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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back on the farm now and canning

Well I am back on the farm now after the hectic first part of the week. I was really busy over the weekend and on Monday. After the guys got in from work on Monday evening we had to go pick the sweet corn, maters and cukes and PEPH peas. They prefer I wait for them to help with this cause I have trouble toting heavy things. I was really trying hard to get caught up while hubby had the use of both his hands. Really we were not sure how much pain he was going to have after surgery .OK maybe that sounded selfish, but golly with all this garden a girl needs all the help she can get. We picked 3 big 50 lb feed bags full of sweet corn that was gonna need to be cleaned to can. By time we did this it was like 10 pm and I was far to tired to stay up later to can it and good thing too. We had to get up at 4 am to leave and go to Lexington for Rodgers surgery. The surgery went great, he ended up having a cyst on the side of his finger where it had to be amputated 3 years ago after a crush injury. Initially they left a small piece of nail bed on there and a nail had started to grow under the skin and caused the cyst. That was removed and the finger kinda reshaped. He is doing good with it and is hoping to go back to work tomorrow. But he cant use his finger for a good while till it heals. Which translates into no corn shucking, bean shelling and that kinda stuff. But he does pick up and do what his boo boo will let em. Any who, we cleaned all the sweet corn and I got it cut off the cob ready to can. As I have already said I don't want to freeze any more than I have to. So I put 2 big aluminum dish pans (yeah the ole fashioned ones like ya granny had) full o corn in the fridge to can when we got home on Tuesday afternoon. In the harvesting process Monday evening we had a 5 gallon bucket of maters, those were precariously placed on the bar in the real kitchen to let ripen a couple more days. Yeah ya know how that smells if there is a rotten one in there. Real nice!!!! Jason picked the cukes to the tune of about a peck or so, just set those in the house where it was cool to make sweet relish with. Then the bushel of PEPH peas were set in the summer kitchen to be shelled when we got home. I know we had a lot of things waiting on us when we got back. But its all good in the hood.
Hubby's surgery was started late for what ever reason. Never did figure that out unless the doc was on the pot or something. But we finally got out of there around noon. Now the ones that know me know I don't do mornings. And I had to be up at 4:30 to shower and leave around 5:30. This should have given me time fer at least one cup o coffee and a few smokes. I don't remember too much, translated into not enough sleep. Rodger did fine with the surgery and recovery stuff and was just a happy lil camper, no pain and as usual after surgery a lil goofy from the meds. Dang hind sight, should have ask em for a new truck while he was buzzin. Now THAT would have been mean. Any way we had a couple stops to make before we came home. One was to get something to eat as we were starving. Then to wally world, Sportsman's Warehouse (I like that place), then to liquor barn to get an airlock so I can get my wine started. I was so sleepy and tired, every time I sat down I would doze off to sleep. But I was the one that had to drive home. We made it home around 5 pm. I took a nap, cause they aint no canning going on till I did. Finally got started on the corn around 7 or so and as it was processing we shelled the peas. The last canning of corn was mixed with 8 quarts of peas and 8 pints of corn. They both process the same length of time so that worked out well for me. That finished up around 3 am this morning. Imagine I was dragging ass by time I got in bed after that last canner.
Today I made 5 quarts of mater juice, which is not much but it helps, and got that canned today. I had the cukes to use for something so made some sweet relish with those. I so hate to see any little thing not get used. This is a good way to use those OOPS cukes that you missed day before yesterday when ya picked that are long as your arm and still green. Although if the cukes are really big, I will take out the seeds, I don't care for big seeds in my relish.
The recipe called for bell peppers, so instead of making the trip to the garden I just used some that I had frozen. Here's the recipe for the sweet relish that I make. It is just the perfect balance of sweet and tart for use on  hot dogs and such.

Sweet Pickle Relish

4 cups chopped cucumber(I chop in food processor)
2cups chopped onion(also in food processor) (I'm lazy see)
1 cup chopped green pepper (yep this too, an mine was from the freezer)
1 cups chopped red sweet pepper(uh huh this too)
1/4 cup canning salt

Mix the salt with the veggies and cover with a layer of crushed ice and cold water and let stand for about 2 hours or so. Then drain and squeeze dry. I use my hand to get all the liquid out that I can. You do want to do this as the liquid is kinda salty. After ya get it all squeezed, put in heavy kettle.

Pickling mixture

3 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar(just looks better than the darker apple cider but the flavor would be about the same)
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed

Heat the pickling mixture till it gets hot then add the veggies. Ya want liquid in there but not too runny, about like runny mashed taters. Not that I would know what those are like. hahaha!!
Heat the mixture to boiling and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into hot jars, your choice of size, pints half pints, quarts, don't matter. I use pints tho. Wipe the jar rim well and put on the lid an tighten down.
ALL done now. I don't use a boiling water bath but if you think you must,  process pints 10 minutes in boiling water bath. This recipe will make about 5 pints.
When I canned the peas last night I had 1 jar that didn't seal for me and a couple pints of corn cut off that I didn't want to process beings there were just 2 pints so we had the peas for supper tonight with corn, fresh maters, mashed taters, and a jar of canned beef with gravy, biscuits (from a bag). We obviously eat pretty hardy around here as there were not any left overs to speak of and there is just 3 of us. Tomorrow its back to the garden and start the process all over again.
So till then blessings from the McGuire homestead.



The Apple Pie Gal said...

I'm going to venture a guess that you drink ALOT of coffee! I was getting tired just imagining the amount of energy your day burns up! And hey, thank again for all the help! Try and get some sleep tonight... xoxo

Gracie said...

Stella, Thank You for your cucumber relish recipe! No matter how hard I try to get all the cukes, always wind up with some of the OOPS, too.
Really didn't know what to do with them, but do now :)
So glad that your Roger's surgery is over and that he is doing well.

stella said...

Hi yall. yw apple pie gal glad to be of help to some one.
Gracie this relish is just the right combo of sweet and tart for a hotdog relish. I thought I might not have enough cukes to make enough pickles so being the dummy and not just planting enough (tranlate- tooo much)I planted more cukes in my onion bed here at the house. They are blooming like crazy. i hope someone likes pickles.
I am gonna try to start posting more recipes as some of my readers have requested.

Gracie said...

Oh, Stella, thank you a million for taking your time to post your recipes. LOL, I can appreciate the planting the extra cucumbers, cuz. we never seem to plant enough, well, think we plant enough, but can never tell @ what stage the cuke beetles will get to em. So, this year they have survived far longer than have hopes of making pickles, and drying them, and... :)