Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Week in the Kitchen

Our race to process and preserve all the food we brought home from upstate NY at the end of August took a total of 8 days, when we cut the final corn kernels off the cobs and froze them - not as sweet as if we'd gotten to it within the first day or so, but not bad, the peaches were turned into a peach raspberry pie for a party we attended and the final pot of sauce came off the stove and went into the freezer.

We've eaten well as a result, and will all winter, but both Sander and I were pretty tired from it all. We literally sliced, chopped, pressed, strained, blanched and cooked for 8 days straight. I worked, he had the adorable one full-time during the week, and I was writing an article for work. At least my life is not boring, right?

Cool weather finally rolled in towards the end of our kitchenathon, ending a 6-day streak of hot, humid summer weather. I was grateful - we'd spent most of that time working over a hot stove, and there's nothing less appealing than that when it's 99 degrees out. Because of the heat, most of the food this year was frozen instead of canned. I have a pressure canner, and a gobzillion jars, but had neither the energy or the inclination to deal with it.

Over Labor Day weekend, as the pile of food-waiting-to-be-dealt-with was dwindling, and the 8412 tons of dishes that result from putting up the produce was dealt with, we decided to add to the pile and went apple picking. Hey, I'm not saying we're sane. But in my husband's and my defense, we love to pick apples. The smell of an apple orchard full of ripe fruit is something to be savored. My daughter, who would eat apples and almost nothing but, given the choice, was in absolute heaven. We picked a 10 lb bag (1/4 peck) but I'm guessing it was more like 18-20 pounds of them.
It was a big pile of apples. This batch is just for eating as-is, although I am tempted to turn a few into apple cake. But the next batch in early October will be for sauce, apple butter, apple anything.

Then I went out to the garden and looked at an absolutely insane amount of chard, sighed, and started picking. The first batch was sauteed for dinner guests and turned into a frittata.

But there's a lot more now. And kale. Lots of kale.

I turned the $1 butternut squash into soup last night, so all the produce we brought back is used up or tucked away in the freezer.

I like chard and kale. But now I have to figure out what to do with that, too. There's a ton of green tomatoes still out there too. I'm hoping they ripen, but if not, I'll be making green tomato preserves. I'm most appreciative of the bounty, it's just the all-at-onceness that overwhelms me. Yeah yeah, I know I do it to myself, but still.

Still, 2 weeks after the kitchenathon is over, I'm missing it a bit. My Mom is heading out to my sister's at the end of the month, and she will bring more back - most likely more broccoli, some squash, and more onions.


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