As I harvest yet another squash, or a handful of green beans, a few tomatoes, or some basil, I feel pride in my hard work, and I'm happy to be the steward of such plants.
However, as certain plants discontinue thriving, or are outright failing, I feel frustration. The first plant that keeled over had me thinking--AFTER I was finished with being upset. My thoughts were these: "This is not my livelihood, I can go to the store and replace much of what I grow, and I'm grateful I don't have to be too concerned about starvation if my crops fail."
I am, however, on a mission to enjoy and preserve as much of our bounty as I can. I want to save money for our family, and feed my children more nutritious foods.
My day started out with a counter full of squash and 10 large, ripe peaches (we had some and my dad gave some to me and this is what we had left after we ate a lot fresh).
I peeled/sliced the peaches, and turned those into peach pie filling...
I got 1 quart, plus 4.5 pints of the pie filling. Yum!! It smelled good. I used the recipe from The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie.
After that I started working with the scallop and crookneck squash I'd harvested. I cubed, blanched (in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, then drained and placed into a bowl of ice water), drained, dried on a towel, froze on a cookie sheet, then tossed the squash into a gallon bag. I have more squash coming on, and I'll do the same with it and fill the bag. I'll use it in fajitas and soup this winter.
And then I made Squash Dill Relish...
Lots of it!! I got 11 half pints, and would have gotten another, but I ran out of jars. Oh well! I slightly adapted this Tangy Dill Pickle Relish. Instead of cucumbers, I used crookneck squash, I used 1.5 tsp ground mustard, and I upped the vinegar quite a bit. I believe that cucumbers take up less space per pound than squash. I canned this same recipe a few weeks ago and it was delicious with the squash. Texture was very close.
It was a LOT of work, but it was fun, and I'm excited for the jars to cool so I can stack them nicely into my cupboards, and benefit from them throughout the fall and winter!