Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Memories of Momma

This morning, as I was washing my frying pan, I had a memory float through my mind.  I have been cooking and using the same frying pan plus a few others for 50 years.  Why?  After 50 years did I have a look into my past that moved me like this.

Momma had 1 cast iron skillet and 1 griddle pan.  She took wonderful care of them.  I never remember there being any rust, food never stuck to her skillet and what wonderful food was on the table cooked in this one skillet.  Fried pork chops, fried chicken with white gravy, Momma could really cook wonderful meals.

I have read many articles and posts on how to care for cast iron, burn the pans in a fire.  I have burned pans in the fire and I have cooked the pans in the oven.  All of these things work.  This morning I saw Momma standing in her kitchen wringing out the dish rag until it was dry.  She had just finished washing her skillet, she took the dish rag and wiped the skillet.  It was so clear to me, I have never remembered Momma doing this until this morning.  So, there I stood, dish rag in my hand, wringing it out completely dry and began to wipe my skillets as I was washing 2 this morning.  Mr. Bootsie stood watching me with the look of why are doing this?  He could see satisfaction on my face, I began to share with him as I just did with you.

My comment to him was 50 years I have been cooking and doing whatever to take care of my skillet but this one morning it was clear to me; in the future, I shall be taking care of my skillet the same way Momma did.  You see one of the skillets I have was Momma's and I, also, have her griddle.  I think if I would take the time to do some research I am cooking in a cast iron skillet which has been used in our family kitchen for over 90 years.  I have no idea as to how old the griddle is because Momma found the griddle on the farm.

No, I am not suggesting to any of you this is the way to take care of your skillets, but for me this just pleased  me to realize a memory of growing up could bring me so much comfort.  Now if I could find some of those red and white dish rags Momma used.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Garden Review 2014

This week, the tunnel has been covered, and the spring/summer garden will be slipping away.  I did pick a large basket of butter beans and a few more pole beans (snaps) which I added to a cheese vegetable soup.  There are peppers waiting for me to make pepper jelly and spinach, lots of spinach, I will be freezing more of this to use during the winter.

My mind is now thinking what will not  be planted next season.  The first no, no, no is lazy wife green beans (pole) the japanese beetles enjoy this plant and the summer damage was bad.  I did have a good harvest from these beans but they were a haven for the beetles which moved to the raspberries and blackberries. I grew several hills of blue lake pole beans, no beetles and I did manage to harvest a few in September and October.  I can't complain about the beans because I did not do a good job of getting these started.

Tomatoes, the backbone of the garden and the kitchen, I did not get my late tomatoes started so I only had a few plants which volunteered, they were paste tomatoes.  My early paste tomatoes did a great job and these will be planted next year.  The sun-dried variety was picked, dehydrated and are on the shelf waiting for me to make something wonderful with them.

paste tomatoes---Opalka, some of these grew to 5 inches long.

dried tomatoes---Principe Borghese, good harvest, lots dried.  I like to use these in summer          
cooking, great in pastas and salads.
I had the best results from Roma paste tomatoes this year, I was at the point of thinking I would not plant them in the future but they will be on the list for next season.

The tomato cages are already set for next spring.  I dug down 2 feet added manure, filled the hole, set my tomato cages and the bed was mulched 6 inches deep.  I do not plow or turn my garden as I garden with shovels, hoes and forks.

Peppers, I have always had a good pepper crop here, but this season was a little off.  Again, this was my fault.  I like to make pepper jellies, this requires several varieties of peppers.  Our most used pepper is the pepperoncini which begins producing early and continues until frost.  The deer ate this plant this season and I had to wait for recovery from their damage.

pepperoncini, use these in many recipes, pickle.freeze a number of them for winter use.

cayenne, red pepper

jalapeno,  use for poppers, jellies, cowboy candy

aconcadua,  use for saute

red pepper, have not settled on a variety, use these in cooking and jellies

This is the area (tomatoes and peppers) of my garden which gets the most variety.  I must settle on seed selections and not wander through the seed books saying to myself, I must try this, this looks good or I must plant this one.  As I have gotten older my decision is to settle on varieties I like and plant these.

I am pleased to report as of November 1, there has been no frost, but I feel it is just around the corner.  The tunnel is ready, plants are growing and I am happy with what has been accomplished this season.  I learned a little about late gardening, as I have never had such good harvests in September and October.

I have my rocking chair setting by the wood stove, a cup of tea ready for sipping and I am just waiting for the new seed books to arrive.  Spring will arrive in my mailbox one day.