Putting Food Up


Putting food up is a lot of work. These pears along with a couple more bags sat in the kitchen a week until I summoned the courage to sit and cut them all, lug out the heavier than heck cider press, grind them, press them and then make pear butter from the pressings.

Meanwhile Scott’s been slowly plugging away at making marinaras with the tomatoes. 5 quarts are in the pantry, only 19 more to make! A few years ago we made it a goal to put 24 quarts up, which would give us a spaghetti dinner every other week or so until the next tomato season. Just thinking about 19 more makes me want to take a nap. It’s so worth it though when you taste it. Home canned marinara is so much more delicious than anything you can buy. We upped our canning ability this year by investing in a pressure canner. Our first pressure canned experiment was salsa.

The corn was all harvested, but that’s easy to put up. Just cut it off the cob and into ziplocks for the freezer. I think this year our harvest should carry us most of the way through the winter.

I had to do a little surgery in one of my hives last week. Somehow, somewhere along the line, someone left a one inch gap between frames in the bottom box and the ladies filled that space up with comb. I spent all summer fretting over having to deal with it. At a recent beekeeping get together a wiser beekeeper encouraged me to just get in and take care of business and I did. Not only did the lovely ladies create an easy to pop out full wall of comb between the frames, but it was almost entirely empty of brood. Phew!

Last weekend my younger son and I went to a bee harvesting event where we helped harvest honey from three different colonies, all in different locations. We started with the honey from the Sonoma Garden Park. See the color above?

Well, we ended with honey from Glen Ellen, the next town north, just a few miles up the road for those not familiar with the area. Look how much darker it is! It’s a nice group of beekeepers we have here in Sonoma. Such interesting people. It was a good day.


Filed under beekeeping, Preserving

12 responses to “Putting Food Up

  1. Michael

    Great post! I’ve been freezing peppers and eggplant like crazy and last week made 7 quarts of tomato soup. Marinara is probably next. Have any recommendations for recipes?

  2. Sometimes it is daunting — but generally I get a real rush when we open something up later. Honey variability is a real surprise year to year.

  3. Very nice. And here is me complaining about doing a couple of jars of pickles!

  4. I completely feel you on the canning and preserving. My back and feet will hurt for a week after a big canning session. It’s so worth it in the winter. 🙂
    I am fascinated by your bee keeping. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You are my hero. Such awesome things you do…

  6. Jo-Toad

    It has been a dream of mine to raise bees and can; I find you inspiring.

  7. It is that time of year. I’ve been busy canning, too. Just put up 7 more quarts of tomatoes last night. Add that to 7 quarts of tomatoes, 40 quarts of pickles, 12 quarts of applesauce, 7 quarts of peach salsa and a few quarts of dilly beans, and you have one pooped out canning fool. I have never canned this much in one season before, but I still want to do more. It is so rewarding having your own wholesome food.
    I would be interested in your marinara recipe if you are willing to share.

  8. mims

    omigosh, we had a bumper crop of pears! I just washed, cored and chunked them onto parchment lined cookie sheets, placed in the chest freeser till frozen, then put them into ziplock bags in the freezer. That way I can take out a few individual chunks as needed (istead of one huge glom of frozen pear chunks) for smoothies, tart fillings. I highly recommend this method if you have the freezer space. Who wants to can when it is 100*F!
    (or maybe I am lazy)

  9. I love your blog! Keep up the interesting posts!

  10. Michelle

    Your photos are so lovely you can practically taste and smell them, yum!

  11. lyndabloombakecreate

    It’s amazing the difference in the color of the honey. We have two frames to harvest shortly. I’m hoping they will be a bit darker although I love our “clear” honey we harvested earlier in the season! Great harvest pics.

  12. The honey is amazing–what a great experience. I’m embarrassed to admit, but this was the first year I canned. I’ve always taken the easy way and frozen our sauces and extra produce because I feared poisoning my family by canning incorrectly. Isn’t that silly? Now, when I open the pantry and see the lovely jars lined up on the shelves, I’m ridiculously proud. (I did freeze the corn, though–it’s just easier.) Your photos are always so lovely–I feel like I’m in the garden with you! Thanks so much for sharing.

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