Our garden is finally picking up speed. Each year, the trees in our yard shade the garden just a bit more which, in turn, slows down the harvest a bit more. We have generous friends who have shared their beans, dill, cucumbers, and tomatoes with us long before we've gotten a taste of our own so we've been able to enjoy garden fresh treats while waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
August finally brought us beans from our garden so, with my friend's dill, I was able to make dilly beans.
In fact, my friend shared so much dill with me that I made a couple batches of dilled carrots as well (though not with homegrown carrots-those prepared carrots from the store are a huge time saver). Our dill will be ready any day now. Now that I don't need it.
Recently, Julianne took some meat down to the freezer for me and found the door not quite closed. Thankfully, I only lost the contents of the door. Almost everything else was still frozen hard-except some of my berry supply. My blueberries and raspberries still had blocks of frozen berries but they also had some liquid in the bags that isn't normally there. After I had already dumped a couple bags of strawberries, it dawned on me that I could thaw them the rest of the way and make something, rather than pitching them all. As a result of that decision, I tried a new recipe for Bumbleberry jam-blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry-perfect!
I also tried making blueberry syrup, which are the larger jars in back. The jam is good enough that it might be an addition to my annual "to-can" list
The first of our cucumbers were ready a few days ago. I didn't think there were enough to do much with, other than eating them fresh. I weighed them, though, and had exactly enough for a batch of bread and butter pickles.
Honestly, we aren't big pickle eaters here, though you wouldn't know it by looking at what I've canned so far. The girls love the bread and butter pickles and we use the dill ones here and there. I like having them on hand for relish trays I may take somewhere and I have some friends who are thrilled to take care of the excess dilly beans in particular.
Since making all this stuff, I've canned 21 quarts of green beans and am finishing up a dozen more as I type. And I was worried we weren't going to get many beans this year.
Our tomatoes are just getting started. Hopefully, they will produce well enough to yield a lot of tomato sauce and salsa this year. It's been a couple years since we've had a really plentiful crop of tomatoes so I'm hoping this year will be abundant. Michigan peaches are due soon and I have a peach-tomato salsa recipe we all enjoy so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the peaches and tomatoes will be ready at the same time.
Ah, the joys of gardening. Every year is different and every year I'm so thankful for the growing number of jars filled with organically grown vegetables on my shelves as the plants start producing in quantity.