Sunday, September 1, 2013

Harvest time

What would you do with a peach tree? 

Well if you're anything like us you'll completely ignore it.  Ha!  Isn't it strange that if we had bought the peach tree we would be babying it, but because it came with the house we see it as an annoyance.  We don't do anything for this tree, and for the last couple of years we've only harvested a couple of small peaches off the tree at the end of the summer.  This year however we noticed the tree was over abundant with peaches.  So I took an afternoon and picked two Wal-Mart bags of peaches.  Then soaked them in a quick bath of mostly water and a little vinegar, to kill any bugs or mold that could possibly be on them.

Here are the tiny peaches drying.
Then I had to ask my mom and do some internet research to figure out what to do with them.  She suggested blanching them to get the skins off.  So I boiled some water, and then placed the peaches in the water for 66 seconds.  Then threw them in an ice batch.  After that the peach skins just rubbed right off.  It was pretty amazing how easy it was to do.  This took me about an hour since the I had so many peaches.

blanched peaches cooling in the fridge

Next came pitting them. It turned out to be easier than we thought.  We managed to pit them by squeezing the pit out.  No knife needed.  mmm peach pits.  My mom suggested that when we pit them to throw the peaches in bath of water, sugar, and something acidic.  I put a little orange juice in ours.  The acidity keeps the peaches from turning brown. 
We are thinking about making jam, or peach pie, or cobbler.  But we haven't decided yet.  To preserve them we decided to freeze them.  We ended up having two 9x13s full of peaches.  I can't wait to make a little batch of jam with these.  The Ziploc bag went in the fridge and the two 9x13s went to the freezer.
We dined on the bowls as a treat for all our hard work.  Dessert perfection!  They might look a little brown but they tasted perfectly peachy.  I'll wager a guess that next year we take more of an interest in the peach tree before harvest time.  Now we know what can come off this tree.  What a treat.
So what else are we harvesting right now?  How about lettuce.  We totally ignored the lettuce and it got out of control. So for whatever reason Adam decided to pick it all.  There is a small plant of Spinach hiding in there some where.
Lettuce!  The man is crazy :)  So he washed all of this lettuce by hand.  I'm not sure how else it would be washed if not by hand, ha!  It took him forever.  We had lettuce drying all over the kitchen.  Then once it was dry he bagged it up for his coworkers.  He ended up with 9 gallon bags of lettuce.  We're slowly learning we only need one or two plants.  Of course we don't mind sharing with coworkers.
Speaking of plants that are out of control....lets talk tomatoes.  Cherry tomatoes to be exact.  I'm guessing we really only need one plant from here on out.  Unless of course we want to start Schaaf Farms. 
These giant tomatoes are very special.  They are seeds from Adam's grandfather's garden.  The seeds were 3 years old and we were afraid that they wouldn't produce anything.  They are called Mortgage Lifters.  The largest Mortgage Lifter we've picked so far this year was 3lbs.
 These are two of our cherry tomato plants.  We have four.  And each plant is producing hundreds of tiny tomatoes.  Perhaps next year we only need at most 2 plants. 

I picked cherry tomatoes until I saw the one of the largest spiders I've ever seen....ok Adam can pick the rest.
What happens when I'm trying to pick tomatoes, or any other time I'm outside...?
Let's play fetch mom!
Yes this is a tennis ball inside a giant not knot of rope Adam made.  But she'll pretty much fetch anything.  Including weeds from the garden.
And what am I excited about?  Squash!

 Acorn Squash and hidden amongst the dying plant is the Spaghetti Squash.  This is our first year for these squash and I'm thrilled to have them.  Adam isn't big on squash, but I could eat Acorn Squash every day.  mmm squash.

 Time to cook up some squash and clean some more freakin' tomatoes. (I had failed to mention the two 9x13s filled with cherry tomatoes in the fridge).  The only thing we've made so far is a Margharita pizza, and a mini version for lunch the next day.  It's the easiest thing to make with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil.  I will leave you with the recipe.

Margharita Pizza
Olive Oil
Fresh Basil
Fresh Mozzarella
Top your pizza or bread with all the toppings and we stuck them under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly.  Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese.  And devour.
What are you harvesting out of your garden? 
What's your favorite recipe for fresh vegetables?
If you have any great Peach recipes, please share.
Happy Harvesting

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