Preserving Food, Food and More Food. Tis the Season!

Hi every one, Tis the end of the week for the week of 8-18-13. WOW time has flown! We have been busy with the garden and canning season as usual. We tried a few new things this year! and are planning a few more new tries for food preservation.  One thing I did was with onions.  On the Farm here we cook with lots and lots of onions. More times than not we end up dicing them and adding them into casseroles, meat loaf, soups and stews, chilis, etc. I figured since we dice them any ways I took my white onions i pulled from the garden and I shredded them in the food processor. I then put them in freezer backs (double bagged), and hand sucked out all the air for longer freezer life (this was last Sunday, and our local market was closed so could not purchase more Vacuum seal bags like we normally use. At any rate, so now we have a shelf in the door of the freezer full of finely diced white onions out of our garden. When placing in the bags for freezing i did not measure the volumes out, but I would be guessing each bag to be a cup to a cup and a half.  It worked out great, i am very pleased with the results. I will certainly do the same next year with Vacuum seal bags being the only change. I used a bag the other night, and after being frozen they did not turn a funny color or anything like that, they were great. A little soft yes, but for cooking with who cares, as they get soft when cooked any ways.

 And on to other food storages; My wife went to her parents farm up the road and got their Pears and Apples.  Our farm being as young as it is Only 3 years old now, our fruit trees are in, but are still very young and small and not really producing any kind of fruit yet.  Luckily both sets of my wifes and my parents have farms, fruit trees, and we have tons of rescources to draw on for fruit that once they put up all they need would usually just goto waste any ways. So, long story short, she brought home and canned 15 quarts of pears. Not my favorites personally, but the rest of the family enjoys pears, so if it keeps them happy in the winter then by all means. She cans them in a light syrup. Apples will be peeled, cored and processed after church today. Wife and daughter wants apple sauce. I personally really enjoy canning apples in round slices, and spicing them. MMMM MMMM. But….. having a feeling i will get out-voted and applesauce it will be.  Regardless, we have 3 large boxes of apples for which ever, and my fathers apple trees are starting to drop apples too, so will end up with another 5-6 boxes from him as well.  Extra apples, pears, peelings, cores, left over syrups, etc all goto the pig. All the sugar and such makes a very very happy pig, and fattens them up nicely so makes for happy happy farmers as well.

Yesterday we took a drive to Newport, my favorite coastal town here in Oregon. It’s Tuna season, and alot of fishing ships will pull into Newport Bay, dock up, set up for sale signs, and sell fresh caught Tuna, crab and Salmon right there off the ship. Just bled out, not frozen at all. Doesn’t get any fresher than that! Literally handed to you from the fisherman that caught it an hour or two ago.  So while we were down there, the kids of course went to the beach, built sand castles, played in the ocean, flew kites, and all that good fun stuff. Then we went to the Dock at the Bay, and bought 2 Large fresh Tuna.  Brought the fish home, processed them, and canned them. I don’t remember the exact recipe, but in basic rememberance of it, for each pint jar you fill it to the bottom ring line with Tuna, and add 1/2 teasoon salt, and 1 teaspoon olive oil Per every PINT jar.  Out of 2 Large Tuna, we ended up with 26 pints of canned Tuna.  Yes it ais a bit more expensive buying it that way, costs more than just store bought tuna, but number one we still know we are canning our own and not relying on other people or sources, number 2 we know exactly what is in the tuna we eat with no preservatives or chemicals or radiation or the like, and number 3 home canned fresh tuna is AMAZING!  If you have never had fresh off the Dock Albacore and home canned with out being watered down, chemicals added, cooked to almost a paste, you are missing out. When its home canned it tastes just like a nice Tuna Steak! Its firm, big and chunky, not overly salty, you get more of it per jar, and the taste is just freshly oceanic and delicious, it is to die for! 

So that is our update for today. We here at Helmig Farms thank you for taking the time to read our blog updates. A toaste to you all wishing you happy farming, wonderful living, and comfortable surviving. Thanks every one

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Summer Vegitables

canned

So you are all probably thinking “Uh huh, he said he would update once a week, yeah right.” LOL. Well, I try, but am only getting time about every other week. Last weekend we had our Annual Helmig Farms BBQ competiton so we were a bit busy.  Every year we host a large event (about 60 people this year here at our farm, where locals get together and compete in BBQ’ing in four catagories :Chicken, brisket, ribs, and pork.  Medals and trophies are awarded,  food and drink provided for every one, and a great time had by all. Alot of visitors seemed to gravitate towards the vegitable garden and asking different questions. As for our summer garden update, we took our last picking of green beans and wax beans on Tuesday night. I still need to pull up the plants as they are all done just have not had the time.  We were able to can 27 pints of green beans out of the deal, so that will be nice this winter. When canning, the wife did her batches just plain beans and some homemade bacon that I butchered and cured last fall. The batches i did i added the same homemade bacon, but also through in some homegrown chopped up white onion.  The peas are also all done, we ended up with 4 gallons of peas frozen.  They take up alot of room in the garden but are sure yummy, and for pea lovers they are a wonderful treat in the wintertime in casseroles, on salads, etc.  The pea plants are already all ripped up. Later this weekend my Dutch Flat Head cabbage is ready, so i will need to shred it and ferment it for sour Krout. Recipes are on the internet as for recipes, it takes about a week or maybe a little more depending on volume, temp, etc. Also i notice my onions have fallen over.  Stalks have not turned yellow yet, but will today or tomorrow I am assuming. So i will need to pull them as well, bunch them, and hang them. Hang onions in a cold dry place for maximum keep time. Depending on the species you can keep for example yellow onions almost into next planting season. My white onions for example, or red onions, or walla walla’s will not keep near that long due to their sugar content. You can still hang them, but they will spoil fairly quick. Debating trying some shredding and freezing methods this year for longer keep time on the white onions.  Tomatoes are doing wonderful, growing like weeds, and fruiting, but are not yet ripe. Zucchinnis have had one massive picking already. We canned 18 jars of Zuch-relish, and I gave about a dozen Zuch’s away to my mother as she likes making Zuchinni sweet pickles. She wanted to trade me a few jars in trade for the produce, but I don’t much care for sweet pickles, so politely refused. There are about another 50 lbs of Zuchinni that are still growing but not yet ready for harvest. My garlic never did all that great, as they were from 2 year old cloves, but i will take the ones I can and hang for drying to use for re-planting stock next year. Carrots are also all ready for harvest, and are very large. I added some sand into the carrot area before I tilled it this year, and they grew a world better! Much larger in diameter and length. Will probably get 10 pints or so out of the carrots.  Peppers are also doing well, jalepenos and bells, and have been being used through out the summer for cooking. I didn’t plant a whole bunch of peppers this year as i still have loads of them in the freezer from years before.  On a side note “Sammy” our Yorkshire pig is fattening up nice also, and loving the canning season! Sammy gets all the scraps from canning, and plants i yank up, etc on top of her feed ration. So she is a happy camper, and will be more than ready to butcher in fall. Butcher time is strictly dependent upon pigs weight, and cool weather. I wait till the weather is cold so i can hang the pig and age it for a few days, but not totally cold enough to freeze, as frozen animals are a PAIN to cut up and process. usually October is prime butchering season.