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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tools for Harvest and Preservation.

Yesterday we talked about Tools used for Maintenance, today is all about the glory.

The glory, that is definitely what it should be called. After all that hard work, and then it pays off, big time. ok, sometimes it all goes to well. . .ya know)

The list of Harvesting tools is a very simple and short list. All you need are your hands, a pair of good shears, and a bushel basket and/or a utility cart. There might be times where you will need a hand trowel, or that cats-paw again, depending on what you have grown.

The potato fork is also important. We go through 1 every season because we tend to snap them at one point. We bought a high dollar one, once. And that was the only time. We have broken all of them on our soil.


Preserving your harvest involves many tools. Canning your harvest is the most common way around here. You need to have a large pot to either cook and mix sauces, or to blanch (if the canning recipe calls for it). You will need several large wooden spoons and different sized rubber spatulas (or scrappers). Possibly coffeee filters for draining. A funnel, strainer, and a jar lifter, as well as a kitchen towl. Jars and lids are a must! So is a very good knife.

You will also need to have a food mill, a hot water bath boiler,

a pressure canner {remember you can have the pressure tested at your local extension office, usually free.}

You need the proper ingredients for your recipe, and instructions if you don't know it by heart.

For freezing, you need the blanching pot, waxed paper, a freezer, and jars for storage.

Drying can use different methods, so different tools are called for. The first one is your smaller herbs. A paper sack or an envelope can be used to hold your herbs as you clothes pin them to a rope in a dry airy place.

Your onions, need to be laid out in the sun and cured for a while before braided and stored. Braiding tools needed are scissors, string and instructions. I lay mine out on an old bed sheet.

Jerky and larger veggies that you want to dry, need either a dehydrator (good for fruit leathers} a fan and heater filters, and a window, or an oven. Drying out tomatoes need those items and for sun dried you need cheese cloth.

I do not salt cure, or smoke cure yet.

There are some items I might have missed, kind of a rush post type morning. Feel free to add to the list.

Tomorrow will we list the tools needed to care and tend an orchard.


Rebecca F said...

Just and FYI for you holiday shopping homesteaders and backyard gardeners, has a 12 piece pressure canning set on sale for more than 1/2 off.

I don't know if $79.99 is a good deal, as my caner was inherited, but it looks pretty spiffy to me.

Oh, and I find that a really useful garden/harvest tool is a wheelbarrow. Saves my back something fierce.

lisa said...

Man, I sure missed the canning boat this year! I have to buy all my veggies, but we have some nice truck farms around here selling them....*sigh* year, for sure! BTW, I think $79.99 is pretty good for a new pressure canner w/acessories. I had priced them because my mom's is older than me (I'm 45!), so it scares me just a little. But thanks for that tip about the extension office testing them...never knew that!

Billy said...

Hmmm. If you are ever in need of large pieces of parchment paper, let me know. I can get you some. I would love to be able to can and jar my own vegetables one day. My grandfather used to do this a lot when I was kid visiting his house in Ohio every summer. It was fun helping him harvest his 1/2 acre garden. Lots of work though.

Unknown said...

Wow! I just want to say thank you for the detailed pictures you use to illustrate what you are talking about. A visual is so helpful and encouraging, something to let me know I'm getting it right. Thanks for the info!

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