We are now harvesting our summer crops!
Very exciting as the summer produces amazing ingredients for the home cook, especially the seasonal cook. Our garden is producing a large number of vegetables including the following:
- Straight neck yellow squash (heirloom)
- Crookneck yellow squash (hybrid volunteer from last year)
- Heirloom cucumbers
- Heirloom bush beans (green beans)
- Herbs, rosemary, basil, sage (all heirlooms)
- Baseball zucchini (heirloom)
- Datil Peppers (seeds available in the store)
Very soon the potato harvest will commence, we have at least 500 lbs of potatoes. These are all heirlooms too and 3 different varieties.
As a prepper or homesteader, having a garden and perennial fruit producing trees are very important to have. Especially since the start up costs are very low, apple trees, cherry trees, peach trees, blueberry bushes etc. can be purchased for $10-$20 for good sized specimens.
WIth summer harvest in full swing I use recipes that help use up the harvest while providing the family with wonderful meals. Ratatouille is a key recipe for summer to use up things like zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomatoes and other ingredients. I also use ratatouille for an appetizer in my ratatouille bruschetta recipe which is a great dish for parties.
This year we have three yellow squash plants from last year that have sprung up in funny places like our compost pile, next to my cherry tree and in a pile of straw. Yesterday I harvested several squash from them…they yellow squash pictured above came from the volunteers. Also, the new heirloom “baseball” zucchini are growing well and are delicious . You can find the heirlooms I use at Heirloom solutions a great website operated by nice people in Thompson Ill. I will be doing demos at their country store on June 30th 20120
So far, the heirloom crops are very vigorous and producing a nice crop. I like using heirlooms because you’re keeping a part of history alive and these are saved because of high germination rates and for taste. But the best thing is the seeds can be saved adn used the next year without fear of having funny looking and tasting vegetables that are normally produced by second season seeds from hybrids.
In my opinion, hybrids have NO PLACE in a prepper or homesteaders garden. Having to re-purchase seeds each year as necessary with hybrids is a waste of money as far as I’m concerned.
With all the vegetables you will be harvesting, you will need to be thinking creatively about cooking seasonal vegetables. I recently penned an article Tips For Making Vegetable Recipes New and Exciting which goes into detail about the methods I use to create new recipes using seasonal produce, check it out it might help you come up with new ideas.
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Chef Keith Snow
Seasonal Cooking Made Easy!