Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Trip to the Farmer's Market

Today, while we were in town on errands we ran across a small farmer's market. There were only six booths so I wasn't expecting a lot of luck finding any vegetables we ourselves weren't already growing this year. As luck would have it I was wrong, and very glad we stopped.

We were able to buy 5 lbs. of beets to supplement our small experimental crop; 15 lbs. of blemished tomatoes to supplement our own small crop; and amazingly enough, we were able to buy 5 lbs. of small pickling cucumbers which we didn't plant this year. We were lucky enough to find an Organic Market booth selling cloves of garlic, which we use in every meal, that was nice and fresh.

We only planted four tomato plants this year but PeterC loves salsa so I had planned on making some today using the few tomatoes we had left from my last harvest. So far this year, I have managed to make 9 pints of Salsa Verde, 6 pints Corn Salsa, and today with the addition of the tomatoes from the farmer's market, I was able to make a double batch - 12 pints - of Black Bean and Corn Salsa and still have enough tomatoes left to can a batch of stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce.

The whole pickles have been turned into seven quarts of Super Whole Dill Pickles.. The garlic came in handy here since the recipe I used called for three cloves of garlic in each quart jar. The jars have only just come out of the boiling bath and have yet to make the "POP" sound that means they are sealed against bacteria and vermin. These pickles will end up in our root cellar for at least six months while the flavors of the dill and garlic mingle with that of the salt, vinegar, and sugar in the brine.

The beets have been boiled, skinned, and sliced. The jars are in the canner sterilizing and the brine has been cooked and is waiting on the stove as I write this. This is the first time I have ever pickled beets. In fact an hour ago was the first time I had ever eaten a freshly picked and cooked beet. I must say I am quite taken with the texture and flavor and am looking forward to pickled beets later in the year. I'm also looking forward to the next bunch of beets I pick from our garden as those will be boiled, skinned, and served on that evenings supper plate with butter, salt, and pepper.

So today has been a very productive day. Earlier this morning I put away 6 pints of our home grown green beans. Even though I had already been planning on salsa I was able to double my recipe. I was able to make whole dill pickles. And I am just finishing up making pickled beets for the first time. Tomorrow is another day and the list of things to do tomorrow is as long as today's list but I know that I am creating wholesome and nutritious foods for my family and I to enjoy when the dark winter comes.

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