It has been a wet growing season here this year for sure. The rain started in March, and it hasn’t let up since. Last month we got over eight inches of rain, and this month we have already gotten six inches. I am glad I have almost all of the main garden mulched, because otherwise I would be walking around in mud most of the time! The rain has made a lot of things grow lush, but others have suffered, especially the root crops like onions, carrots and potatoes. The garlic hasn’t seemed to mind the wet conditions, though I’ve had to dig it out of the mud when I harvest. It looks to be a good year for garlic, and I’m happy about that. Most of it is harvested now, and when it has all cured I will do a review on it.
Some of the squash plants aren’t so happy, and I’ve lost two now to stem rot. The moschatas all seem to be doing well, and perhaps their tougher stems hold up better to wet conditions as well as to squash vine borers. We’re getting plenty of squash though, like the white scalloped in the above photo. And the zucchini and yellow squash in the below photo.
My wife used one of the zucchini to make Turkey Burgers with Zucchini. We topped them with sauteed mushrooms and served them up on a homemade bun. The squash adds moisture to the lean ground turkey breast, and they were some of the best turkey burgers I’ve ever eaten. Frozen grated squash should work well for this recipe when we don’t have fresh. Another use for zucchini is always welcome here!
We’re getting a steady trickle of the small fruited hybrid tomatoes now, including Sun Gold, Juliet and Supersweet 100. The vines are loaded with green ones, and most of the tomatoes haven’t seemed to mind all the rain so far, though there has been some splitting on the Sun Gold which is prone to that anyway.
The tomatoes are winding up in a lot of salads. They joined some of our cucumbers and onions in a Quinoa Chickpea and Avocado Salad we had last week. The hot weather has me craving all kinds of cool salads, and this one made for a great meal, along with some crispy homemade bread. More about the bread later.
We’ve been enjoying the crisphead lettuces lately too. That’s two heads of Unicum in the below photo. It’s my first time growing this variety and I believe it’s a keeper.
I just finished reading 52 Loaves: One Man’s Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust by William Alexander. It details his attempts to bake the perfect loaf of peasant bread (aka Pain de Campagne). He winds up baking one loaf a week for 52 weeks, ultimately growing his own wheat and baking a seed-to-table loaf of bread in a homemade outdoor clay oven. I loved his first book, The $64 Tomato, and I laughed my way through this one as well. His 52 week adventure started after he tasted a wonderful bread at a swanky NYC restaurant and then attempted to recreate it at home. Does that sound familiar? I know it did to me, as I am often trying to duplicate something I had while eating out. It’s not a cookbook, but he does includes a few recipes for the breads mentioned in the book.
I wound up baking a version of one of them, his Baguettes à l’Ancienne. It’s a great tasting bread that uses a mix of natural leavening and commercial yeast, plus an overnight bulk fermentation that coaxes maximum flavor from the ingredients. I swapped out some of the all-purpose flour for a mix of whole wheat and rye, much like he did in his Peasant Bread. My other recent bread baking involved another batch of the 40 Percent Caraway Rye. The ones in the below photo were proofed in brotforms before I baked them on a hot pizza stone. Though the crust is dark it’s actually a light rye bread. I froze a loaf of each of the two recipes, so we should be stocked with bread for a while.
I decided to harvest many of the cabbages before they started splitting and rotting from all the rain. They all are running in the one to two pound range, which is a nice size for us.That’s a head of the flathead KY Cross variety in the below photo. That head weighed just less than two pounds.
I had more than enough cabbage to make sauerkraut, so I made two quart jars of it last week. That made about four pounds of cabbage disappear! I made one batch with a teaspoon of caraway seed added. We will see how we like that taste of that. I can’t imagine we won’t. If you want more details about how I make the sauerkraut, I blogged about it a couple of years ago here: Homemade Sauerkraut. We love the homemade sauerkraut, and it keeps for a long time in the refrigerator.
We tried some of the newest batch of kohlrabi kraut yesterday, and it was already tasting good after four days of fermenting. Our kitchen stays about 77-78°F this time of year, and fermenting proceeds at a fairly fast pace. I used some of the above rye bread to make a grilled meatless reuben sandwich. It’s a pretty simple treatment, just sauerkraut and cheese on our homemade rye bread. I put the sandwiches on a hot grill just long enough to char the bread a bit and melt the cheese.
I hope you have enjoyed a look at what’s happening here in July. To see what other gardeners are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. And thanks to Daphne for hosting this every week!