From the Garden this Week, July 29, 2021...
From the Garden this Week…
American Delicious Musk Melon, Summer Squash, Cantaloupe, Hot Peppers, Armenian and Lemon Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Carrots, Turnips, Arugula, Radish, Basil, Stone Fruit and Grapes
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
This week we have the appropriately named American Delicious melons coming. Keep this in the fridge until you are ready to eat it. This week I have been experimenting with fermenting both our carrots and cucumbers. Fermenting is one of the easiest ways to preserve vegetables, it just feels awkward, because you violate a few food-safety rules. Fortunately, a salt water solution keeps the bacteria from growing. I like to make refrigerator pickles with each of these vegetables, so I use the same recipe, just replace the vinegar-water with salt water, and then leave the jars out a room temperature until the fermentation starts. If you’re not ready for fermentation you can substitute half water and half vinegar for the salt water and then store the vegetables right away in the fridge letting the vinegar soften the vegetables for 3-4 days before enjoying.
Fermented Mexican Carrots
4-5 small carrots, peeled and sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup onion, sliced
1-2 hot peppers, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Pack the carrots, garlic, oregano, salt, onion and peppers into a pint jar. In a separate container, you can combine the salt and water, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Pour the salt water over the vegetables until the jar is full, leaving about a ¼ inch at the top. Cover the jar loosely and leave at room temperature for 2-4 days until cloudy. Tighten the lid and place in the fridge. The carrots will continue to ferment in the fridge, the process just slows down because of the cold. Every few days open and vent the jar and taste and eat the carrots.
Your Melon: Delicious is in the name!
This week, you have a sweet-smellin’ melon in your basket that looks like a big cantaloupe. Our master gardener, Heidi, and our Monday volunteer, Brad, harvested these musk melons on Monday because we have a bumper crop of these beauties! For farm-term amateurs like me, I learned that a bumper crop is an “unusually large” harvest. And that is lucky in this case, because the heirloom name for this melon is American Delicious – and boy is it!!!
Summer Squash Chips…
With all of the squash that has been coming from the garden, I needed to pull out a recipe that would help us use as much as possible. I used leftover pesto from last week and mixed it with garlic salt, parmesan cheese and dried oregano. It’s messy massaging each piece of squash, but worth it in the end. If the water starts to leak out of the squash, just drain off the liquid and then put them in the dehydrator to finish.
Summer Squash Chips
3-4 pieces summer squash, sliced thin
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Slice the squash about ¼ inch thick, trying to make each slice the same size. The squash will take longer to dry if they are thicker. Combine the pesto, garlic salt, parmesan cheese and oregano in a large bowl. Add the squash slices and massage to coat each slice. Place they slices in a single layer on the racks of a dehydrator or on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet if using the oven. Dehydrate at 135°F in the dehydrator for 8-12 hours or 175°F in the oven until crisp, 2-3 hours. Eat right away or store in a sealed container.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul… By Ronda May Melendez
My mind is dwelling a lot upon the idea of boundaries and indicators that something is askew. Boundaries are often thought about in terms of fence lines, doors and walls. You know, keeping certain things in while keeping other things out. The factors are true. However, I am seeing that this is only a tiny fraction of the story about boundaries. More and more I see that boundaries are a declaration of the state of our being (or lack thereof). Once more, the Lord has brought me to the garden to illustrate a point.
So often, as gardeners, we see weeds as the bane of our existence. We fuss, cry, hit the ground, shout at the heavens, dig and pull in an effort to loosen these beasts from our land. One thing we rarely do first however, is consider that weeds tell us a story about the soil they inhabit. For example, an overgrowth of deep taproot weeds such as burdock or dandelion tells us that our soil is too compact and hard. It lacks water, air and nutrients. The soil needs attention. Other weeds tell other stories. Crabgrass screams of nutrient depletion and lack of calcium while groundsel tells us that our soil health is great! It is not the weeds that are the issue...it is the tending of the soil. Interestingly, many times the same weeds we curse are an integral part of the healing and repair that the soil needs. The deep taproots aerate and break up the hardened soil, for example. Weeds are simply symptoms that help us understand what the soil needs.
Friends, can we not say the same of the soil of our hearts, minds and souls, at times? We curse the weeds of our lives in the environment surrounding us without seeking to understand the underlying needs of our hearts, minds, and souls. May we see these very mechanisms of frustration and pain as God’s potential provision of grace and healing.