Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What I've been busy doing...

This is what I've been doing for the last 2 weeks, in between baseball, Senior graduation stuff & end of the year awards days for 5 kids. 

About 2 weeks ago a friend of ours, who is a farmer, had sweet corn that was ready & asked us if we wanted any.  He has 2 plots in his field that he has dedicated to sweet corn & he desperately wanted someone to pick it before it got too hard to eat.  He begged us to take as much as we wanted, so my mom & I picked 150 ears (which wasn't even a drop in the bucket of what was left on the stalks).  It took nearly all of one day to pick, shuck, wash & bag the corn, there are about 10 ears (more or less) in each bag, my mom took about 25-30 ears for her & my dad.  I will freeze these for later.  I love having farmers for friends -lol!!

Then, just a few days later I picked all of these green beans from my garden!  I snapped them in a few hours & put them in the fridge for a few days until I had more time to can them.

By the time I thought about taking a picture, I had already put up all of the jars of green beans, so I just took a picture of this one to show you what they look like.  I ended up with a full canner of green beans from the raw ones in the picture above, that's 18 jars, plus I had a big pot to cook for that night for supper.  Here's the recipe for canning green beans:

Pack jars with clean, snapped beans.
Add 1/2 t. salt.
Fill with water to fill line on jar.
Screw on two piece lids.
Process in canner at 10 lbs of pressure for 20 minutes.

Last week, the same farmer who had the sweet corn also planted a plot of purple hull peas (like a black-eyed pea) & called to tell us to please come pick some.  Now peas are a LOT of work!  It takes forever to shell out peas, thankfully, we did most of this over the weekend & I forced my family to help me!  It took my husband & I four hours to shell out these 2 bowls that I have pictured, but these are really big bowls!  Here's the finished product:

I ended up with 4 quarts & 36 pints of purple hull peas!  I'm not a big fan of black-eyed peas, but I will say this variety is very tasty!  I also forgot that peas absorb water like crazy when you can them, so I ended up not filling my jars enough!  Oh well, they will be fine, they just don't look as pretty!  Here's the recipe for canning peas, btw, this takes forever if you have more than one canner to do!

Pack jars loosely with raw peas, do not shake, leaving 1"-2" from fill line.
Add 1/2 t. salt to each jar.
Add water PAST fill line.
Screw on two piece lids.
Process in canner at 10 lbs of pressure for 40 minutes for pints & 50 minutes for quarts.

Then, this weekend we were asked by another friend to please come pick his cucumbers while he & his family were out of state.  I didn't realize he had about 50 cucumber plants!!  This was only a part of what needed to be picked, he had also asked another neighbor to come pick them as well, & she got at least this many, too!  So then we made pickles!

I ended up with 30 quarts & 7 pints of pickles!  The hardest part of making pickles is preparing the cucumber & packing the jars.  It took me over an hour and a half to wash each one of these cucumbers & scrub them with a brush (because you don't want any dirt in your pickles)!  Then it took another 3 and a half hours to pack all of these jars.  When you pack a jar of pickles you have to pack it TIGHT, so shove those cucumbers down in there until you can't fit another one in the jar without it breaking.  If you don't, all of your pickles will rise to the top & the juice will all be at the bottom.  Here's the recipe for the pickles, I did most of these with a pickle mix that you can find at any store, then when I ran out of the mix I used regular brine.

In empty jars, add one dried red pepper (or more if you like them hot), one clove of garlic & one sprig of dill weed (I grow this in my garden each year).
Pack jars TIGHTLY with raw cucumbers (whole, sliced or speared).
Use pickle mix according to package directions or prepare this brine:
In a large pot (stainless steel or glass, NOT aluminum!) mix 6 C. water, 2 C. vinegar (5% acidity) & 1/2 C. canning salt, heat until almost boiling, then fill packed jars with hot liquid.
Screw on two piece lids.
Place in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, remove to continue sealing as they cool. 


  1. Holy flippin cow Karen! There is a lesson to be learned here:


    .....Then ask Karen what to do from there ;)