Late Summer Preserving, Canning, and Seed Saving

Squashes in my kitchen
More squashes have joined the pile since I took this photo! Can you tell the real squashes from my ceramic collection?

Earlier in the week, Toronto was flooded for the second time this season. We needed the rain, just not that much all at once!

My garden is a mess. Vines that weren’t properly secured are flopped over. Everything is soaked, soggy, and drooped. Even the mulch had shifted so much that it had left a wave pattern. Davin helped last night by raking the mulch back into position and cutting out excess squash leaves to create better airflow. I’m very allergic to prickly cucurbit leaves and can only work among the dense late-summer foliage if I am wearing long sleeves and gloves.

Tomatoes in my kitchen
The tomato harvest is starting to come. The pretty ribbed variety is ‘Constoluto Fiorentino.’

To be honest, a lot of the damage is not about the rain, but the result of my own neglect. Many plants had become overgrown as I’ve been devoting every spare hour over the last two weeks to preserving and canning. While I have been feverishly harvesting from the garden (and beyond), very little effort has gone into general garden maintenance.

Saving Tomato Seed
Have you started saving your tomato seeds for next year?

Today I’ll be getting out there with clippers and a lot of string so that I can begin to get the garden back in shape for the fall. I couldn’t bring myself to photograph the mess, so instead I give you, the fruits of my efforts over these last weeks. I’m focussing on the good stuff: joyful, ecstatic, slightly insane ABUNDANCE.

Apples Foraged by Gayla
As if I haven’t had enough to contend with from my own garden, I’ve also been out foraging for apples. Look at the diverse range of varieties I was able to find nearby. All FREE! Not shown is a large bowl of beautiful crab apples. While I won’t be making it this year (I made loads last year), I suggest making foraged hard apple cider(esque).

Tomato jam and Apple Butter
I’ve easily put up well over 100 jars of this and that recently. Here’s two of my most recent efforts: tomato jam and spiced apple butter from the foraged apples.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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7 thoughts on “Late Summer Preserving, Canning, and Seed Saving

  1. There’s a pear tree that is on a lot adjacent to a gas station that I’m tempted to go an forage off of soon. The only debate is whether to sneak up and grab ‘em or to ask the attendants and get weird looks when I ask.

    Your tomatoes look wonderful!

    • Misty, whenever I want to forage and it is on someone’s properity that I can talk to, I go to them and say that I am doing a bit of an experiment can I have a few of this or that. I always get a positive reply. Give it a try, ask them.

    • You should just ask. In many cases people have fruit trees on their property but have no interest in harvesting them. Although in this case if it’s on the lot of a gas station you might just go ahead.

  2. Would love to hear more about pruning curbits and how u preserve your harvest. Your books are great, but I think you could do one on just the harvest!
    New site looks great!

    • I agree. There is a lot to say on that topic and I am working out new and better ways of doing things all the time.

      Cucurbits: I start to trim out leaves when it gets too dense, especially when the humidity is high. It helps curb fungal issues.

  3. I have been trying to find trees to forage from, but not been terribly lucky. You’re so lucky to have found such an abundance of apples and your tomatoes look stunning.

  4. There is nothing quite like picking your own fruit and then turning it into jam, or chutney. I love doing this in early Fall and putting them away as Christmas presents (keeping a few aside of course!)

    Your pictures are truly gorgeous, and although our Apple’s aren’t quite ready for picking yet, you’ve got me seriously hungry already. There are some great things about Winter with food being one of them for sure ;-)

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