The garden’s last hurrah

By RUTH PATCHETT rpweib1@gmail.com
Posted 10/14/19

Fall is here and people are putting their gardens to sleep. There are numerous presentations by Master Gardeners using this title with helpful information. Following the advice of a Master Gardener …

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The garden’s last hurrah

Posted

Fall is here and people are putting their gardens to sleep. There are numerous presentations by Master Gardeners using this title with helpful information. Following the advice of a Master Gardener on what to do, will help make sure one has an amazing garden next year. Allow me to give a little advice and a couple of recipes for the items grown this year.

Harvest all the peppers possible. My green bell peppers took forever to produce but when they did they were really abundant. Do not let them go to waste. Prices on peppers in the winter are usually at least $1 each. Nice red or yellow peppers usually cost twice as much in the winter.

Take the time to chop excess peppers and store in small zip lock bags, about a half cup is a good size. For extra protection against freezer burn, put the small bags in a large freezer bag. During the winter, when a recipe calls for chopped green or red pepper they are ready to add to soups or sauces.

Now is also the time to use any basil left in the garden and make it into some delicious pesto. It is so easy to do and totally enhances pasta dishes.

I am not a Master Gardener, but I always try to salvage my rosemary plant. Those with rosemary growing in the garden can pot it and bring it inside. Even if it dies after a couple of months just harvest the dried rosemary. Sometimes I have been successful, and it remained fresh till February. A sprig of fresh rosemary put in a turkey cavity before roasting is a must in my opinion.

I also try to salvage my parsley and mint plants. Basil does not keep but hang it to dry and then crumble and store in an airtight container. Do the same with other herbs as well. Substitute one teaspoon of dried herbs for one tablespoon of fresh herbs in recipes.

Apples are looking beautiful on the trees and if someone has an over abundance, say yes when they are offered. Apple pie is so easy to make when apples are already peeled and sliced in the freezer.

Thaw the apples while making the piecrust or if there is frozen crust in the freezer, just fill it, and top with a crumb topping. This has been a perfect year for growing apples and those with trees might appreciate if someone offered to pick up and use the ones that have fallen.

A few weeks ago I went to garage sales on a very bright, warm, sunny day. It was fun to visit with people but I also felt virtuous because not only was I shopping but I also was sun drying some of the last of my Roma tomatoes in my car. It is easy to do. Clean tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds – a grapefruit knife works very well – and put on a cookie sheet with a rack. Place the tomatoes in the back car window or on the dash and let the sun do the work. Make sure to always park in direct sun and keep the windows rolled up. Delicious sun dried tomatoes are now in my freezer ready to be used in a cheese ball.

One of the best things I made with my wonderful tomatoes this year was tomato basil soup. I love, love, love tomato basil soup. Those who have been canning juice and whole tomatoes have what it takes to make a delicious tomato/basil soup.

Using and preserving what is grown in a home garden is not only tastier but it helps preserve our environment. A good thing all around.