We are still in summer, repeat after me ‘we are still in summer’. It is becoming a little bit hard to believe right now. After the rain eventually came there has been a perceivable shift in the way things feel. That dry crispness that you feel underfoot when you walk across the lawn is gone. Most mornings there is now a bit of a dew which is helping to soften the lawn and slowly bring back the green colour.
With everyone doing the cooking these days I need them to know what is available to be used in our meals. So I came up with this board with a list of all the vegetables they could use and where to find them to help prevent waste and remind everyone to include as many veggies as they can. If you’re in NZ you can read more about this in the February 21 edition of the Kiwi Gardener Magazine.
The temperatures have dipped. The air is still alive with the sound of cicadas creating the perception of summer heat, but it is a different heat from the boiling hot of a few weeks ago. There is a chance the conditions may return to those heady days, but we are definitely slipping into more comfortable balmy conditions.
Finally the okra are producing in large enough numbers that I can do something with them!
My gherkin plants haven’t been that prolific this season, but every so often I get to make a few more pickle jars.
I’m going through a bit of a cous cous for lunch thing. It makes sense to roast up a batch of garden fresh vegetables to add to my lunch throughout the week.
Wonderfully caramelised roast vegetables will make my cous cous lunches so delish!
The Lemon Cucumbers have been another successful crop and peeled these can be eaten like apples, but the kids can’t keep up. I need a plan for these!
The garden is also telling me things are changing and if you dilly dally you may miss the peak moments of harvest. I have been going through the motions with the garden, with the weeding, watering, and harvesting what I need when I need it. But there haven’t been that many opportunities for slaving over the hot stove preserving the harvest. This is mainly because psyllid have all but ruined my tomato harvest.
I managed to use 3kg of scallopini in a relish recipe to use up a significant amount of the glut.
I had to get out the big pot to make the Scallopini Relish
I ended up with a dozen jars of relish. That should bring summer joy to the winter!
Another great way to use up a glut is to marinate and dehydrate marrows or in this case scallopini. The dehydrator is pretty much on all the time right now.
A delish way to use up the glut – Scallopini Chocolate Muffins! I may need to make these often for a while.
I ended up with an overabundance of onion that don’t store as well as the Pukehoke Longkeepers. So we have been using as many as we can while the Longkeepers have finished growing and drying. But the early onions are starting to feel a little soft so I’m not sure how much longer they will keep before we have to use the Longkeepers.. The solution was to dice up the onions and freeze them for use after the Longkeepers had been used up, At 100g per serving and 5 servings a week I managed to freeze enough onion for 15 weeks and still have loads of soft ball sized onions left!
Looking around the garden now, there are things that have been on a slow boil and am only just coming ripe, others I have been taking a bit here and a bit there, but before long the plants will bolt and there won’t be anything left. Making the harvest last throughout the winter until it is ready to harvest again is why my garden is so big.
The poorly looking basil seedlings I rescued for a dollar have flourished, but as they begin to flower I am in danger of losing the lush leaves.
I’ve given the basil a haircut and hopefully it will bounce back. With the harvested basil I have stripped the leaves and vac pack frozen them in pesto sized portions. Over the winter we can have pesto at least 7 times. A nice easy mid week pasta meal to bring summer to the table.
Sweetcorn is being vac packed and frozen within in moments of harvest. I’ve kept the husks on to increase the cooking options, and chopped the ends off to remove the possibility of finding corn ear worm.
I love eggplant, but the kids not so much. As I want them to take more responsibility for some of the weekly cooking so they can leave home one day and not starve, I can’t see them using the eggplant so I need to a plan to prevent these from going to waste.
I think I missed the perfect demi sec moment for the coco white beans, but soaked and cooked should give a similar taste experience.
The Strawberry Popcorn was easy enough to process, I just needed to let it dry on the plant and then put it in the shed to dry. I should be able to pop it in a month! I started this corn first, before the sweetcorn, to avoid the corn ear worm and allow it to dry on the plant before hungry rats found them.
The garden is in an orderly control so these days instead of having dirt under my nails from toiling in the soil, the tips of my fingers are soggy from the constant plunging in water that comes from preserving the harvest. Some things are just vac packed and popped in the freezer, others have been dehydrated, some just need storing in the shed as is, and others get pickled. I’ve even done a spot of baking.
Every day there is a harvest, but each day it is a little different.
Kitchen gardening is just as rewarding and garden gardening and as the season inevitably begins to transform into something else there will be many more opportunities to spend time indoors, capturing summer in jars and freezing it to shine on cold grey days.
Come again soon – Seeds need to be sown again.
Sarah the Gardener : o)
NB: Click on each image for a detailed descriptions of what has been going on in the garden and in the kitchen.