Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Last Garden Chores of 2013

Yes, it's 2014 and I'm just finishing garden chores from last year!  It is always so - some things can just wait and since I always seem to be busy, wait they do!  The chores involve food, food for storage.  More specifically, dried beans and onions.  Both were fine: the beans were unshelled in pails, the onions had been properly cured and were in crates.  They were fine, but not particularly easy to access.  What finally got me going?  Well, it's time to clear and clean the sun room and get ready to start growing in 2014.

The beans are one of our favourites: Jacob's Cattle.  They are excellent for soups, stews, pork-and-beans and refried beans.  They matured on the bushes and I got them picked in early October, when the pods were brown and crispy.  I had them in a crate for a few days to dry, then they went into pails and into the sun room.  I like to clean them by hand - I sit in front of the TV in the evenings and shell them.  I've tried a lot of different methods like putting the pods in a sack and whacking it on a wall or post but I find it all messy.  I think I get a cleaner product just shelling gently into a pail and discarding the largely intact pod.  I still go through the shelled beans carefully for debris and bad beans before storing in glass jars.  I'll look through them again before I cook them, but I find less debris then beans I've bought at the store!  You do always go through dried beans, right?

The onions were just fine, I just wanted to get them into smaller storage and in a mesh bag that I could hang in the back room.  I cleaned some of the dried skin off and have a beautiful bag ready to use.  A little dusty and messy; perhaps it was a job better for doing outdoors last fall but that's what vacuums are for, right?

Now that's two pails and two crates out of the sun room.  What remains are four crates of assorted winter squash and a few loose squash on the floor.  We're still eating winter squash, I'm still going to bake and freeze some for muffins and such, and the goats and chickens are still getting some real food snacks!  But the sun room is almost clear and ready for the seed starting unit to come back inside.  It's time to get growing again!