Ways and means. That’s what the Bar None has provided in our quest for self sufficiency. Earlier this year the neighbors would snicker at the size of bite we had taken out of the land for production. “What in the world are you going to do with it all?”
Eat all we can. Can and freeze as much as the larders will accommodate. Sell what we can. Give away the rest to friends and family. Pretty simple prescription if you’ve got the back for it. And a Foley Mill (La Machina de Legume).
This simple tool, hand operated, separates the pulp, seeds, and pits from the Good Stuff. But you’ve got to cook the product first. Then mill, then cook again. Next heat your jars and rings and lids, pouring hot goodness into the eager mason or ball jars. Clean the jar, apply the lid and ring and then back into a boiling bath for 30-40 minutes.
If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. I figured out that I can put my tomatoes or fruits into a slow cooker over night. And use our “studio” as a secondary culinary cubicle to keep the heat out of the house. Brilliant! Several mornings a week I’m faced with the daunting task (it took me almost two hours to hand pit plums yesterday) of follow through. The Good Mother takes care of those that take care of themselves.
This is how it has been done for longer than we’ve been around. Eight to ten hours in a day equals groceries for a week. Started from seed, nurtured, harvested, and put up. All by our own hands.
I was promised through decree that I would be well taken care of for the rest of my days. Reward for 20+ years of child rearing. More sinister and savvy plans (“I’d rather give every penny to attorneys than give you a dime”, promise well kept I might add) made that piece of paper worthless. Free advice: Get a settlement up front if at all possible. And not for the last time, Damned Attorneys!
As it turns out I’m a better person for having to depend on my own wiles. Emerging talents and energies and rewards. The Good Life indeed!
Tools of the trade. Front and center the Foley Mill. To the right, plum juice destined for jelly and next winter’s toast. To the left, San Marzano and Roma tomatoes awaiting a cheese cloth strain for paste. Above that more and more tomatoes, this batch headed to marinara heaven. I’ve processed nearly 300 pounds of tomatoes that now reside in the cellar or freezer.
Our fruit cellar isn’t big but will hold enough to sustain through the winter. In addition to the ever increasing inventory of canned goods it will soon host hundreds of pounds of potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, rutabagas, onions, et al. Groceries!
My dear sweet Katie and friends help me skin and de-seed charred hot peppers. The first of many batches, this one went in to yesterday’s 10 quarts of Arrabiata sauce.
Firearm safety Friday. Teaching the girls to be respectful, conscientious and comfortable around guns.