Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Monday, September 01, 2008

Harvest Home

Woodstock (IL) Farmers' Market

I've been back from New England for a week now, and am just getting around to a new post. Late August around these parts means lots of produce to process. On Saturday, we went to the Woodstock farmers' market. We wanted to buy cucumbers for pickling, and a bunch of other stuff. I was a bit disappointed in the selection. The produce that they had was very nice, but lacking in variety. I don't really need sweet peppers right now- we're drowning in a torrent of Gypsy and Nardello peppers. It's much the same with tomatoes. Nobody had a lot of the things that I would have liked (berries, peaches, melons). Still, farmers' markets are always fun. Plus, I got something that could prove to be very valuable in the future: a line on a local source for raw cow's milk. This could be a fun fall for cheese making.

Music at the Market. Our friend Gary is the gentleman in the red suspenders.

We also got to spend some time with our friends Gary and Gary Lee. They are both musicians, and Gary, who plays with a lot of traditional music, was performing at the market. I'm not sure how traditional (at least in this country) a didgeridoo made from PVC pipe is.

Gary plays the didgeridoo

We did manage to score a bunch of cukes at the market, and we put up pickles yesterday. Our inspiration (as always) for this effort was Mark and Rodger, whose recipe we used. Thanks, guys. We always include grape leaves in the jars as a crisping agent. This year, it was a challenge getting some that were not damaged by Japanese beeltes. Note that we tried a couple of jars with habañeros this time.

Cucumbers about to fulfill their briny destiny

In the jars with grape leaves, garlic and hot peppers. Awaiting brine.

Finished pickles. They'll be ready to eat by Thanksgiving.

We've been doing a lot of food preservation this year. In addition to the pickes we've made pesto, dried tomatoes, and frozen corn and eggplant. Frozen beans (and more corn) to come! I hope that your harvest is also being bountiful.

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At 11:32, Blogger H said...

Caning is time consuming, and I tried it last year with pickles and they are still sitting on the shelf because they are awful. I even used grape leaves. :(

The salsa is another story.

Good for you guys, I'm as jealous as it gets!

At 15:08, Blogger Lemuel said...

The pickles look luscious! Being from PA we pickle *everything*!
The PVC didgeridoo made me chuckle for reasons I am not at liberty to explain.

At 17:03, Blogger robin andrea said...

The one time I made a batch of dill pickles, we used grape leaves. They worked incredibly well. The pickles were delicious and crisp. I love a good farmers market, especially this year because we don't have our own garden.

At 17:46, Blogger cedrorum said...

Glad you two got back safely. I've always been afraid to try pickling. Habaneros in pickles? I think that could actually be good. We buy a brand of dill pickle here that has Texas Pete flavor in them that are good.

At 20:22, Blogger Floridacracker said...

Hot pickles sound good to me. Just made fresh salsa today.

At 21:38, Blogger Ur-spo said...

i am mad-jealous!

At 22:32, Blogger Doug Taron said...

H- What was the problem? Were they mushy or did they taste bad?

Lem- Everyone laughs at the PVC didgeridoo. Each has his own reasons.

Robin- this is the only kind that I have made. We've done them once before and were happy with the results. I hope the trend continues.

cedrorum- Fear not the picle, my son. They are quite easy, you just need a good recipe. And they have so much vinegar in them that the water bath for canning is really just to get a good seal.

FC- Mmm, salsa. I probably have enough stuff from the garden to do that.

Spo- I suspected you might be.

At 08:59, Blogger Chilmarkgirl said...

Tell me again how to freeze corn_I want to do that. the pickles look FANTASTIC- spicy ones sound really yummy!

At 13:42, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Chilmarkgirl- It's easy to freeze corn. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add shucked and de-silked corn (best to do this step only a few ears at a time). When the water begins bubbling again, boil for 4 minutes. Immediately plunge the ears into a large bowl of ice water. Let them cool in that for about 5 minutes. Blot the ears dry with paper towels and cut the kernels from the corn, as you did when serving it on the Vineyard. Pack into pint or quart freezer boxes and freeze.

At 16:52, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Doug, it all looks so yummy! I remember canning and putting up fruits, jams jellies and veggies when I lived in Idaho. I had a friend there teach me and I loved that wonderful feeling I got from seeing all that food stored up for the winter. Now all I make is jelly, but perhaps someday I will try again. Good for you! It should make for a bountiful Thanksgiving! And raw cows milk! Wow!!

At 19:39, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Any lima beans out there?

At 22:04, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Kathie- I know. Canning always feels very virtuous to me.

Dave- Limas don't do well in our relatively short summers up here.

At 19:30, Anonymous Mark H said...

AM SO GLAD you're liking the pickle making! We ought to do a farmer swap on a jar of each other's ....and see if YOUR pickles are as good as OREGON Pickles, eh? Hah. I know Leon wants the HOT ones.

Hoping to see you out here on your work trip soon.

At 07:40, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Nice post. I love farmer's markets. The good local tomatoes are long gone from the heat. Sigh!

Thanks for the visit,


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