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.


















17 comments:

  1. Good morning Phil from hot and steamy s.e. FL. Enjoyed reading about your canning and dehydrating of goodies from your garden and seeing the fall colors you have been enjoying up there.

    Love all of your geraniums.

    It might get down into the high 60's by the end of the month. I'm so ready for cooler weather.

    Happy fall/winter ~ FlowerLady

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    1. I hope the 60's will be there soon. Rough summer down there.

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  2. Been a while. I am so glad to hear that you can dry peppers. We've had an abundance of peppers this summer, more than I could use. I thought about drying them but didn't know how to use dried peppers. We have a dehydrator too. I just gathered all the peppers from the garden yesterday before Hurricane Michael hit. Thank you! The colored leaves are so pretty. We are getting our first bit of fall weather today.

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    1. Good luck with the peppers. I'm glad the stormy weather might be passing and you can get a real Fall!

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  3. I've never been able to keep my Geraniums through the winter. They always seem to get aphids. I'm going to try again this winter, now that the porch on the South side of the house is fully enclosed. I hope they won't freeze though.

    Your drying peppers look good. I don't grow my own but when I buy some at a good price I cut them in long pieces and roast them to be used for pizza mainly although I'm so fond of them I can just munch away.

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    1. Hope your geraniums do well in the enclosed porch. I find it's best not to water too much during the winter, that has worked for me. They lose a lot of leaves, but they come out again when put back outside. Yes, nothing like a red or orange pepper to snack on.

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  4. Your fall color is spectacular! And I'm definitely have to try growing peppers again next year. They haven't done well for me in awhile, maybe I need a new variety. Your Hungarians sound really good.

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  5. I have just brought my geraniums in, they will live in the porch until they can go back outside in the spring.

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    1. They can be quite cheery in the winter in a porch window.

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  6. Hey good to see what is happening in your area! Your fall color is awesome! Hope it warms up soon:)

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    1. They are saying maybe 60 later in the week. I'll take that and some sunshine.

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  7. We've not had much of a fall this year . . . just a lot of rain. But that's so much better than going into winter with the ground too dry. I don't have the room to bring in geraniums (except to try keeping them over in the basement) but my daughter used to have a south facing sliding glass door and hers looked as good there over winter as they did outside!

    I've never dried peppers, but have frozen sweet green/yellow/red ones for winter use. So much better than buying fresh ones at the high price during the winter!

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    1. It has been a weird Fall, hot and humid early September, cold, cold October and frost so early here. Oh well, nobody is forcing me to live in Minnesota, but for all the negatives it isn't so bad!

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  8. Hello Phil ~ I didn't see an email addy for writing to you so I'll say thank you here for your kind comment on my latest blog post. I will think about your suggestion. I really am an introvert, and on a very limited budget.

    Easter is really the greater holiday. Jesus' plan from before time began was His coming to earth, taking on flesh, His death & resurrection all because of His great love for us.

    All that we go through in life is part of His plan, and my prayer is to live each day graciously and trusting in Him for everything.

    Thank you again and happy December to you also.

    FlowerLady

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