The Easiest Way to Preserve Beans

Beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. There are two types of beans you can grow: fresh green beans and dry shelling beans. I find that the easy way to preserve green beans, is by freezing them. Freezing them, also maintains some of that crisp texture and fresh flavor, that gets lost when canning them. Dry Shelling Beans are even easier to preserve, just dry them! Fresh Green Beans vs Dry Shelling Beans Just to be clear, when I say green beans, I am talking about string beans vs dry beans. Varieties of string beans that I am talking about are Provider Green Beans, Yellow Wax Beans, Kentucky Pole beans and many others. These are also referred to as snap, green and wax beans. I am not referring to beans that you grow for dry shelling beans, such as Black Turtle Beans, Cannellini Lingot Beans or Dark Red Kidney Beans. Dry Shelling Beans, are grown for the seed inside the string bean, whereas string beans, are grown for the whole bean , where you eat the shell and the seed beans inside. Preserving Dry Shelling Beans These are the easiest beans of all to preserve. You let the beans dry out, either while still in the garden, or if you are expecting a frost, pick the whole plant and bring into a dry place like a garage. Once the plant has dried up, you just shell the beans, and collect the seed. The seed is the actual dry bean. Some examples you might be familiar with are kidney beans, white cannellini beans, pinto beans, black beans, etc. Once the seed beans are completely dry, you can store them in jars in a cool dark place for at least a year or two. Than soak before using, or pressure can…

Tamara


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How to Preserve your Pumpkins and Winter Squash by Roasting and Freezing

Fall is in the air, and it is almost time to harvest those pumpkins and winter squash. These are one of my favorite foods to grow in the garden. They are super easy, just plant and forget about them. Than as fall comes around, it is like a treasure hunt to see how many you can find. I always plant a lot of varieties of pumpkin and winter squash and we all enjoy harvesting them together. Most pumpkins and winter squash will easily keep for months if stored in a cool dark cupboard. I like to roast some of them and then put into the freezer for those lazy cooking days and it is nice to have on hand. You may also can pumpkin or squash in chunks using a pressure canner, but it is not safe to can it in a pureed form. In this article, I will teach you how to preserve your pumpkins and winter squash by roasting and freezing it. Also see my article on why you should also freeze some of your tomato harvest! Choosing the Pumpkins or Squash for Roasting My favorite pumpkin or squash to use for roasting is the Jarrahdale Pumpkin. It is a beautiful blue flattish pumpkin that is just stunning to look at. The meat of this pumpkin is similar to Butternut Squash, which is another favorite and works well with this method. But almost any type will work. Blue Hubbard Squash,  Sweet Meat Squash and Pie Pumpkins are others that will also work well. Cleaning Up the Pumpkins and Squash First thing you need to do is to get your pumpkin or squash all cleaned up and ready for roasting. Clean the exterior of the pumpkin or squash well, making sure to remove any dirt. Give the whole pumpkin…

Tamara


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June Homestead To Do List

Please keep in mind, I live near Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, and this list is my personal June Homestead To Do List. Your list may need to be slightly altered depending on where you live and your homestead needs. June Homestead To Do List for Gardening: You might have thought that you were done planting now that May is over. HA! Nope! Still more to plant this month!  Here is my list for this month: Veggies: These veggies can be sown earlier than June, but can be sown again in June for a longer staggered harvest: Root veggies: carrots, beets, parsnips and radishes Greens: lettuces, spinach, mustard, kale, collards, swiss chard These veggies are typically planted in May, or after night time temps are above 50 degrees and also known as warm season crops. If you have already planted them, they can be sown again this month for a staggered harvest, if you have not planted any yet, get some in as quick as you can: Legumes: pole beans, bush beans and dry beans Corn Cucurbits: cucumbers, melons, summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins Herbs: All of them such as basil, thyme, dill, cilantro, sage, oregano, parsley, lavender, mint, lemon balm, etc. Vegetables for Winter Harvest: Sow these this month indoors and plan to transplant them into the garden in August Brassicas (Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale) Onions and Leeks for overwintering Flowers: Sunflowers Zinnias Snapdragon Nasturtium Marigold Cosmos Petunias Coleus Fuchsia Lobelia Alyssum All. The. Flowers. Never enough! There is also harvesting to do in the garden in June. I am still harvesting a bit of asparagus right now. Rhubarb as well. Greens, Peas, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Strawberries! My garlic scapes need to be harvested asap! The garlic itself will probably be harvested at the end of the…

Tamara


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May Homestead To Do List

May is Plant All The Things Month! I keep thinking I am getting ahead of the planting, but I realized this week that I am not! I still have so much to plant, and have been so busy planting, that I completely forgot to do my monthly May Homestead To Do List post earlier this month. So here it is, better late than never! Please keep in mind, I live near Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, and this list is my personal to do list. Your list may need to be slightly altered depending on where you live and your homestead needs. May Homestead To Do List for Gardening: What am I planting, you might ask. Some of these may have been planted last month, but can be sowed again this month as well. This list includes things that I am direct seeding and some that I have started either via winter sowing or in typical plant flats. See what I planted this year using the Winter Sowing Method. I have also purchased some too. Be wary of night time temperatures. When they are safely above 50 degrees, heat loving plants such as tomatoes and peppers are safe to be planted outdoors. Don’t forget to harden off your starts first! Here is my list for this month: Veggies: This first group should really already be in. But if they are not, go ahead and plant asap, and next year, try to get them in earlier! All veggies in the first two groups, are known as cold season crops: Onions (from starts only, not by seed) Peas Potatoes (if planting this late, go with a short season type such as Yukon Gold) Brassicas if you haven’t yet (starts only and early varieties): broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale…

Tamara


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Benefits of Freezing your Tomato Harvest

Today I will share the many benefits of freezing your tomato harvest. You may ask, why post this now, in the spring, instead of late summer, when the harvest is rolling in? Well, last week, it was finally time to make some room in my freezer, and I pulled out the remaining nine one gallon size zip lock bags of frozen tomatoes. This was only about half of my tomato harvest from last year. I pulled out the other half back in November. Using up my frozen tomatoes, I thought now would be as good a time as any, to share all the benefits,  before it comes time to harvest the tomatoes, so that you will freeze some too! And maybe you will want to plant a few extra tomato plants! If so, check out my article on how to grow tomatoes from seed. Now let me tell you all the reasons why I freeze my tomatoes. Reason Numero Uno The main reason is, I don’t have a lot of time to deal with the tomatoes at the time of year when most of them are harvested. SO MUCH goodness is coming out of the garden at the same time, it is very difficult to try and preserve it all at the same time! The last week of August and first week in September, is one of our busiest times here on the homestead. My kids have shown at fair for over a dozen years, and those two weeks are fair weeks. Throw in the start of school, and the weeks before fair prepping everything. I am lucky if I have time to actually harvest the tomatoes! This is the main reason why I freeze the tomatoes. How to Freeze Your Tomato Harvest Before I move on to…

Tamara


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April Homestead To Do List

April Showers Bring May Flowers! We have a few flowers blooming right now, and lots and lots of showers. I have been sick, so I am going a bit stir crazy and not much is getting done. I am just itching to get outside and get started on our spring to do list! It is miles and miles long. Here are a few of our pretty blooms right now: April Homestead To Do List for Gardening: As always, our to do list is ginormous. Especially in the spring. Let’s start with our little seedlings. I have 8 trays (36 plants each…..gulp) of peppers and tomatoes, that need transplanting, or up potting into larger pots. A lot of those will be sold at the end of the month. But for the ones I am keeping, I have to wash and sanitize 100+ large pots to prepare for their final transplant. The greenhouse also needs a final cleaning before I move everything out there later this month. There is still quite a bit of veggie garden winter clean up to do and a few more kale and broccoli transplants to put in since the rabbits nibbled down the one’s I planted previously. I sprayed the rest with deer and rabbit spray, and they seem to be leaving it alone now. We may also have to replant more peas, at last look, I didn’t see any coming up yet. The fava beans and kohlrabi and some swiss chard I planted by seed has all germinated.  I need to put a bunch of compost down and need to plant my beets and carrots and transplant all my onion starts. And start some lettuce and spinach. And put more mulch down in lots of place. Egads, that…

Tamara


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