This autumn has been just about perfect. So many warm sunny days. The garden has been finished now for quite a while, just some rubble to tidy up.
I’ve been busy canning tomatoes. I had been down to my last couple jars and canned tomatoes are my all time favourite food to preserve from the garden. I had a bumper crop of tomatoes too, which I didn’t really realize until I began picking.
I also had a bumper crop of peppers even though my jalapeños were a failure. My sister gifted me most of her crop of poblanos, cayenne and jalapeños. I wanted to make a fermented hot sauce.
I washed and chopped a couple pounds of peppers then added the brine. I left them on the counter and by day four they were happily burbling away. I threaded a batch of the Hungarian hot peppers and hung them in the greenhouse to dry. I want to powder them. And the remainder is ripening in the pantry. I may try a different hot sauce.
The corn was late but really a surprisingly good harvest. I even managed to put away quite a few bags in the freezer.
The red peppers which did not ripen on the plant, began to ripen after I picked them. For the first time ever I decided that rather than try to keep them fresh for as long as possible, always feeding them to the chickens after they spoilt, I would chop and freeze for use in chili during the winter.
I also had lots of herbs in the garden that just never got used properly. I made up a batch of pesto to use up my basil. One batch made a few small containers which in the dead of winter will make a nice meal.
My sister also had a nice variety in her garden so I made a few batches of herb salt. I picked a variety of complimentary herbs, whizzed them up in the food processor with sea salt and then dried the result in the oven. The house smelled quite grassy for several days but the result was well worth it.
And in between feverishly trying to preserve my garden harvest, my sister and I went out wild foraging for berries. We’d spotted a hawthorn bush while out looking for high bush cranberries. I picked a bunch and dehydrated them for tea in the winter
Then we wanted to try buffalo berries. There are two varieties of buffalo berries, red and yellow, the red being much more common. They are saponins, soap berries, but have been eaten by the indigenous people for years. Not eaten by buffalo, but with buffalo meat as an accompaniment, hence their name. They are really a bugger to pick, the berries are close to the branch which is thorny. I said a few bad words while picking these.
Both the red and yellow berries produced this milky/soapy looking liquid and the resulting jelly of both was a golden yellow. We only picked enough for a few jars, just enough to taste. The red jelly was superior to the yellow, with a very pleasant fruity tart flavour. I might make it again.
We also picked chokecherries. These purple berries hang in heavy clusters that are very easy picking. Like the buffalo berries they are best after a frost when they sweeten considerably.
I was trying to use up all the odd jars sitting on my counter hence the rather strange assortment of sizes and shapes. My favourite bits are the dregs from the canning kettle that I get to eat right away 😊. This chokecherry jelly is lovely in yogurt and my daughter has been using it as a sauce with her chicken!! I’m glad I made more than a few jars!!
And last but not least I went out before the RM mower came by to mow the ditches and picked a pail of wild rose hips. We’d just had a couple inches of rain and the picking was easy, the rose hips nice and clean. I dehydrated these too for winter tea!!
The colors are just so lovely this fall. Con trails are few and far between—it was such a shock to see one the other day I had to snap a pic.