There has been a lot of action of late in our gardens. It is truly at its peak, and despite the near 100-degree temperatures this week, we find ourselves entwined in vines of all sorts, harvesting all this fabulous veg.
Tomatoes make an appearance at our dinner table each night, for I am not sure there is a better fresh vegetable on earth than a homegrown tomato. Herbs are being dried each day in order to preserve them for the winter months. Onions and beans are being diced and then destined for the freezer. And who could forget our school garden, from which we just reached the 100 pounds donated mark! Yup, the students of Cathedral of St. Peter School have donated 100 pounds of fresh produce to the Plant a Row for the Hungry program at our local food pantry.
So much wonderful August action in the garden right now. I hope all of you are finding yourselves in the midst of such garden greatness as well!
We have a few little friends who have again found an entry point into our garden: the rabbits. So before they could reek havoc over too much of the garden space, I picked what I could from our bean patch because that seems to be their vegetable of choice right now. I was shocked to find, that despite this incessant heat we have been experiencing, I was able to harvest quite a hefty bean crop. In fact, I was able to gather so much that I needed to find something to do with some of them. Enter dilly beans.
For those of you that have never had dilly beans, they are just plain yummy. A little hot from the chilli peppers, a little sour from the vinegar and a little spicy from the garlic…what more could a girl ask for?
This year I found a great recipe in Putting Food By (listed below with a link), which only required a hot water bath canning method. There were very few ingredients required and the entire process did not take long at all. Now we have some more great summer veg ready to go for the winter.
What do you do with your surplus of green beans? Leave a comment and share ideas with others.
Some of our favorite home preservation books are:
Putting Food By by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg and Beatrice Vaughan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (There are some great canning recipes scattered throughout the piece.)
The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader