The summer vegetable garden appears to have kicked into overdrive. I am spending a lot of time either harvesting or processing squash and beans. Which is not a bad thing at all! It is time consuming though, and other gardening chores (like weeding) are getting put on the back burner while I deal with the bounty from the garden. It looks like it’s going to be a great year for squash and beans, due in part to ample rains and moderate temperatures.
I freeze both summer squash and snap beans. I usually slice the yellow squash and zucchini into 1/4 inch slices, then blanch for 3 minutes. After cooling, it’s on to a pizza pan that is lined with wax paper. I try and keep the slices in a single layer, which makes them freeze separately. Then it’s on to the freezer. After they are frozen, I will put them in a big ziploc bag. I also sometimes freeze shredded squash, which I don’t blanch.
The snap beans get blanched also, then frozen in meal size portions in ziploc bags. Right now I have Helda, Musica and Marvel of Venice pole beans producing nicely, and Fortex is just starting to bear as Rattlesnake is starting to bloom. In the bush beans, Purple Queen is winding down as Rocdor and Derby hit their peak. Normally the bush beans start bearing before the pole beans, but this year they are coming on together. Which means they are keeping me busy! There’s almost 6 pounds of beans in the below photo, and that was from one day.
And keeping my wife busy are the blueberries. This has been a banner year for them, and she does the harvesting. As of yesterday we have harvested over 33 pounds of them, which equates to about 21 quarts. We have hauled in more pounds of blueberries this year than we did asparagus! Based on previous years, and the looks of the bushes, I am guessing there will be blueberries to harvest for about two more weeks.
My wife and I both have them for breakfast pretty much every day. I like to add them to muesli, and them drizzle a little of our honey on top. What a way to start my day!
They also topped some whole grain French toast I made one morning. What we don’t eat gets frozen for later use.
I have been harvesting other things as needed. Like some Red Tropea onions. They seem to be doing well this year, and handling our rainy conditions.
And I pulled a couple of Yaya carrots for a lunch salad we had. It looks like they have sized up nicely.
I dug up three hills of the French Fingerling potatoes last week, and found a little bit more than four pounds of really nice red skinned, yellow fleshed new potatoes. This is my first time growing this particular variety, and it looks like a winner so far. The potatoes are pretty good sized for a fingerling type. In fact, the seed pieces were so big I had to cut them into thirds and fourths. I bought some of these same fingerlings at the grocery last winter, and they were on ‘sale’ for $3.99/pound. So my first harvest of them has more than paid for the seed stock, and I still have seven more hills to dig! Some of these got cooked up with snap beans, and I am looking forward to roasting some in the oven as well. And, they would be great for potato salad.
Another first for our garden was the Purple Beauty peppers. These were the first of any bell peppers to come on this year, though I do have some Anaheims and Serranos already. These peppers are so dark they are almost black!
I’m getting lots of the Tatume squash now. That’s it in the first photo, and each one on the cutting board averages about 1 pound each. Tatume is a dual use squash that can be used when young as a summer squash, or left to mature as a winter squash. I like to use it when young, much like I would a zucchini. They seem to have a bit less moisture than most zucchini, which makes them good grilled or fried. I grilled some the other night, sprinkled with a little seasoned salt before cooking. The shape of them also makes them good for stuffing. I will have more to say about Tatume in an upcoming Saturday Spotlight.
I took another cutting last week from our rhubarb plants. This is the second cutting this year, and there was about 40 ounces of it after I trimmed off the leaves and ends. This is the Green Victoria variety. I have some Canada Red I planted this year, and hopefully it will be joining the harvests in future years.
I made part of this rhubarb into a dessert, adding some of our cherries from the freezer. I need to share that recipe someday too. I use the same basic recipe with apples, or cherries. I’m not sure whether to call it a ‘crisp’ or a ‘crumble’. But then I have an Amish cookbook that just calls a dessert like this a ‘goodie’! The topping is whole wheat flour, butter and brown sugar. Whatever you call it, my wife and I certainly enjoyed eating it. I can’t wait to try more dishes with rhubarb.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the harvests we have been hauling in here in early July. To see more harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.