A produce production or two

June 11, 2017

Berries, and good help to pick them.

Welp, I’m going to have to set aside some time to spend in the kitchen; the season of “puttin’ up,” 2017 version, is fixing to begin to commence.

In my auxiliary refrigerator I have a dozen small heads of cabbage, which are destined for kraut. It’s a moderately labor intensive process, but the food processor takes care of the bulk of it, and salt and time the rest, so that can be dispatched relatively quickly. That, I suspect, is Monday morning. Then it can burble happily away in its “crock,” which is actually a five-gallon food-grade plastic bucket, for six weeks, until it’s ready to take out and can. And we will have kraut for another season.

More importantly, there are two gallons of blackberries in said second fridge, that I went and picked in less than 30 minutes yesterday morning. Yes, there is blackberry jam in my future! (Note to self: Go get sugar.)

I’ve been saying for ages I was going to go pick blackberries up at Scatter Creek Farms, north of me some 30-45 minutes. Last year, a summer hailstorm came through midweek before I was planning on going up that weekend, and did for the berries. This year, I figured I’d get going early. Had AGC 2 all weekend, and I decided he would probably be entertained by going to pick blackberries, and if nothing else, could romp about for a bit and wear himself out.

BIG ol’ blackberries. Didn’t take long to pick two gallons.

So up we went. It’s a great setup; vines trained on trellises, little stooping, nice, clean, grassy rows in between to walk. Convenient for little people to pick the low stuff, while big people pick the upper berries.

I took along a couple of gallon buckets in a tote, and picked them very nearly full in the span of 20 minutes and no more than 20 feet of vines. Those babies were loaded, and will be loaded for a while, based on the number of unripe berries still hanging there. AGC2 helped, albeit I think more berries went in his mouth than in the buckets. He thought the red ones looked much more attractive, but agreed after a taste test the black ones were much better tasting.

Blackberry jam is probably my favorite preserved fruit, after pear preserves (and I’ll be going that route this fall, as my stash is getting low). It was my spread of choice for a PB&J as a kid, and there ain’t nothin’ like it on a hot buttered biscuit, even if you do have to fight seeds in your teeth the rest of the day.

Stopped off at the Bader Farms booth at the Farmers Market yesterday morning and picked up nectarines; they said the freestone peaches would be coming in in about three weeks. I’ve also ordered a big box of Georgia peaches as a fundraiser for the Church Health Center here in Jonesboro, so I need to check and see when those are due in, as well. Those will get peeled, pitted, sliced and frozen, and will be available for all sorts of marvelous uses all winter long, including peach-based sauces for pork and chicken, and peaches for pies and smoothies.

Now, if I can only find a you-pick-’em blueberry place nearby; I thought Scatter Creek had them, but they say their bushes won’t be bearing much until next year. I want to make several pints of blueberry (and maybe peach, too!) barbecue sauce to can for the Christmas gift baskets. Not too early to start thinking about those; I’m contemplating the pickled eggs and sausage chunks, the firecracker pickles again, and a pint each of peach and blueberry barbecue sauce. Ain’t giving away my pear preserves or blackberry jam; sorry!

Next up, of course, will be sweet corn — I’m working my way through what’s left in my freezer now — and purple hulled peas. And it won’t be long before tomatoes start coming in, judging from the number of green ones I have on my plants. I’ll probably can tomatoes once a week for two or three months — tomatoes, tomato relish, tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste. I’m so spoiled to home-canned tomatoes; it’d ruin me to have to go back to the grocery store variety.

Sigh. Mama is laughing at me. I can hear her. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em might as well join in. And while you’re at it, come help me put some of this summer goodness up in the next few weeks and months.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: