Thursday, September 16, 2010

15 quarts plus dinner!

I bought 2 cases of tomatoes from the Farmer's Market and was given a few more tomatoes by my sister in law.From this I got 16 quarts of tomato sauce (one broke :( so 15). $24 a case for organic tomatoes,8 quarts or so per case of thin sauce. $3 per quart. Not fantastic, but still cheaper than store-bought. I would like to can 30 more quarts this year so to reduce the costs I am going to look into U-pick, ( can all the juice too.I think I could have had at least 4 quarts or so of juice for broth because squeezing out all the seeds and juice was MESSY! I just squeezed them into the compost bucket with the skins. Next time I'll squeeze them over a bowl or pot and just strain out the seeds.Can chickens can eat tomatoes? That would save a bit on chicken feed. (Update-Yes! They can!)

Next year I plan on making either a little hoop house or open-sided greenhouse for tomatoes and basil to provide a little extra heat. Washington summers are usually not long and hot enough for them.I have some old shower doors for a roof (maybe use pallets for the sides?)and some bamboo and clear plastic for a hoop house.Check out this cost analysis on canning your own sauce.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Six jars of cornelian cherry jam from our foraging yesterday. It needed quite a bit of sweetening but it tastes quite nice.It is tart like cranberry sauce.I think it would be very tasty with something savory. One jar was old and of an odd size so the lid wouldn't fit. I'll try that one out tonight on some mushroom loaf.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A side benefit to walking your neighborhood

As R and I were taking a short walk the other evening we came upon a giant community mulch/yard waste dumping pile. I began to get excited at the composting possibilities. R spotted some cast-off flowers near the top so I clambered up to retrieve them for her.Then I noticed the huge bamboo poles lying on top. I had been wishing for some of these for staking and child fort/tepee making. There were also piles of lovely, fragrant pine needles. Their scent reminded me of a childhood spent under my beloved giant ponderosa pine trees. We returned with the car to haul as many 5 gallon buckets and garbage cans as we could back home.Treasure! Most of the bamboo was so long I had to leave the hatch open on the way home. Luckily we were only a few blocks away. We have lived here six years and I had never seen this pile before. Obviously I need to walk about more often! We also found some giant evergreen logs up for grabs a few streets down.Next years' firewood.The bounty is there if you just look for it and are not afraid to look uncool scrabbling around in grass clippings.

Biking and Foraging

Biked my newly self-repaired bike over to Friendly Grove park today. R played with some friends for a while.As we were leaving she noticed red fruits in the small trees in the park. I thought I remembered one of the unschooling families we hang out with mention that they were edible cornelian cherries. So we foraged quite a number of them (most of the low-hanging fruit) and biked home. I checked google to be reasonably sure of what we have and am now cooking them up on the stove. I see jam and crumble in our future. And future trips (with a step ladder in tow). I find there is a special thrill in foraging.Recognizing beautiful valuable things in plain site no one else seems to see.

Thursday, September 2, 2010