This season, there was a bounty from the garden in many ways. Because I end up with so much of some crops I try to come up with ways to preserve what I can't eat right away so I can extend the bounty through the rest of the year. Not so long ago, before the advent of refrigeration, everyone grew their own food and knew special ways of preserving it for the rest of the year. Pickling in brine was a great way of keeping veggies edible for the winter and inspired so many delicious new foods. These foods were fermented like saurkraut and could be stored without refrigeration in a cellar for many months. One pickle that I like to make is the Korean kimchi, which is made with Chinese cabbage or radish, scallions, really hot peppers, and if desired, small fish like anchovies. I like hot pickles and one of my favorites is a hot pickle mix of cucumbers, carrots, and hot peppers. In this pickle everything becomes infused with the heat of the peppers adding a kick to the cukes and carrots. This was a good year in the hoop house for pickling cukes, so I made a big batch of hot pickle mix.
Another good way to presere the harvest for winter is to plant good storage varieties of vegetables. I plant tons of garlic every year which I hang up in the house. It usually lasts from mid-July to sometime in January. This season was a good year for onions finally and I ended up with plenty to tide me over until the first spring onions begin to sprout.. For the first year in a long time I planted winter squash and was able to get a fairly good harvest.. I'm not a big squash eater, but I do like a good Thai squash curry. They will store well most of the winter. Then there's always potatoes. I don't count on being able to grow all I'll need though someday I hope to plant that many. This year's harvest was the best in many years. I find them hard to grow in our wet springs and with our high water table. They end up rotting in the ground. Unfortunately my attempt at planting fall carrots failed this year because it was about 100 degrees when I was sowing them. They don't germinate in that kind of heat. I experimented with presprouting carrot seeds in the hoop house with good results. It's not that the plants can't grow in the heat, but the seeds won't germinate, so if you start the seeds inside in a cooler temperature, they'll sprout. Carrots are a great root cellar crop and they usually do really well as a fall crop heavily mulched or pulled up before the first hard frost.
|Cornish Rock Crosses eating duckweed|