Both freezers aren’t exactly empty, and yet already we’ve begun preserving the 2015 harvest. The first diced rhubarb and blanched asparagus containers are safely tucked away, with more to follow.
It’s been an excellent yield so far with both. I’ve never seen our rhubarb so lush and prolific. And fresh asparagus spears are a feast for the soul.
Apparently, asparagus beetles feel the same way. First spied last spring, they’ve returned in full force.
Back in the kitchen, in preparation for the coming onslaught of preserved fruits and vegetables — and to forestall the freezer shelves becoming a jumbled mess — my husband, Kevin, and I devised a strategy to deplete what remains of last year’s stores.
— Earlier in the week, Kevin juiced the last of the frozen currants and berries. Some of the resultant purple nectar we’ll blend with our remaining quarts of apple juice for a sprightly quencher. Some we’ll condense to flavor ice cream and yogurt.
— The last of the beets, sweet potatoes and winter squash we’re making a concerted effort to plan meals around while it’s still cool.
— Shredded zucchini is tagged for snack bread, moist chocolate cake and our signature spicy muffins — a blend of cheddar cheese, zucchini, egg and flour, flavored with garlic, onion and roasted hot pepper. They’re one of our mainstays as a to-go breakfast or paired with salad for a light meal.
— Corn, edamame and red peppers will be used to jazz up barley, rice or pasta salads with asparagus or peas and beans.
— Garlic scape lumps/garlic cloves and roasted hot peppers flavor almost every meal.
— Roasted eggplant blended with tahini and seasonings lends itself well to dips and wraps, both more satisfying as the temperatures rise.
— Broth/stock will be used as needed to flavor sauces, soups and casseroles.
— Sliced apples won’t be neglected — because apple pie is always in season
— But, sadly, there are only enough peaches, cherries and blueberries for about six smoothies as a mid-afternoon gardening refresher. We’ll have to make sure we ration those!
I figure as long as we stick to this plan, plenty of space will be freed in time for what’s to come. After all, asparagus and rhubarb are only the beginning.