Tuesday, August 20, 2013


The end of the garden is so near. Canning is going full time here at my house..every day it is one or two things being made. August thru the end of Sept. is like a rat race for me.....and then add Fall cleaning on top of it, makes the home very busy and active and different!!!! I take down the summer lace on all the windows, and put up the heavier lace and heavier drapes. In some rooms I have a thick velvet drape,over the lace, and in others, I have a heavy cotton with liners, over the lace. Have to keep the cold out!!!! Pillows change on the sofa, porch furniture gets a scrubbing and put back for the winter.. we have wicker. Summer clothes out, Winter clothes, in, from the storage trunks....mattresses are turned, comforters brought out, and the most important!! FLANNEL SHEETS!!!! We get the wood box filled, the wood stove primed and ready, the cords of wood covered......flower beds mulched, straw laid on the perennial vegetables, roses are covered with
 burlap, fruit trees mulched and tender trunks covered from the hard winds. and, the list can go on!! But, I get it all done by the end of Sept.! so I can enjoy Fall ! We live on a high hill, with a deep woods on one side, so the winds are always there....the woods protect from one side, but we also have winter animals that come into the yard, looking to nibble trunks, or anything they think they can!! Most of all we have gets covered, caged, mulched, in some way-
Canning becomes so routine, it is boring! So I look for new things to try! Carrots are one! How many carrots can you freeze, shred, can?! I have a very easy, quick, spiced pickled carrot recipe to share. Also, peppers!! Not the green , sweet bell peppers, but if you grow these, or find them at the market, and do not want to cook them or freeze them, you can thread them , and hang them to dry!
                           HANG DRYING PEPPERS
Bell peppers do not always work well this way, as they are too fleshy, too big, and can easily spoil before drying. If you have smaller bell peppers, it will work. They will eventually turn red, and be dried. If you want, you can cut them into small strips for pimentos....in cheese dips,sauces, etc...
Anaheim, banana,Poblano, Hungarian yellow wax, cherry pepper, cayenne, are the most commonly grown, after bells, and they dry beautifully.
 I use carpet thread, it is heavier, and more durable, and a darning needle. Gather your peppers, wash, dry, then thread them on a long string of carpet thread. Take the darning needle and go just under the top of the pepper, the part usually cut off, where the stem is. You want the pepper to stay well on the thread and not spoil, taking the needle into the flesh proper, will cause spoiling. slide the pepper down to the end of the thread, where you have already tied a knot, and thread another on, slide it down to where it just reaches the first pepper, but not touching, if possible. Some parts of the peppers will touch, and that is ok, you don't want the whole pepper touching the next whole pepper, they need space for air to move around them. Thread as many as you want, and watch that it does not get too heavy. When you have a good length of peppers, make a BIG loop at the top, and hang that loop over a hook, somewhere that will be out of the way, in the
 kitchen. Some sunlight on it will not hurt it, but not all day sun. I have cast iron skillets on the wall, and I use the hooks for the peppers, hanging them right over the skillets!! when I need a skillet, I move the peppers. They will take about all winter to dry....sometime in Feb you can test them, if they are truly dry enough, place them in a jar, and on your cooking shelf! I always put a few bay leaves in the bottom of the jar first..never know if you dried a few live bugs too!!! The bay leaves keep bugs out, or kills them.....When you are cooking and need a pepper, you have a jar full of them!  I like to keep them on hand for making tomato soup and catsup. Handy for sauces too. and, your friends, when they stop by will be so impressed with your decorating skills!!! Especially when you tell them you can eat your decorations too!!!
Bell peppers are best frozen, in halves, with the stems and seed out, wrapped several at a time, Using waxed paper, lay one half on the waxed paper, roll the paper over, add another pepper, and so on. Slide into a plastic bag, or a plastic container, and freeze. They can also be chopped and frozen.

                                  SPICED PICKLED CARROTS

You can buy the baby carrots in the bag, or use your own home grown ones, or market finds. This recipe is easily halved. so if you have just one pound, it can be put in the fridge, or 2 pounds, it will can 3 pints, 4 pounds will can 5 pints.
        4 lbs carrots-
        3 c sugar
        6 c white vinegar
        2 t canning salt
        2 t mixed pickling spices
        2 t whole cloves
        2 cinnamon sticks ( or one large one , broken in half to fit into a spice bag)
        1 t whole allspice ( if you want a spicier pickle- I did not use it)
Pare carrots- if using the baby carrots, wash well, no need to pare.
Cut into 1/4'" sticks ( baby carrots need only to be cut in half)
Cook carrots in boiling water 5 mins.Drain.
Combine sugar, vinegar, salt , in pot, put rest of spices in a muslin bag or cheese cloth, add to the vinegar mix. Bring to a boil, 5 mins.
Add carrots to the vinegar mix and bring to boil again, cook 5 mins.
Pack in jars, leave 1/2 " head space, pour the vinegar solution over the carrots( the solution is what you gauge your head space).
Hot water bath- 10 mins, for pints.
These are a sweet, spicey, pickle....not a "hot" spicey.

If you are growing winter squash, it is too early to cut them from the vine, and if you buy them from the store, or market, and have several, be sure they are in a place where no sun hits them, and it is a cooler room. winter squash, in the house, stored this way, can last thru Feb.!

I hope you enjoy this time of year...try the carrots! You can use a small bag- and put them in the fridge, eat them in about 5 days- they need to marinate in the vinegar...!


New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning,
Hope you enjoy Sue Ann's post this morning.

Another beautiful day today.


Anonymous said...

My end of summer list is the same, except for the canning and large garden. I've been busy cleaning and doing my long list. I want it all done before we go on vacation middle of Sept. When we get back, will have to trim the trees and bushes.
Always something

Countryside Reflections said...

Thank you for this information Sue Ann. When you mentioned putting bay leaves in the flour container it made me remember my mother doing this when I was young. It just came to mind, but I never knew why she did it (nor did I care at the time). Being an adult now, I care!

It's funny how little things jog your memory. I can see the square red tin canisters on the counter for the sugar and flour, and the metal 50's style kitchen table. (and my Mom wearing a dress every day).


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Jodi,

I was just thinking it was time to get ready and get my apartment cleaned up and ready for the winter.


New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Doreen,

I don't know about your Mom, but my mother always wore an apron back in those days. As soon as she hit the kitchen she put her apron on and it was on all day long.


Chasity said...

Thanks for posting this. I will be trying to dry peppers soon.

New York State Of Mind said...

Hi Chasity,

Let us know how you make out.