It’s the end of the growing season, but it isn’t quite time to rest. With the bulk of our harvest frozen, canned, dried, and fermented, it’s time to deal with the left overs: the harvest that didn’t get processed during the peak of the season. Though these “ugly” fruits and veggies are now gaining recognition in the mainstream (not everything comes out looking perfect!), they’ve always been part of harvesting and cooking for home gardeners. I have fun examining the motley selection of veggies occupying my kitchen counters and refrigerator space, determining how they could be combined in delicious ways. It takes some creativity at this time of year!
Sometimes end-of-season produce is a bit worse for the wear. This weekend I prepared several gallons of sauerkraut from some cabbages that were admittedly acting as slug hotels in the garden. After removing the holey outer leaves, however, wonderful fall sweetened crisp cabbage was revealed. Yum!
It is also an important time of year to monitor harvest stores in the basement and attic. Any veggies that show sign of rot or discoloration should be used first. As last night’s dinner highlighted, blemished squash, onions, and other veggies are often perfectly delicious. They don’t stay good for long, however, so it’s good to enjoy them right away while they’re still tasty.
Thankfully, some plants are happy to be outside in the frost and colder weather. Most of the brassicas: kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, get sweeter and more tender after it has frosted. For now I’ll happily leave them outside and will be ready to enjoy them when I see counters and fridge shelves empty and need to go get vegetables in order to prepare for our next meal.