22 October 2016

Into The Pot

Today was cold and windy -- more normal for autumn than the summer weather we enjoyed during the week. This was a perfect day for staying indoors and cooking, and minestrone soup was on the menu. Out of the freezer and into the pot went a bag of green string beans from my summer garden.

After harvesting green beans, they were washed and sent whole into the freezer. It was an experiment to determine if they could be successfully frozen and later used as an ingredient in soups. For today's minestrone, a bag of beans was steamed to thaw it but beans were not cooked. They kept their shape after being cut, and best of all, they were tasty -- great as a soup ingredient.

The carrots for the soup were pulled from the garden a few minutes before going into the pot. Carrots never grew well in my clay soil despite testing several types. Sand added to the soil didn't seem to help. Organic material eventually did (along with the previously added sand) and as long as carrots are planted in that same hospitable spot each year, they do well. I think the carrot shape represents the growing season like rings in a tree -- wet and pleasant at the spring, dry, wet and normal, hot, then recently unusually warm. Remaining carrots stay in the ground until they are used.

As noted in the previous post, they were diced, blanched in boiling water for up to two minutes, cooled in ice water, then frozen. They appear to have lost their firmness going into the freezer, but they may be fine as a soup ingredient.

10 October 2016

Baseball Bats for the Playoffs

Baseball season starts as our Washington Nationals try to avoid being eliminated in the first round for a third time. This year, I offer late baseball bats in the form of zucchini, or vice versa, at the same time the series begin.

To avoid the dreaded squash vine borer this year, seeds were planted around the Fourth of July, believing there was a good chance to miss the egg-laying time of the pests. Most of the plants turned out good, but one got bit. I cut the plant off from the infected stem and planted it by mounding soil and keeping it moist. Happily, it worked, and the plant set roots and continued to grow.

The zucchini was late however. As usual, the fruit would set on a Monday, and by picking time on Friday, I had zucchini-sauras. For that minestrone soup-making in cold winters, I read that freezing zucchini is possible. To keep it from from turning into a mush in my freezer, I need to first cut into its final sizes and shapes, and blanch before freezing.

For The Record:
  • Average moist soil
  • Full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • Squash vine borer summer, and powdery mildew in fall

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: mexican zinnia, zinnia, marigold, acidantra
  • Harvested: 2 zucchini, 1 pepper, 2 cukes