THE EXCESS AND ABUNDANCE OF HARVEST
Zucchini's reputation for proliferation is well-deserved. Even a bad year for the vegetable can provide enough to share with others. According to the book The Vegetable Gardener's Bible (Edward Smith, Storey Publishing), stories circulate in New England about gardeners so desperate to get rid of their excess "zukes" that neighbors find a zucchini-filled car when leaving the house to go to work in the morning.
It stands to reason that the vegetable has been incorporated into many meals and recipes. BigOven.com lists 250 results with a search for zucchini. Some recipes are really unbelievable -- Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies for instance.
Tomatoes are often equally prolific. Some years it seems like they'll never ripen, so recipes for green tomatoes pop up in women's magazines, cooking and gardening websites, and on morning TV shows.
My cherry tomatoes often become ripe in large numbers on the vine, split, and become fruit-fly food very quickly. Even if I discard these, the numbers still favor enough for tomatoes at every meal if I want.
I planned my garden for salsa this year. Some is in the freezer. I didn't plan well enough. My cilantro dried and "went to seed" before my tomatoes began to ripen. Cilantro seeds can be saved though if you want to start your own plants next year. The seeds from this plant, also known as coriander, are used in cooking.
Perhaps I should look into an earlier producer for tomatoes, and one that goes all season. Patchwork Farms used to sell Arkansas traveler, which is supposed to produce all season. Maybe I can find it or something similar.*
BigOven.com has some great ideas for storing tomatoes:
Store tomatoes away from sunlight and heat and at cool room temperatures.
Do not refrigerate tomatoes for any length of time (don’t buy them from refrigerated cases). Low temperatures destroy the flavor. One convenient method is this:
"Freeze tomatoes in slices, chunks, or even whole. These can be used for cooking. Double bag them and use within twelve months."
Onions did well this year. I grew a number of red and sweet white ones. Certain types are best-suited to storage, and conditions must be right. Sweet onions are more susceptible to damage when stored. All onions, in the ground and afterward, can be eaten by maggots, as I discovered. Thankfully, I only lost a few. It's not pleasant to cut through an onion that has rotted. Blah!
Here's another sample from my garden ... Sunflowers on the right. Lavender, oregano in flower (dried) and fresh basil from right to left.
An arrangement from earlier in the season. (above and below)
The miniature decorative pumpkins grew in my garden, too. Last year, I bought some at a farmer's roadside stand. I decided to cut some and scoop out the seeds. Then I spread them on layers of paper towels on a cookie sheet to dry. I stored them in a plastic baggie over the winter. One vine produced the same type of fruit as the parent seeds. The other vine had larger squash in different shapes. Perhaps this was from cross-pollination. One was green, and somewhat round, when I picked it. One my living room table it has been turning pumpkin orange. (Perhaps I will have a photo of it to share soon.)
Enjoy the abundance of tomatoes, onions, potatoes and anything else you get throughout the growing season. It's better, I say, to be blessed with too much than to be disappointed by your garden's production. I have fantasies about storing greater amounts through canning and drying since I have a small freezer; however, I have come to realize that I must take it a few steps at a time. I'm only one person and I work full-time. In anticipation, I'll keep learning in the hopes that those skills grow, too.
Zucchini oatmeal cookies
*Here's the story behind the tomato, including its name. Arkansas Traveler tomato.
A little bit about onions
Article on seed saving with links to others