Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Apple Apple Plum Peach

Honey-curry pickles
Early and late the harvest continues all around us. Dust clouds migrate through the fields in the distance marking the combine's progress through the wheat. Handlines spread irrigation water across close-cropped alfalfa soaking thirsty roots after second cutting. Beans and cukes are brined into pickles, sour and sweet. Fat onions, purple, white and yellow loll in their beds, soon to be pulled and braided. Cabbages become kraut, while winter squash ripen under their tarps, safe from frost.

Horse Creek Plum Jelly
At the river we picked the last of the Mirabellen, and brought them home to make the wonderful golden sweet-tart jelly that will top our whole grain waffles and cheer us up during the dark winter months. And we filled a bucket with blackberries, both for the freezer and winter cobbler, and for jam.

On through peaches and nectarines, canned, dried, and spiced into preserves with cloves and cinnamon. Then to the first applesauce from the transparent apples, one of our nicest crops of transparents ever. Somehow there are always a few extra dabs of sauce or jam left over after the last jar is filled for the canner. These go into a bowl and become our immediate reward for all that peeling, coring, and stirring. A fresh taste of harvest to smear on toast, mix with yogurt or just plain eat off a spoon.

Sorting peaches before canning

A good crop of transparent apples
Jars on the wood stove ready to go to the cellar
It's a good feeling, after lugging all those jars to the cellar, reorganizing the shelves, the few jars from last year moved to the front, the new jars behind, and then standing back, surveying the bounty, calculating how many times a week, how many times a month, we can eat this fruit or that pickle. And knowing that many jars will be shared as special gifts for family and friends. And there will be more. Still to come are the pears, the prune plums and green gage plums and the late apples. How generous the plants and trees are to share their fruits with us!

Now if only the woodshed were as full as the cellar.....

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef