Saturday morning, I got up early (as usual) to setup and host the farmers' market info booth. The market doesn't open officially until 8AM. I was there at 7:15 and we already had customers, so I hustled to get my shopping in while running back and forth to attend to my booth. Sheesh! That's early folks!
Anyway, the market was just covered in goodies. All the same things as last week, but with some wonderful additions like corn, pinto beans, and plums. Oh! I was in heaven!
Well, I didn't need much since I'm personally harvesting tomatoes, onions, kale, lambs-quarter, chard, collards, lettuce, green beans, basil, and sage from my backyard. Mostly what I was looking for was fruit, but when I saw the pinto beans and corn, I knew I had a canning adventure in my VERY near future.
I came home with honey, whole wheat flour, beets, onion starters (to plant in the garden), 4-1/2 pounds of peaches, 4 pounds of blackberries, 12 pounds of plums, dried cranberries, 2 dozen corn on the cob, 6 pounds of pinto beans (weighed before they were shelled), garlic, and white eggplant. What a haul!
Needless to say my 5 hours at the farmers' market Saturday morning was nowhere near the extent of my day. Saturday afternoon was spent shucking and canning 9 pints of corn, canning 5 pints of pinto beans, and planting the multiplying onions in the garden. I also tried to can some plums or blackberries, but I didn't like the way then turned out canned so I set them aside for Sunday's adventure.
Sunday, I got up early and turned the 3 quarts of blackberries into 1-1/2 batches of blackberry jam. Then my friend Pilar joined me for a second day of canning. We made one tasty batch each of plum and peach jams. Neither of us had made plum jam before, but it was absolutely fabulous! Once we'd completed the canning, we harvested some veggies out of the backyard and made a very local lunch. Yum!
Pshew! What a weekend! All that's left (for this week anyway) is to preserve the rest of my peaches. I can always can them (I found out last year that I prefer canning to freezing), but I'm considering dehydrating them instead. I have a few drying now in my dehydrator as a test batch, but it's too soon to tell. Has anyone done this?
For the future, I plan on canning another batch of corn, more peas, and more fruit yet this summer. I'm all done with jam, but the tomato harvest out of my backyard should pick up soon and I plan on canning lots of stewed tomatoes too. I'm looking forward to a full pantry for the winter and I'm well on my way. Sure, it takes a little extra time to preserve all these goodies for the long haul, but I know that come winter, when I dip into a jar of corn, mix some pintos in with my latest stir fry, or nibble on fresh local blackberries for breakfast, the good feeling of summer days will be mine yet again!
Have a great week everyone. And, as always, Happy (and mindful) eating!