Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting Close to Harvest

Hello there- sorry about that abrupt week off. Last weekend, my husband & I hosted a fabulous housewarming party for our lovely friends in Western Kentucky. And while it was better than we could anticipate (which normally happens), we decided to take a breather for a bit. But now it's time to get back to the grindstone. And that's a good thing because we are getting close to the start of summer harvest.
Sad thing is, they are already bigger now
In case you didn't know, yellow summer squash and zucchini do amazing in the south. About three weeks ago, I mentioned why these two delicious summer squashes are so good for you. It's amazing how much our plants grew in just 21 days. We are going to have to harvest the first of our zucchini and summer squash this week. Summer squashes are pretty easy; you just cut it from the stem. The best thing to keep in mind is when you harvest it. You'll want to cut yellow squash when it's about 6 inches long. Zucchini is twelve inches or less. If you let it grow too big, the skin will get tough & it will be less pleasurable to the palate.
With that being said, we will probably have two or three zucchini and a yellow squash ready by the end of the week, if not sooner. At I've already found a few recipes I want to try thanks to the ever fanastic pinterest:

- Cheesy Squash Casserole: Made it last year. It. Is. Extraordinary. This recipe is light, buttery, and makes plenty for leftovers.
- Veggie Rice Skillet: This is already a dinner staple for us. But we added garlic. It needs a bit more of a kick of flavor.
- Stuffed Yellow Squash: Made last week with squash from a friend. Also needs a kick, but is surprisingly easy & mess-free.
- Zucchini Tots: Something the hubster & I really look forward to trying.
- Summer Vegetable Tian: A dish I've been dreaming to make since we planted our garden this year.
- Baked Zucchini Chips: Looks like a healthy, crunchy option to regular chips
- Baked Zucchini Fries: It's astounding how many unhealthy sides zucchini can replace.
- Roasted Parmesan Zucchini: Yes, there are a lot of zucchini recipes out there.

We are also seeing another plant that's getting close to the beginning of harvest season: my beloved chamomile.

Isn't beautiful?
I first have to say that our chamomile smells so sweet and wonderful. And while I doubt I will have enough to make tea throughout the winter, I look forward to drying it for a special brew. Chamomile is also pretty easy to harvest. For tea, just use your hand like a rake and pull off the flowers that are in full bloom. But if you plan to make chamomile essential oil, you'll need to cut about 3 inches down from the flower to include the stem and possible tops of leaves.

Hopefully this week, we will get a few buds and start drying. After that, I'll crumble it up and use a tea ball to make a spectacular, local cup of chamomile tea with honey. Yum...

If you enjoy cooking, there is really no greater joy than using food that you grew & harvested. In this day in age where most of us work for money, a garden allows you to take in and benefit from what you put your heart, energy, and soul into. Your hard work is a delectable seasoning for local dishes.

No comments:

Post a Comment