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RETURNING FROM OUR TETON trip, these were waiting for me, all 26 pounds of them! Not to mention 10 pounds of pears, peppers, eggplants, and more.

AND THE TWENTY POUNDS OF AUTUMN LADY peaches that I bought from Red Sky Orchards just west of Ellensburg on our way home. What was I thinking? They were big, ripe and sweet. I couldn’t resist after the last box that never fully ripened.

SO, I got to work. The bulk of tomatoes went into a roasting pan along with onions, basil and homegrown garlic and then into a slow oven until the onions were soft. A brief straining to separate the juice/broth from the solids and then through the food mill. Yield: 4 quarts of sauce and 3 ice cube trays of tomato broth for later use.

With the tomatoes cooking in the oven I chopped up a colorful mix of tomatoes for Tomato Basil Jam (My Little Corner of Rhode Island) that was mentioned in a Food in Jars post. Yield: 6 half-pints

ON THE LAST DAYS OF AUGUST I used some peaches to infuse wine vinegar and make some peach liqueur. Time now to decant, strain and bottle.

After adding sugar syrup to the infused vodka I have a quart that needs time to sit a few more months before transferring to smaller bottles for sharing.

I wrestled with tossing all of the fruit that had soaked in the vinegar and the vodka–but I couldn’t do it. I made peach chutney. I added some onions, hot peppers, garlic, sugar, vinegar and spices. Yield: 8 half-pints

Autumn Lady Peaches: 5 pints of Peach BBQ Sauce from the Williams-Sonoma book of preserving recipes borrowed from my neighbor. About 5 pounds made their way in to a batch of  Peach & Rosemary Preserves. Yield: 6 half-pints

Two Peach Galettes from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s site; one for us and one for the neighbors.

PEARS: 4 pounds of the pears became Pear Vanilla Thyme Preserves with ginger and lemon. Yield: 4 half-pints

I caught a break the following week and we took a 3 day trip to Walla Walla with some friends to celebrate a birthday–so no canning! Had to make a stop on the way home in Bingen, WA at Dickey’s Farms where I picked up some big, beautiful Honeycrisp and Buckeye Gala apples. Soooo good! I indulged my yen for Tarte Tatin with some of the honeycrisp apples.

Nearly every night during October we ate a tomato salad of some kind. Yum! We’ll be sorry when they’re gone.

MORE TOMATOES: Mid-month as more tomatoes became ripe I picked another 16 pounds and combined a lot of them with 3 pounds of peppers for 10 pints of Tomato -Chile Salsa.

I picked all of the remaining tomatoes a week ago Thursday since the weather was cooling and we were headed for New Orleans on Saturday. All of the cherry tomatoes became 8 pints of pickled green tomatoes the day before we left. All of the other tomatoes are either green or in varying stages of ripeness and will have to ripen inside. We will savor every last one–maybe up until Thanksgiving if we’re lucky. It will be many months before we buy a tomato. Total tomato harvest must be close to 80 pounds.

I got on a bit of a baking jag. I had to refresh the sourdough starter (since it had a vacation while we did) and I picked the last of the zucchini and baked off six loaves of zucchini bread and into the freezer.

PEPPERS: All of the peppers were picked and the plants pulled to make room for the garlic. The remaining anchos, Anaheims, jalapenos, serranos became 3 quarts of chile verde sauce (into the freezer); the ‘sweet’ ones and a few hot peppers became 11 pints of pickled peppers.

Who doesn’t love cranberries? Two weeks ago my sister (fabricgirl) came up from Long Beach to celebrate our mom’s 81st birthday and she brought me two, gallon bags of fresh cranberries. I popped them into the freezer to keep until we returned from New Orleans (thank goodness for pre-planned trips). Hmmmm….cranberry wine jelly may be in order. And that should be the last of this year’s preserving. I think I put something in jars at least twice a week, every week of the month. At least that’s how if felt by the last Friday of the October. So as you can see, there was scant time for posting. Whew!

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