I think I’m done with my summer canning, finally. It being October 17 and all, that’s a good thing. There’s still a batch of green tomato pickles to come, but I’m ready for fall. It took me a while, but I’ve squeezed in preservation breaks over the past couple of weeks. I taught some friends how to make sauerkraut and put up 10 lbs. of cucumber pickles to replace the last batch that rotted in the fridge while I was working around the clock a few weeks ago. I’ve also pickled my garden hot peppers, made from all my Eastern European pepper varieties. The pickled peppers are a much better option for those preservative-laden jalapeno slices my husband adds to nachos and tunafish sandwiches. I really like fishing out different kinds of peppers in the jar, and tasting their differences.
So now it’s fall canning time, yay! I foolishly (?) reserved 20 pounds of gorgeous cranberries grown on the Oregon coast, so I’m going to have to get crazy with cranberry recipes this year. I’m also planning to put up pounds and pounds of dried beans, since I don’t cook with beans as often as I should because I always forget to soak dried ones, I don’t like the texture of frozen ones, and the commercially canned ones have preservatives and too much salt. And I just bought a big sweetmeat squash for pies and other pumpkin goodies this year, so I’m going to can cubes of the bright orange flesh for the very first time!
I’m also in the process of buying a freezer. I’ve been unable to buy bulk meat or freeze anything in quantity, since my regular refrigerator freezer is stuffed to the gills. I love the pleasure of digging into the depths and finding perfectly good sauerkraut beef stew, for example, or roasted poblanos, or realizing I still have 2 cups of quince juice left. But right now, I can’t find anything. Every time I open the freezer, a container of tomatoes or posole or ham hock jumps out and tries to smash my foot, vengefully. I need a better tomb for these zombies.
After years of halfassedly looking on Craigslist and finally deciding to break down to buy a new old-fashioned non-frost-free chest freezer, I casually mentioned my search to a friend who said she had an extra one! I’m very much hoping this works out. Then I’ll just need to take care of the easy stuff, like, you know, finding a place to plug it in.
Soon, we’ll be eating homemade Hungry Man tv meals 24/7!