Life handed us a bunch of lemons. And carrots. And potatoes, pears, bananas… the list goes on. Not all of it was actual produce, but I’m going to skip that part and just move on to the good stuff. The stuff that won’t make me cry, scream, rant, rave, or throw things. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of that going on right now. Figures. Just when life begins to look up, someone has to come along and piss in the pool.
So, this year Tam and I decided to sign up with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where every week we get a box of fresh, local produce. When we were first looking at signing up, we weren’t sure what size box we should get: small, medium, large, or “sharing” but considering how often our offspring would show up looking hungry, we figured we could do the sharing size and everyone would be happy.
Of course, the minute we pick up our first massive box, everyone falls off the face of the earth and we have a LOT of veggies to try and eat. In one week. By ourselves.
All summer, we fetched our boxes, ate our fill and attempted to share, but had no takers. We made jams and jellies, pickles galore, and more salads than you can shake a stick at. It was all very tasty, but once work started up again, it became a royal pain the arse to figure out what to do with a head of cauliflower the size of a sports car, three potatoes, and a handful of rainbow carrots. Oh, and the zucchini. Let’s not forget the zucchini. That fucking zucchini…
Pickles, people, we made pickles. We pickled green beans, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, peppers (oh lord, that was intense!), garlic and even some onions. We froze more onions (forty pounds of them!), and made freezer slaw (YUM! Tangy purple goodness).
Now we’re drying things. Just tonight we put up seven pineapples, plenty of parsnips, a cadre of carrots, and some other oddball veggies. We’ve gone through 10 pounds of red-band bananas (sliced, dried, and devoured), pears, apples, and celery. We’ll do more of that as we finish off this last box.
Next I’ll be making pepper jelly. I have the lovely pepper juice/brine already cooked and canned, but no pectin has been added. It was an error in judgment for my first batch of pickled peppers, so I ended up with a LOT of very spicy syrup. No one told me that a) peppers shrink when cooked like that, and b) when you add jalapeno peppers to hot vinegar and sugar, without removing the seeds, you WILL drive every living creature from the house. Holy moly, that was some painful air we were breathing.
Anyway, I’ll tame some of the leftover brine with apple juice and make some damn fine pepper jelly that will make pork sing, ham hum, and chicken crow for joy. It’s amazing on crackers with cream cheese (or just about any cheese for that matter). I’ll be giving some of it away for holiday gifts, but I’ll be sure to keep enough for us.
Right now, we’re looking to get an insert for our fireplace. After last winter’s storm left us without power for five long, cold and very dark days, we decided we’d had enough and will have an insert with a cooktop installed before the really ugly weather hits. I’m really looking forward to that. Imagine, waking up to a warm house even when it’s cold outside. It will be awesome.
We’re also moving forward on our dream of owning the shop, but I’ve promised not to say anything more until we’ve made progress (which won’t happen until January).
NaNoWriMo comes up soon, and I’m all geared up and ready to go. It will mean no editing of the current manuscript, but I think a break will do me some good.
It’s a boring post, but I’m focusing on the positive. It’s better than sitting on the rooftop in the rain, throwing shit at people walking past the house. Not nearly as fun, but much safer.