The garden has been overflowing with produce for the past few weeks. I think now that it is mid September we are beginning to see things slow down, but we still find ourselves harvesting 20 lbs of this and 50lbs of that. The branches of the fruit trees are crippling under the weight of the ripening fruit and begging to be plucked. Mainly what we are pulling from the garden are apples, pears, plums, beans (so many beans), and potatoes.
The garden is home to a variety of beans, tall beans, flat beans, purple beans, skinny beans. Every few mornings the other interns and I will go out, baskets in hand, and pick up to 50lbs. We will typically freeze or can the majority of what we harvest. The entire process from collecting the jars to getting them in the pantry can take about 4 hours, but it is incredibly satisfying to see these glimmering colorful jars stacked together in neat rows at the end. So far we have canned plain and salted beans, garlic and chili infused beans, and tomato and garlic beans. I wish I could be here to taste test all of them in December!
One of the things I may regret most about leaving are the spiced peaches. Danielle came across a great deal and we ended up with something like 80 lbs of peaches. We spent a few afternoons tightly packing these beautiful juicy fruits into mason jars decorated with star anise, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamon seeds and pepper. I may have to sneak one back to Virginia with me...
The next step is figuring out how to handle the abundance of produce. Having so much of one ingredient makes for an interesting array of recipes that hit our tables, but try as we might, we can't seem to feed bowls of beans to everyone for dinner. Naturally, the next idea is preserving. WINTER IS COMING!
If you like fruit desserts, may I suggest an amazing plum crisp? Or blackberry crisp? Or a plum, blueberry, blackberry, pear and rhubarb crisp? All of which are to die for. Outside of fruit pies, we have also started experimenting with dehydrating plums and Asian pears. Maddy and I had our first chance at using a 3-in-one peeler, slicer, corer that looked like a torture device and worked like a charm. I was skeptical at first about how good Asian pears could be dried, but they are amazingly addictive. The dehydrated plums are sweet and sour enough to keep you coming back for more and make a great hiking snack!
by Leila Drici, Garden Intern 2013
Garden bloggers are community members, volunteers and interns at Songaia.