Monday, August 06, 2007

All I Can't Can

It has been a real eye-opener, having a miniature farm in my backyard.
A lot of the plants went into the ground rather late for my area, meaning if they'd gone in sooner I'd be knee-deep in motley harvest by now.
As it is, I'm only plagued by tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula.
And when I say "plagued," you know I'm kidding.
Oh, wait. Lettuce too. OK, I'm not kidding.
Let's not talk about the pears; I didn't plant them.
A whole bunch of this stuff cannot be preserved. Sure, there are cucumber pickles, but these are the delicate Asian variety... which doesn't mean I'm not going to try. Might not work, but we'll have fun scarfing them up freshly salted if need be.
The tomatoes are notoriously saveable, and I will get around to my oven-roasted "sauce" as soon as I get tired of BLTs and tomato tarts.
The arugula and lettuce are just too ephemeral. Meaning we must harvest and eat as often as possible. Could life get worse?
And then there are the zucchini, which are only just now showing a tinge of manliness. Soon they'll be fierce warrior cubs, and we'll have to roast them and grind them into soup... but I don't know a way to preserve them for winter.
I eat what I can't can.

Tender leaf lettuce with halved Sungold cherry tomatoes, topped with a scattering of marigold petals. Hey! I grew 'em.


Dagny said...

Zucchini bread! My mouth is watering at just the thought. Oops. There goes the baker in me.

Years ago my friend Jade's husband made me try this pickled eggplant that his mother had sent over from Italy. All I can remember is the taste of anise or something similar. Can't see why you can't do something similar to the zucchini. In its raw form, I like to think of zucchini as almost interchangeable with cucumber.

Anonymous said...

Cookie -- Dagny is right. I actually have a recipe for pickling zucchini if you want it. (Though I am worried about your being locked in your kitchen all summer like a pioneer wife.)

Ms Brown Mouse said...

You can make a rather nice pesto thing with arugula (we call it rockett in Oz), & that can be freezed.

Anna Haight said...

I second the zucchini bread... and my mom used to cut these up, boil them a bit and freeze for adding to winter soups.

Katie Zeller said...

Zucchini freezes easily and very well.... I've frozen tons... I mean it TONS!
Rather than exert any effort to re-type it all.... (I really should have paid attention in typing class) here's a link to details on my site:

Liz said...

I made zucchini pickles once. Feh.

What I like to do is freeze it (either grated or chunked), like katiez, but I know freezer real estate may be too valuable to waste on zucchini.

Mmmm.... arugula pesto.

El said...

I'd think you could grow lettuce mostly year-round out by you. Maybe under a small coldframe? Just something ELSE for you to think about.

And I agree with Liz: feh. But grated zucchini (blanched first) is something fairly standard in our deep-freeze.

(And Kudzu, what's wrong with being a pioneer wife? :)

Monkey Wrangler said...

Bake and fry the zuke. Well, you knew that. Try drying some. Stuff it in a pantry somewhere and use it soon for backpacking or consider it part of the earthquake emergency rations you have put away (don't you?)

Anonymous said...

Apologies to all contemporary pioneer wives -- no insult intended (just worried that CC might become a bit, you know, OCD). As for pickled zucchini, don't think kosher dills, think Italian
garden-mix antipasto type pickles and maybe you won't feel so "feh".

Zoomie said...

When I used to grow zucchini for a small household of two, the secret for me was picking the little buggers before they become baseball bats. Sometimes, the difference is a single night, so one must be vigilant! Otherwise,they do get ahead of you! Maybe you could train Bean Sprout to sound the alarm when they are getting too big. My other fave for the boat-sized ones is to stuff them with ground meat of whatever kind you like best and have a party!

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: The baker in you? Wowza. I can't find the one in me. :D
Pickled eggplant... OK, I've got an eggplant just starting to develop. That would be awesome.

Kudzu: Pickled zucchini. Does it keep well? Sounds so fragile.
Oh, and don't worry about the pioneer wife in the kitchen. I do most of my prep work on the patio, under the shade of the canopy. I might even plug in a hotplate out there, seriously.

Mouse: Now you're talking. I am doing that. We are even talking about buying a chest freezer.

Anna: I am so slow to learn how to do this. Thank you for the blanched/freeze tip. Thank you!

Katie: I'm over there in a flash. Merci, mon amie. Great.

Liz: I'm thinking you "pros" must be laffing at this amateur, banging around in the weeds, not knowing what to do. But instead of teasing me, you are kindly helping me along. Shredded! I am so there. Thank you. (Also, see remark above about the possibility of a chest freezer.) xx

El: You'd think we have the climate for year-round farming, but our winters are torrentially rainy. Lettuce would get hammered. And we do get the occasional freeze. Even so, I'm ready to think about winter. Well, as soon as my head clears. Just had the most amazing BLT from homegrown tomatoes and lettuce.

M. Wrangler: I actually did ponder drying zucchini. I might give it a try, if the bleedin' fog will ever clear!
And I know I can always visit your blog for good zuke recipes. ;-)

Kudzu: I might have some OCD tendencies, but no, I'm not wearing a calico bonnet. Yet.
I totally "get" the zuke pickle you are describing.

Zoomie: Drat, you just reminded me. I have to go outside and collect some bat-sized cucumbers.
This morning, Bean Sprout FETCHED a pear. He wasn't sure if he'd be in trouble or not, because when Cranky yelped (in joy), BS dropped it. Cranky told him to pick it up again, which is when I yelped. And he dropped it once more. But he retrieved it and dragged it over. Cute.

Sam said...

You need to get a job!
I love colleagues who leave free produce in the kitchens here at work.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

If you need some help with the arugula, then let me know, and I can be over in a jif. ;)Have you ever tried arugula pesto? I made it for the first time last year and just loved it on pasta and crostini.

Erin S. said...

Re: Zucchini, check out this savory zucchini bread from blogger What Geeks Eat:

I'm hoping to make some tomorrow.

Re: tomatoes, last summer I made Chez Pim's tomato confit and it made my whole winter a lot more exciting!

cookiecrumb said...

Sam: Oh, the give-away counter. Yeah, that's something I miss about not working. (Not that I ever contributed to it. I was always on the grabbing end.)
Hm. You think I could set up a produce stand in my driveway? "Pears. Lemonade. Scary cucumbers. Please?"

Susan: Arugula pesto (if you read the above comments) is now totally on the menu! Can't wait. Come on up!

Erin: Y'all are ganging up on me about the zucchini bread. OK, I just might have to.
As for the tomatoes, I'm seldom at a loss. :D

Anonymous said...

Your post title has me singing Pointer Sisters "If We Can Can": your titles are the best.

Our garden has become like Godzilla's squash factory. We picked fifteen pounds of the stuff, EASILY, today, and I'm throwing them in my neighbor's window at night. Hoping I don't break anything.

I don't know what Bob was thinking but SIX different kinds of squash is too many. And one plant in particular is just insane. We try to pick them when they're small, but the leaves are huge and kudzu-like, and every three days we find one as big as our heads.

I can find you a recipe for zucchini fritters with feta, iffen you want. It's great for using up large amounts of grated zucchinis.

Any way you slice it, Cookie, you rock.

cookiecrumb said...

Tana: You are beyond lovely.
Yes, the zucchini/feta recipe would be appreciated. And I would hope all the other readers would use it as well!! 'Tis the season.
(Snerk: Six squash plants... What a frenzy. Here's my home-gardener nerd joke: "Q: Why are zucchini leaves so big? A: So you won't find the zucchini.")

Stacie said...

be careful who you bestow with extra zucchini... I have made a few enemies that way, some people don't want piles of zucs? I am really picky about my frozen veg, and would never dream of freezing a zuc, but you could freeze that yummy soup you spoke of.... instant gratification, baby!

Anonymous said...

Dagny beat me to it. Zucchini bread. You can use a carrot cake recipe, w/Splenda instead of sugar if you like, and grated zucchini instead of carrots. Then freeze.

Nothing like it warmed up in the wintertime.

Anonymous said...

...cracks me up. Reminds me of 3 or 4 weeks of the year in the midwest ...the only time folks lock their cars when they go into town... because if they don't the back seat is loaded with tomatoes and squash when they return. har har.

Anonymous said...

meh. that last anonymous was jen's mom :)

cookiecrumb said...

Jen's Mom: Yeah, I've heard about that. So funny. I'm probably going to be doing some pre-dawn raids on neighbors' front porches.