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From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - August 31, 2023

From the Garden this Week… Sweet Potato, Italian Eggplant, Varieties of Summer Squash & Zucchinis, Slicing or Lemon Cucumbers, Large Heirloom Tomatoes, Cherry & Yellow Pear & Sun Torch Tomatoes, Lunchbox & Hot Peppers, Green Beans, Swiss Chard, Garlic, Basil, A Peach & Red or Green Grapes

Using Your Produce… by Julie Moreno

I love pickles and have been trying for years to replicate the flavor of the Claussen brand that you find in the refrigerator section at the store. I’ve made refrigerator pickles for years with vinegar and spices, but they never tasted the same. Thanks to the internet, I finally learned the trick. These pickles are fermented on the counter for a few days before refrigeration. They also use vinegar to help acidify the pickles and prevent any bacterial spoilage before the fermenting process gets going. The two combined processes make the distinct flavor that I was looking for. Our cucumbers are prolific right now and by pickling them they will keep in the fridge longer than they would if they were fresh.

Easy Fermented Pickles

3-5 cucumbers

1 quart water

¼ cup white vinegar

2.5 tablespoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon coriander

¼ teaspoon mustard seed

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ tablespoon black peppercorns

½ tablespoon dill seed

1 large garlic clove, chopped

* Slice the cucumbers into slices or spears and fill the pieces into 2 one quart jars. In a large container, combine all the other ingredients. Stir to dissolve the salt. Pour the brine over the cucumbers. Cover the jars loosely (twist the lids halfway). Let the pickles sit on the countertop for 2-3 days. The liquid should become a little cloudy during that time. Then refrigerate and eat them within a few months.

Tomato Soup from Art of Simple Food

by Chef Alice Watters of Chez Panisse

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 scant tablespoon white rice

1 tablespoon butter

A large pinch of salt

1 medium onion sliced

1/2 bay leaf

1 green onion (or leek), white and light green parts, sliced

1 small sprig of savory, thyme, or basil

A pinch of salt

1 cup water

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon butter

2 lbs. ripe tomatoes (10 medium size) washed, cored, sliced

1. Using a heavy-bottomed pan, warm olive oil and melt butter then add the onion and leek with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until soft, but not brown. If necessary, add water to keep from browning.

2. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, white rice, bay leaf, a large pinch of salt and the sprig of savory, thyme, or basil. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes fall apart.

4. Add 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon butter and continue cooking another 10 minutes until the rice is tender. Remove the herb sprigs.

5. Carefully ladle the soup into a blender, not more than 1/3 full. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Pass the puréed soup through a medium strainer to remove skin and seeds. Taste for salt. Add more water if soup is too thick. Serve.

Healthy Snacking…

When you have abundant squash, turning them in to chips makes them a healthy snack that is easy to gobble up. I use a dehydrator, but they can be made in a low oven. Feel free to season with your favorite spice or herbs if you want.

Summer Squash Chips

2-4 large zucchini or summer squash

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Slice the squash thin, about 1/8 inch. Place the slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with the seasonings and oil. Mix gently. Place the slices in a single layer in a dehydrator or in a low oven at 225°F for 1-2 hours until crips. In a dehydrator set at 135°F they will take about 8-10 hours.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul…

Barren Spaces

by Ronda May Melendez & Keith F Martin

The garden has been abundantly fruitful this summer season, and for that we are abundantly grateful. The Lord is gracious. This week, however, my thoughts are focused on the fields. Carrot beds are empty and spent vines are cleared away, leaving barren spaces. Remembering these fields where life once flourished and produced, I could be disheartened by their present emptiness, even anxious, fearing what the future holds for these lifeless fields.

“Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails, and the fields

produce no food, though there are no sheep

in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Habakkuk 3:17-19

This season, though, my heart is sustained by tangible HOPE embedded in a palpable PROMISE.At first glance, barren spaces seem lifeless, desperately void, but really, they are not. They are spaces cleared in hope, spaces prepared with promise. The greenhouse burgeons with life - broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and celery seedlings seek space to sink roots deeper into soil spread leaves upward and outward toward sunlight. It’s time to focus my thoughts on the Creator who provides faithfully for all living things. It’s time to remember the many ways in seasons past when He finally filled, watered, and restored my barren spaces. It’s time to cry out, as the forlorn and forsaken Hagar did in the desert wasteland, to El Roi, God Who Sees what, where, and when we cannot.

Spaces in life may appear a desolate wasteland, but they are not devoid of life when we call upon the LORD to enter those spaces, fill them with hope, and restore to them purpose. The LORD’s promises are never void and His hope does not disappoint. In the season of barren spaces, let us wait expectantly and, like Habakkuk, remember to rejoice in God our Savior and Sustainer.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,

and do not return to it without watering the earth

and making it bud and flourish,

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread to the eater,

so is My word that goes out from My mouth.

It will not return to Me empty,

but will accomplish what I desire,

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Isaiah 55:10-11


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