I’ll sit down when…

20 Sep

[From Rachel]

I had it all planned out.  The quiet, not standing-at-the-counter-all-evening Monday night.  I had (last week) pre-cooked some wheat-berry stuffed peppers that just needed to be put in the oven, topped with local cheddar and roasted.  I would put something else in the oven to roast alongside, and I would put.my.feet.UP.  All day Monday I was excited to just veg out while dinner cooked itself.  It’s not that I’m burned out from all the food preservation and fun late-summer activities (mostly surrounding eating, honestly), but given that I stood up all day yesterday while making some preserved food, and that I have a road trip coming up, it seemed like my body wanted me to slow down today.  However, brain over body.  I also have loads of produce that didn’t make it into jars, the dehydrator or the freezer this weekend (though 5 quarts of applesauce, 8 pints of pickles took over my Sunday afternoon).  I know I will stress over this.  I AM stressing over this.  And come winter, when I will regardless wish I had much more fresh, bright organic produce to eat, I would remember today, and kick myself for not having made the most of Monday, September 12th.  So…I keep standing.  I stand and chop green tomatoes.  I don’t even have a plan, I just have to execute something by bedtime.  Green tomatoes, green tomatoes, I think…what to do.

This whole shelf needs to be full! Pictured: Various pickles to the left, applesauce in the back, jams and preserves to the right.

RELISH!  I haven’t had access to an abundance of cucumbers to jar up regular pickles (so far my pickles are made of zucchini and green tomatoes) or a relish, but I love sandwiches with lots of condiments.  So instead of starting a fairly long process of heat-sealing more green tomato pickles, I decide to cook down the green tomatoes.  I add a small onion and vinegar, but know this is not yet a relish.  It needs sweetness…but even in this instance I’m still trying to not rely on processed sugar.  Thinking this is not the place for honey or maple syrup, i remember the two ears of sweet corn waiting in my fridge.  They won’t get eaten before Wednesday, and they’re SO sweet.  Yeah, corn, the stuff they make corn syrup out of, that will work!  In it goes.  Some dill seeds from the bunch of dill my friend pulled out of his lawn (he’s fighting a losing battle against a naturalized dill crop, and I’m winning the spoils).  One red tomato for good luck.  A splash of water. I’ll cook it slow until it reduces by about half.  I will have to find room in the freezer, but that’s less scary than the thought of putting all that harvest in the compost.

I’m not done.

I got a dozen heirloom tomatoes in my CSA share on Friday.  Yesterday I harvested more tomatoes in my garden.  And I don’t feel like chopping any more tonight.  Seriously, it’s all I’ve been doing recently.  But I would need to chop to dehydrate, even to make a sauce I’d have to be standing.  Then I realize I can ROAST these babies.  Then I can freeze them in roasted form…and plan to eat them on a special occasion (first over-6-inches snowfall?).  Perfect, they just need a wash, some oil, salt, and (hooray) the last of that bunch of basil that I didn’t yet have a use for.  Oh and some leeks chopped up fine.  Swoosh it all around on the baking dish to coat with the seasonings.

Roasted tomatoes ready for the freezer and a winter supper plate.

These can cook while I eat the peppers and beets that are coming out of the oven, while I crunch on some beautiful chilled melon and yogurt for dessert, while I finally, finally sit.  It will be a brief rest, as I won’t really settle down from all the food preservation until the weather stops the tender crops.  I’ll sit when it snows, I guess.

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