Sept. 18, 2013

Hi everyone,

Your boxes are bursting at the seams with good eating. I think I’ll officially declare this week the height of the season, though things were very nearly quite different–if the cold on Monday night had really damaged the garden, I can tell you I would have been caught flat footed. I didn’t hear the forecast till 10:30 P.M. and did drive back to the garden to harvest celery and two rows of tomatoes before declaring myself too tired to continue. The next day was market so I didn’t get a chance to see how the garden had fared till later. I anticipated the worst and hoped for the best and was thrilled to see how well everything came through: damage on zucchini plants, cucumber plants  but not fruit, and a bit on beans and basil, but not enough to kill anything except the ever-unhappy winter squash. I resisted seeing if there are squashes to harvest, because the vines often live on and continue to feed the fruit long after the leaves look totally dead. My major joy was seeing the tomatoes still all perfectly OK.

So: let the celebration begin. Your squash blossoms (actually zucchini blossoms, winter squash blossoms are bitter with the exception of pumpkin, which I did not grow this year) are very perishable and I recommend you use them right away. Classic recipe is to stuff with chevre or cream cheese, season as you like, and I like to add a bit of onion and chives or mushroom (fried). After stuffing they can be batter fried for an over the top divine delight: 1 cup flour, 1./2 cup cornstarch, 1 egg, a bit of salt and baking powder and enough water to make a batter. You’ll have batter left over, so think tempura: chunks of pepper, mushrooms, onions, sweet potatoes, eggplant, shrimp, dipping sauce is diluted soy sauce with onion and a bit of sugar. Wow.  A bit of fussing for sure but definitely worth it. Failing that, the squash blossoms can simply be fried up with other veggies, but only for the briefest moment before serving.

Celery, as mentioned above, is not frost hardy, so I hastily picked it on Monday. Remember to use the entire plant, leaves freeze without blanching or dry if you remove every last bit of stem, otherwise they go yellow. Also it keeps in fridge for a long time.

Apples are great fresh eating. Cooked they are nice and soft but don’t go mushy, so I’m told by some of our Kingston  CSA members.

And carrots–a major miracle this year. These are the early carrots slated to be ready mid-July. Better late than never.

With the colder nights bean picking has slowed right down and so now I’m getting caught up on canning and freezing. Plus I feel ready next time the temperature dips to gather in those tomatoes (green) and let them ripen. So all is well, and every warm day now is a real bonus. How quickly the seasons can change!

Till next time, Titia

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