Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring in Florida means CANNING season! Also, dancing and planting.

So Mike and I have been busy lately. I've been canning and planting some things in the garden, and making medicine with some of the lovely weeds in the yard. Mike's helped with some of the larger batches of canning, but his big project lately has been to cut down some invasive trees on the property: Australian pines and Australian silk oaks. Right now he's working on stripping the bark from the trunks, then they will age/dry, and become fence posts for cross-fencing the pasture. This will be to separate fruit trees, future veggie plots, and animals. Photos of this to come in a later post.

Canning Adventures: 

I made sauce with over a bushel's worth of tomatoes. I ended up with FOUR GALLONS of sauce. I did this on Saturday night after working at the farmer's market, and I started at 730 pm after a two hour nap, and didn't finish up until 5 am. This included chopping, cooking tomatoes down for a while, draining off the juice, cooking the veggies to add to the sauce, blending it all together, and canning the sauce and the juice. I was a little crazed by the end of it... but it was necessary to stay up and get it done that night. Why, you ask? Why stay up for 24 hours with only a 2 1/2 hour nap just to finish some canning?

This is a big pot. This is four gallons of pasta sauce!

Cooler of salsa

This may look like a weird crime scene, but it's a humongous cooler with the makings of salsa. We had to use the cooler because we didn't have any other food grade container big enough to combine all the ingredients. This was close to two bushels of tomatoes, plus a slew of onions, bell, poblano and jalapeno peppers, cilantro, lemon juice, some habanero hot sauce I made last year and is a little too spicy for me to enjoy the normal way (and I like spicy!), and whatever else Mike put in. This was 5+ hours of work, and Mike finished the salsa did all the processing of the jars after I left..

Finished jars of salsa. We ended up with 35 1/2 quarts! Woohoo!

So you see, I needed to stay up so late on Saturday to finish the sauce, because I had almost two bushels of tomatoes (that wouldn't fit in the fridge) that needed to processes ASAP. And Sunday was a no-canning day, because a friend and colleague of mine was using my home as a location for shooting a video dance. Think modern dance, but with lots of editing, overlaying, etc., making the editing itself a part of the choreography. I was one of the 5 dancers involved. We spent 6 hours working on this during the afternoon and evening. So much fun! It was great to see my home turned into a rehearsal and performance space.

Wendy's solo (shot through the rose arbor, observed by Megan and Erica, Choreographer Extraordinaire)

Annamaria, Megan, Wendy, Erica, and me, with a rose arbor and cypress/maple lined pond for a backdrop :)

Annamaria, perfectly highlighted by the sunlight.

I've been busy canning for the last month, and here are some more photos of the products:

Grapefruit juice, corn, carrots, peaches, potatoes

Green beans, peaches, salsa, tomato juice

Picked jalapenos

JAMS! Peach Strawberry, Spiced Peach Blueberry Strawberry, Corncob Jelly, and Strawberry Jam


I've also been working on getting some things planted, and slowly growing a bit garden in the space around the house that's already been landscaped, and is therefor easier to work with.

I'd seen on the internet that you can re-sprout green onions and leeks, so I tried it. I used the rest of the leeks, and put the cut root ends in water, and changed the water every day until they all sprouted. I just moved them into the soil a couple of days ago, so we'll see how they take.

Baby leek growing from the stub of an old one!
That's all for now. Check back for more soon!

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