How to Preserve the Fall Harvest: Persimmons (Recipe Included!)

Persimmons are a fruit, often wild, that is ready for harvest in the fall. Wild persimmons are native to most of the US, and can also be found in orchards in places like Oregon and California.

Harvesting

To look for a persimmon tree, in the fall you will look for the fruit hanging in the tree. In the summer it will be smaller and green, and plump up and turn color (to orange) in the fall. In the spring, you will want to look for their signature ‘bumpy’ bark, pictured here:

When you find a persimmon tree, see if it has fruit on it, or if it is spring, check back as time goes on to see if it starts to get fruit. You will know the fruit is ripe and ready for harvest when they are orange and squishy. Sometimes they will have a tinge of purple, too. You DO NOT want to eat green persimmons! They will dry out your mouth and give you a belly ache!

Often, when they are ripe, they will fall from the tree. This is when it is ready, and it has all the enzymes in it for digestion. This is the best time to eat them! Pick them up off the ground and put them in your container. You can wash them later. If you shake the tree, or if you had a recent windy day, the ones that are ready will also fall.

You will want to get them as they fall, because otherwise the deer, or other animals, will beat you to them!

When the persimmons are ripe, they will have a very sweet taste.

Processing

Take in your persimmons and wash them well. Pick off the stems that stick to them when you pick them or they fall. Put your remaining fruit in a pot, and smash it until it becomes the consistency of pudding. Keep in mind that there will be a lot of seeds, but we will deal with those next.

The next step is to run your persimmons, seeds and all, through a food mill, like the one shown here:

Put your hand crank food mill over an empty stock pot and run it through. The result will look something like orange pudding. This is called ‘persimmon pulp’. You can freeze this or make persimmon pudding! Below is the recipe we like best of the ones we’ve used.

Remember to thank God for providing, and for giving the strength to harvest what he has provided!

Walnuts: A Fall Harvest

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. Pr. 13:4

Harvesting/Picking up the Walnuts

Walnuts are ready to harvest each fall. Some years there will be a bigger harvest than others. This can depend on the weather, or whether or not there had been a big harvest the year before.

When you see that the walnuts are falling/have fell off the trees, they are ready to harvest. Get yourself some boxes, containers, milk crates, totes, buckets, or whatever you prefer and just simply pick them up! There is also a special tool made specifically for this job, called a “nut picker upper”. (see photo on left)

It is always a good idea to bring along a hammer and go ahead and crack a few open to make sure there are actually nuts inside before you spend all the time gathering them! Wear gloves while cracking them, so you don’t get the green juice on your hands. (More on this in another post here)

Drying

Lay the walnuts in the sun to dry on a tarp, until the hulls are brown/black. You may need to flip them over if the bottoms are not drying well. They will dry faster if you do not allow them to get rained on.

Hulling

When you peel off the husk, it should come off easily. If there is any husk left sticking to the nut, you can use a wire brush to get off what is sticking. This is optional, but is a good idea if you are not planning on cracking them right away.

If any of your nuts are still wet, lay them back out in the sun to prevent molding.

Storing the Nuts in Shell

When all your walnut shells are dry, put them into whichever type of storage container you choose. It will not matter if it has small holes or not, just as long as you put it in a place where they can stay dry.

Cracking

ALWAYS BE SURE TO WEAR EYE PROTECTION WHEN CRACKING WALNUTS!

There are a lot of ways to crack walnuts. You can use a nutcracker (there are many different kinds), a hammer, or a vice.

Most nutcrackers will come with instructions, or you can easily find a video on how to use them from YouTube.

When using a vice, pieces of the nut sometimes like to fly off. But it works good and breaks the shell apart to get the nut out easier and in pretty good sized pieces.

We have found if you use a heavy piece of metal (like an anvil or something similar) to set the nut on when you are cracking using a hammer, it breaks apart to get out the nut easier. If you just use a piece of wood, it usually just drives the nut into it, and the nut and shell just breaks into little pieces.

Storing the Nuts

When you have finished all your nut cracking, just put your nuts in a ziploc bag. You can store them in the fridge for up to 3 months. Make sure to keep them in the bag and keep the bag closed, as walnuts can soak up smells and tastes from foods with strong odors, like garlic or onions.They can also be frozen for up to a year…But they never last that long around our house!

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. Pr. 21:5

Planting, Growing, & Preserving Your Own Garlic

When you plant garlic, you plant the garlic cloves.

You want to start by breaking your cloves apart from each other. Do not pull the ‘paper’ off of your cloves. Make sure to pick your biggest and best looking cloves, not the inside ones that are small and clumped together. Otherwise, you won’t have big bulbs when you harvest them midsummer.

He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

2 Cor. 9:6

Planting

Garlic grows best when planted in the mid fall. First, work up your soil where you want to plant it well, and mix in plenty of compost.

In a straight line, you start planting by taking the garlic cloves, with the stem pointing up in the air and roots pointing downward, and push it into the soil. Leave only the stem sticking up above the soil.

Keep repeating this process, making sure to plant the cloves 4 inches or so apart from each other.

When you have finished planting them, you will want to cover them with straw or old hay (and keep your chickens out of the beds!) Wet down the straw or old hay so that it doesn’t just blow away.

Growing

In the Spring, they will start to grow some tops. They will continually get taller, making bigger and bigger bulbs throughout the spring and early summer.

Garlic does not need as much water as other plants. If you water 2x per week, they will do well (remember to minus the rain you receive).

Harvesting

Note: Before you harvest, it is easier to pull them up if you wet your soil a day prior to harvesting. If you don’t want to do that, you can always use a shovel; but remember to dig them carefully!

When the tops of the garlic are laid over and dry, it is ready to be harvested.

This should be mid to late summer.

Preservation/Curing

After you have pulled/dug your garlic, lay them to dry on a table outside in the shade. Keep them there (unless it rains; then move them into a barn, garage, etc) until the stems are dry and brittle.

How do you know when the stems are dry? When you can break them easily, and they feel brittle like straw or old hay.

Why do they have to be dry?

You want them to be dry, so that when you braid your stems together, they do not mold, wasting your time and harvest.

Storing/ Hanging

We like to store our garlic by braiding the stems together and hanging them in the coolest, driest place possible.

To begin braiding, take 3 garlic (we leave our stems long and intact) and begin braiding them like you would someones hair, adding more as you go, like in a french style braid.

Take some sort of twine, yarn, or whatever will do the job and tie the end of your braid. Knot, and make a loop to hang it from. Hang your loop on a nail or something in a cool dry place. If some of your bulbs break off, it’s alright. You can store them in an onion bag or just use them first.

Don’t forget to save some back to replant in the fall!

May Yehovah bless you as you grow some of your own garlic for the first time!

Processing Pear Slices

Harvest is a joyful season. God says it is good for us to enjoy the fruit of our labor.

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

Ecc. 5:18

Makes 7 quarts, or 14 pints

You want to start by washing your pears, getting off any dirt that can put bacteria into your jar and keep it from sealing.

After you pears are washed, peel them. Cut into halves or quarters to remove the core. Then cut into your desired slice width, like you would apples.

Take a stock pot, and put it on the stove with 2 gallons of water and 2 cups of sugar. Then fill the rest of your stock pot with the sliced pears. Let cook on medium heat for 2 minutes, you don’t want them to turn into mush!

Canning Preparation:

Fill your canner half way with water, and turn on. Put your empty jars in your oven on ‘warm’. If your oven doesn’t have a ‘warm’ setting, just put it on the lowest setting it has.

When everything is hot/warm, you are ready for the next step.

Fill your hot jars with the hot slices, leaving an inch of head space in the top of your jar. Pack pear slices tightly into jar. Put a butter knife down the insides of your jar (between the glass and the pears) to let out any air bubbles in the jar. Wipe your rims clean with a rag or paper towel to remove any food fragments. If you don’t do this, it can prevent your lids from sealing tightly to your jar.

Put on your pre-warmed lids and screw on your rings tightly. Put your jars into your warm water in your canner, with a jar lifter, pictured below.

Canning/Water Bathing

After all the jars are in the canner, you want your water to be one inch above the jars for water bathing. Turn on high. When the water starts to boil, set your timer for 25 minutes for quart jars or 20 minutes for pint jars. Turn stove to medium heat. When timer goes off, turn heat off, and let canner sit for 5 minutes. Then, carefully take out your jars with a jar lifter and set them on a towel on your countertop to cool. If your bands are loose, do not tighten them..

Let cool for 12 hours. Check seals and store.

The reason you want to check the seals is to make sure they are all secure before you store them.

You check the seals by tapping the jar lids with one finger. As you tap them, listen for a jar that sounds different than the rest of them. It will usually make a hollow sound.

If you find a jar that hasn’t sealed, put it in the fridge and use it soon. If you are planning more canning, you can try to can it again. Make sure there are no nicks in the top of jar and a good lid on it.

Blessed is every one that feareth Yehovah; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

Ps. 128:1-2

How to Make and Can Apple Pie Filling

Start by washing your apples. Once that is done, peel, cut, core and slice.

Put these slices into a large stockpot. If your apples are really dry, you need to add about a quart or so of water to a very large stockpot full. If your apples are very juicy, you need little to no water. You will have to gauge it by the juiciness of your apples, so that they do not burn. Stir continually.

Shut them off when they are mostly cooked, but still a little hard.

To a large stockpot, add:

4 cups Brown Sugar

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice (optional)

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Nutmeg

Warm water if very thick until it reaches desired consistency

Canning Preparation:

Fill your canner half way with water, and turn on. Put your empty jars in your oven on ‘warm’. If your oven doesn’t have a ‘warm’ setting, just put it on the lowest setting it has.

When everything is hot/warm, you are ready for the next step.

Fill your hot jars with the hot filling, leaving an inch of head space in the top of your jar. Pack filling tightly into jar. Put a butter knife down the insides of your jar (between the glass and the sauce) to let out any air bubbles in the jar/filling. Wipe your rims clean with a rag or paper towel to remove any filling. If you don’t do this, it can prevent your lids from sealing tightly to your jar.

Put on your pre-warmed lids and screw on your rings tightly. Put your jars into your warm water in your canner, with a jar lifter, pictured below.

Canning/Water Bathing

When all the jars are in the canner, you want there to be about 1” of water covering the top of all jars. Put your canner lid on, but do not lock it. Watch for when water starts to boil. When it does, turn heat to medium, and set your timer for 25 minutes.

When timer goes off, shut off canner. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Place a towel on your counter. Take your jar lifter, and carefully remove your jars from the hot canner and onto your towel. Do not tighten your rings if they loosen.

Let cool for 12 hours. Check seals and store.

The reason you want to check the seals is to make sure they are all secure before you store them.

You check the seals by tapping the jar lids with one finger. As you tap them, listen for a jar that sounds different than the rest of them. It will usually make a hollow sound.

If you find a jar that hasn’t sealed, put it in the fridge and use it soon. If you are planning more canning, you can try to can it again. Make sure there are no nicks in the top of jar and a good lid on it.

Processing Applesauce & Apple Butter

Start by washing your apples. Once that is done, cut into quarters; skins, seeds and all.

Put these quarters into a large stockpot. If your apples are really dry, you need to add about a gallon of water to a very large stockpot full. If your apples are very juicy, you need little to no water. You will have to gauge it by the juiciness of your apples, so that they do not burn.

Put your stockpot on the stove, start, and stir often; about every few minutes.

After the apples are cooked down, while it is still hot, run all your hot, mushy apples through your food mill. The result will be applesauce!

Two Types of Food mills (we prefer the one pictured on the right)

Apple Butter (skip this part if you just want to can your sauce)

To fill one canner with quart jars:

28 cups applesauce (or 7 quart jars)

4 cups sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

Put into oven or roaster pan, and cook at 350F and cook it down for 5-9 hours. You want it to be thick so that when you stir it with a spoon, it has the consistency of jelly. You will have to watch your particular batch to see how long that takes.

Prepping for canning

Fill your canner half way with water, and turn on. Put your empty jars in your oven on ‘warm’. If your oven doesn’t have a ‘warm’ setting, just put it on the lowest setting it has.

When everything is hot/warm, you are ready for the next step.

Fill your hot jars with the hot applesauce, leaving an inch of head space in the top of your jar. Put a butter knife down the insides of your jar (between the glass and the sauce) to let out any air bubbles in the jar/sauce. Wipe your rims clean with a rag or paper towel to remove any sauce. If you don’t do this, it can prevent your lids from sealing tightly to your jar.

Put on your pre-warmed lids and screw on your rings tightly. Put your jars into your warm water in your canner, with a jar lifter, pictured below.

Water Bathing

After all the jars are in the canner, you want your water to be one inch above the jars for water bathing. Turn on high. When the water starts to boil, set your timer for 20 minutes for quart jars or 15 minutes for pint jars. Turn stove to medium heat. When timer goes off, turn heat off, and let canner sit for 5 minutes. Then, carefully take out your jars with a jar lifter and set them on a towel on your countertop to cool. If your bands are loose, do not tighten them.

Cool for 12 hours. Check seals and store.

The reason you want to check the seals is to make sure they are all secure before you store them.

You check the seals by tapping the jar lids with one finger. As you tap them, listen for a jar that sounds different than the rest of them. It will usually make a hollow sound.

If you find a jar that hasn’t sealed, put it in the fridge and use it soon. If you are planning more canning, you can try to can it again. Make sure there are no nicks in the top of jar and a good lid on it.

Canning Ground Meat & Sausage

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8

First you start with a hunk of meat and cut it in small enough pieces to fit in your grinder.

Once you have a large batch, run it through your meat grinder.

After you run all your meat through the grinder, then you need to decide if you are going to make sausage or just ground beef.

If you are going to make sausage, below we’ve included recipes for both Italian and Breakfast Sausage.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO CAN THE BREAKFAST SAUSAGE OMIT THE SAGE AS IT WILL MAKE THE SAUSAGE TURN BITTER.

Whether you are making sausage or just ground meat, you’ll need to run it through your grinder and second time. This helps blend the spices, but also helps tenderize the meat more.

At this point, you can also freeze the sausage if you don’t want to can it.

Next, you’ll want to fry your meat, and then drain off as much grease as you can. The fat can go rancid in the jar.

Now, get your clean canning jars and begin to pack them with your ground meat. You’ll want to pack it as tight as you can using the end of a wooden spoon. You can fit about 1 1/2 lbs in a quart size jar.

After your jars are packed tight, pour boiling water over meat in jar. Use a butter knife down each side to remove any air bubbles.

Wipe the rim of your jars and put on your lids and rings, tighten the rings as tight as you can.

Fill your pressure canner 1/4 of the way full with water.

Put jars in canner and latch lid.

Once the canner starts to let out steam, let steam escape for 10 minutes.

Then put your canner weight on. Let your pressure build to 15psi.

Keep your pressure at 10psi for 90 minutes. Set your timer, but DO NOT LEAVE CANNER UNATTENDED!
You may need to adjust your temperature up or down to keep your psi at 15.

Finishing Up

Once your timer goes off, shut off your heat. Let the canner sit and cool, until your pressure gauge reads 0.

DO NOT TAKE OF LID BEFORE CANNER PSI REACHES ZERO SEVERE BURNS WILL OCCUR!!!

When your gauge reads 0psi, removed your lid. MAKE SURE YOU TURN IT AWAY FROM YOU AS YOU REMOVE IT OR YOU WILL GET STEAM BURNT!

Remove jars from canner, with a jar lifter, and place on a towel on the counter. Allow jars to cool overnight.

In the morning, check each jar to make sure they sealed before storing. (Gently tap the lid and listen to the sound, if one sounds hollow and the top clicks when pushed; its not sealed) if they are sealed remove rings and store the jars.

If a jar did not seal, it is not spoiled. You can put it in the fridge and use to that day. Make sure to boil it for at least five minutes.

THIS FINISHED PRODUCT! Use sausage in biscuits and gravy, spaghetti, lasagna, on pizza, in any recipe that calls for ground meat or sausage.

Canning Stew Meat

Desirable treasure and oil, Are in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up.
(Pro 21:20)

Preparing Your Meat

First you want to start with a hunk of meat, like a roast.

Cut it up in about 2 inches chunks.

Wash your canning jars.

Pack each jar with the raw meat chunks. You will want to take a wooden spoon to pack the meat in as tight as you can. Fill each jar, leaving a one inch headspace. (Headspace is the room between the top of the food and the rim of the jar.)

Add one teaspoon of Real Salt to each jar. No, you don’t need to add any liquid, the meat will make it’s own!

Wipe the rim, to make sure there is not salt or meat on the rim, which will prevent sealing.

Put on lid and ring, screw on tightly.

Preparing Your Pressure Canner and Canning the Meat

Fill your pressure canner 1/4 of the way full with water.

Put jars in canner and latch lid.

Once the canner starts to let out steam, let steam escape for 10 minutes.

Then put your canner weight on. Let your pressure build to 10psi.

Keep your pressure at 10psi for 90 minutes. Set your timer, but DO NOT LEAVE CANNER UNATTENDED!
You may need to adjust your temperature up or down to keep your psi at 10.

Finishing Up

Once your timer goes off, shut off your heat. Let the canner sit and cool, until your pressure gauge reads 0.

DO NOT TAKE OF LID BEFORE CANNER PSI REACHES ZERO SEVERE BURNS WILL OCCUR!!!

When your gauge reads 0psi, removed your lid. MAKE SURE YOU TURN IT AWAY FROM YOU AS YOU REMOVE IT OR YOU WILL GET STEAM BURNT!

Remove jars from canner, with a jar lifter, and place on a towel on the counter. Allow jars to cool overnight.

In the morning, check each jar to make sure they sealed before storing. (Gently tap the lid and listen to the sound, if one sounds hollow and the top clicks when pushed; its not sealed) if they are sealed remove rings and store the jars.

If a jar did not seal, it is not spoiled. You can put it in the fridge and use to that day. Make sure to boil it for at least five minutes.

THE FINISHED PRODUCT! Now just open up a jar add it to noodles or potatoes and carrots for a quick meal! Very tender and rewarding!