Saturday, August 10, 2013

Random thoughts from Harvest 2013

Wait til you see the pictures.  It's amazing what one little plant can do!

First:  I planted a bunch of Okra and not one plant grew.  Not one.  I just had to say it, first.  I'm bummed a little bit and wanted to get that out of the way.

Next, these two pics are what I harvested today.  WOW!  This is a lot of produce for one week.  I harvested a very similar amount last week.

I am totally overwhelmed by the summer squash.  What on earth can I do with it all?  I already shred and froze either 36 or 38 cups.  That's more than enough for the year I think.  I've made zucchini bread and yellow squash bread.  We've had stir fry, zucchini and yellow squash oven fries, and what is it called when you alternate rounds of zucchini and yellow squash and onions and cover the whole thing... well whatever that is called, I've done that, too. You get the idea... we've had a lot of zucchini.  I like zucchini. I really do, but this one little plant has produced a tremendous amount of zucchini.  And the Yellow squash!  Worse.

A friend at work suggested dicing and freezing, but I'm not a huge fan of mushy squash.  It's why I like it best in stir fry or oven baked.

Anyway, and much more importantly... isn't it an amazing testament to the wonder of this world that one little plant can produce so many delicious, healthy, beautiful items?! Each time I'm in the garden I'm blown away.

I've started my first crock of fermented pickles...  Here's a little peek. They've been in two weeks today. I left them whole, which takes longer for the middle to catch up with the outside. You will find a lot of people telling you a lot of things on the world wide web about how long to leave something. My advice, keep taste testing and decide what you like and what you don't.  Every single batch of fermented food depends on every factor, from temperature, to water hardness, to ingredients you included.  Just be patient. Kids all walk at different times and ages and we love them for it. Think about the pickles that way, too.

We grew garlic over winter and I harvested last week.  It's been sitting for a week to let the papery outer skin dry out.  Should make it easier to get the dirt off, too.  I've already tried one head and let me just say - so worth the long wait.  I used a head purchased from the grocery, divided into cloves and planted last fall.  I waited through spring, until the leaves started to die back and fell over, then I harvested.  This is another one of those items that everyone who has tried it has advice.  Just like the pickles, you will have to see what works for you.  This worked beautifully for me.  The garlic isn't bitter in the least, but does have a nice, strong garlic taste. I'll definitely be planting again this fall.  I'm going to try pickling this garlic. Just another way I'm a big nerd, I love pickled garlic.  mmm.... mmm...

And finally, here is the promised picture of the Dilly Beans.  Of course, I've sampled them.  I declare them really good!  Okay, confession, last week, cause I couldn't wait, I tried them and they were so-so.  Today I tried that open jar that's been hanging out in the fridge and they are FABULOUS!  Sour, garlicky, super great crunch!  If you haven't tried these before and like pickled things, Do it!  Go with your gut.  Add the things you like, leave out the things you don't! Just don't fool around with the pickling liquid too much, I'd hate for anyone to get sick!  The liquid is the preservative, so just adjust the flavorings, capisce?

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. Gertrude Jekyll

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Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts!