2017, August, Bees

Farm update – 8/20/2017

This week’s Whole Farm basket includes a dozen farm-fresh eggs, plus your choice of one large and one small item from the following lists. Large items: eggplant medley, assorted peppers (1.25 lb), sweet potato greens. Small items: Asian eggplant, okra, edamame, green bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, and basil bouquet

We took advantage of today’s weather by hiding from the hot, blazing sun inside and processing some of our summer surplus into items that will extend our summer eats well into fall or beyond. We made enough baba ganoush to eat some fresh now and freeze some for later too. Eggplant by itself doesn’t freeze well, but as part of prepared dishes freezes just fine. It can even be sliced and breaded then frozen for quick future meals of eggplant parmesan that simply require pulling the desired number of slices out of the freezer, thawing, and baking or frying until golden brown.

We also put up a dozen pints of pickled banana peppers. These will go in future salads, sandwiches, and pizzas, and be eaten straight out of the jar for an anytime snack. Though we processed ours in a boiling water bath for longer storage, you can skip that step and make quick and easy refrigerator pickled banana peppers instead. One pound of banana peppers will yield 2-3 pint jars of pickled peppers and will last up to three months as refrigerator pickled peppers, but up to a year or more if done in a water bath. 

IMG_20170820_221941The process of pickling peppers

Though we ran out of time today, our next project is to finely dice and freeze some peppers too. I love having pre-diced jalapeno peppers in the freezer so that I can throw a small handful (along with frozen corn kernels!) into every skillet of cornbread I cook until peppers and corn are back in season. Diced bell peppers make a great addition to winter stews and other dishes, and a gallon in the freezer seems to be a good amount to keep me in peppers through the winter months.

Before the day got too ridiculously hot, we also checked on the bees once again. We were not expecting to see any dramatic changes since the last inspection, as the fall nectar flow of goldenrod has shown no sign of beginning. Rather, this was an opportunity to make sure the bees are well positioned to take advantage of the nectar flow when it does begin. And this seems to be exactly what we found. There were no major new storages of honey, though it did look like some fresh honey is being collected and stored, so perhaps the nectar flow is just beginning after all. There were some concerning indications that perhaps the smaller of the Twin Hives had lost its queen again, which prompted a more thorough examination of that hive than originally intended. However, the queen was briefly spotted before wriggling away into the sea of her subjects, so regardless of whatever has happened in that hive since the last inspection, they seem to be fine now. So, give us your best shot goldenrods – we (and the bees) are ready for that fall honey!

IMG_20170820_222257 The Twin Hives before inspection

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