It seems like everything is ready to harvest, suddenly and in a big way. Over the summer, we leisurely pick organic blueberries out in Amherst at Chance Creek Blues. It’s convenient, because it lasts much of summer, and we do pies and jam, sometimes enough to give away as presents.
We also have a weekly farm share with Geauga Family Farms (mostly organic produce grown by five Amish families from Middlefield). On Thursdays, we work the farm share table as volunteers at the Lakewood pickup point during LEAF Night, right outside the library. It’s such a nice time with kids running around behind us and other local food folk selling their wares.
This month we came into a large number of other things that we just cannot eat right away. Our farm shares were lush with sweet onions, pickling cucumbers, cabbage, green beans, banana peppers and sweet peppers. Like a strong suggestion, GFF packed a huge quantity of dill with this week’s share.
We spent all day Saturday picking concord grapes and making a traditional Italian sugar-free jam, scrucciata, at my parents’ small farm. Because everything boils down, skins and pulp, it condenses into a gently sweet, thick spread. This year, the arbor produced much more than we can easily handle, so my parents are finishing up the job today by making grape juice.
Most exciting: our bees’ honey is mostly capped and we’re planning to do honey extraction next weekend.
I’ve collected some pickling and canning recipes and would like to share them. For health, we’re focusing on low sugar preparations.
- Scrucciata – Unsweetened grape jam
- Refrigerator Pickles – Recipe from Geauga Family Farms
- Sweet Pickles – Recipe from Splenda
- Sweet and Hot Green Bean Pickles – These are also refrigerator pickles
- Pickled Dill Green Beans
- Pickled Sweet Banana and Sweet Peppers (we’re trying Splenda in place of sugar)
- Pickled Cabbage and Sweet Peppers (trying Splenda with this one as well)
When pickling or preserving fruits with Splenda, it’s good to process in a hot water bath for a longer amount of time; recipes that don’t depend on the preservative properties of sugar (water packed fruit recipes) are better for Splenda.