Saving and Eating From the Garden


In one big bountiful haul, I brought in most of the Spring veggies from the garden on Sunday.  Armfuls of lettuce, rainbow chard, and green onions; dill, cilantro, and garlic scrapes; and a few handfuls of mulberries from our Nice Neighbor's tree that hangs over our fence.

We're working on eating the chard fresh this week, and most of the lettuce went to friends (it had to be picked, and I'm lettuce'd out).  But I also put several jars o'food away.

I froze the mulberries.  Because of the height of the mulberry tree I can only get a few handfuls of berries at a time, but I'm hoping to eventually save up enough to make a pie.

I also sliced up and froze about half of the garlic scrapes.  The other half went on a very tasty garden pizza, with the aforementioned chard...and some pickled green onions.

The bulbs of the green onions were pickled, using the cocktail onion recipe in Put 'em Up! (my current favorite book on food preservation, although I suspect it may soon be unseated by the forthcoming Food in Jars book).  

As to the green parts of the onions--waste not, want not--about half are currently fermenting themselves into kimchi in the fridge.  With the other half, I made a sort of green onion pesto.  I put the stalks in the food processor with a pinch of salt and just enough olive oil to make them liquidy.  Then I froze it in baby jars.  The plan is to use it more as a flavoring in soups and the like....although a green onion cream sauce could be in my future too!

Let's see...oh yes, the herbs!  The dill is drying from the ceiling of my back porch, and the cilantro went into the freezer using this method, except that I packed it into jars instead of plastic bags.  We have a ton of fresh cilantro to pick this summer, but I'd like try and freeze the extras for a bit of green on next Winter's tacos. 

[Also, a word about freezing in jars--traditional wisdom dictates that you shouldn't freeze things in glass jars because the food can expand and break the jar.  I freeze almost everything in jars, but I've learned the hard way that--particularly with liquids like vegetable stock--you need to leave more head room than you think you should.]

It always feels comfy and wise to squirrel away some homegrown food for later.  But this year I've been feeling like the garden is a bit lackluster because of my slow start this Spring, so it was particularly nice to be able to pack up such a nice bunch of goodies.