Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Tastes of Summer & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I'm joining in with the Frugal Accomplishments community today.  Last week,  I picked elderberries, and froze them for possible jam. Once I strain all the elderberry tincture, I'll decide if that will be enough for the year.  If so, this picking will become jam.  I'm harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers & squash, a few tomatillos, peppers & eggplant, and pulled the first of the beets.  Small amounts of lambs quarters are being picked.  Some of the lima beans and butter peas are drying on the vine, so I'm picking and shelling those as I see them.  Pawpaws are ripening, and I'm gathering those as they fall.  I've dried tomato skins from 4 canner loads of tomatoes... not sure how many pounds that was.  I think I'll try using some before I dry any more.  If you've ever used any, I'd love to hear how you used them and your impression.

I occasionally help out at one of the local pottery shops.  The top photo shows the beauty outside I was able to gather, and the photo above shows a bit of the beauty I'm surrounded by in the shop.  It's a lovely place to spend the day.  I brought leftovers for lunch, snacks and my water bottle each day.  I received a check from ebates for cash back from purchases.  We've got lots of cherry tomatoes this year.  Besides eating them fresh, I've used some in recipes & added some to canning jars, but most days I pick a couple dozen for the chickens.  McNibs begs for some, so he gets some too!  I canned eggplant and summer squash.  Harvested a dozen carrots.  Carrot tops, and end bits from squash and eggplant went into the broth bag in the freezer.  I've picked 16 of our tiny plums.  This is the first year they've fruited, and there's not much to do anything with, so I'm pondering what to do with them.  Maybe I'll freeze them, and once they're all collected, perhaps there will be enough for a small batch of jam.

Because of comments I read on The Prudent Homemaker, I checked out a couple of shows on youtube.  The first was Extreme Cheapskates.  I should not have expected anything from the title, but thought it could be interesting.  I watched it long enough to see a couple share a Q-tip, a toothbrush, and floss... just.ewwww.  Thankfully, the other show was better.  It's called Great Depression Cooking, and I believe the secondary title is Clara's Kitchen.  An amusing 95 year old woman recollects recipes from the Depression era.  I colored my hair at home.

J & I joined my brother & SIL for a concert.  We saw Ray Lamontagne at an outdoor amphitheater.  The concert started 1 1/2 hrs late, we got rained on twice, and the music was very loud with several intense jams, rather than the mellow tunes we like Ray for.  All in all, a disappointment of a show.  Thankfully, we enjoyed a most lovely and very intimate (the small room held less than 40 people) concert with Chris Trapper in Raleigh a few weeks ago to balance it out.  His talent and heartfelt music made the evening pure joy.  Do see him if you get the chance.  I harvested enough basil to make a double batch of pesto and some caprese salad.  What summer tastes are you enjoying?


Approaching Food said...

You can dry tomato skins and then turn them into powder, either with a mortar and pestle or a blender. If you use a blender, freeze the skins for an hour or so even after they're dried, and it will blend better. Then you can use the powder in soups, stews, breads, basically anything that would benefit from some extra nutrition!

Laurie said...

Hi Approaching- I've dried some & just wondered if anyone had a favorite way to use the powder. From what you've said, it sounds like it's more about the nutrition than adding much flavor. Thanks for the freezer tip! I will try that today.

cookingwithgas said...

And, thanks so much for being here while we were away. Your gifted tomatoes in the days before vacation, were so tasty!

April said...

The little tiny plums fascinate me. Are they from an ornamental tree but are edible? Or some variety of plum that comes miniaturized?!

Laurie said...

Glad you enjoyed the tomatoes, Meredith! April, one thing that helps is thinning the fruit. I probably thinned about 1/3 of the plums, but you're really only supposed to have one fruit per stem to get a nice large fruit, and I couldn't bear to pull that many more off, so it's in large part our fault. J didn't want me to thin any at all. We're also hoping they'll get larger as the trees grow. There are two types, neither of which is supposed to be ornamental. I'll see if J remembers the varieties, because I sure don't :o).