Now I don't totally disagree. A kitchen renovation has been in the works since we bought this place. Newer and more spacious cupboards, an extra sink, dishwasher - yes to all the above. But the thing is, our current problem has nothing to do with the kitchen as it stands. My dear husband seems to have overlooked the fact that the real issue is that every single inch of counter space has been overtaken by produce.
|A sample of the summer produce this year|
What the heck are we going to do with this all this bounty? It's a question that I struggle with each year. How to preserve, process and cook the unending supply of food that the garden throws at me on a daily basis. I'm sure there's a few other gardeners out there struggling with this issue right now so I thought I'd share a few ideas.
Step one - get yourself a massive stockpot.
Step two - make copious amounts of soup. I like tomato soup as it uses large quantities of tomatoes but another favourite is a Spicy Chicken soup which uses both tomatoes and fresh made salsa (the salsa
A girl can only make so much soup so my second line of defense is a vacuum sealer. Chop up fresh tomatoes, cook down your pumpkin, blanch your spinach and seal it all in the vacuum bags. Easy as pie. Actually easier than pie really. I haven't even started baking pies yet.
As you might be noticing, kitchen tools feature heavily at this time of year. We just invested in this fancy Cuisinart blender to help get us through the preserving season.
Loving this for fresh made salsa and pesto. We eat the salsa on the spot but the pesto freezes really well for use in the winter. If pesto feels too complicated just zip through some basil and olive oil. Once processed spoon it into an ice cube tray and freeze. These little basil cubes are perfect for throwing into a pasta sauce later on.
Not everything needs to involve expensive tools though. A quick and easy way to preserve parsley is simply stuffing it in a ziploc bag and freezing it.
Reach in the freezer and break off a piece as you need it. (Thanks to Brenda for this tip!)
Drying is another simple and effective way to preserve food. Garlic, onions and herbs all benefit from this. I grew onions for the first time ever this year. Proper onions. Not marble sized rocks that smell like onions.
After that all hard work the best thing to do is make cake. Who doesn't like cake? Chocolate zucchini cake and carrot cake go over pretty well this time of year.
and finally, my last resort. Give it away. Inevitably I get overwhelmed and co-workers like this time of year because they get a never ending supply of cucumbers, zucchini, basil, beans, and tomatoes.
Recently I discovered something new though, the PEI Food Exchange. This group is finding ways of distributing excess produce from farms and gardeners. Whether it's a trade or giving it away to people in need they can use your garden excess. There's never a reason for food to go to waste and this is a perfect way to make sure it gets to those who want it.