Saturday, September 5, 2009

Harvest Time Hurries

In the absence of a productive garden of my own, I have been thriving off the clearance produce at No Frills - a fact I may have mentioned a few times already. Whether you have a garden abundantly producing, or produce abundantly available, all these ripe pickin's require fast use before they spoil.

I previously blogged about an episode of peach chutney brought on by this very dilemma, and on a later day this week I was faced with a similar situation in home-grown veggies (or fruit, if you want to get technical). A few much loved friends and family members bestowed on us some very welcome garden goodies - tomatoes and cucumbers. We have been enjoying them freshly sliced with a sprinkle of salt, but as fast as we could eat them, they were heading toward spoilage. So, what could I do?

The plump and juicy tomatoes, just starting to discolour in small spots, were the inspiration for a spur-of-the-moment experiment in a "salsa fresca" for pasta, which turned out fantastically. The cucumbers, partly from necessity and partly from a craving, were destined for homemade pickles - this time a batch of spicy garlic dills. Nothing was wasted, and we have been enjoying them thoroughly!

Today I had a chance to visit with a fellow (and more experienced) domestic mom, and her own quite prolific garden has kept her busy canning salsa and cucumber relish, freezing zucchini, and picking swiss chard. I asked her how much time in an average week she has put into her garden throughout the growing season, and she said no more than a couple of hours a week - her garden is at least twice the size of the one I had planned to plant - and for a couple of weeks she had barely even looked at it at all! But now the veggies are ripening in such numbers that she has to find ways (and people) to use up all this produce before it goes bad. No wonder harvest has traditionally been such a busy time of work-work-work - the bounty is plentiful, but doesn't last for long unless it's harvested and preserved or put in cold storage.

So, how about you? How does your garden grow? Are you feeling the hurry of putting up fruits and veggies to last through the winter? If you are doing any canning, preserving, pickling or freezing, I'd love to hear your recipes and tips. Happy Harvesting!

1 comment:

  1. 2 new recipes for me to try, thank you :)

    My garden was very small this year, so there wasn't a whole lot to harvest. We did get a lot of tomatoes though and I made a lot of sauces with them. I also froze a many to use later in sauces, as well. I have a few eggplants out there right now and haven't picked them because I wasn't ready to use them. Oh, and I froze some zucchini after I used several to make pineapple zucchini bread...Mmmmm!!

    I was in the garden yesterday and noticed a few cucumber just starting to grow (we planted them REALLY late). I am sure I have some time before they mature though.

    Next year, I plan to have a much larger garden and would like to get in to canning, for a nice reserve for the following winter.

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