This year was a failure for the garden. Our container garden was burned out from a hot dry summer in a full sun location. We didn't think we had time to do much, but we tried a few tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, in big pots in the yard. A failure.
The rest of the homestead had variable success. Our grapes and raspberries couldn't take the drought and will probably need to be replaced next year. Our blackberries and rhubarb held their own, but focused on getting established, rather than producing fruit (or stalks, in the case of rhubarb). Our asparagus looked pathetic. We may need to relocate it, if it pops up next year at all. Our peaches were remarkable and the blueberries and huckleberries took center stage, but both seasons are short-ish. The apples are our constant, thank goodness.
We process our apples into cider annually, but given the lack of harvest of other fruits and veggies, we had little reason for canning. But strangely, I had a pretty strong urge to can. Maybe it was the nesting I should have done last autumn when we had babies and built houses instead. Luckily, this hankering combined with a generous gift of grapes from our buddy Kyle.
We used the old farm fruit press to squash the grapes into juice. It worked, but the resulting juice lacked the deep purple color and slight tang that Concord grapes have. Next time, we think we may try the cheesecloth method. O helped press them. He grimmaced with the effort. Little ham.
Darling and Etta went off to make supper while Oliver and I stirred our jelly pot. After some initial confusion of pectin or not, we skeptically poured our jelly into the jars and put them in the canning pot. 10 minutes later, and pop pop pop, we had some jelly. I was still skeptical, but after the jars cooled, sure enough that slop set up and is holding firmly. I know, it's not a deep plummy purple, but I think they're gorgeous. And if it's all the canning we can muster this year, I'll take it!