Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Garden bounty

I've been busy the last few days processing lots of garden bounty. Not all of it is from my garden, but it's all fresh and local.

There's a farmer down the road that plowed up his potatoes recently. There are bunches and bunches of potatoes left on the ground and he said anyone was welcome to take what they want once the machines have gone through the field. (Is it any coincidence that my mother just mentioned that she'd like to get 50 pounds of potatoes? I don't think so!)

A friend from church knows the farmer and stopped at one of the fields (yes, there are several!). He got several bushels and shared a bunch with us. He said I'd have to pick through them because there were a few bad ones in the bunch, but I haven't found a bad one yet. These look better than anything I've ever bought at the store.

Here's part of the first batch that I finished yesterday:

Five quarts and twelve pints - about 11 pounds. You can't beat FREE!

I decided to can them so they'll keep until my parents get here at the end of the month. The idea is that they can just open a jar, heat them and make mashed potatoes (which is what they usually make). Most of the work is already done.

I have probably twice as many to process tomorrow (or the next day, since we're getting company). I'm thinking about making some French fries for the freezer. I'll let you know how that goes.

I also canned two more quarts of pickled banana peppers (from my garden) and froze two quarts of freezer pickles (from a friend's garden).

Someone asked about how I do the actual canning. I could do a lengthy post, but I might omit something and you'd end up with botulism. :) How about I refer you to my online source for canning instructions? You can find the instructions for potatoes here. They have lots more instructions on their site. Maybe someday I'll break down and buy the Ball Blue Book, but right now free Internet instructions suit me just fine.

(By the way, do you notice the pressure canner in the instructions? You know, the really expensive one? That's the kind I got at the auction for $3!)