Saturday, September 5, 2009

Still Veggies After All These Weeks

The garden is still producing plenty of summer vegetables, even though the temperatures have dropped a bit and disease has started to really hit the tomato plants. For the last several days, except for the tomatoes, I’ve mostly just brought in what we needed for meals. That left quite a bit in the garden for today’s harvest.

The Casper White eggplants are smaller than the first several that the plants produced, but these three haven’t seemed to gain any size in the last week or so, and I wanted to bring them in before they got too seedy. The Jimmy Nardello peppers will be pickled later today, and the okra, well, I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with that. We’ve eaten a lot of okra lately.

The tomatoes are several kinds: Rutgers, Cherokee Purple, Wuhib, Amish, and Japanese Trifle. Regardless of their intended-by-breeding purpose, they will all join quite a lot of other same-variety-mix tomatoes in a large pot later today before they all get packed into jars for the winter.

I also brought in a bowl of Matt’s Wild Cherry tomatoes that didn’t go into the basket because I was concerned they might get squashed under the heavier veggies. Those are all headed for the dehydrator.

The melon is the next-to-last of the Sugar Nut melons. We’ve been lucky enough to have melon with breakfast three to four days each week for the last few weeks.

I keep forgetting to photograph the squash before we eat it, but we did eat one of the trombocino/zucchetta squash earlier this week. There is actually a little chunk left –each squash is plenty big enough to go in more than one meal—and it will go into tonight’s grilled-veggie sandwiches. I went to Harry’s/Whole Foods today and brought home French bread and aged provolone with that supper in mind. The sandwiches go into one of those George Foreman grills after they are stuffed with the cheese and grilled veggies. It’s an easy but good weekend supper that uses our garden’s produce and that everyone likes.

edit: I froze the okra.

7:30 p.m. tomato canning update:
When I prepare tomatoes for canning, one step is to drop the whole, uncut, tomatoes into boiling water for a minute or two, then into cold water. This makes getting the skins off easier. Today, this worked like a charm for the Rutgers tomatoes, which is no surprise. Rutgers were grown for years as canning tomatoes. This variety is also very meaty, so most of what is inside that skin actually makes it into the jars.

The Amish tomatoes were also easy to skin and chop for canning. Of course, their yellow coloring is going to mess with the color of what’s in the jars, but we will all live.

The Wuhib tomatoes are a paste variety, but their very thick skins were a little more difficult to remove than the above described varieties. They are also smaller, so preparing them was a little more labor intensive than the Rutgers and Amish tomatoes.

The Japanese Trifle were a mess to can. Just that brief dunk into the boiling water turned them right into mush. I will not add them to the canning group in the future.

The variety Cherokee Purple was somewhere in the middle in terms of ease of preparation for canning. These are so wonderful fresh, that I probably won't add them to the canning group in the future, either.

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