When artichokes go to seed

artichoke_croppedThis is what happens when you don’t pick your artichokes. That’s not a bad thing however. Since this is one of the plants that’s proven that it grows well on our property, we’ll let it dry out and then harvest the seeds for next spring. When you’re pulling the stamens, it almost looks like a dandelion that’s gong to seed, so we’ll probably leave a few for the wind to blow around and see if we get any plants in random spots. The rest we’ll stick in a paper bag and overwinter in the greenhouse. The plants themselves we’ll trim to the ground and cover with hay to protect them. We may separate a few of the shoots and transplant them as well.

Home brewing the easy way

kegs_croppedWe love making beer because it makes the house smell great (and the drinking part is pretty good too), but bottling is time consuming, and often messy. The solution? Well, since we make 5 gallon batches, we got two 2.5 gallon mini kegs that fit perfectly into a small reefer. They’re kept charged with a shot from a CO2 cartridge every once in a while. Very handy, and I’ll bet we’ll be very popular if we show up to a get together with one of these!

Time to Harvest the Cascade Hops

hops_croppedGetting ready to dry out the harvest of Cascade hops. We planted 4 plants last year, and didn’t think they’d make it, but we got enough this year to flavor MANY gallons of home brew. Our long, hot summer here in Puget Sound must have had something to do with it. According to directions, we’ll dry them at 95 degrees in the dehydrator for about 8 hours, and then bag and freeze them. We just finished a batch of Irish red beer, so they’ll have to wait until the next brew to try out. Speaking of which, we’ll have to show you how we’re storing our beer now!

Our new food strainer

juicer_croppedNo more peeling and seeding tomatoes for canning and sauces, thanks to our brand new Victorio food strainer!

We bought this mainly to save LOTS of time in processing the bumper crop of tomatoes this year, but have found that it does a really good job on removing the seeds from blackberries. We also got the extra different sized strainers, and are looking forward to making salsa, and canning some of that.