As the seasons change, it seems that much of my gardening time goes from planning to planting, then eventually to harvesting and preserving, which is what I find myself doing a lot of lately. I’ve frozen summer squash and raspberries, and I’ve fermented cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes and cucumbers. My wife was in charge of the asparagus and blueberries, and we have lots of them in the freezer for use throughout the year. Now I’m working on tomatoes and drying, processing and freezing them.
Juliet tomatoes are coming on strong, as are the Sun Golds. I added some of the Supersweet 100s and had enough to fill the dehydrator last week. That’s Juliet in the below photo, which I cut into quarters before drying. I cut most of the cherry types in half when drying. Juliet is one my favorite tomatoes, and this 1999 AAS Vegetable Award winner never fails to produce lots of fruit that are perfect for drying, roasting, and turning into sauce, puree and paste.
And speaking of sauce, I harvested more Juliets yesterday and used them to make a batch of Freezer Tomato Sauce. I don’t peel the tomatoes anymore like the recipe says, but instead blend up the raw tomatoes in the Vitamix before cooking them down. Then I use the immersion blender to puree the sauce before I put it in containers and it heads to the freezer.
In my last post I mentioned I had harvested a couple of the heirloom Tatume squash. I didn’t grow them last year, and I missed them so they are back in the garden this year. They are a good size and shape for grilling, and I imagine they would work well for stuffing too. The ones in the below photo weighed a total of 38 ounces, and got grilled shortly after they posed for the camera. At that size the seeds are still small and tender, and nothing is wasted except the stem.
Also starting to make an appearance now is eggplant. The first to come on here were from Fairy Tale, another AAS winner from 2005. The tender white flesh has very few seeds and almost melts after it meets up with a hot grill. In the below photo they are hanging out with a few Trionfo Violetto pole beans.
The first melon came in a few days ago, and it was Diplomat. This is a Galia type melon with green flesh, and it’s usually the first one to ripen of the ones I grow. The melon in the below photo weighed a tad less than three pounds, and as you can see has a fairly small seed cavity. The Sensation melons are also ripening, and I suspect we will have one or two of them in a few days.
Over the last two weeks I dug all of the potatoes. It wasn’t what I would call a great year for them, but we will have plenty to eat. The best yield came from the German Butterball variety. It also made a heart shaped tuber that would have been perfect for Valentine’s Day!
It looks to be a terrible year for the pole beans. I’m always amazed at how something can do so well one year, and so badly the next. The same varieties (Fortex, Musica and Gold Marie) that kept us well-supplied last year are shy producers this time. I’m thinking the waterlogged soil followed by early hot weather did not help them any. We are enjoying what we get though, and I am hopeful they will perk up production eventually. I also planted Trionfo Violetto and it is doing no better than the others so far, though it is a colorful addition to the mix.
The greenhouse cucumbers are having a banner year however. Of course they are spared having too much rain, since the only water they get is what I supply them by hand watering. That’s Tasty Jade in the below photo, which I turned into some refrigerator pickles.
I mentioned a while back that I had made a batch of cabbage sauerkraut with some caraway seeds added. We tried it out last week, adding it to some Canadian bacon and Muenster cheese on homemade rye bread. I only added a teaspoon of caraway seeds to a quart of kraut, but it gave the fermented cabbage a lovely flavor and I can see me doing this again. Caraway has carminative properties that aid in the digestion of the cabbage, so it’s got that going for it too. I also made a sandwich the other day with the kohlrabi kraut, and I wonder if the caraway would be good with that too? Perhaps I’ll try that this fall.
Speaking of homemade rye bread, I tried a recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day. I made a batch of his Soft Rye Sandwich Bread last week, baking some of it into a loaf and some into buns. The bread is tasty but I didn’t think it was really an improvement over the recipe I usually make (Light Rye Sandwich Loaf). It does use a rye sourdough starter, and I may try and incorporate that in the new version of my recipe. My tastes in bread are leaning towards heartier ones with more whole grains, and I have added whole wheat to my recipe for the rye sandwich loaf. Surely I am not the only one who doesn’t follow their own recipes!
My new header photo of sunflowers is a result of a trip my wife and I made recently to Bluegrass Fish & Wildlife Area. The Indiana DNR plants acres of sunflowers for the wildlife, and we went to see them and get a few photos. As is our custom, I sat my camera on the trunk of the car and used the timer to get a pic of the two of us. The fields of sunflowers are an amazing sight to see, and the photos don’t really do them justice.
I hope you have enjoyed a look at what’s happening here in late July. To see what other gardeners are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.