Summer Dew Point

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Not Big Enough

When is a kitchen not big enough? During canning season of course.

Our kitchen, recently redone, is more that adequate for most of our culinary adventures. But I don’t care how big a kitchen is, it is never big enough when there are tomatoes to process, beans to freeze, cukes to make into pickles, with squash, elderberries, and raspberries to deal with.

Right now I have a pot of tomato sauce on the stove. I have two sinks full of tomatoes to can. I have a dozen jalapeƱo peppers that we smoked, ready to finish off in the dehydrator. I have more squash that I can use, cucumbers too big to pickle, elderberries that need to be cleaned and frozen and the raspberries are getting ahead of me. WITH NO WHERE TO PUT IT ALL. So the dehydrator will have to go into the dining room. The elderberries will stay in the bucket until the tomatoes are out of the sink. And I finally got a juicer, so I can deal with the squash and extra large cucumbers. But the juicer is big too, so it will go into the dining room too.

Tomatoes ready
Getting the tomatoes ready to pack. There are tons more in the garden ready pick.

Elderberries ready
The elderberries are ready. Anyone want some?

That brings up another problem. Do I use our dining room table for processing and not have a table to eat at? Do I bring up another table to use? Or do I take everything down into the basement, use the table down there, and run up and down the stairs multiple times a day to check on everything. All the while I am running up and down, I also have to keep an eye on the sauce on the stove, blanch, cut and pack the tomatoes, and strip and wash the elderberries.

Smoked jalapenos
Smoked jalapeƱos. After drying, I’ll grind them for chipotle powder.

I think the powers that be are having a wonderful time watching all of us that grow our own food this time of year. It’s probably their big joke that all the garden ripens at the same time. No one, and by that I mean no one that I know, can handle all that produce in a sane and timely manner. We will all be exhausted, cranky and crazy when it is done.

But we have the winter to recoup and enjoy the “fruit” of our labors. Then by next spring, we will have forgotten it all, plant big gardens and hope for large harvests. And next year I'll have apples too.

See, we are crazy.