Say that three times fast! On Saturday, Pete and our neighbor, Katherine, harvested some of our shared garden’s bounty. Lots of string peas, pounds and pounds of potatoes, and some sweet peppers and bell peppers. Today I was busy stringing, washing, blanching, rinsing, and packaging all of it. 27 bags of peas, 9 bags of potatoes, and 10 sweet/bell peppers. Whew! Our garden regularly produces tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and okra and we normally are able to eat them or give away to friends before they go bad. We have some broccoli getting ready to be picked as well.
Here is a shot of a sinkful of string peas, ready for blanching. They have already been “strung”, meaning the tough spine string on both sides of each pea pod has been removed. My thumb hurts from stringing so many peas.
For those of you unfamiliar with string peas, here is a close-up. You will want to remove the ends along with the string before you blanch them. If you want your pea pods to be smaller, snap them in half at this stage.
The strings come off in a very curly manner most of the time. They are sorta cute, if you like curly ribbon looks.
On occasion you come across a little critter chowing down on your peas. Just break off that section and toss it.
Once the ends and strings are removed, rinse the peas well while you get a large pot of water boiling. For blanching, I used a steamer/pot combo. This way the boiling water stays in the same pot and I simply raise the steamer basket out and dump the peas out into a sinkful of cold water. Let them sit in the cold water for a few minutes, then drain.
Here are the peas boiling. I blanched the peas for approximately 4 minutes.
Once the peas have dried and cooled some, bag them up to your liking. I personally like to use quart or sandwich size freezer Ziploc bags and divide the peas into 2-3 servings per bag. If you bag them up in a gallon bag it is hard to separate the peas once they are frozen and you typically have to thaw and cook the entire bag. Also, if you have lots of different peas, beans, and other green veggies you are freezing, I recommend to label your bags. Hint on the labeling: Label them before you put the contents into the bag, makes it much easier!
Here are my bags of peas. 27 bags is a LOT of peas!
Here is a shot of our bell peppers and sweet banana peppers.
Red potatoes anyone? I had about 15 pounds worth today!
I think it is funny when the potatoes have growths of new baby potatoes on them. I had two today.
9 bags of potatoes = 14.4 pounds! Mashed potatoes, potato salad, baked potatoes, hash-browns…Yummy! I followed the same wash, pick off little eyes/roots, blanch, cool, bag, freeze routine that I did with the peas.
Gardening is hard work, but so worth it. Pete and Katherine did the planting and the picking. I stay in the cool with little man, Cason. Pete brings me the pickings and I clean, refrigerate/freeze, or cook the veggies. I think I got the better end of the deal on this one. The heat is ridiculous the past few days!
So, what does your garden grow? Did you plant one this year? Have you ever planted one? This garden is the first one Pete and I have done and thank goodness we have our neighbor to help us. She has had a garden every year for the past 40 years or so. Are you secretly wanting to plant one, but are a little hesitant to try? I say go for it and start out small. Tomorrow I will be posting some pictures of our garden. If you have pics of or stories about your garden’s bounty, please do share!
For more detailed instructions on how to freeze, can, pickle, or preserve just about any fruit or veggie, check out this site. Pick Your Own I came across it today and saved it to my favorites. It came in very hand today! It has a tremendous amount of great tips!
Hope you have a terrific week!