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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

100 Days, 100 Harvests

rhu-sins, dried sweetened rhubarb  recipe in this link

I'm doing this thing where I'm trying to harvest something, anything, and put it away for next fall or winter, 6 days a week for about 100 days or 3 and 1/2 months. I began in late May, harvesting some greens to freeze, dehydrate, or can. I've since added herbs and dried sweetened rhubarb that I can use in place of dried cranberries.

chive blossoms to freeze for use in cooking later

I know that as the summer progresses, I'll have even more to harvest. My intent is to not only spread out my harvesting and food preservation, but also to get me to start thinking of all of the food available on my property and see new sources of edibles as well as notice the foods that I often overlook until much later in the season. By the end of September, I hope to have put away enough produce to get us through early to mid-winter.

bundle of 20 grape leaves, tied up with thread, blanched, frozen, and thawed ready for stuffing

When it comes to preserving the harvest, I tend to think about the "regular" garden veggies, like green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and the like. Yet, as I've discovered, there are so many other "fruits" and "veggies" that can be preserved. Two years ago, I decided to try freezing grape leaves. I roll a bunch up, tie with string, then "blanch" in the microwave. I then bag them up and keep in the freezer. They work well for stuffed grape leaves later in winter. This year, I decided that in addition to making chive blossom vinegar, I'd also freeze some whole blossoms to add a pop of spring in cooking when the garden is asleep. 

my latest experiment -- rose "lemonade" no lemons involved

Earlier this week, I'd read about making rose "lemonade" by steeping rose petals in water for a couple of days then sweetening. I've got a jar going. If I like the flavor, I'll be harvesting and dehydrating a bunch of rose petals to use later in the year. While walking the perimeter of the yard this afternoon, I noticed the black currant leaves. They look fresh and bright green. I think I'll pick a few handfuls tomorrow to use in hot tea when the weather chills. They're rich in vitamin C.

100 days, more or less, for at least 100 harvests. This is part of my plan to get more out of my garden this year than I did last year.

11 comments:

  1. With new eyes, it will be interesting to see what else you come up with to eat from outside.

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    1. Somedays it takes a little bit of work to find something. Today I cut garlic greens that likely would not produce bulbs. A stray garlic clove got mixed in with the chive patch several years ago. It keeps reproducing underground. Because they're crowded together, they don't grow big bulbs, only lots of greens. I need to dig them up and move them out of the chives, but I haven't gotten to that yet. Instead, I sometimes use the greens in place of regular garlic. Today, I cut, minced, and froze a bunch.

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  2. Brilliant and prudent concept! I am not that disciplined but I am now going to be looking at what is growing with a broader view. Perhaps even googling items I see here to see if I can do this. We live on the farm and have a woods nearby. We do forage some but I also have seen you use things I'd never think of being good. I believe I've been challenged and inspired...thank you!!

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Oh, you have my dream life -- you're on a farm. I hope that you find all kinds of new "foods" around you. I use google a lot to see what I can do with something, or whether or not something I have a lot of is even edible. Good luck!

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  3. Makes a lot of sense, especially with rising prices! I'm not nearly as good at this as you, but am trying to be better. Last week, when canning about 15 lbs of beets I harvested, I saved the greens, washed and coarsely chopped them, blanched them, then put them in the dehydrator to be used later as greens in soup or added to homemade dog food at the very least. Will do the same as I harvest the rest of the beets. I've also pinched off a few squash leaves here and there to prevent them from overly shading other plants, and when I do, I feed those to the ducks as part of their daily greens. I guess we humans could eat them (have read that you can) but I try to feed the ducks greens regularly since we utilize their eggs.

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    1. Hi Cat,
      my way of thinking is that by feeding the ducks, you are feeding yourselves, eventually. I've wondered if chickens could eat part of their diet in garden produce "leftovers." Good job on the beet greens, as well as canning all of those beets!

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    2. Thanks! And yes, chickens can certainly eat part of their diet as produce leftovers. We compost much more now that we've switched to ducks, who seem much pickier and prefer greens to most other produce I've tried giving them.

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  4. I'm intrigued by the rose lemonade concept--are rose petals acidic, to make them taste like lemonade? Let us know how they turn out. My husband made dandelion blossom jelly last summer. The kids and I weren't wowed by it--it mostly tastes sweet and turned out runny--but he enjoyed it. Like you, he likes experimenting with less well-known food options.

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    1. Hi Kris,
      I'll let you know what we think of the rose "lemonade" after it has brewed for a couple of days. I have no idea how it will taste, whether or not it will taste at all like lemonade or just a sweet, floral drink. I made a syrup from lilac blossoms a couple of years ago that we were not thrilled with, as it was too floral. Rose may be better. Did you know that you can make a rhubarb lemonade? I do this to save on the lemon juice. You still use about half lemon juice, and an extraction/infusion of rhubarb in water, plus the usual amount of sugar. It's very good and tastes a lot like fruit punch. Maybe I'll make rhubarb infusion as one of my things to preserve this next week.

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    2. I've had rhubarb lemonade before and it's super tasty. We don't get enough rhubarb for me to be willing to use it in a beverage but if we did I'd be making it.

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  5. I love the idea of finding practical uses for edibles and other stuff that may be thrown away. 100 days is a good benchmark to help motivate and commit to a new practice. I'm not willing to be in the kitchen 100 days, but I've often thought of keeping a list of 100 things I've made, or 100 ways I've saved.

    Laura

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