Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Last Gasps

 You can feel fall in the air but today is one of those perfectly warm, gorgeously sunny End of Summer Days. The kind where you eat out on the deck, glad that it's not dark and gloomy. Or cold. Or windy and wet. The kind where you marvel once again how gorgeous it is here when the sun is out. And how clear the sky is.

Then I look down at the garden and see how exhausted everything is. The cherry tomatoes have to be picked just slightly ripe or else they split. We had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes this year: Sungolds, Yellow Pears, Supersweet 100s, and while we tried to eat most of them I ended up making passata after a while: get a cookie sheet and cover it with cherry tomatoes (I like to separate them by colour), then pour a generous amount of olive oil over them. Place in a moderately hot oven (375ºF) and roast until they almost brown on the top. At this point you transfer them to a glass bowl or something similar, and dunk large slices of baguette in the juices. You can purée the mixture if you like, or just bung it in a bag and freeze it as is. This makes a superior pizza or spaghetti sauce. I've seen recipes that include salt, pepper, thyme, basil, etc, but I don't use any of those things. Just olive oil. It's irresistibly delicious. Besides, I need to hoard the basil for pesto, of which I now have at least 20 pints in the freezer. And one pot in the fridge, for everyone to spread on toast or crackers or sandwiches (for those of us at work or school).

The pumpkins are slowly turning orange, as are the butternut squash and the potimarrons, even though they were both dwarfed by the giant marigolds. Oddly, the Mortgage Lifers in the hoop house are still green - it's curious how behind they are compared to the plants out in the open. I'm rounding up the last of the raspberries, although this particular plant produces well into November if the weather is dry enough.

Picked the last of the Macintoshes and Ultraspires, which were not hit by scab this year, thankfully. I don't know how much more "Ew! What's this on the apples? Ick! I have to PEEL IT!" I can take. Not that I eat the scab, but hearing about it every time someone picks up an apple is starting to drive me a bit mad. Molded by too much grocery store perfection, obviously.

I need to write about our new school year, but there is just too much going on with our harvest right now to coalesce my thoughts properly. Suffice to say that the kids are now in grades 11 and 7 and working hard, while I'm inside AND outside picking, peeling, grating, chopping, and canning.

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