Summer? Summer squash! I planted three zucchini seeds and have harvested a zucchini per day (on average) for about 16 days. Yes, I knew before I planted them that this is how zucchini works. I’m not excited to eat this amazing produce, but the plant is awe-inspiring. So far I’ve sautéed zucchini with onions, grated it into zuke & carrot slaw, skewered it on chicken shish kabobs, grilled it straight, cooked some into a cordon bleu casserole, baked up six loaves of zucchini bread, and frozen six cups of it grated. I’m falling behind. There are four zucchinis in my produce drawer and another will be ready to harvest tomorrow.
My small kitchen garden is just days away from peak season if there is such a thing. Because my most favored crops are spring peas and summer tomatoes, I might choose either harvest as peak season. On the other hand, when the garden is producing all kinds of goodies at once, that’s real nice too.
For this month’s Post Produce, the pictures tell the story. I left a lot out; there’s just too much for a single post.
Post Your Produce
With 60% of the United States in drought, I hope your kitchen garden is providing at least a few things to lift your spirits. Please share! Create a post on your blog that celebrates what you’re eating, preserving, or growing to eat from your garden. Then return here and use the Mr Linky widget to link to your post. Visit other linked blogs, see what gardening enthusiasts are eating, and show them some comment love. The Linky is at the end of this post.
Isn’t summer grand?
Zucchini bread is what led me to plant zukes this season for my first time ever. My kids insist that zucchini bread is the best quick bread, and I hated buying zucchini to be able to make it. By the time I finish freezing grated zucchini, we’ll be set to make bread well into next summer.
Three hills of cucumber plants sit adjacent to my zucchinis. For the first time ever, I’ve produced very attractive cucumbers — for two seasons, my container cucumbers came out small and misshapen. I planted only pickling cucumbers, and every one I’ve harvested would make an awesome pickle barrel dill or half-sour.
I’ve already made pickles with some of my harvest. About sixteen cucumbers and four onions from my small kitchen garden went into a batch of quick-pickled bread-and-butter pickles. I gave away one pint, have been snacking on a second, and put three more into the larder. I wish my family liked pickles; these are delicious.
I found purple jalapeno peppers in a seed catalog and incorporated them into my “rainbow produce theme.” I bought seeds for red, orange, yellow, white, purple, and brown peppers. Sadly, the white and yellow pepper seeds didn’t sprout. The purple jalapeno plants make the most beautiful pepper flowers I’ve seen, and the pepper fruits are also quite attractive. These will become a standard in my vegetable garden.
I rushed a few of these peppers off the plants, but I expect to have time this weekend to make red pepper relish … except that it won’t be red. I plan to combine the “lilac” bell peppers and the “chocolate” bell peppers in this pile to make a brownish-purple pepper relish. I can’t predict the actual finished color. Purple and brown peppers I’ve grown in past years were green on the inside, and the skins tend to turn green during cooking. Even if the relish comes out green, it’ll make great appetizers. Here’s a link to the recipe: Red Pepper Relish from Your Home Kitchen Garden.
Herbs are growing gangbusters in my small kitchen garden. This basil pot is ready for display among ornamental planters. Leaves from these plants will go into the salad I make with my first serious harvest of tomatoes. I’ve already enjoyed cilantro, oregano, thyme, sage, and mint in various dishes, and I’ve made a few batches of béarnaise sauce using French tarragon from my herb patch.
This year’s “rainbow produce theme” extended to my tomato selections as well as my peppers. I got seeds for red, orange, yellow, black, and white tomatoes — somehow overlooked green ones. For ripening earliest, the white and black tomatoes are in a dead heat. The photo shows “cream sausage” paste tomatoes. This morning I discovered two that had developed blossom end rot and were otherwise fully ripe. After I trimmed the rot away, there was enough ripe tomato left for about three bites. You know what? Tasted like honest-to-goodness home-grown tomato! I’ll can a batch of white tomato sauce this season and serve a white lasagna or pizza that’s just as tomato-y as any traditionally red lasagna or pizza. Tomato season can’t begin soon enough.
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