Tuesday, October 23, 2012

{Preserving the Harvest} Kale & Broccoli

Cooling blanched kale, to stop the cooking process and prepare for freezing.
Today I spent a little time cleaning out the cooler and making good of the last bits of harvestable produce out in the garden yet. The kale and broccoli are still going!

My blanching pot, cooling pot and draining baskets. Muffin tins at the ready for freezing portions.

Kale portioned into muffin tins for easy freezing.
 I found that removing the kale from the muffin tins was easiest done when it wasn't quite 100% frozen, or if it was, letting it thaw a tiny bit before prying it out with a fork. Then I popped 4 in a freezer baggie, and packed those freezer baggies in a large baggie. The rest of the kale was packed in freezer containers, also in manageable sizes.

We use kale for soups all winter, as well as in our eggs.

Draining blanch & cooled broccoli.
I love seeing broccoli turn instantly bright green when blanched--it's so pretty! We freeze our broccoli in vacuum seal bags, in usable portions. Generally I pack them in the bags, stick them in the freezer for a while, before I seal them, just until the water freezes to make things easier.

Fall Planting

What? Planting in fall?! Yes indeed.

Of course the main fall crop we plant is garlic. Garlic is planted in the fall to have enough time to grow to it's fully mature size, come July next summer.

This is Russian Red, one of three varieties we are planting this fall.

We also planted our first fall shallots. These (below) are a French Gray variety.

This (below) is the bed we prepared for the fall planting. Five rows planted down either side, with a skinny foot-path down the middle. The planting is now dressed with wheat-straw mulch.

Above and below you can see the planting method we were using. John rigged up a planting marker we used to mark the holes, so it made a nice grid. When we were working together it was pretty fast and efficient, with him marking, me lying the seed out, then we would both go back and plant. It took a little longer by myself, but it made for easy planting.

Here (above) you can see the shallots layed out on the planting grid. With the planting marker stood up it can be stepped on, then the bolts mark the planting holes.

Hooray! Can't wait to see these guys poking up through the mulch come spring--when everything else is brown and still waking :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CSA :: Week 18

We delivered the last week of boxes yesterday--a fabulous end to a great season! You can find the Week 18 newsletter online here. Have a great off season!

October 9th, 2012 CSA Box ~ Week 18
In the final box: Red Russian kale, butternut squash, 1.5lbs apples, yellow onion, Black Krim tomatoes, German Pink tomato, Valencia tomato, 1lb parsnips, 2lbs Green Mountain potatoes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CSA :: Week 17

Wow, I can't believe it is Week 17 already--it's been a great season, and it seems to have gone fast at this point.  You can find the newsletter for Week 17 here.

It is great to have the fall veggies here--the fall carrots are the best, it's time for delicious parsnips, and the fall cabbage has come in nicely, despite the heat.

 A a little sneak peek inside the box...

October 2, 2012 CSA Box • Week 17
In the box: fall apples, mixed heirloom carrots, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, German Pink heirloom tomato, kohlrabi, Green Mountain heirloom potatoes, parsnips, kale, garlic, red onion.