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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's harvest time already!

It's not even July yet and we have a bounty.  It's too hot today to get a lot canned, but we are blanching and freezing.  We've got the broccoli raab (I also have seen that it is spelled broccoli rabe, but it's still pronounced rahb whichever way you spell it), beets (we had to thin them out), and turnips (thinned those out too).   The pea pods were frozen, but I don't know that we'll do too many more frozen pods, so we'll try out this pea pod soup recipe with the next harvest.
We are using up the lettuce tonight.  I'm having to pull the rest because of the heat.  It's getting leggy and bitter, so most of it was pulled already.  Though not preservable, we'll be using it in the compost.  I question whether I should continue to plant lettuce considering we don't eat much of it, but I've got the seeds and it's nice to have something ready early in the season. 
I've harvested the garlic, and it needs to be brushed off and cured for a few weeks.  Some of the bulbs are a bit tiny, but it will be fun braiding them when they are cured.  We go through a lot of garlic in a year, so this won't be enough for next year, but it was a good experiment.  I'd like to get some more at the farmer's market and make garlic oil, as well as pickle some.  Those will come in handy when there is the inevitable winter cold coming on. After pulling the garlic and lettuce, we also have half of a bed to plant some more things in July and August.
The volunteer plants have been popping up all over.  We have several volunteer tomato plants, ground cherries, pumpkins, a melon plant, and of course, the cilantro.
The herbs are growing like crazy.  We'll be making all sorts of pesto, including broccoli raab, nasturtium leaf (we'll likely eat the flowers raw), mint, thyme, basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro, greens (from the turnips and beets), and combinations of them.  Pesto will go great on pasta, but also as a spread on sandwiches. 

We subscribe to Mother Earth News, and this month's issue suggests Ball's website for canning recipes. There's over 200 recipes, so we'll have fun testing out some new ones this year.  There were also some books listed for sale in the issue, and though we don't have the moola to buy all the ones I'm interested in, we're fortunate to have a library that offers inter-library loans.  The library system will even bring it to my local library and send me an e-mail when they have arrived.  I'm excited to try pear butter (we'll have to buy the pears at the farmer's market because our tree is not going to produce for a few more years) and yellow tomato jam.  Those recipes can be found in The Big Book of Preserving The Harvest.

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