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She does all of her canning in a special harvest kitchen.

She does all of her canning in a special harvest kitchen

Super-successful vegetable gardening canbe frustrating unless you plan, even before you sow seeds, how you'll use your crop. Ruby Muller, whose highly productive Seattle garden is shown at left, has streamlined a garden-to-kitchen-to-table system using an open-air harvest kitchen.

Mrs. Muller grows mainly what sheknows her four-member family likes-- tomatoes, string beans, carrots, beets, and wax beans. She figures that the garden provides at least 50 percent of their food, with game and fish (which she also preserves) filling in another 25 percent. She also makes zucchini relish and dill pickles, freezes strawberries and raspberries, and makes jams. Her major grocery store purchases are the ones our grandmothers depended on--flour, sugar, coffee, and salt.

Mrs. Muller accomplishes all this in herharvest kitchen. When the Mullers remodeled their house, they added two walls to existing walls at the back of the house to form a second kitchen. They roofed it with corrugated plastic, poured a concrete-slab floor, and put in easily removable plastic windows for a pleasantly breezy summer workplace.

Refrigerator, freezer, range, sink, shelves,counters, and cupboards from the old kitchen now serve their purposes in the outdoor kitchen, keeping the mess and fuss of canning out of the house.

Mrs. Muller puts canning jars throughthe dishwasher, then into a warm oven until she's ready to fill them. When her crops fill the shelves allotted to them in the canning kitchen, she moves them to cartons, writing the year on each carton lid; they go into the basement. Later on, empty jars go into the dishwasher, then into cartons for storage.

Favorite canning tools include a pressurecooker that processes 7 quarts or 18 pints at a time, a food processor for making relishes, and a jar lifter.

Mrs. Muller puts a tablespoon of vinegarin each pint jar of beets to preserve their deep, clear color. Her canned tomatoes go in jars with tomato juice. She cuts her string beans so they fit vertically in pint jars, then adds a bit of bacon for flavor.

Photo: Abundant harvest comes from 20- by 50-footgarden at summer's end. Beets, onions, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini fill wheelbarrow

Photo: Lightweight plastic-covered framesare easily removed to open the kitchen on warm summer days

Photo: In breezy kitchen, she washes and prepares produce. Buckets hold just-picked carrots and chard. Jars hold last year's bounty: carrots, stewed tomatoes, and wax beans. Recycled kitchen appliances line wall
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Aug 1, 1987
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