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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Weekly Round-Up of Posts

Our weather turned unseasonably cool and wet this past week, feeling more like fall than summer. I even made soup as a lunch for us on a couple of occasions and baked a lot as I tried to warm up the house a bit. This happens every August and it throws me for a loop. I start thinking fall when I should still be enjoying summer. Oh well, I'll have to get myself back into summer thinking.

I made a large batch (8 pints) of salsa this past week. My cilantro was ready for picking and I had the canned tomatoes, garlic, oregano already, so this was the week. I did have to buy the jalapeño peppers (as I don't grow those), adding them to my pick-up order on Monday. Next year, I may try growing one plant of jalapeños in a pot. My potted green bell peppers have done well this year. I'll make another large batch of salsa in a week, when I have more cilantro again. Sixteen pints of salsa should be enough to get my family through most of the year.

I also did some stocking up of meat. I bought ground beef, chicken breasts, pork breakfast sausage, Italian turkey sausage. It all seemed like a lot for us, but once I figured out how long this would last, I began to think I should put in another order just like this one. I'll do that next week. I also picked up a box of 5 dozen eggs. I could hardly believe how expensive eggs have become. This same sized box went from $4.75 a year ago to $7.47 this month. 

My daughters and I went foraging for blackberries last weekend, coming home with 3 ice cream pails of blackberries to freeze. It always surprises me that more people don't pick these wild blackberries. I mean, who wouldn't want free food, right? But that's their business. And it means all the more for me and my family. So far this year, I've just used the berries for fresh eating, as is and in yogurt, in pies, and freezing to use in winter. Later on in the season, I'll make a batch of pancake syrup and some jam. I freeze the pancake syrup in 1-cup portions, so I don't have to concern myself with mold growth if we don't get to using it all in a timely manner.


For your weekend reading pleasure, here are the latest of new posts.

My quirky (but useful) tendency of calculating the cost of everything has helped me figure out my goal inventories for our back-up pantry. You can read about how this relates to making pies and pudding in this post.

Do you use leftover pickle or olive brine? I used both this past week. Read about that here.

What was on your menu this past week? Our meals were simple but tasty, using as much as possible from our garden, orchard and foraging. The menus are in the post in this link.




Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!


13 comments:

  1. Blackberries sound wonderful. We used to go pick raspberries but we ate more than we brought home usually. My Dh would have to go with us because the bears love the berries so we needed a gun along with us just in case.
    I haven’t bought eggs in years so I looked up the price here. $6.50 for 5 dozen right now. I would expect that price to rise because my bag of food took a jump recently. I have 6 dozen in my fridge right now so I sure won’t be buying eggs lol. I need to give some to the kids.
    It might not be hot enough for you to grow jalapeño, but you aren’t out much to try. My New Mexico dd says the key to getting hot peppers is cut back on water towards the end. Two years ago I was able to grow some with some heat to them. Usually they taste like a bell pepper. I didn’t grow them this year, but I should have.

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    1. Hi Diane,
      Wow, bears! I hope you never actually came across a bear while picking raspberries.
      Oh, that's good to know about growing hot peppers. Hmm, maybe I'll try planting a jalapeño plant in a pot on the deck up against the house or out on the driveway where we get full sun and lots of heat. As you said, it can't hurt to try. Again, thanks for the info.

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    2. She says that’s how they get the different levels of heat in the green chilies that NM is so famous for, and her friends told her the same applies to jalapeños. The year I cut back the water I did get some hotter peppers so I think she’s right.

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    3. This is great info, Diane. The wheels are turning in my mind as to how I can crank up the heat and keep plants dry in the final days/weeks of ripening.

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    4. My husband has had lots of success with growing jalapenos in pots so maybe you will be successful, too.

      We recently got back from a vacation to WV. We were in the mountains and there were many, many wild blueberries and blackberries--my husband and children went picking a few times and we came back with a cooler full of them. On our last day there, we were hiking, not picking. We went through a meadow with tons of wild blueberries. I was bringing up the rear when my husband (in the front) turned and said "It's a bear!". I thought he was pulling our legs. Turns out ... it WAS a bear. We startled it away but after that we made sure we made lots of noise (we bring along bear spray .... just in case .... but we didn't think we would actually encounter one).

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    5. Hi Kris,
      Wow a real live bear! That is so exciting. I bet your kids will never forget that hike.
      That's good to hear about your husband's success with jalapeños in pots. I'm going to give it a try next year. Hopefully, it will work out for me, too.

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  2. Years ago we had a bear in our tent while we were camping. We had left for awhile and got back to see a bear coming out of the tent. One of the kids had left muffins in there and the bear liked them. Dh was hazing it away and that silly bear ran about 10 feet and stopped to eat his muffin lol. It was pretty scary sleeping in that tent that nite! We actually have 2 bear paw prints on our garage door. They’ve been there a year or two. Why we haven’t cleaned them off I don’t know. It serves as a good reminder to me though that even though we don’t see them, they are around. Grizzlies scare me, black bears aren’t nearly as concerning.

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    1. That's way too close for comfort! I agree, grizzlies are terrifying. We were hiking outside of Yellowstone a few years ago along a trail that the locals use for horseback riding. Several of them told us about a grizzly that had made a kill up farther on the trail--they said we were probably safe as he was on the far side of the river from us and we had bear spray. They told us not to approach him--not that we needed to be warned about that!

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    2. Diane, that's way too close for comfort with the bear. When I was a teen, I was a camp counselor in a camp where we all slept in cabins that were half tent/half cabin. No secure door. We had wild boars on the island. There was a story floating around about a camper who had hidden a candy bar in the foot of her sleeping bag and a boar came into the tent/cabin and began chewing it's way through the sleeping bag to get to that candy. Needless to say, as a counselor, I checked each girls' sleeping bags thoroughly every night. Didn't want that to happen on my watch.

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  3. I don't like spicy food, so I don't grow many hot peppers--usually only if someone gives me a plant. However, my son grew a hot pepper on his balcony this year that wasn't very hot. I'll have to tell him about holding off watering in the end.

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    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      It'll be interesting to see if I can grow a hot pepper that is indeed hot. I hope your son wasn't too disappointed.

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  4. Hi Lili. I'm not sure that cutting back on water is necessary here in coastal NC to add heat to jalapenos. We first grew jalapenos last year by mistake. Our family so enjoyed them that we decided to intentionally grow them this year. We got a bit ambitious and have an overabundance of jalapenos. We have had LOTS of rain but ours are hot, hot, hot. My sister, whose family has never met a hot pepper they didn't like, commented that ours seemed hotter than those she buys in the store, so I don't know. One plant alone can be quite prolific. We wound up with the variety "mammoth jalapenos" and they are quite large, so aptly named. They are great for poppers.

    I've canned some in brine so far, and then made candied jalapenos, which was quite a hit last year at Christmas, which is why we planted more this year. Everyone we gave them to wanted more!

    It will be interesting to see how your experience compares.

    Lynn from NC Outer Banks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn,
      wow, that's amazing! I'm not sure I like super hot peppers. What a very novel gift idea, though, those canned jalapeños. I can imagine they were really appreciated. I'll be sure to share my experience next year.

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