Thursday, October 11, 2018

Looking Forward to the Slow Season

Good evening from my home in Wykeham Township, Minnesota. Fall is seriously upon us, and it has a good measure of winter mixed in. I've been getting the garden produce ready for the freezer, also canning, and drying. Since I live alone out here in the sticks, you'll notice I don't grow or preserve nearly as much as some of you might. I try to keep enough for myself and the family visitors I have throughout the "Slow Season." Notice I mix Fall and Winter together, because in Minnesota they're really so interconnected. One day can be the classic autumn day, but the next can be bitterly cold with snow.

I like to dry peppers, but I don't have a dehydrator, so I just use my variation of an oven method, not scientific, but it gets the job done. I don't dry huge volumes of peppers, so a few jars will last me a long time.

One thing I gathered, is that it doesn't pay to try drying green or even yellow peppers. Wait until they turn orange or red. Seems the moisture content is too high otherwise. So if you grow the Hungarian yellow peppers, don't pick them so early, let them turn orange/red. They are my favorite. Another is the red cherry-bomb pepper. Don't rush the ripening that comes with sunny weather. Just my observation. I put the peppers in the oven at 200-250 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off until it cools. Then I just let them cool, crumble them and put in a clean jar with a few rice kernels on the bottom. You'll notice I have some greener ones on the cookie sheet. I just threw them into the mashed potatoes that night.

The drying of anything from the garden increases the flavor, sweetness and  richness of any fruit or veg. Of course a dehydrator is the best, but I don't have the storage room for all these appliances, so just accept the best from what I have. These are good on pizza, salads, potato salad, any kind of gravy, and I like to knead it into the dough for dinner rolls. Try drying peppers.

Here are some photos of maples in two of our churchyards in Eagle Bend this October.

One of the signs of Fall is the tiger salamander looking for a place to burrow in and get cozy. I usually see one or two of these every year.

Here are some pickles I've made. I was disappointed in the cuke variety I picked this year, called "Munchers." They had an excess of seeds, even in the smaller ones. But my brother-in-law likes them, so not a failure.

Today I spent my time getting all the geraniums I keep into the house. I keep them all from year to year. I realize that it is a lot of work, but I do save a lot by keeping them in the basement, and I don't especially like spending $4.99 or $5.99 for a pathetic little geranium in the Spring. I'll do it my way. These will go downstairs in the morning.

I hope you have a blessed Fall. I hope you will leave a comment. Now it is time for this.