Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Death by Zucchini

OK, not death, exactly, although that is a scary-looking pot of green sludge.
The zukes keep chugging in from the garden. I took the sage advice of a fellow gardener-blogger who said, simply, "Pick them while they're young."
If there's a part of your greedy brain telling you to just let them go one more day and they'll be bigger... Don't listen! It's perfectly sensible to cut them off the vine when they're pretty and petite (and I'm a hound... I let 'em go to about eight inches). I mean, come on! More will grow. More will grow.
So at the moment we have a refrigerator full of nice-size zucchini, and it made sense to grate some into a pot of thawed turkey broth for soup. (Plus onion, salt, pepper, cream... Simple as hell.)
And that's when I got to thinking. We save all this fantastic winter bounty in the freezer — turkey broth, the simmer liquid from corned beef, pot likker from stewed greens — and it brings a deep, earthy bass note to summer's soups.
Also, we save summer's bounty by freezing tomato sauce, pesto, cucumber juice. We can (if we know how and I'm thisclose to learning how to can) fruit preserves, chutney, pickles — which bring a bright dash of sunlight to our winter meals.
Totally cool.
Year-round fabulosity.

18 comments:

kim said...

So true! This is my first year canning (blueberry and strawberry jam and pear butter, along with tomatoes and pickles), and I hope you try it, it's really quite easy. I'm so determined to taste summer's bounty in the winter, that when we ran out of jam the other day, I wouldn't let my husband open one of my jars! I told him there was no way we were eating those until the snow flies! So we had a neighbor's jam from last year - I figured it was a good comprimse.

dancingmorganmouse said...

When you say "can" do you mean actual cans or do you put the stuff in jars? I've always wondered how home canners get the lids on the tins.

cookiecrumb said...

Kim: Major encouragement! Thank you. I will get busy. Bless you.

Mouse: I know. Lids. Jars How? I will learn. Sigh.

leena! said...

I canned my own applesauce last fall, and now I am a canning machine! I say do it, and then ship a few to Australia...you know...so I can just make sure you are doing them right...

Stacie said...

i'm scared to get into the canning biz... i just stick all in the freezer. when i got a chest freezer, i knew had become assimilated to midwestern culture!

katiez said...

Americans can; Europeans bottle; it all goes into glass.... I've had more confusing conversations using those terms....
I 'make' pickles.
I freeze lots - soooo much simpler.
Tomorrow, however, I'm faced with a huge table full of apples and pears that need to be beaten into submission and forced into small glass jars.
I'm buying wine for the occasion...it may not help the pear jam but it sure helps the jam-maker...

El said...

So glad you're dipping your toes in, CC! The freezer is a great place to stash your zucch stash. But canning is great for jams, tomatoes and pickles. You will need a pressure canner if you're doing anything else, though, or the trusty freezer.

(And if you're a Yank, you can in glass jars. Confusing, I know. Silly, too. But it does sound stupid to say "I am jarring tomatoes today.")

Zoomie said...

Back in WNY I used to can tomato juice and applesauce. It's easier than you think. Find someone who knows how to show you the first time, then you can fly solo.

Susan said...

What do you do with the cucumber juice?

cookiecrumb said...

Leena: So you'll be my quality control? (Say... have I introduced you to dancingmorganmouse from Sydney? I love her, and you can be my proxy pal.)

Stacie: I want a chest freezer. I'm a wimp. But -- no! September is my learn-to-can month.

Katie: Wish I could be there. Cranky and I have had several pleasant hours on the patio hacking pears into shape. Wine helps.

El: Ohgod. Pressure canning. I will look into it, I promise. Yeep.

Zoomie: "Find someone who knows how"... That would be you, wouldn't it??!! Fun.

Susan: Ha. Heh. I'm funny that way. I mix the cucumber juice with sparkling water for a dashing, refreshing drink. Cucumberade.

tammy said...

I'll be trying out a little canning/jarring myself in September. Botulicious!

cookiecrumb said...

Tammy: If we poison ourselves, we'll all blame Jen Maiser.

Zoomie said...

I know tomato juice and applesauce but the rest is a mystery... no experience with pressure canning, sadly. I was only slightly housewifely, even at my best! :-)

Casey said...

I control my garden's zucchini abbondanza by harvesting a LOT of blossoms before they turn into zukes. Tempura-style deep frying gives delicious results, but I also shred the raw blossoms and stir them into scrambled eggs.

cookiecrumb said...

Casey: I have a fear of frying, but with this many blossoms, it seems a humane solution. I heard the other day that the MALE blossoms (the ones on stems but not on zukes themselves) are the proper ones for frying. Yeah... and I have tons of those, too, even if they don't help with the population control.

Liz said...

too funny... here I am googling "pressure canning zucchini" to see how I can deal with my glut, and I get you. #3, my friend. :)

cookiecrumb said...

Liz: Too funny. And I can't can. Yet.
Good luck with the glut.

Era said...

Oh man, I can't wait for you to learn how to preserve because I want to learn so bad! I can learn vicariously!