Small Batch Preserving

This past weekend, I harvested about 5 pounds of tomatoes, 3 or so cups of lima beans, and a whole bunch of green beans.

Too much to eat but not enough to can.

What do I do when this happens?

Preserve in small batches! Small-batch preserving is a great way to make sure the veggies I’ve worked so hard to grow don’t go to waste.

Here’s how I preserve lima beans, tomatoes, and green beans—all in small batches.

Small batch preserving: tomatoes, lima beans, green beans

Lima Beans

Lima beans are a lesson in patience every year. I always expect them to be ready earlier than they are and I most definitely have to get in my zone when it comes to shelling them.

I’m not really complaining because both my husband and I love lima beans. It’s worth the lesson!

I have to admit I’ve never canned lima beans—I always freeze them. Here’s the nifty way I do it because there’s no blanching required. Yay!

Tomatoes

I love slow roasting and freezing tomatoes. However, I don’t always want to take the time or heat up the kitchen. In the past, I’ve frozen whole tomatoes but they usually just hung out in the freezer for way too long.

Today, I decided to stew and freeze the tomatoes. Could not be any easier and I’m looking forward to using these tomatoes in soups and stews this winter.

Green Beans

At last count, I have 12 pints of canned green beans. That might not be enough for some but it’s a good start for my husband and me.

After this weekend’s bean harvest, I didn’t feel like canning again and decided to freeze the green beans, which I usually blanch.

However, sometimes I cook the beans with garlic and black pepper for 30 minutes or so.

After I cook the beans, I fill a jar with them, add cooking liquid, let them cool, pop on a lid, and then pop them in the freezer. They’ll be great in soups and stews along with the tomatoes.

A Note About Containers

I try to stay away from one-time use plastic (like freezer bags, etc.). While it’s not always possible, I’ve been happily freezing in both Ball freezer jars (yes, I know they’re plastic but they’re reusable) and Ball wide mouth mason jars.

Learn how to freeze food in mason jars.

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My Week In Pictures

Some of the week’s highlights.

1. Downy Woodpecker on the disco feeder. Believe it or not, the ribbons and nuts/washers keep House Sparrows from taking over this feeder.

2. Monarch resting on my favorite River Birch tree.

3. Pollinators are loving the Mexican Sunflower. I plant these every year.

4. Lima beans teach me patience. I always expect them to be ready for harvest earlier. And, once I pick them, I have to get in the “lima bean shelling” zone.

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My Week In Pictures

Some of the week’s highlights.

1. Checked out The Pioneer Engineers Club tractor show in Rushville, Indiana with the husband. More interesting than you might think it would be!

Tractor Show | Horseradish & Honey

2. Fresh lima beans for dinner on Sunday.

Fresh Lima Beans | Horseradish & Honey

3. So many butterflies in the garden. Two of my favorite pictures from this week.

4. Found this acorn squash, which was a nice surprise because I thought all of my plants succumbed to the squash vine borers.

Surprise Acorn Squash | Horseradish & Honey

5. Spotted another Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. So fascinating. Did you see the video I posted last month?

Hummingbird Moth | Horseradish & Honey

6. Small shallot harvest. I planted just a few in the spring to make sure I’ll have enough to get through the winter. I’ll be planting more this fall and will harvest a lot more in the spring. Long way of explaining fall-planted shallots are generally more prolific than spring-planted ones for me.

Shallot Harvest | Horseradish & Honey

7. I’m so happy and fulfilled these days. Loving my gardening life AND loving my work life. Started a new office job this week in addition to my ongoing virtual assistant job. No complaints!

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My Week In Pictures

Some of the week’s highlights.

1. Lovely, lush cucumber plants.
Lush Cucumber Plants | Horseradish & Honey

2. First batch of fermented pickles.

Fermented Pickles | Horseradish & Honey

3. Finally harvesting tomatoes of all different sizes!

Early August Tomato Harvest | Horseradish & Honey

4. Lima beans! Yay!!

Lima Beans! | Horseradish & Honey

5. Bees are loving the Rose of Sharon.

Bee on Rose of Sharon Bloom | Horseradish & Honey

6. Monarchs are loving the zinnias, too. I’ve seen a monarch in the garden every day this week. Makes me feel like I’m doing something right!

Monarch Butterfly on Pink Zinnia | Horseradish & Honey

7. Newest patch of butterfly weed blooming.

Blooming Butterflyweed | Horseradish & Honey

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August Notes to Self

So, here we are at the beginning of August.  And I continue to be the worst about noting what’s going on in the garden.

I’m super enthusiastic in February when I create a multi-tabbed spreadsheet to capture everything from when I started seeds inside or sowed outside to when seeds germinated to when I first harvested and how much I harvested.  Not to mention varieties of vegetables, days to harvest, and a bunch of other information that I generally never bother looking at again.

Maybe I need to try a bullet journal? But an online version because I can barely read my own handwriting. 🙂

Instead of lamenting my poor note-taking skills, I’m going to try this notes to self idea. At the very least, I may review it when I start planning in 2018!

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