested 15 September 2010 Agria Potatoes Harvested

Potatoes were harvest for Winter storage. This depicts the Agria, which is a fine quality potato. There was no damage with any of the potatoes and very few were discarded. They will be kept in a cold room, which is not ideal, but the best space available. About half the planted crop is depicted in the following series of four types, since the other half was utilized as required during the growing season. A total of 70 tubers were planted and 32 plants were left for winter storage.

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Okra (Clemson Spineless) 11 September 2010 Okra (Clemson Spineless)

The garden was neglected for three weeks and the Okra produced extensively. The okra was too large for ordinary use, being somewhat fibrous, so the fruit was frozen to make soft and boiled for about 20 minutes to make into a mash, and strained to remove the fiber to make juice. Two liters of juice was produced, which was pressure sterilized for long term storage at room temperature. Whether it has all the normal nutrients, I can only guess, but the process seemed better than discarding.

Okra has been grown for three years and this is the best crop produced in that time. Generally this plant is not suitable for my Zone 5.

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Concord Grapes 11 September 2010 Concord Grape

One plant in the fifth year produced 30 pounds of excellent quality grapes. The fruit was processed into 15 liters of juice with about a quarter of the juice being processing water. The grapes were washed, boiled for 20 minutes, and made into a mash, then strained to remove fiber, then placed in liter jars and pressure sterilized for long term storage at room temperature. About two pounds of grapes were used to make one liter jar of strong juice, which is about one part water to four parts grape juice of finished product.

The previous best yield from this cultivar was 12 lbs in 2008. The crop fell off the vines in 2009 due to cold wet weather.

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Russian Blue Potatoes 11 September 2010 Russian Blue Potatoes.

Ten plants were grown and the average weight was 3.2 lbs per plant. The smallest yield was 2 lbs and the largest 5 pounds per plant. From previous years three pounds per plant is about normal for a good yield. I consider anything above 2 lbs per plant to be acceptable. The potatoes keep well. When boiled or baked the purple color remains. The texture is dense, and after accepting the color, the Russian Blue is a fine table potato. There was some damage from a bug, which I think is a squash bug.

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Yukon Gold Potatoes 11 September 2010 Yukon Gold Test Box Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes were harvested today. A total weight of 23.5 pounds was harvested from the 4 by 4 foot test area. The quality is excellent. Another plant could probably be placed in the center of the area without crowding. The average weight per plant was 5.9 pounds. From my experience anything over 4 pounds is acceptable.

For reference. 19 May 2010. Test to determine quantity by weight of four Yukon Gold potatoes.

A box 4 by 4 feet by 11 inches high was made in ideal soil and location to determine the quantity of potatoes by weight that can be produced. Each plant has about a foot on each side to insure minimum crowding of the root system. The seed potato was planted just below ground level and covered with soil about two inches on top.

Soil was placed in the corners for the first hilling. After the first hilling the growing plant will be covered adequately with bedding wood chips until the end of the season.

This test is to establish by weight the quantity, and size quality of potatoes that can be grown in a small space. 26 June 2010 Yukon Gold Potato Growth in 4 by 4 foot Test Box
The potatoes were hilled once and heavily mulched. A string was tied around the vegetation to keep upright. The premise being that the more vegetation exposed to the sun feeds the new tubers. This opposed to deep hilling and hiding the vegetation.

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Corn Smut (Ustilago maydis) 22 August 2010 Corn Smut (Ustilago maydis)

When removing the spent corn stalks some corn smut was seen on two plants. The fungus has culinary prospects. Here is the URL to an article about uses of this rather interesting fungus.

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Handling Spent Vegetation from the Garden. 22 August 2010 Handling Spent Vegetation

Spent vegetation is handled by putting through the Chipper/Shredder a 10 HP Yard Machine Unit. The chopped vegetation is blown onto the compost pile. The shredding speeds up composting, and reduced the labor in removing the waste in the yard. This waste is better removed before completely dry, since it shred better than when dry. The process is easy and only takes a short time to complete. One must have a sufficient quantity to justify the cost of the Chipper/Shredder. When I had a smaller yard the process use to be accomplished with a wooden block and a machete.

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Produce Picked Today. 21 August 2010 Produce Picked Today.

A care package was prepared for a friend who lives in the city. The main crop of tomatoes, corn, is almost finished. The only item rather strange is the purslane, which grows everywhere. It is a fine addition to a salad. All the vegetables are of excellent quality.

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Pear Juice 19 August 2010 Pear Juice

Pears were converted into juice. Pictures depict the method. After processing the jars were placed in a pressure canner to sterilize for long term storage. For relatively immediate use this step can be omitted.

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Black Cherry Tomato 19 August 2010 Black Cherry Tomato

Black Cherry Tomato is dark flesh colored, and is probably my favorite small tomato. The plant is similar to Sweet Million and is equally prolific.

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Food Preservation in the Home

Food preservation is always a problem in the home. The traditional methods are boiling water canning, freezing: and storing in a cool place like the refrigerator or a cold room. All these methods have shortcomings.

Boiling water canning usually involves salt or sugar.

Freezing is fine for meat, but does a poor job on vegetables and fruit.

A cold room at best is a compromise, since temperature and humidity varies from the ideal.

Another method , which I am now practicing is Pressure Canning, which is not new, but seldom used in the typical home. With a relatively cheap canner, Presto 23 quart, food preservation can be made easy. Suppose one has made a large pot of say spaghetti, which is usually stored in the refrigerator until it spoils or used up before this occurs. With a pressure canner the spaghetti can be stored in jars and kept at room temperature for about as year. This frees up the refrigerator for food items, which can be consumed in the short term.

I have a large garden, and am flooded with fresh, pristine produce during the month of August. This year I am processing much food, mostly in the form of juice with no sugar or salt. Simply cooking and then pressure sterilizing. The method of Pressure sterilizing. 17 August 2010 Pressure Canner. This is an ongoing experiment and I have drawn no firm conclusions as to most appropriate methods for all food. My desire is to limit the consumption of commercially prepared food.

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Niagara Grapes Niagara Grapes
Twelve pound of grapes were picked from my one plant. The grapes were pristine, and were processed into juice for long term storage. Process is to place in a pot with about a liter of water to facilitate boiling. An electric stirrer was used to crush the grapes, then strained through a fine mesh. The juice as placed in jars and pressure processed (sterilized)for long term storage.

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Sovereign Coronation Grapes 19 August 2010 Sovereign Coronation Grapes.
Sovereign coronation grapes were picked, and processed into juice, and sterilized for long term use. This one arbor produced 10 pounds of perfect grapes. From one arbor ten pounds is typical and anything over this weight is excellent from my experience. Process is to wash the grapes, place grapes into a pot, (about a liter of water was added before boiling to improve the cooking process), and boil gently for about 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Strain to separate pulp from the juice, and if required immediately simply store in the refrigerator. I desire long term use, so the jars were pressure processed.

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Pressure Canning 17 August 2010 Pressure Canner.

A Presto pressure canner, 23 quart size, was purchased to enable me to process and store safely (sterilize) various juices in the cold room. This unit is the same as a typical Presto pressure cooker, of which I am familiar, except it has a pressure gauge controlled by adjusting the heat applied, and the container is larger.

Today the elderberries were processed for long term storage, up to a year in the cold room. The berries were made into juice, and placed in liter jars with the lids finger tightened, and placed in the canner, and placed on the stove. The canner was operated without the “whistler” in place until steam started to emerge to drive out the air, then placed in position.

The recipe called for 11 pounds pressure for 15 minutes. When the pressure reached 11 pounds the heat was adjusted to maintain this level for 15 minutes. Then the heat was removed, and the canner allowed to de-pressurize. The jars were removed and placed on the counter to cool. The pictures depict the simple procedure.

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Elderberry Last picking. 16 August 2010 Elderberries.

Thirteen pounds of elderberries were picked this morning and processed. Juice will be made and stored in the refrigerator for relatively immediate consumption. A Presto pressure canner has been ordered so the juice can be kept for longer periods and stored in a cold room. This is a perfect year for this fruit. The five bushes with which I am familiar still have many berries available. Observation indicates that the best berries are in the shaded part of the bushes, since direct sun dries the berries somewhat. This will be my last picking. It appears that I am the only person picking the fruit.

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Making Blackberry Juice. 14 August 2010 Making Blackberry Juice.

Many blackberries are available, so juice is being made of the excess. A container of four cups of berries is filled with water, placed in a pot on the stove and gently boiled for about 20 minutes, with periodic mashing. The cooked mash is then run through a fine mesh screen. The finished product is of fine quality and nothing added. Pure!

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Making Tomato Juice 14 August 2010 Tomato Juice

There are many tomatoes ripening simultaneously, so it was decided to make tomato juice. The most ripe tomatoes were selected, placed in boiling water for three minutes to loosen the skin, then mashed in a pot. The mashed tomatoes were gently boiled for about 20 minutes with some periodic mashing. The mash was then run through a fine mesh strainer, and presto one has pure tomato juice. Absolutely nothing extra added.

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Corn 13 August 2010 Butter Gold SE Corn
This is the first corn picked. The cobs are good quality, but the taste is marginal when they were cooked. Corn has been so modified over the years, that the old taste of 20 or so years ago has disappeared, but the cobs can be kept for longer periods in the supermarkets , without losing their non-taste. My corn is a little late this year, since a rabbit ate the first seedlings, and replanting was necessary.

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Redhaven Peach Tree 13 August 2010 Redhaven Peach Tree

There is one peach tree in the garden. It produces a fine tasting fruit. Most of the fruit has some skin damage which is Peach Scab, a fungus, but this does not penetrate into the fruit to any large degree. Apparently spraying with lime sulfur at the appropriate time can prevent this damage. There is nothing quite as tasty as a tree ripened peach, seldom encountered, unless in your own garden, since when ripe the fruit is soft and does not ship well, also it is difficult to pick without further damage.

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Tomato types 13 August 2010 Tomato types

Many tomatoes were ripe today and were picked. Pictures were taken of the stem side and the obverse to indicate typical vine ripened growth. Perfect tomatoes are seldom vine ripened. Of my selection the best for market is Supersonic VF and Lemon boy. Both are excellent in shape and are most prolific. All the dark fleshed types are usually scared, but probably have the best flavor. There is little to choose between the dark fleshed tomatoes, and side by side they appear almost identical. The Japanese Momotaro is similar to many other tomatoes and has no special features.Tomatoes have been modified so much over the years that the names in many cases have no real significance. The current hybrids are amongst the best compared to the heirlooms. There are some other types in the patch, but either so few in number or appearance, that they were not worth photographing.

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