Summer is in full swing here as the days heat up. Work is demanding in July, but the warm and dry is something that has been missing over the past several years. The weather has produced a crop of peppers and eggplant that is our best to date. We are hoping that the plants maintain their health and produce into the Fall.
If such a fate is ours, you will be eating eggplant, peppers and tomatoes on a regular basis. So here are a few tips to enjoying these wonderful and beautiful vegetables.
1. Do not refrigerate your fresh tomatoes. It adversely affects both taste and texture.
2. Raw and crunchy eggplant can be a turn-off. You should cook you eggplant to the texture of a cooked mushroom.
3. Eggplant does not have a strong flavor, so you can add it to most any dish and it will take on the flavor of the dish.
4. Peppers are easy to preserve. If you have too many just cut them, clean them, chop them (if desired) and freeze them.
Cucumbers are something to use this week, as we are having a good harvest at the moment. The simplest thing is a cucumber, Walla Walla onion, and tomato salad. Cut them up, add the dressing of your choice, and you have a great veggie dish. The Walla Wallas are particularly sweet and make this not just any salad.
The request for pickle packs has been great. We are glad that pickling has become a CSA experience for so many of you. You may have to be patient (you are in the cuke queue) and flexible as far as when you get yours though. We have 200 feet of plants, but they have been temperamental as far as production. The small ones are in highest demand and are the slowest producing.
I’m here to say that the large cukes have great potential too. We recently started a crock of fermented pickles using the large ones. Our friend Linda Coussens gave us a large, high quality Gartopf crock. We started the process on Sunday, filling it with whole cucumbers, onions, garlic, tarragon, dill and salt water. Ten days like that, and then 2 weeks in the larder. So come the end of July we will update you on their progress.
Another good use is making pickle chunks. Get some pickling lime and follow their recipe. Lime pickles are the crunchiest you can get.