My secret childish fear was that a concrete span surely one day would break and simply fall into the lake, and all the unsuspecting drivers would like lemmings fall over it's cement edge. I wonder if my Father ever knew his tired little girl struggled to keep her eye lids open on those long late nights. For surely my alertness would save the whole family from plunging into lake Pontchartrain and sending all our souls to a horrible watery grave. My plan was to scream loudly if the preceding car's tail lights suddenly disappeared thus causing my Father to slam the brakes and save us from an early demise.
Now, I love to cross the causeway. There's always a sailboat or someone trawling. The water shimmers and glistens and on a really windy day there are white caps. But, once you get south of Lake Pontchartrain.....climate wise....things change. Slightly milder weather allows citrus to be planted in the ground, and unless a once in 25 year freeze happens, your trees grow larger and more productive each year.
Today I was marveling at the abundance I find in my garden. It's no wonder that the city is called "The Big Easy". So much of living here is so easy. The abundance, the food, the exuberance, the special brand of Jazz, the closeness of families.....many things. I've looked at blogs from way north and marveled at the blankets of frost and snow that cover their landscapes. Like squirrels people work at preserving the bounty of their garden for winter consumption.
I too love to can. I canned green beans, carrots, pickled cauliflower, preserves and fruit of all types. I dry produce and freeze it....but sometimes it seems as if I rarely use these wonderful put ups. Fresh fruit and veggies from the garden always come first when planning my menu for the next few days. And, they always are available! Of course I want to feed my family the freshest foods first.
Such as beets boiled until tender and sprinkled with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar, coleslaw made from a fresh picked cabbage, salsa from the green onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, lemon, lime, and onion (yes, I'm still picking them), cauliflower omelets, yummy tennis ball lettuce salad, greens and cornbread, sugared pecans, roasted carrots with deer roast, boiled turnips and butter....wow the list really goes on and on.....
With the winter abundance our local climate gives I rarely find a reason to use the canned items I have hoarded on the top my large dish cabinet (not really a china cabinet). I find preserving berries is the most useful of all since they are so perishable. Jams, butters, and frozen (especially frozen blueberries). Dehydrating herbs is really nice too. Especially garlic and parsley. I'd rather use herbs fresh if possible. yet sweet basil is too tender for even our mild climate. But the other things I've canned....useful?....not so much. I'm actually trying to work them in to keep them from being on top of the cabinet for too long.
So what's a girl to do? What's the best thing to do. I think I've narrowed down the best things for preserving and storing in our climate. The rest.....you can pretty much get local or grow yourself all year. Here goes:
The List of The Best Things To Preserve, Freeze or Dehydrate if You Live in or Around New Orleans:
frozen purple hull peas
frozen Lima beans
frozen baby green beans
dried garlic (a small creole variety I have keeps fresh pretty well)
That's all...I think. What is available fresh in the yard right now is too numerous to completely list. Some examples are: All types of greens, carrots, lettuces, herbs, cabbage, broccoli, Romanesque, cauliflower, green onion, tomatoes, jalapenos, kale, collards, turnips, beets, onion, winged bean, arugula, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, satsumas, pecans. So.......... fresh it is for the "Big Easy"!
Some pecans recently shelled.
When I was growing up sauerkraut was for hot dogs and Rueben sandwiches...yum. My husband family eats it cooked as a side to go with sausages and paneed, breaded and fried pork. They love it, and they are certainly not German. Growing so much cabbage has made me interested in trying my hand at making sauerkraut....So, Byron, finding this out, bought me a really awesome 10 liter Harsch fermenting crock. Yea!!
So, let the experiment begin. Wow, look at that opening. How does this work?
Once done with the above step, put the cabbage and it's brine into the clean crock. Put a fresh washed large cabbage leaf on top and then the stone to weigh down the mixture underneath the brine. The brine should cover the cabbage nicely.
Then......Wait....six weeks.....I'll let you know how it turns out. Keep your fingers crossed for good results!