Bidding Farewell to the Bountiful Harvest

Reader Contribution by Crystal Stevens
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Gardens that have been planted throughout the summer will be bountiful until mid November as long as the first frost doesn’t hit before then.   In seasons past, we have harvested herbs, sweet & hot peppers, green tomatoes, kale, chard, spinach, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, turnips, lettuce and a variety of other vegetables including bok choi and Napa cabbage just before Thanksgiving. It can be slightly overwhelming to bring in such an abundant harvest all at once, but the end product of preserving the harvest is certainly well worth the effort.  In addition to soups, stews, canning, drying & freezing, there are several easy ways to preserve your harvest to enjoy over a longer period of time, especially during the winter months when the garden is barren.

Here are three delicious value added recipes to try at home:

Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

Lacto-fermentation is the process of fermenting veggies in Lactic acid forming bacteria that are beneficial to the body and help build the immune system. Use your garden harvest to create preserved veggies in salt water brine. Sterilize mason jars. Chop veggies and herbs of your choice and add to mason jars. Dissolve 1 ½ tablespoons of Celtic Sea Salt in 2 cups of purified water. Pour the brine over your chopped veggies in the mason jars. Leave ½ inch of space at the top. Put a cabbage leaf on top to help with the fermentation process. Cover with a plastic lid. Leave on the counter for 1 week. Remove cabbage leaf and store in the fridge for up to 2 months. Be sure to label.

Farmer Crystal’s Fire Roasted Salsa Verde

Grilling veggies campfire style using oak cherry and cedar wood is one of our most favorite epicurean endeavors. My husband and I love growing and cooking with a wide array of vegetables. Some of our favorites include bell peppers, hot peppers and tomatillos. I make Salsa Verde by grilling tomatillos, green tomatoes, green peppers, and jalapeños.  I add the grilled veggies along with cilantro, lime, salt, pepper, garlic and a splash of oil and vinegar to the food processor. I process it on high for 3 minutes.  This recipe is very forgiving. You may omit ingredients or add your own.  You can also make batches to freeze. Be sure to label.  Enjoy!

Farmer Crystal’s Fire Roasted Hot Sauce

This hot sauce has is unlike store bought hot sauce.  It has more the consistency of a silky paste and is delicious on everything! Four dozen grilled jalapeños will yield about 4 pints of hot sauce which will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for about 6 months.  If you freeze it, be sure to use freezer safe jars or freezer bags.  Grill jalapeño peppers for about 4 minutes on each side or until they are slightly charred and tender. Remove the stems and some of the seeds if you wish.  Make two separate batches in a large food processor. For each batch, combine  24 grilled jalapeños (or other peppers of your choice), 1 ½ cups of water, 4 tbsp vinegar, 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, 2 tsp salt, and 6 cloves of garlic (optional).  Blend ingredients in the food processor for about 3 minutes on high speed.  Use as salsa or serve on eggs, potatoes, meat, veggies or any of your favorite savory dishes. Be sure to label. Enjoy!

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